Learning the fundamentals of something is important if you want to get good at it. The same thing applies to the key fundamentals of marketing. Having these in your pocket helps make marketing your business easier. Victoria Wieck and Tim Fitzpatrick of Rialto Marketing get into the basics. They discuss the concepts and how each is an important part of the whole. Tune in and see the breakdown of marketing your business.
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The Key Marketing Fundamentals For Success With Tim Fitzpatrick
Many of you, readers, are already entrepreneurs, and quite a few of you are successful. Some of you are struggling. I always like to start my show with a proposition, also to solve problems that you are facing every single day. One of the first things that a small business entrepreneur has to navigate, if he or she will be successful, is the whole idea of marketing yourself, getting yourself out there, getting visibility, letting people know what you do, how you serve them, and why you are the unique and the best in that field.
Why will they give you a try? This is all part of the world of marketing but we are living in a world of so-called experts who tell you what marketing is. It could be digital marketing, advance, use slick ads, all those things come into play. I’ve got somebody here who has grinded it out over several businesses that he has founded and worked through. This isn’t marketing solutions for people who’ve got millions of dollars to spend. This is for those of you who have to watch your money, actions, and time as well. Without further ado, I want to welcome Tim Fitzpatrick, who is a marketing expert. Welcome to the show.
Victoria, thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
First of all, give our audience a two-minute overview of how you became a marketing expert and why you are uniquely a different kind of marketing expert.
My entrepreneurial journey has not been a straight path. I don’t think any of them are but when I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was a Math major. My dad had been an entrepreneur for a long time. He had started a wholesale distribution company a couple of years before I graduated. I knew he needed some help. He had no full-time employees at that point.
I said, “Let me work for you for three months. Give me time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. You need the help.” He said, “Yes.” I jumped in. We were selling consumer electronics and home theater equipment to contractors. After three months, I was hooked. I loved it. I became the first full-time employee. I was wearing every hat. I was, “Let me pick up this phone.” I’m doing AR, “Let me do this.” I’m doing sales. It was an awesome experience. My dad and I grew that company about 60% a year for nine years, and then we sold it.
I learned more doing that in 6 months than I did in 4 years of college. It was an amazing experience, one that I would never want to change. When I’ve got out of that, I needed to do something different. I shifted gears. I’ve got involved in residential real estate for a while, which I did not like. The one thing I learned from that was how to put myself outside of my comfort zone. There’s not much I’m not worried about jumping into.
When I decided to get out of real estate, I was waking up each day going, “I hate this.” Why own a business if you are going to be in that position? I shifted gears again. That’s when I’ve got into what I’m doing, which is marketing. We focus on the fundamentals, keeping marketing simple. It is so easy to overcomplicate these days. I love marketing. It’s dynamic. It’s always changing but the fundamentals of any discipline do not change.
I agree with that 100%. I forgot to tell you this but I have a Master’s degree in Marketing. I was told that I was not going to be good at Marketing because I didn’t understand the nuances. My professors were looking out for me. They didn’t think there was any future in me with Marketing. They convinced me to change my major from Marketing to Finance.
Marketing is dynamic. It’s always changing, but the fundamentals do not change.
I had taken too many courses at that point to give up on the majors. I went ahead and finished that out and I still got a degree in Finance, neither of which I use. I wouldn’t say I don’t use that Marketing degree per se but a lot of the things that they teach you in school are not applicable for a small business. They are made for plugging into a large company and learning how to spend their money. In your case, in your father’s company, that’s where you probably have learned a lot about marketing principles.
In this day and age of all the slick, the buzzwords, and the new trends in marketing that comes and goes, the basic principles of marketing don’t change over time. How human beings react to something, a word or a message, how they feel about how somebody touches you in terms of the wordings, whether you do it digitally, TV or in person, they don’t change. All of a sudden, it becomes some sort of an animal. In your opinion, what is marketing if you have to describe it simply? What are some of the principles, and why are they important?
To answer your first question, what is marketing? Marketing to me is getting someone who has a need or a problem you can solve to know, like, and trust you. That’s it. We all buy from people we know, like, and trust. The job of our marketing is to get in front of those people, get them to know, like, and trust us so that when that need or problem they have that you can address becomes great enough and they raise their hand, they think of you, and then it’s transitioning to sales.
When it transitions to sales, it’s not a cold conversation. It’s a warm conversation. They already know, like, and trust you. That conversation then becomes so much easier. To me, that’s what marketing is. Why the fundamentals are so important? The easiest way for me to describe this is from a quote from Michael Jordan, “Get the fundamentals down, and the level of everything you do will rise.”
I don’t care what the discipline is. The fundamentals do not change. The fundamentals of shooting a free throw are the same as they were years ago, and they are going to be the same 50 years from now. The fundamentals are immutable. The fundamentals lay the foundation for you to build the rest of your house from.
If you skip them, you are building a house without a foundation. You can have success skipping the fundamentals but it’s going to take a lot longer. You are going to waste time and money. At some point, it is going to come crashing down. You are going to hit a ceiling that you absolutely cannot push through. A house without a foundation will stand up for a certain time but when stuff goes bad, it’s going to fall down and crumble.
There are plenty of people who skip the fundamentals. The biggest mistake I see is most people skip the fundamentals and get tactical immediately. You mentioned this, Victoria. There are all kinds of shiny objects in marketing. We see people battling information overload. You need to be on Clubhouse. You need to do TikTok. You need to have a blog. You need to have a podcast. It’s like, “What do I do? There’s so much information coming at me. I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what the next step is.”
That’s why we need to get back to the fundamentals. When you get the fundamentals in place, it helps you eliminate all that information. It helps you cut through the noise and outline what your priorities are so that you are not overwhelmed. You know exactly what you need to do when you have clarity but you can’t do that until you have the fundamentals in place.
There’s quite a bit of information that you unloaded there. It’s interesting because my husband is in real estate, and he used to do commercial property. He retired. It’s interesting that we still build our houses and any structure in the same way. We don’t build a roof first. You always start with the foundation because if you build a great foundation, later on, you want to add a second story, you can do that.
You don’t ever start building homes or anything else with the roof because it’s more convenient, or it looks shinier or prettier. You are going to end up having to go back. When you said you can achieve success, skipping some of those foundations but eventually, the way you succeed is you stumble onto some of those basic principles, whether you like it or not, because some of the key principles have to be there.
We are going to get into the key principles. Tim said earlier his definition of marketing is getting in front of your target audience and get them to like and trust you. Let’s go back to that very basic principle in the first place. One of the first mistakes I see a lot of beginner entrepreneurs and those who succeed in the first five years after you figure this out is identifying your target market in a way that’s too broad or narrow sometimes. You can have the right product for the wrong people. You could have the wrong stuff to the right people. When do you know when you have your target audience nailed down?
You have your target audience nailed down when you are working with people day in and day out that you love working with, that are profitable, that you get great results for. There are too many people that their target is too broad. Unless we have an unlimited budget, we cannot target broadly. When we say narrowing down that target market, that doesn’t mean those are the only people you are doing business with. That means those are the only people you are targeting your marketing towards.
When you can hone in, and you know who those people are that you enjoy working with, why do you want to be in business and bang your head against a wall every day? If you are going to stay in business, you need to work with people that are profitable. There’s nothing wrong with making money. If you are going to work with people and stay in business, you have to get great results for them. You have to understand who those people are.
Initially, when you first start, it can be hard to know that. Unless you have prior experience in the specific market that you are going into, it’s hard to target it narrow. What you need to do in that case is do a little bit of research and get an idea based on what you know, who you believe is going to be best. You need to take those assumptions, go out there and test them.
Based on what we know, we believe these types of people are going to be best for us. Let’s get out there and start to market to those people. Once we start to have some success and do business, then we can dig deeper and hone in on it. A lot of the people that we work with have been in business for a while. They have current and past customers. That’s when you hone in on your ideal clients, you look at the people you have worked with and ask yourself three questions. “Who do I love working with? Who do I get great results for? Who are our profitable clients?”
When you ask yourself those questions of the people you have already worked with, you end up with a subgroup of customers. It’s that subgroup that you can start to dig deeper in, to look at the demographics like, “What are the numbers around these people?” More importantly, though are the psychographics. What are their thoughts, their feelings, the results they are looking for? What are their behaviors? As you start to identify those elements, inevitably, what happens is some smaller groups with commonalities come to the surface. Those are your ideal client types.
Why is it that once entrepreneurs, even experienced ones, have a little bit of money, their first thing is to go out and try to broaden their target market? I do a lot of mentorship work, free speeches, and workshops. I’m doing quite a bit of volunteer work. When I work with new entrepreneurs, they are so insecure about identifying their target market in a narrow way.
For example, I sell jewelry. If I say every woman loves jewelry, that’s great. I always tell people, “Try to think about placing a Facebook ad. If somebody gave you free money and you had to place a Facebook ad, and your target market is all women, what would your ad say?” You might say something like, “All of you love this stuff. It’s 25% off or whatever.” You can’t identify certain types of women.
If you’re going to stay in business, you need to work with people that are profitable. There’s nothing wrong with making money.
In my case, when I first started my company, I targeted working women because I was the first generation of women who went outside the home and had titles like Director of Marketing. We weren’t in an administrative capacity. A lot of us left our kids at home, making good money. We had to stand out in a workplace that was very rigid.
My ad would have said, “This is great for a workplace where you can look polished. You can add a little femininity with a lot of affordability. When you are done with that, ten years from now, you can pass it on to your children for peace.” That was very targeted. By the way, working women had money.
When you are staying at home as a stay-at-home mom, and you are working on one income, the husband’s income, and you are young, your husband is not making a whole lot of money yet because they are not at the peak, you don’t have money for one. Number two, you don’t have a need to go anywhere to look for jewelry. You are not buying anything.
Identifying that working women in a corporate environment was the smartest thing you could do at that time. A lot of times, by identifying a target market that’s narrow will narrow your marketing message. The other thing too is you also know where they hang out so that you can connect to them quickly with less expenditure. I love the fact that these are basic marketing principles that a lot of people like so-called experts, don’t talk about because there’s no money in it.
Like a lot of drug companies won’t tell you if we find out that spinach is a cure to cancer. They are not going to ever talk about that because there’s no money in it for them. A lot of your experts out there doing these masterminds and everything else will charge you all this money to come up with the new sleek campaign about the unique selling proposition.
You have to get down to the basics first. Understand who you are dealing with, who you want to do business with, and how you can make money before you play with all these other variables that come into play that can amplify more once you have those basics. In terms of your principles, are there any other nuggets you want to share?
You touched on this a little bit. Once you understand who the target market is, then you can determine where they hang out and congregate. You have a list of where you can be to get in front of the people that you want to attract. Rather than casting a line out into the ocean, seeing what fish you catch, you are casting a line out, knowing exactly where you need to fish to catch those exact people you intend to work with.
It’s super important. Many people go out there and throw up over everybody, and it doesn’t work. The first fundamental is the target market. The second is your message. How do you communicate your value in what you do? How do you gain their attention and grab their interest? You honed in on working women. The message to working women is a completely different message than to a stay-at-home mom. It’s not to say that one is better than the other.
The message is different. If you try to put that message for working women to stay-at-home moms, it’s going to fall flat. It’s not going to go anywhere. When you are targeted, and you know who you are going to attract, and you understand them as well, if not better than they understand themselves, then and only then, can you create a message that is going to get in front of them and grab their interest. It’s super important.
The third thing is we’ve got to have a plan. What’s our plan going to be to get that message in front of those people? Too many people don’t have a plan. When you don’t have a plan, everything looks like an opportunity. When I get an email that says, “You’ve got to check out this newest marketing tactic.” If you have no plan, you are like a squirrel chasing a nut. You follow everything, spin your wheels, and don’t get consistent, repeatable results. You get overwhelmed because you can’t sort through all the information overload. You’ve got to have a plan to get started.
Tim Ferriss talked about the 1,000 raving fans. You don’t need 10,000 people to like you on Instagram, especially if your customers are not on Instagram. TikTok could be the new, big thing. If you are selling anything serious like marketing or even expensive jewelry, TikTok is not your ideal customer. You can get a lot of followers there but it’s completely useless.
You have to figure out where your ideal customers hang out and engage with you. You have to get your people. When you are first starting out, if you are launching a new product, you are better off getting those 1,000 raving fans who are fanatical about you and your services so that if they tell 10 people, each person, there’s your 10,000.
With that, you can do a lot. You can do quite a bit of business. You can do a lot of research. There’s a lot to build from. Understand your market. I’m out there. I work with the Global Society for Female Entrepreneurs. Whenever I’m talking like how you and I are talking, a lot of women will say, “This is so much information. I’m overwhelmed. I’m overloaded.”
If you are reading, and feeling overwhelmed and overloaded, don’t worry because you can go to Tim’s website. It’s RialtoMarketing.com. If you do that, you are going to get a lot of free information there that’s downloadable. You can learn a lot about this. I love free information. Even if I go through the whole website, I find one thing that I didn’t know before, it’s worth it.
If you want to connect with him further, you can go to RialtoMarketing.com/million-dollar-passion. Don’t be overwhelmed. We are having a conversation here. You go through all of Tim’s materials and narrow it down to actionable tips. Strategies are great but without logistics, a real action you take in a certain order is going to help you more than just talking about strategy forever. Go to those actionable tips. The easiest way for you to be un-overwhelmed or feel like you can tackle this is doing your homework.
Find out who you think your target market is and where they shop. What TV programs do they watch? You can do a lot of research on the internet. You can put a call. If you get 20 to 50 random people, not your friends, mom, and dad but random people to give you feedback, you have a lot of information there that you can chew through. Do your homework, ask them questions, and be vulnerable. Let them know that you are not perfect.
Let them know that as a small business owner, this is your distinctive advantage, being able to be nimble, personable, likable, and somebody you can trust. A lot of Corporate America doesn’t look like they are cuddly, nice people that are going to care about you. They can’t because their personas are already out there.
It is so easy to get overwhelmed as business owners. There are so many different things that we’re working on that it’s very easy to fall into that place.
Do your homework and educate yourself. That’s the other thing. I built my business. Many of you know my background. I built an over $500 million company without any money. I have spent less than $10,000 in 35 years of advertising. Think about that. I was grinding it out, understanding who my target market is, and keep on evolving, whether you like it or not, your customers are constantly evolving. They move away. They do all these things. You have to keep on evolving and elevating. If you don’t have the foundation, to begin with, you are going to have a hard time elevating or innovating. Is there any other information you might want to share more on this path?
I will add to one of the things you said, Victoria, which was about being overwhelmed. It is so easy to get overwhelmed as business owners. It’s very easy to fall into that place. One of the things that have always helped me there is focusing on the next measurable step. When you look at the high level, there are all the details and all these things you have to do. Do the first thing you need to do next that you can measure to get that much closer. When you get that done, then you go to the next one and the next one. It makes it so much easier and less overwhelming.
The reason why many small business owners, anybody who’s doing that $5 million and under, feel uncomfortable that this is a territory you don’t know is that you are bombarded with experts telling you all the marketing tactics, the trends, and what’s working. Most small business owners are good tacticians and technicians in what they do. They are passionate about their product, the marketing, the legal, the admin.
These are all the stuff that they’ve got to do but they don’t know it. They think, “Can I do this?” The answer is, yes, you can. You are better off doing it yourself than hiring somebody else because those other people don’t know your business, your heart, and your product. You have to pay them to educate them. They’ve got 200 clients.
Learn how to do it yourself. When you do that, when you understand your business, when you understand your target, then you can hire an expert who’s fit for you that you can work with that is going to be surgical about your business in your effort to market and do whatever you have to do. Talking about short attainable goals and being able to measure them and keep yourself accountable, whether that’s weekly or monthly, the next measurable step.
Every year, 75% of Americans have a weight loss goal in their New Year’s resolution. By February 15th, 80% of those people had given up on their goal already because their goal was something like, “I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to get into this. I’m going to get healthier. I put it off for 5, 10 years. I’m 20, 40 pounds heavier. I’m going to lose weight.” This is their goal.
You try to lose weight. You don’t know where to go. You do know. You have to cut down on eating and probably have to exercise but you don’t have time. It’s the last thing you do. The next thing you know is, “I’m going to get to it later.” The next year comes, it’s the same thing. If you said to yourself, “I am going to lose 10 pounds in the next 10 weeks. I have to lose 1 pound a week.”
If that was your goal and you say, “What do I have to do to lose one single pound a week?” You have to cut out 300 calories a day. You are like, “I can cut out my wine in the afternoon or my toast in the morning. I’ve got to walk my dog anyway. I will do that.” Ten weeks later, you might lose 7 pounds, not 10. You might lose 15 pounds but either way, you’ve got momentum. You are better off then.
If you didn’t get to the goal, if you’ve got the 7 pounds off, the next 10 weeks you do that, you might get another 7 pounds. That’s 14 pounds off, and that’s 20 weeks. Think about that. It’s the power of setting those very short, attainable goals that you can achieve. That’s true with marketing, whatever you do, think that, “I love that.” That’s how I built my business. I started my company, trying to make $2,000 a month so that I can feed my kids.
I was driving a car with 150,000 miles on it. It was a Ford Pinto that blew up. It was known for fires and stuff. This one didn’t make it. I bought the whole car for $1,500. I drove that thing for five years. I was trying to make $2,000 a month. The next month, I was trying to make $3,000 a month. Once I’ve got to $5,000 a month, I was making $20,000, $30,000. I did more than $1 million in the first 18 months by doing that. When you do those short attainable goals, it makes you good at the things that you focus on. You don’t relearn that skill.
On the first day, you might walk your dog down the block and have cut out one piece of toast. After ten weeks, you might go, “That wasn’t so bad. Maybe I will cut out the toast and the wine. Maybe I can go down two blocks because when I went down that block, I saw a little lake there.” The next week you might go three blocks. It builds momentum. You already know the two blocks along the way. It becomes easier, and your dog is conditioned to doing this. There’s power in everything you have said. Tim, as we close this episode, do you have any last-minute tips?
I’m going to sound like a broken record here, Victoria, but don’t skip the fundamentals. The fundamentals are the fuel behind the tactics. Any tactic can work. It’s what you put behind it that’s going to determine, whether it works or not, whether you choose to have me help you with those fundamentals or not, don’t skip them. You will be so much better off. You will get to where you want to go faster by taking the time to get these in place.
How do people find you, Tim? What’s the best place for people to connect with you and find you?
Our website at RialtoMarketing.com is the best place. If you want to connect with me personally, LinkedIn is the best place for me, it’s www.LinkedIn.com/in/timpfitzpatrick/.
Thank you so much for reading. I sign off every week with wishing you health and happiness. Remember, happiness is a choice. I hope you make great choices this coming way. Thank you.
- Tim Fitzpatrick
- Global Society for Female Entrepreneurs
About Tim Fitzpatrick