Cody Butler is the bestselling author of The 90-day Marketing Plan which helps small businesses create an effective marketing strategy. Cody recently sold Majestic Data Solutions a company that helps small businesses become data-centric and leverage their data.
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90-day Marketing Plan with Cody Butler
Our guest is Cody Butler with me from Down Under, Sydney, as you can see in the background here. And Cody is the owner of CDMedia Limited, which focuses on helping small and medium-sized businesses come up with a marketing strategy and then automate it. He also recently started another business, which was called Missions, which helped small businesses to become data-centric and to harvest all the data and use it in the business. And he was also the CEO of a third company, which I don’t even mention because we want to focus on what he’s doing now. So welcome to the show, Cody.
Thanks for having me on. Appreciate you having me today.
And great to have you. It’s morning, it’s 7 a.m. in Sydney. It’s 3 p.m. in Richmond. So we are straddling the days before Christmas. Pretty cool. So Cody, so tell me a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey of where you’ve been, where you are, how do you get here?
Yes, so I figured out at a very young age, if I wanted more from life, I was going to have to be a little bit different to everybody else. I think I was 11 years old and there was a bicycle that I remember wanting. It was 200 pounds in England. I lived in England and at the time, I think my allowance was like one pound a week. So it was 200 weeks to get that bike, which for an 11-year-old was a complete impossibility.
So I realized that if I was going to have the things I wanted in life, I was going to have to do things a little bit different. So that’s kind of where it started. So I grabbed a sponge and a bucket and started going knocking on people’s doors, saying, hey, I washed your car for five pounds. And then I started offering to cut their grass. And before too long, I had the bicycle that I wanted. So that’s kind of where it all started out. And it’s just kind of grew up. I always had that entrepreneurial bug. So I’ve always been looking to own businesses and grow businesses just simply because that’s what you have to do if you want a little bit more out of life, right?
That’s right. So you had an early start, which is great, because there is a book which talks about the entrepreneurial life cycle and how all the major entrepreneurs had to put in at least 15 years to break through. And when they started early in their teens, then obviously they could be these kid wonders breaking through in their 20s. But there’s always this 15-year thing. So OK, so that was your beginning. And how did you get here, where you are right now? Was it straight from washing cars to coming up with the marketing plans?
So, yeah, I had varying degrees of success in my entrepreneurial projects. And I think it was around 2009, I was in the UK and my wife’s Australian and we were looking to get married, we wanted to get married and I applied for a marriage visa and I got turned down because I had no money, I had no income at the time, my businesses were not doing very well at all and that kind of woke me up a little bit. I was forced to get a job in order to meet the requirements of a marriage visa and it happened to be in a marketing agency.
It’s a long story but I ended up getting a job in a marketing agency and I got to see how all of these businesses, I think there was a hundred, a hundred and fifty businesses, there was a huge number of businesses that I had access to what they were doing and I could see what was working and I could see what was not working and had a privileged look at seeing what was going on from the inside. So I started working with some of my friends’ businesses on the side.
I had a friend that started a business and we took that to, I think it was around a half a million dollars in six or eight months, something like that, and had some other success. And I kind of could see how few people actually understood how marketing worked and how much businesses were willing to pay for successful marketing as well. So that’s kind of where I started to branch out into my own marketing agency type business where I started working with businesses individually instead of working directly with the agency.
So that’s kind of where I started to figure out what really works on a systematic, repeatable, scalable basis. I’d had a couple of businesses before that had been successful, and then I’d had a few that had not been successful, and I couldn’t really figure out what was the difference between success and failure. And this is where I could really start to see, this is the formula, this is what works if you apply it, and this is what doesn’t work if you don’t do it.
Okay, so that’s really interesting. So I’d like to understand a little bit about your formula, if it’s not secret, really, because in this podcast, what we often talk about is the, what I call management blueprints or business frameworks. How do you build this business up? What are the methods and the structures that you use in order to build a business just from a lifestyle business into something that is scalable and which is valuable beyond you as a business owner? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
So one of the keys to really rapid growth, I mean, it’s just basic stuff, really. It’s stuff that we all read in management books and marketing books, but we just don’t internalize it. We don’t understand it. So it’s stuff like specificity sells, generality repels. When people make a buying decision, they make a decision. A person is going to give you money to solve a problem. That’s the only reason they’re going to give you money as a business. They’re going to give you money to solve a problem.
And if the business is not, or if the customer or client is not clear about what problem you’re going to solve, they’re not going to give you money. When a business tries to be all things to all people, they end up being nothing to nobody basically. One of the really big keys is figuring out what’s the biggest problem that you solve, especially as a smaller business. What’s the biggest problem that you solve and who do you deliver the most value to and really focusing on that in your market and really getting very clear and communicating the problem that you solve and who you solve it for, that’s really one big thing that’s gonna make a massive amount of difference for most businesses.When a business tries to be all things to all people, they end up being nothing to nobody. Click To Tweet
So, what helped you figure that out, what you should be doing?
So how did you figure out what you should be doing? How did you kind of fall in on the message, on the specific message that you were going to set out in the marketplace to create the growth in your business?
So a great way to start to figure that out is ask yourself the question, if I only got paid after I delivered the result, I’m promising, what would I be doing? If you would not be willing to delay payment until after the product, service, or result has been delivered, then you probably shouldn’t be offering that product, service, or result. If you are willing, I’m not saying you have to do this, but if you are willing to delay payment after the result has been delivered, then you’re delivering enough value to grow a very successful business, that’s for sure.
So that would be the first thing I would ask myself, I have a business and ask them, ask themselves is if I could only get paid after I’ve delivered my service or my result, what service or product would I be delivering? So that’s a great place to start when you’re thinking about what should I really focus on in my marketing.
Give us an example, what does it look like if someone is not willing to do that, they’re not willing to wait until the results of their activity proves itself, and someone who does wait, and how does the structure of the business differ in the two scenarios?
So a good example would be in my own situation where I offer marketing services. So if a business is coming to me saying, I’d like your marketing services, Cody, how much does it cost? And I say, it costs $50,000. And they say, what result can we expect? And I say, I don’t know. That’s one proposition. If a business comes to me and says, Cody, we’re really interested in working with you. We’d like to hire you for your marketing services. How much does it cost?
And I say, it costs 10% of the results that we generate for you, which is the more attractive proposition, which is the one that’s going to, someone’s going to go, that sounds really, really good. You only charge a fee based on the results that you produce versus you charge a large upfront fee and there’s no guarantee of results. It’s like one is an irresistible offer and everybody’s going to say yes to it. The other is a very difficult offer for somebody to say yes to. I’m not saying that you should do that.
I’m not saying that you should work on a results-based system. I’m just asking if you could only work on that basis where you got paid afterwards, that’s going to be the area of the market that you’re going to succeed in the easiest because you’re going to be able to create messaging and communicate with people in a way that creates desire. Saying you’re only going to pay a percentage of the results I produce creates desire within a prospect. Saying there’s an upfront fee with no guarantee of results creates anxiety in the prospect.
Okay, yeah, no, that’s clear. And a lot of time people don’t do that because they don’t trust their own service, they’re not sure that they can deliver it. And there’s a time lag between doing the service and collecting the results. Maybe it takes three months, six months and they’re not able to, but I definitely agree with you. It’s a much more attractive message for the buyer.
Yeah, there is a couple of continents separating us, so that’s not a surprise. So, can you give me some examples of the quick quiz that can be so where you can shorten this cycle of proof for the customer, where you can promise them something and deliver them in the foreseeable future? I think in your marketing, you offer a 90 day, a big shift within 90 days. So how would that happen?
So for me, I’ve sat down and I’ve worked with a lot of businesses and I’ve seen where the quick wins can be. So I’ve actually sat, I can answer those questions for myself. So if a business is looking for marketing, then some of the quick wins are going to exist in their existing customer database, the ability to sell more products or service to existing customers, follow up, some technical stuff you can do around retargeting, stuff like that. So with the customers and clients that I work with, I understand where those quick wins are.
Businesses have to figure that out for themselves. What I do for businesses is not going to work. It’s not going to work necessarily what you do for your clients or what other businesses do for their clients. Every business has to sit down and go, okay, where can we add the most amount of value in the least amount of time? That first day or week or month or that first engagement with a new client, that’s the hardest time. That’s when there’s the least amount of trust, the most amount of skepticism.
It’s like how can you bridge that gap as quickly as possible? You’ve got to think, where can I add the most amount of value in the shortest amount of time? Again, that’s going to be an area that you want to focus on as your route to market and your advertising and marketing and your visibility to the world strategy. That’s what you want to focus on because the quicker you can get the client the result that they’re looking for, the more trust there’s going to be. So there are services that I offer businesses for example where it takes 6, 8, 12 months for them to see results. I’m not going to lead with that into the marketplace.The quicker you can get the client the result that they're looking for, the more trust there's going to be. Click To Tweet
I’m not going to say, hey, why don’t you pay me some money to deliver a service that you’re not going to see any results for for 12 months. It’s not a good offer. It’s not a good offer at all. So it’s like I look at my business and I go, well, where can I get a client a result in a day or a week or two weeks to where I build that trust that they trust me and I’ve got them some wins to where now those bigger projects that take longer to deliver where they have to wait to see the results which require trust. I’ve built that trust early on in the relationship and now I can use the capital of that trust to now leverage bigger projects for more money that I can’t promise a quick result for.
Yeah, that makes sense. Can you give me an example of how this works? Give me an example of a client, an actual or a theoretic client, and what was the challenge and how did you get them to be big win and what did they invest, how did you use that capital to invest in a bigger, longer term ROI project.
Yeah, so a good example would be something like you do a database reactivation project. So you’ve got a database of clients that have passed or you’ve got an asset sitting there that’s not producing revenue and produce revenue out of that existing database very quickly. So reactivation, liquidation campaigns, stuff like that, that can reduce revenue within 24 hours to 7 days. It can be a significant amount of revenue too versus like a search engine optimization product projects that might take 12 months.
So in the first engagement with the new client, you might go, hey, let’s do a reactivation of your database campaign where were going to produce you X amount of money in the next 7 days or were going to produce you a significant amount of money in the next seven days. And if we do that, if we do that successfully, do you then want to look at the longer project?
Because if money is generated, cash is generated in that initial campaign in the first seven days or the first early part of the engagement, that establishes trust and builds the relationship to where A, it’s like, yes, this longer project is going to take more money, but we’ve produced some of that money out of dormant assets within your business or underperforming assets within your business. Now we’re going to take the revenue generated from those underperforming assets and we’re going to reassign that to the longer project, which is going to have the bigger win over a longer period of time, but it requires more trust and more investment to get there.
A lot of sense. So switching gears here, so I read on your profile that you’re quite big on LinkedIn and you generate a lot of, I think last year you had like over 370 appointments on LinkedIn. So how can someone do that? I mean, I tried to generate appointments, but it was a really slow and laborious thing and I didn’t have very much to show for it. What is your secret? How did you do it?
It’s really getting very clear about who you can help and how you can help them. Because at the end of the day, if you can define your audience, you can find your audience. Most people can’t find their audience because they can’t define their audience. They haven’t really defined it very well. It’s not well enough defined. You end up falling back into that trap of sending a general message to a general audience. If you don’t know exactly who your audience is and you don’t know exactly what problem you solve for them, then your message isn’t going to land.If you can define your audience, you can find your audience. Most people can't find their audience because they can't define their audience. Click To Tweet
So when somebody sees your message, you want their eyes to dilate and their mouth to salivate. You want them to see that message straight away and go, that’s exactly what I’m looking for and that this is exactly the time I’m looking for it. So a good example would be business owners that are using LinkedIn to generate business for themselves. So that’s something that I can help them with. I can take that off of their hands. So a good example of getting very clear about my audience and finding who they are and then putting a message in front of them that’s going to make their eyes dilate and their mouth salivate is I’ll find, I’ll build a list in Sales Navigator of my target market.
So it could be CEOs of businesses of more than 50 employees or something like that. I’ll build that list and then I’ll sort that list to people or I’ll narrow that list down to people who have posted on LinkedIn in the last 30 days. Now if you’re a business owner and you’re posting on LinkedIn there’s probably only one reason really that you’re doing that and that’s to find more business. That’s because you want to book more appointments for your company. You want to find more business. LinkedIn is not a social network, it’s a business networking network.
So if someone is posting on LinkedIn then we know for sure or 90% certainty they’re looking for more business. So now I know they’re using LinkedIn, I know they’re looking for business on LinkedIn, I know they’re the CEO or sales manager or somebody important in a business that I want to work with and I know I can offer them a very quick result. So I might send a message that says something like, ìHey Steve, I see you’re pretty active on LinkedIn. I’m assuming that’s because you’re looking for more business.
If we could take that off your hands to where you don’t have to spend an hour or two a day on LinkedIn and we can book those appointments for you, is that something worth talking about? So I’m trying to identify what are they trying to achieve, what is it costing them, and then create a message that produces that result but eliminates the cost that they don’t want. So in this case, they want more business, which is going to be appointments, like you say, so I’m going to offer them appointments and what I’m going to relieve, the cost I’m going to take away, is the time that it’s taking them to do that.Identify what they're trying to achieve, what it's costing them, and create a message that produces the result while eliminating the unwanted cost. Click To Tweet
So by taking the time to figure out who my market is, what they’re trying to achieve and what it’s costing them, I can offer them the result without the cost. And that’s a very effective way of doing it. Most people would just reach out to somebody on LinkedIn and say, hey, do you want help with lead gen? And the answer to that question is no, because that message does not differentiate itself from anybody else in any way, shape or form.
Although the answer to the question would be yes for the person, yes, I do want help with leaching, you haven’t asked the question in a way that’s hearable or doesn’t make their eyes dilate and their mouth salivate. So by understanding that the cost of what they’re doing is time, I’m going to address that in the initial outreach and go, hey, what if you could get a better result with a fraction of the time? Is that something you’d be interested in?
That’s a good point. And obviously time is the big factor because it’s a limited resource for all of us. And you will want to leverage your time as much as possible. But there’s also another aspect, which is reputation. So how do you deal with the concern that maybe someone has about outsourcing their LinkedIn activity? Or maybe this doesn’t happen on LinkedIn. So it’s just you reach out to them on LinkedIn, but you’re not gonna help with their LinkedIn, you’re going to help with their marketing in other ways, right? Is this what you have in mind?
Exactly. I mean, it’s just a, it’s just an entry point in. It’s like, hey, you have in this, are you having these, what if we could relieve this pain from you? So all you want to do is start the conversation. So in terms of reputation and stuff like that, like people are going to assume that you’re going to behave in the same way that you’ve behaved towards them. So if you approach them professionally, the reputation thing doesn’t come up.
Only time the reputation thing would come up is if you behaved in an irreputable way to approach them. Or they go, yeah, I can see how what you’ve done works, but it’s very spammy, or it’s very click-baity, or it’s very so if you approach somebody in a professional way, then that solves the reputation. Of course, nine times out of 10, too, they’re going to investigate you before inviting you to the next stage. I’m sure, you know, my team reached out to you, I’m sure, to ask if I could be a guest on your podcast. I’m sure you did a little bit of research before saying yes to that.
I wanted to show you on Podmatch beforehand, so I had some kind of ideas. But you’re right. I mean, obviously, I would want to do that, and I did do that. Excellent. Tell me about some of the mistakes that business owners do with their marketing, other than wasting their time instead of finding someone who is much more proficient in it. Obviously, that’s a big mistake. Are there other mistakes that they do?
I mean, some of the big mistakes are they try to read too many things to too many people. So you want to really have a set. You need a tip of the spear when it comes to going into the marketplace. We’ve talked about it already, so I won’t go over it again, but you’ve got to have a very specific point of entry into the marketplace. You can’t advertise 20 different services. So if you’re a chiropractor, for example, you might advertise, relieve lower back pain, for example. That’s going to be significantly more attractive to somebody than just advertising, I’m a chiropractor.
If you advertise, I’m a chiropractor, you’ll probably attract nobody. If you advertise, we’re the lower back pain specialist, you’re going to attract a lot of people that have got lower back pain. You’ve got to have a specific point of entry into the market and understand that just because you’re only advertising one product or service doesn’t mean that you can only offer one. You get people through the door with that one offer and then you build trust and you expand out. The other problem that I see is people just don’t follow up enough. They just give up too soon.
One of the tips, I mean, your question a minute ago was how did you book 372 appointments on LinkedIn? Well, one of the answers to that question is the average appointment was booked on follow-up number three. Almost nobody responds to the initial message. Some people respond to the second message. The majority of people respond on the third message. That’s just one example right there. It’s like you and I could do exactly the same strategy on LinkedIn. I could give you the same message and I could tell you who I’m targeting.
We could do exactly the same thing identically and I’ll get great results and you’ll get no results. Why is that? Because I’m following up three, four, five times and you don’t understand the need for follow-up and you don’t follow-up at all. The only difference is I’ve followed up more. The average person needs a lot more follow-up than you think they do. And it’s self-evident, right? So I’m sure we can all relate to experiences where we’ve received an email and we’ve been interested in the email, but we’ve just been too busy to deal with it at the time.
So we leave it till the next day and then we think, oh, we’ll deal with it the next day. And then the next day comes and it just doesn’t get dealt with. At the end of the week, you delete it. It wasn’t that you weren’t interested. It wasn’t that you didn’t want to learn more about what that email was about, you just got too busy. So if you delete that email, that’s it, you’re done.
If that person sends another email the following week saying, hey, I sent you an email last week, didn’t hear from you, just checking to see you got it, a lot of times people will go, thank you for that email, I appreciate you reminded me, yes, I was interested, I just got sidetracked. So people mistake no response for no, when actually no response probably just means I’m too busy and I can’t deal with this right now, check back with me in a little bit.
Maybe no response can also mean that, you know, you just reached out to me, I get a million people reaching out to me and maybe I don’t even trust the first outreach. But if someone comes back three times, two times, three follow-ups, then maybe they are serious. Maybe they are. I mean, they definitely are more committed to getting to me than just sending me a spam email.
I had a colleague several years back who was running an investment banking firm in Utah, and he told me that the way he hired people was that people would call his office every time, you know, all the time that they went to work there, but he would only return the third call if they didn’t call him at least three times and they were not motivated enough and it was not versus. So that was kind of an interesting thing.
But it comes back to the same idea that perhaps it’s there’s also a commitment level, which you follow up reflects. And, you know, I had some people that I followed up with and they said, oh, thank you for for following up and being persistent. And then they came back and eventually we had a relationship. Other times they got pissed off off that I was bothering them and they would send me a nice email sometimes you know
If your marketing is not strong enough to offend, it’s not strong enough to attract, I mean that’s another, you’ve got to understand we’re making money, not friends. That’s the reality of the situation. If you want everybody to like you, then you’re going to be a well-liked, broke person. It’s what’s going to happen. You’ve got to understand that it doesn’t matter what you do. If you run Facebook ads, people are going to get offended by it. If you send emails, people are going to get offended by it.
If you put an ad on the radio or the newspaper, people are going to get offended by it. It’s like it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s going to offend somebody. It’s going to offend somebody. But I’m clear, those people are not the people I’m trying to reach. Those people are not the people I’m trying to help. So if my email offends you, the way I look at it is that’s good because that’s qualified you out as well as qualified other people in.
Your marketing should disqualify as well as qualify anybody that gets – look, if it’s a spam email, sure, if there’s no value in the email. If you just sent 10,000 emails to a list that you’ve bought, yeah, I can see why that upsets people. If you’ve actually done a little bit of research and you’ve looked for a business and you’ve reached out and said, hey, I had a look at your business X. I can see that you’re doing this and this is where we can add some value. That’s not a spam email.
That’s showing that you’ve done some research and that you have a solution to a problem. Nine times out of ten, people will respond to that because they go, oh, okay, this person has at least looked at my business. I’m sure you get people on the podcast that haven’t even looked at your podcast and it’s like why did you ask to come on? You don’t even know what I do. You don’t even know what I’m about. It’s annoying, right? It’s the same when you reach out to people. It’s like, you haven’t even looked at my business. You don’t even know what I do yet. You’re going to send me an email telling me you can help me.
So it’s another good point actually with the mistakes business owners make is you want to go with the disciplined pursuit of less but better. You want to reach out to fewer businesses but better quality businesses with better quality messages. You don’t want to engage in the undisciplined pursuit of more. That’s where a lot of businesses go. They start to engage in the undisciplined pursuit of more where they go, but if I just email 10,000 businesses, surely three or four or ten or a hundred will respond.
It’s like not really the way to do it because that’s where reputation gets hurt. If I send an email to a business saying, hey, I had a look at your website, I can see some areas of opportunity, we’ll be more than happy to give you a free consultation, give you some tips to improve those areas. If you’re interested, let me know. That’s never really going to offend anybody. That’s never going to upset anybody. And it’s not, even if they’re not interested, it’s not going to hurt your reputation.
So would you make a case for one-on-one emailing and not doing mass emailing at all.
Yes, 100%. I mean, obviously, depending on the business that you’re in, I mean, if you’re selling a $47 product, it’s going to be hard to send one-to-one emails. But if you’re selling high-ticket services, if your product is worth thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars, absolutely. Because at the end of the day, it’s like I said earlier on, it’s like there’s only one reason a business is going to give you money, and that’s to solve a problem.
So one of the keys is you’ve got to demonstrate that you have a solution to a problem that they’re looking for a solution to. How can you do that in a mass environment? You really can’t. So you’re much better. I’ll give you an example. When we started reaching out, I go on a lot of podcasts, we reach out to podcast hosts like yourself and say, hey, can Cody come on as a guest? When we started doing that, it took 100 emails to get on one podcast. I’m sure as you know, you probably get lots of people every week asking you to come on.
So three months later after looking at it and going, okay, well, sending 100 emails to get one positive result is not acceptable and adopting the attitude that I just mentioned, we’re going to look at the podcast, we’re going to look at the episodes, we’re going to listen to some episodes, we’re going to figure out how that we can add value to that podcast. We’re down now to one in two. It takes two emails to get one podcast. The results have gone from 100 emails to get one book in to two emails to get one book in. Now, how long does it take to send one of those emails? It takes probably…
So, I mean that’s exactly the point I want to ask you that, where is this balance? Because obviously you have a certain conversion. If you know you have a 50% conversion, then it’s worth spending a lot more time than if you have a 10% or a 5% or 2% conversion. So how do you get this flywheel going? How do you figure out how much research I need to do in order to get those nuggets that will sell my credibility, that I really are tailoring this message and I understand that company. How do you get that right balance? I think that’s a big one.
It’s test and measure, right? So if you’re getting one in a hundred respond positively, you know that you’re either not offering a solution to a problem, you’re not offering any value, or you’re not getting heard. These are the three problems. So you’ve got to identify too, is the message ineffective, or is the message not getting seen? Because the message could be very effective, but nobody’s seeing it, right? It could be simple, simple stuff like, is the email getting open? Well, it could be something as simple as putting the person’s name in the email.
I mean, it’s probably a little bit more complicated than that, but a mass email with no name versus a personalized email with a name, that could be the difference between getting the email closed, opened and not getting the email opened. Because if the email doesn’t get opened or the direct mail letter doesn’t get opened or the ad doesn’t get clicked on, you can have a highly effective message that nobody’s seeing.
I get that part. What I’m more interested in is the research piece. So how do you find that gaudy little zone of doing enough research, but not doing so much research that it makes the ROI too negligible to be worth doing? Because if you have to research 50 companies to get two appointments, then maybe it’s not as tough as doing this. Because you might get that appointment, but it may not even lead to a deal. So then the expense of the investment after the investment becomes prohibitive. So how do you figure that? Is it just trial and error or is there some method?
You’ve just got to test that out, don’t you? I mean, if you send 50 messages, if you research 50 companies and it costs you a thousand dollars in cost to do that and you make a hundred dollars, then obviously it’s not viable. Right, I mean, you just gotta look at how, it’s like anything else, how much money did we put in, how much money did we get out? And then you’ve gotta look at the components within that. Well, we put X amount in and we got X amount out.
Well, then if it doesn’t balance and you’ve gotta look at one or two of those components, like A, we’ve gotta figure out how to get more out or B, we’ve gotta figure out how to get the same amount out with less in. So, there’s no real answer to that question. It’s like it depends on the value of your service. If you’re selling a $250,000 service, very different if you’re selling a $1,000 service. So you just got to look at it and go, okay, well, how much am I putting in and how much am I getting out?
For me, it’s like with the example I gave, it’s simply I can just look at that and go, it’s not worth the output, the value that I get from going on one podcast is not worth the time it takes to send 100 emails, not worth it. So that’s just very simple, right? So you continue to work on that process, you continue to work on that process, you go, okay, now the effort is worth the effort that I’m putting in or what I’m getting out is worth the effort that I’m putting in. So you just have to work through that process until you come to that balance.
Do you have a process for figuring out the process? Or it’s just a byproduct of doing some of the techniques that perhaps you have up your sleeves and People just experimented it and you know that if they spend a certain amount of time experimenting They’re gonna get figure it out whether it’s viable or not. And if not, they can do something else Tweak it or so. Yeah Figure out the process. Yes, the question.
I mean it comes down to like if you know that you have a solution to a problem that people are willing to pay for that solution, then if you’re not being successful at that point, then you’ve either got the wrong message or you’re not reaching enough people with that message. So those are the two things that you need to look at. So I look at the first thing. I work with a lot of businesses and the first question they’re going to ask me is, what are my chances? What are my success rates likely to be? What do you think I will achieve?
And my question is, are you the real deal? Are you the real deal? Because there’s a lot of people that don’t believe that they’re the real deal. They just started a business and they don’t really believe that they’re the best solution in the marketplace. They don’t really believe that they’re offering the best solution to a problem. And if that’s the case, it’s going to be quite difficult for you. But if you go, yes, I’m the real deal, yes, I have a viable solution to a painful problem, then it’s just a case of trial and error.
If we’re not getting the results, if you have a solution to a problem that people are willing to pay for and you’re not making a lot of money, it’s A, because you’re not reaching the right people, or B, you’re not communicating that you can solve this problem that they have. It’s one of the, it’s only, those are the only two possible reasons why you’re not doing well. So at that point it comes down to, you know, it’s like, hey, if you’ve got a, how long would you give a baby to walk before you gave up on it? Would you go, hey, look, it’s been 12 months, son.
This walking thing’s not happening, is it? It’s like, or how long before a baby talks? It’s like, you know that baby’s going to talk. And that’s what I mean when I say, are you the real deal? Do you have a solution to a problem? If you know that the answer is yes, it’s like knowing that a baby’s going to walk. You don’t quit until that baby walks. You just don’t quit. You just keep adjusting, measuring, trying something new, trying something new, trying something new until it actually starts to work.
Most people just quit too soon. One of the problems that most business owners have is in our McDonald’s society, things are going to take longer than you think they’re going to take. It’s going to be harder than you think it’s going to be, and it’s going to cost more money than you want it to. Those are three realities that most business owners are not really willing to face but it’s like hey it’s gonna take a bit longer than you want it’s gonna cost more than you think it’s gonna cost and it’s gonna be harder that’s why you don’t see very many people succeeding there’s no shortcuts here so that’s the big thing really it’s just you just if you know you’ve got a product just keep going just keep going just keep going you will get there eventually.
Yeah, which is fine but there’s also a question of momentum isn’t it? If you don’t generate enough momentum then you just burn yourself out. So it’s a fine balance of, you know, you can’t afford not to have results and to just forever trying because you’re going to lose confidence, you’re going to run out of cash, and you basically will starve and you will have to focus on getting food rather than working on your business.
So how do you find that, again, you know, those quick wins so that you generate some results and then you invest in the longer term thing. It’s like marketing and branding. You’re selling is getting immediately, marketing is getting it in the medium term and then branding is the long term. Right. And you have to balance all of that stuff because if you just do the selling, then you just leave up all your prospects and then you have an empty pipeline. If you just do the marketing and you don’t be at the brand, then you’re never going to get out of this rat race of just generating clients. And so it’s the balance that is really another challenge.
I mean, the answer to that question really is you bring somebody in who knows what they’re doing. So like the business owner is not going to go, I’m going to learn accounting now. Like the marketing is something that like, it’s the 15 years, right? I mean, it’s like you said at the beginning, it takes 15 years to become a successful entrepreneur. Well, sure, I don’t disagree with that, but it’s the same with marketing. It took me 15 years to learn the 10,000 hours of skill. It’s an area of business where, or there are certain areas of business where the business owner would not dream of trying to learn those skills themselves. It’s like accounting. Accounting is a good example. Most business owners would not dream of going, okay, I’m going to be the CFO of this business. For me, the accountant is the first hire in any business. That’s the number one priority for me, is because that’s serious. You’ll go to prison. You get that wrong, you’ll go to prison. You get your marketing wrong, you’ll go broke. You get your accounting wrong, you’ll go to prison. So for me, like…
If you cook the books, you go to prison. If you just screw it up, then you just go broke.
You can make honest mistakes with accounting and still go to prison. I mean, that’s what I tell people. I say, if my accounting was left to me, I’d be in prison. It’s not because I’m dishonest. It’s like, I just don’t, I’m just not reliable. I understand my shortcomings, I understand what I’m not good at and I understand what’s important for me in any venture. The first thing I look for is an accountant. I’m going to get an accountant. That’s my number one hire, that’s my number one priority every single time.
And then I start to look at my other gaps, like what other gaps do I have? So with most businesses, like marketing is going to be in that category. If you can’t afford to bring somebody in, then what we’re talking about is great, you know, read some books, take some courses, learn some stuff. But understand, you’ve got, there’s a learning curve. There’s not, the question is, how can I start to make money immediately? It’s like, well, that’s a difficult question, right? It’s like, you get somebody in if you want to make money immediately.
If you want to, if you have to start and you have to work your way up, there’s a learning curve here. You have to start at the beginning and learn the basics of marketing and then learn the intermediate principles and then learn the advanced principles. So, yeah, it’s a difficult one, I understand. You want to get it working straight away, and there’s timelines, but it takes as long to grow a tree as it takes.
So, switching gears a little bit, how stable is the marketing profession in your view? I mean, one sees all this transformation, we went from written print and broadcast media to digital. And then on digital, you have all these different platforms that are springing up all the time, and Facebook and Instagram, and then Snapchat is huge, and now it’s TikTok that is taking over, can get overwhelming for people, how to even wrap their heads around it. Is it really changing that much, or the principles remain the same, and it’s just minor shifts over time. How do you see this situation?
Yeah, nothing changes. I mean, everything you just talked about, just vehicles, just vehicles to deliver messages, that’s all it is. So Facebook, email, TV, radio, TikTok, doesn’t matter, you name it, LinkedIn, it’s just a vehicle to deliver a message. That’s all it is. None of those platforms, nobody will buy from you because you’re on those platforms. They go, oh, Code is on TikTok. He’s progressive. Let’s buy from him. Or Code is on LinkedIn. Let’s buy from him because he’s on LinkedIn. No, it’s like, you’ve got to look at it. It’s about distribution. All those platforms do is provide distribution.
So television provides distribution of your message. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity for distribution. Facebook provides distribution. What are you distributing is the question. That never changes. I can solve your problem. I can solve a painful problem. That’s your message or communicating, showing people that you can solve a message that they’re willing to pay for the solution for. That’s the key right there. So the message, I’ve got a bunch of books from the 1800s that I go to all the time for messaging. A lot of the greatest ads that I’ll look to for inspiration were written in the 50s and 60s.
The messaging doesn’t change and it will work consistently. Will that message from the 1800s work as it worked in the 1800s in the newspaper or wherever it was printed? Probably not, but if I take the core fundamentals of that message and put them on Facebook or put them into an email or put them into a newsletter, is it going to work? Yes, absolutely it is. So the message never changes, or the psychological principles behind the message, you know, the psychological principles of persuasion and influence never change. The ways in which those messages are delivered are changing constantly, for sure.
What about social media? I mean, you hear that social media is not really for selling stuff, it’s more like networking with people and building relationships. So how does that work? Is it possible to sell the social media?Absolutely.And how is it different from any other media?
Well, it isn’t. I mean, that’s a good point So, I mean the social media is like people that are telling you that don’t know what that well when somebody says you can’t sell By social media what they’re saying is in my limited experience of business. I’ve been unable to sell by social media Therefore because I’ve been unable to sell nobody can sell that’s what they’re saying That’s that’s what you’ve got to understand when people say stuff. So social media is misleading. It’s a misleading term.
So the way I like to think about social media is I call it micro-media. I don’t call it social media. I call it micro-media. So podcasts or radio, YouTube is television, LinkedIn is email, Twitter and Facebook is newspaper. That’s all it is. So we’ve got to look at, okay, well, how have these media platforms or social media platforms replaced conventional media? That’s all it is. And then I just look outside of the industry. So it’s like, can you sell via radio?
Well, of course you can. Massive industry, like many, many businesses have been built on the back of radio. So what if then we just look at radio and go, OK, whatever works in radio, we’ll work on podcasts. Podcasts are the new radio. Have businesses sold via television? Well, of course. I mean, television exists solely for the purpose of selling advertising space. Solely for the purpose of selling advertising space. So you’d have to be foolish to say you can’t sell via television. Well YouTube is social media. YouTube is the new television.
Most people are consuming more videos on YouTube than they are on television. So look outside of YouTube. Look to television. What are the television ad guys doing to sell? Take the concepts of television, apply it to YouTube. Think about YouTube as a microcosm of television, not as a social media platform. Same with Facebook. Facebook is just a newspaper. It’s a newspaper is all it is. Would a newspaper advertising ever work? Of course it does. Newspapers exist solely for the purpose of selling advertising. It’s the only reason they’re there.
So again, look at newspaper, look at standard, look at the print media from the 50s and 60s and 70s when that was the primary route to market and people were really focused on mastering it. That’s where you’re gonna find the principles and the techniques and the strategies that are gonna allow you to succeed on Facebook and Twitter. When you change your thinking to go, social media is micro media and what micro media, what is it replacing? That’s where you’re gonna start to get the results.
That’s really cool. So if you’re saying that business owners should be outsourcing their marketing, because unless they are the experts, if that’s their business, then they are just putting in 10,000 unnecessary hours. What should they be doing? So what’s the most valuable skill for a business owner? What should the business owner focus on instead of trying to…
It is marketing. I mean, you’ve got to understand that marketing is the money part of your business. No marketing equals no money. Average marketing equals average money and great marketing equals great money. It’s like the old adage, it’s never the best product that wins, it’s the best marketed product that wins. I say the majority of business owners simply don’t understand the business that they’re in. I’m not talking about the whole Ray Kroc McDonald’s example there, like McDonald’s in the business of real estate, not burgers.
It’s like if you have a business, you’re in the business of marketing. I mentioned chiropractors earlier. You ask a chiropractor what business you’re in, they say, I’m a chiropractor, I’m in the business of adjusting backs. No, no, no. You’re in the business of marketing and adjusting backs is the product that you sell. Okay. Because if all you do, if you think you’re in the business of adjusting backs, you’re not going to adjust very many backs. People have the attitude of build it and build it and they will come. That’s not true. They simply won’t.
Build it and you’ll go broke. It’s like, you build it and then you’ve got to market it. So a lot of times I’ve seen so many businesses that just focus exclusively on product creation and building their business and then they get to the point where we spend X amount of money on building this business and nothing’s coming through the door. We need some help getting people through the door. It’s like, well, how much budget have you got? I talked to a business recently.
They spent $1.2 million on building out an Airbnb type thing, so it was an accommodation type thing. But they spent $1.2 million on this and nobody’s showing up. And I’m like, well, how much money have you got set aside for marketing? And they’re like, well, we’ve actually spent all of the money on the business. We don’t have any money for marketing now. It’s like, you’ve got problems. It should have been the other way around.
You should have spent $1.2 million on marketing and then worried about delivering a product afterwards because there’s not much that can be done here. So when businesses owners don’t understand that they’re actually in the business of marketing products, that’s the number one skill that you have to have in business, you’re going to run into problems, right? You’re going to, you’re going to run into difficulty down the road.
I mean, marketing sales is important. It’s not that operations is not important either because you can have a great sales machine if you don’t produce quality results, then the world’s going to get out that what you’re providing is not valuable and even your sales are going to go down. Finance is also important because if you’re not managing the money, then you’re going to overgrow and you’re going to go out of business.
You run out of cash. I had a client that was growing really fast and then they just basically their receivables balance was bigger than what the bank was willing to lend them and they had to stop the business because they were running out of cash. But I also had a client who was a very successful advertising agency. And when my client started 20 years ago, he had three clients, all three are startup companies, small companies, and he produced such a great service to them that they were growing.
All three of them were growing by leaps and bounds and they became $100 million companies. And in the process, my client’s agency was just growing with these companies and they neglected building their sales engine. And eventually what happened was one of the companies was taken over. So they were down to two customers and then another company went to chapter 11 because their business got disrupted.
And then they were down to one client and they could never crack the code on selling and he had to close the business down because his business was shut. So I totally agree with you. So what can you do for these business owners that maybe have a great product and they can manage the money but they are not able to do effective marketing? How can you help them?
It starts with a conversation, right? So I have a book, The 90 Day Marketing Plan, that’s a good place to start if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. I mean, books are great things. I mean, I always ask people like, what’s on your desk, right? So if I’m talking to someone, I say, what book is on your desk? And if you don’t have a book on your desk, I know you’re not very serious, right? The book that’s on your desk right now is going to tell me a lot about you. So books are great places to, what have you got? Yeah, exactly.
I also got my own book, which is coming out very soon.
Very nice. So a great place to start is like, with books, I mean, I buy books all the time, successful people are readers, right, so that’s a good place to start. The second thing is it’s about having a conversation, right, so to say, it’s like they say prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. So a lot of people go, I can help your business and it’s like, well, you haven’t even done a diagnosis yet, how do I know that I can help your business? It’s like the bottom, the reality is like I can’t help every business, you can’t help every business.
There are certain businesses that we can help and there are certain businesses that we can help better than others for sure. So it’s just a case of having a conversation. If you’re looking for help with marketing, it’s just a case of having that conversation and saying, hey, let’s have a look at your business. Let’s see where the opportunities are. Maybe there’s somewhere where we can do some stuff. Maybe there isn’t. Maybe there’s someone else that’s better for you.
So it starts with just having that conversation and it’s like the solution to any problem. The first step to solving that problem is awareness that the problem exists. You’ve got to acknowledge that the problem exists. And then once you acknowledge the problem exists, then you start exploring solutions and having conversations with people. And then once you have a few conversations, then the solution will start to become apparent.
Okay, so you have this product of the day, a marketing plan. So people have an organization, and if you find that they are the kind of client or prospect that you can help, and they want to engage with you, then you help them create a marketing plan, or what does it look like?
So yeah, it starts with a plan, obviously a good result starts with a good plan. So step one is to, well, step one always is to figure out what’s the end goal, what’s the end game here. That’s the best place to start, right? It’s like I can tell you, I can give you some tips here and say, hey, go do this, go do that, but it’s like does that support the end goal, right? Does that support the end game?
So step number one is start with the end in mind and then work back to the beginning and then the plan is going to be based on what is going to be the best plan here to support the ultimate outcome that you’re looking for. And it’s not just the financial outcome, it’s the resource. Do you want a big sales team? I personally don’t want a big sales team, so a plan that involves having a big sales team doesn’t work for me, right? So I’m going to have to come up with something else. So there are usually multiple roads to outcomes.
So some of those roads are going to be more suitable than others. And the way that you know is the best route to take is to start with the end in mind and work back from there. And yeah, put the plan together and then execute the plan so we do all of that stuff. We do everything from you can just have a book to we’ll help you create the plan to help you implement the plan to refer you to somebody like yourself where you can get more into the operations and systems and all that kind of stuff.
Okay that makes sense. So and how do people find you?
Yeah, so codybutler.com is a good place to start. I’m on all of the social media platforms, so just Google me or just go to LinkedIn, Facebook, I’m on those platforms. codybutler.com is a good place to start. Or if you’re interested in the book, the 90-day marketing plan.biz, it’s the website for that.
So that’s your book that you wrote? Yeah. Okay, awesome. All right, well, definitely check out these resources, very interesting, and I also downloaded it, I haven’t read it yet, but I’m going to do it next week over the holidays, I will have some time for that. So thanks Cody for checking in with us and have a great holiday.
- Pinnacle: Five Principles that Take Your Business to the Top of the Mountain
- Cody Butler’s LinkedIn Profile
- Cody’s website
- Cody Butler’s The 90-day Marketing Plan
- Steve’s blog