Archive for the 'Marketing' Category


Marketing Plan: The Tree House

Friday, November 18th, 2011


A few weeks ago I led a workshop on DIY marketing. I liked the workshop and engagement I got with the group, but I came away from it wondering if I could deepen the impact and increase the likelihood that the strategies I advocate would be used. I decided to pilot a facilitated marketing plan. The structural core is the same as the workshop, but the primary goal is to create a meaningful plan with a business owner and their team. Tanya of The Tree House, a soon-to-open early learning center and cafe in North Asheville allowed me to test the idea with her team. We met this morning for three hours in business space, even now in mid transformation. The graphic above represents our work for the day.
We started with a title and then spent some time detailing the big picture goal- to the right in the graphic. We discussed some of the unknowns, fears and assumptions that might derail the project. I don’t linger in the negative, but I think it’s a powerful tool to recognize the doubts and roadblocks; it strengthens the resolve and helps us to move towards the goal. We discussed the people we wanted to reach with our marketing campaign before taking a short break. After the break we dived into the strategies we would employ to reach those people: media, content, and distribution channels. Names in blue indicate persons responsible for the work. That’s an important aspect of a good plan. Ideas are good; actions are great; people making those actions happen are golden.
I think this model has some real power. People in the group talked about how it made the marketing concrete. Diffuse ideas accumulated over the last few months of planning are becoming real. Just in time too! The Tree House will open within the next few weeks!

Click the image for a larger, more legible version.


Workshop: D.I.Y. Marketing

Saturday, October 29th, 2011


On Thursday, I led a workshop on Do-It-Yourself Marketing for Small Businesses. The image above shows the calm before the storm. This graphic would serve as the outline for the half day workshop.

Everybody had their own copy of this graphic on a large sheet of copy paper. Colored pencils were provided, to encourage people to make it their own.

Setting goals is the first step of just about every visual process. With a clear idea of where you’re going, you can figure out how to get there.
I also talk about roadblocks because so many of the self-employed people I’ve met and talked to struggle with some aspect of marketing. Some hate to take time from their chosen work, or hate the idea of selling themselves. For me, I was hung up on my primordial punk rock belief that success = failure. Getting over that was crucial to me being able to move forward.

We discussed values as being at the core of a successful small enterprise. Marketing is so much more than advertising. How you talk to customers, the speed with which you respond to calls and complaints, all of these things make up the public face of your business. This will make or break you.

Targets are generally considered to be the ideal customers. I think it’s important to consider what you want that customer to do as well. Not everyone who gets my postcards is looking for a stone mason. I want those people to keep the postcards and show them to others. That part of my marketing is built on the notion of making something worth keeping and sharing.

In the modern age there’s an endless array of media than can be used to reach potential markets. No one in business for themselves can possibly cover every angle. It’s important to choose those that help you reach your goals and that you can keep up with. Don’t start a Facebook page unless you are willing to do the work to periodically update it and keep it alive.

Good marketing is education. I use the triads as a way to figure out what to educate your customers about. As a stone mason, I lean heavily on the product. A roofer, as noted in the graphic, may lean more heavily on his personal convictions.

It’s fun to talk about, but it isn’t worth much without taking any action on it. I gave out three different templates for action planning.