A serial dater can be male or female and young or old, but what they have in common is they date an obscene amount of people in a short span of time. Fair or unfair, celebrities like Taylor Swift, John Mayer and Leonardo DiCaprio get accused of serial dating.
“Finding the right marketing partner isn’t that different from dating,” says marketing consultant Xana Winans. “You have to see past the flashy beauty of a slick agency portfolio and instead, spend time talking and getting to know one another.”
Like serial daters, many independent professionals and small business owners have multiple flings with marketing partners. They flit from marketing partner to marketing partner. If you want your small business to really grow, it’s time to move on from that frenzied blur of fads and find a real marketing partner, and a plan, that you can commit to.
I am talking to you, if you are one of those 50 million (according to the 2010 Census) business owners, entrepreneurs, independent professionals and consultants whose businesses live and die by attracting high-paying clients.
Know this: marketing is a team sport. In my experience many of you are too eager to switch partners and not settle down.
I caught up with Winans, founder of Golden Proportions Marketing, at the Jumpstart 2019 conference in Phoenix, sponsored by the Dental Speakers Institute.
Winans advises people in the market for a marketing partner to make sure you have compatible values and that your personalities are a match. Do you see yourself growing with this partner? Will they push you out of your comfort zone at times and help you try new things? Most important, will they listen?
“Part of having an adult relationship with your marketing means committing to a strategic plan,” says Winans. “That plan, like any new relationship, may experience some bumps in the beginning. If a strategy does not perform immediately, do not simply cut and run — you saw where that got you before.”
Marketing takes time to reveal its true results. This is especially true for self-employed professionals, consultants and solopreneur business owners that need to make deals and sign contracts to make their turnstiles turn and their cash registers ring. Marketing helps you experiment and measure what does work and does not work.
“Measure everything and let the data tell you the real story,” says Winans. “If part of your marketing isn’t performing as you had hoped, employ open and honest communication with your marketing partner, learn from the experience, and adjust. When you commit to a comprehensive strategy and finally learn what your audience truly responds to, you’ll discover that those shiny objects have revealed themselves as the Fool’s Gold they always were.”
If you have been with many marketing partners, Winans feels your pain and shame. When she started her dental marketing agency 18 years ago, Winans did everything on her lonesome: signed the checks, wrote the marketing copy, found and pitched all the new business, and even emptied the wastebaskets.
“The late nights and constant interruptions meant I was susceptible to shiny object solutions promising to save me money, time and deliver guaranteed results, all for a far too reasonable price,” said Winans. “Those turned out to be expensive lessons.”
She sees the same problem plaguing many of her clients today.
“Harried and overworked, they swipe right on the latest marketing trend only to quickly declare it didn’t work,” says Winans. “They say ‘Facebook funnels were a flop, I think I should try AdWords. Perhaps YouTube?’ They swipe right again and the problem repeats itself. Sound familiar? This, my friends, is marketing’s equivalent of the one-night stand.”