How To Simplify The Marketing Planning Process With Tim Fitzpatrick


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What Marketers Should REALLY Be Doing

When getting started in marketing your business, there are so many different components to keep track of that can be extremely confusing and complicated. With new advice coming out from professionals constantly about what you need to be doing to be successful, its easy to be worn thin! 

Recently, our CEO sat down with Tim to talk about how he simplified his marketing process. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how to simplify the marketing planning process by focusing on the primary marketing fundamentals with Tim Fitzpatrick, founder of Rialto Marketing.


A Little More About Guest

Tim Fitzpatrick is the founder and president of Rialto Marketing, and helps businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress. His belief system is that most people overcomplicate marketing and that it doesn't have to be that way. His passion for growing and developing businesses has been built over the last 20 years and includes having founded and co-owned and operated a wholesale distribution company that grew an average of 60% a year.

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: What are the steps to actually simplifying marketing?

Answer: For me and my philosophy is it all goes back to the fundamentals. When we look at the fundamentals in any discipline, I don't care what it is. If you're standing up to the plate to hit a baseball, or marketing, or operations for a business,  those fundamentals don't change. They're the same. The fundamentals of hitting a baseball are the same today as they were 50 years ago. And they're going to be the same 50 years from now. There are no new fundamentals. They don't change.

So many people skip them, especially when it comes to marketing because most businesses are battling information overload when it comes to marketing. There's the latest tips and tactics, there's gurus, you got to be on TikTok, you got to be on Clubhouse, you need to have a YouTube channel. Whatever it is, there's always a new flavor each week. When people don't have those fundamentals in place, it's so easy to just chase that shiny object. That's not a way to have an effective marketing plan for your business. You've got to come back to the fundamentals because they lay the foundation for you to build the rest of your house from.

If you skip the fundamentals, your marketing is just a crap shoot. Inevitably, something might work a little bit, but you have no idea why. You may not be sure how to repeat it. You've got to come back to those fundamentals. If you skip them, you're going to waste a lot of time. You're going to waste money and you're going to have to come back to them at some point. That's the way I look at it.

First, you have to understand your target market. Who are you going to serve? How are you going to serve those people? Who are your ideal clients? From there, step two is you got to have clear engaging messaging to that ideal client base. And three, you have to have a plan. You have to have some type of plan that you're going to work and measure and make course corrections with. Those are the three fundamentals. If you have those things in place, you will have success, but you can't skip those.

Question: How do you go about making sure that those are in place?

Answer: With your target market, the easiest way for most businesses to start, and I'm assuming you're an existing business. You've had some past clients. You have current clients. You start by asking yourself three questions. Who do I enjoy working for? Is one. Why the hell do I want to work with people I can't stand? It's just going to make your life miserable. Two, who are your most profitable clients? If we're ever going to stay in business, we have to be working with profitable clients over and over again. And then three, who do we do our best work for? Because if you work for clients that you do your best work for every time, they're going to be happy. They're going to be repeat customers. They're going to refer you. So you need to ask yourself those three questions. And the group of clients that you can answer positively to those three questions, that's where you start to look for your ideal client types.

When you have that group, then you can start to dig into what are the demographics for people in this group? What are the psychographics? When we look at the psychographics, how are they feeling? What are their thoughts? Their perceptions? The results they want? Those types of things. The psychographics to me, I think are just as, if not more important than the demographics, because the psychographics that's what entice people to buy. When you have that group and you look at the demographics and the psychographics, inevitably what happens is one to three subgroups come from that. Those one to three subgroups are your ideal clients.

How To Simplify The Marketing Planning Process With Tim Fitzpatrick

Most of us get into business, and at first it's like, are you breathing? Do you have a heartbeat? Do you have money to pay me? Yes. Great. I can help you. We find that after doing that, you're like, "Oh my God, that was the nightmare." I didn't like working with that client. Or we didn't do good work for that client. Or they weren't happy. There was something about that, that just didn't work. The other problem with just trying to serve everyone is, you can't possibly target everyone and reach everyone. Your marketing efforts become far too diluted. You've got to niche down and find those people that you can serve best. When you do that, it gives you focus and direction for where you actually need to take your marketing.

When I tell people, look, you need to focus on one to three ideal client types, I'm not saying those are the only people you can do business with. I'm just saying those are the only people you're going to target your marketing efforts towards. When you understand exactly who those ideal client types are, then you can start to look at where are they? Where do they congregate? Whether it's offline or online, you start to create a list of all these places where they are. What associations do they belong to? What trade shows do they go to? What influencers do they follow? What websites do they go to, to get information? All of those things are places people congregate. When you have that list, now you know exactly where you need to be, to put your message in front of, to attract your ideal clients. Everything becomes so much easier. Everything starts with that target market. If you don't know your target market, you're dead in the water.

Question: What's the next step?

Answer: I know who I'm trying to reach, now I need to figure out what the heck I'm going to say to those people. That's when you start looking at your marketing message. How you communicate the value that you offer to people, super, super important. I think most businesses try to get cute, they try to get clever and inevitably it falls flat. If we make people think about what the heck we mean, they're gone. Especially now our attention spans are so short. We are so used to, I need information. It's at my fingertips. If I land on your website and read that copy right at the top, and I can't understand what you do, I'm going somewhere else. It's so, so important. How do we do that? We use storytelling. There's a lot of marketers that use storytelling.

We use the StoryBrand Framework, if you're familiar with that. Popularized by Donald Miller. It's a variation on the Hero's Journey. When it was introduced to me, I was like, "Oh my God, this is great. I love this. It makes perfect sense. It's so easy for most people to understand." That's what we do. What are you doing when you use a storytelling framework? You're inviting your customer, who is the hero or the main character in the story. You're inviting them to a story where they're that main character and your company is the guide. Our clients, they're not looking for a hero. They're looking for a guide who knows exactly how to solve the problem and help them get from where they currently are to where they want to be.

How To Simplify The Marketing Planning Process With Tim Fitzpatrick

We, as the guide, we know exactly what they need to do. You have X problem. These are the steps. One, two, three, that you need to take to get to the other side of the river, to where you want to be. Guides, they have credibility, they have authority. They're trusted and they can express empathy. I understand exactly what it's like to be battling information overload when it comes to your marketing. It is not a fun place to be. Here's what you need to do to eliminate that and start accomplishing your goals.

Question: What is the next step?

Answer: You got to have a plan. Your plan is going to outline what you need to focus on, and the action and steps you need to take. That's where a lot of businesses don't have a marketing plan. Like I said, they're throwing spaghetti up against a wall, hoping it sticks. We've got to have a plan. Now from a planning perspective, again, I like to keep things simple, a year ago, if you would have spent thousands of dollars on a one-year marketing plan, that's 15, 20 pages, you would have burned it come March. At the very least it would have gone on the top of a shelf and started gathering dust.

The way I look at marketing planning is in 90-day sprints. Our businesses are evolving quickly. Our marketing needs to evolve with it. 90 days is long enough to start seeing things take hold, but it's short enough for us to start looking at it and going, "Okay, we need to make course corrections." You can adjust and then you just wash, rinse and repeat. It's in every 90 days. But it's not a 15 page plan. If you're long-winded, this is a two page plan. I use it honestly for my business and our clients. It's Google Sheet, and there's six sections in this sheet.

One goes back to that fundamental of your target market. I want to see at least a minimum of just a paragraph of who are those one to three ideal clients. Ideal client, one put down four to six sentences about who they are. That's a reminder for you of who you're trying to reach.

Step two is what's my goal. Needs to be specific, measurable. It's obviously going to be time-bound because you're working in a 90 day plan. For example, I intend to bring on five new clients in the next 90 days. That's specific. It's measurable. It's time-bound. We got to have a goal. We need to know what we're shooting for. Usually that 90 day goal is something that is going to help you get closer to your one-year goal or your three-year goal, whatever that may be.

The third section is we got to understand what our budget is and what resources we have from a time perspective. We can't put everything in the kitchen sink in our marketing plan. If you got $250 a month and five hours of your time each week. And if that's all you have, that's okay. There's not a right or wrong here, but we have to know what we have to work with, because that's going to determine what we put in our plan.

Then in the fourth section we have what's our current marketing plan. I may not have a current marketing plan, that's okay. All we're doing here is trying to identify where we're starting from. My GPS can't tell me how to get to the airport until I tell him where I'm starting from, that's what we're doing here. We can't figure out what we need to do to get to where we want to be until we know where we're starting from. When you look at your marketing plan and what you're currently doing, I look at eight main marketing channels. Every tactic can be lumped into one of these channels.

First is your fundamentals, your strategy. Your target market and your messaging, if you don't have that dialed in, that's where you need to start. Then you've got your website, you have your content, so blogging, podcasting, videos, whatever that may be. Search engine optimization, being found when people do searches in Google, social media, email marketing, paid advertising. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and then offline marketing. That could be speaking, networking, referral, partner relationships, direct mail. Those are all examples of offline. All I want you to do in this four step, just write down what you've done, and what you continue to do.

How To Simplify The Marketing Planning Process With Tim Fitzpatrick

Then in the fifth step, now we're looking at what are we going to do in the next 90 days? And you're looking at those same eight channels. Depending on what resources you have and how much money you have, you may only do one thing in the next 90 days. If I don't know my target market, my messaging, I may work on just that in the next 90 days, and that is okay. When you have this outlined, now it eliminates that distraction.

When some guru says next week that you got to be in Clubhouse and you got to be doing this, you can go back to your plan and go, "You know what? This is not my plan." Maybe I'm going to put that on next 90 days list because I don't want to forget about it. It gives you the discipline to go, "This is not in my plan. I am putting it out there. These are the things I need to focus on for the next 90 days." Then that last step is what metrics am I going to track? The metrics help you determine whether the actions that you've taken are starting to have bear fruit. Then at the end of the 90 days, we wash, rinse and repeat what worked, what didn't, what course corrections do we need to make, and you put in a new plan and you start doing it.

Question: What are your last few pieces of advice?

Answer: One I would say is take the next measurable step. It is so easy for us to just get overwhelmed by all the things we have to do as business owners, if you focus on taking that next measurable step, that's going to get you one step closer. Things just become so much easier. We're breaking them down into their simplest form. And then the other thing I would say is just, don't make things complex, boil them down, keep them as simple as possible. When we add complexity, we add stress and implementation and execution become so much more difficult. When we add complexity, it also makes it a lot harder to troubleshoot. When we do run into roadblocks we're like, "Where is the problem? Is it here, here, here, here, here, here." Well, if you only have three steps, it's a lot easier to diagnose. 


Check Out The Podcast!

Tim has much more great information from his experience in marketing, check out the podcast below to learn more about how to drive your business from his advice and expertise!

Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year: 

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