Like a lot of business owners, I struggled to find a marketing plan that worked for me. And…I got burned. I grew up in marketing. I started designing ads for my dad’s newspaper around 13 years old and ultimately got a B.S. degree in marketing (heavy on the BS, apparently…)
And then in my late 20s, I took an ownership position with an artificial turf company in Southwest Florida.
I knew marketing was going to be the crucial needle-mover to get the business off the ground, but there was just one problem: Everything I’d done before in marketing never produced any tangible results. I had always designed, flashed and theorized. I made beautiful assets, but never saw those assets hitched to any real business growth.
It seemed that the more effort I put into making the website look pretty or creating new content for social media, the business grew less and less. Time was wasting, so I finally decided that I should hire an expert so that they can drive the marketing effort while I focus on the operation and the business overall. After all, that’s what you’re supposed to do anyway, right?
I spent tons of time searching and interviewing agencies and freelancers. They were easy to find, which was no surprise.
“$2,500 per month to make your Facebook look amazing!”
“$1,000 per month for unlimited graphics”
“$3,750 for a gorgeous new website”
These were all pitches I heard...and they all culminated with “this is going to make you look amazing to your future customers.”
I didn’t have much of a budget at the time, so I sort of cherry picked the things I thought would be the best for us from a local freelancer. He seemed like a nice guy.
But fast forward 3 months…
My Facebook DID look amazing. But no one was engaging.
I DID get unlimited graphics. But they were all stock images with my logo slapped on them.
My website WAS gorgeous. But I wasn’t getting any leads.
Thousands and thousands spent and $0 in return.
When I went back to talk to the freelancer, his response was “Oh, I don’t know why nothing’s happening? Maybe you need to focus on making your Instagram look better! Here’s a quote for that.”
So I canned that guy and signed a new contract with a shiny agency that promised me a lot of similar things...but they cost a bit more. “It’s because we are the best of the best,” I was assured.
At the end of that second quarter, thousands more were spent with again, $0 in return.
Now I’m in the hole $17,500 with nothing to show for it.
What I found was that after six months of “doing what you’re supposed to do” with my marketing, I had the same lackluster results that I had had when I was doing the marketing myself. The only difference is I wasted a whole bunch of money along the way.
I knew real growth was possible. I had seen it. My competitors seemed to be doing a ton of business. But I couldn’t get any traction.
So, frustrated by the overall lack of results, I decided to exit the company and go back to my roots in marketing. Rather than being on the receiving end of the marketing money pit, I was determined to get to the bottom of why the marketing industry is so broken.
And that’s exactly what I’ve done. My work with J. Michael Strategies is based on just some of the key epiphanies I've had through the journey. There’s a whole lot to learn (and un-learn), and more importantly: there is a way out!
It took me years of literal tears, sweat, and blood (there was that one time I got a paper cut at the office) to figure out the solution to real results-producing marketing. Marketing that is honest. Marketing that is profitable. Marketing that makes sense.