Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

How to Bake Marketing into your business

marketing baked in

The most successful businesses bake marketing into their services.

If you have not heard the term before, baking marketing into a service (or product) means creating something, which is of so much value and interest, that people want to buy it and also tell their friends about it.

Most small business owners do the opposite

Look around you at your competitors and you will see that with few exceptions, they all seem remarkably similar. So, they try and undercut one another on prices or fees, out network one another or outspend one another on marketing. They are focusing their time and money in completely the wrong direction. They are trying to get people interested in something, which isn’t interesting. This is a costly, avoidable mistake.

That’s why I want something far better for you and your business!

Bake marketing into what you do

Today, I am going to ask you to consider doing something bold. I’m asking you to consider not changing your marketing, but changing what you market – your core services.

Why? Because you can waste years of your time trying to sell a service, which is simply not interesting enough to the marketplace. Great marketing is no substitute for an uninspiring service (or product).

Conversely, a service that is of exceptional value will often sell itself, as people are so impressed with it that they spread the word. I regularly speak with business owners who don’t need to spend a penny on advertising, because their customers and their marketplace are always recommending them.

Most small business owners use the opposite approach. Instead of inspiring people with the story behind their business, they try to motivate uninspired people to talk about them.

  • Some pay people to talk about them or offer commissions.
  • Others try to pester people into recommending them.
  • Many join networking clubs, hoping that social pressure, reciprocity or rules of membership, will get people to talk about them.
  • Some spam us with unsolicited emails – I get around 50 of those a day, from people pushing dull, uninspiring services at me.

All of those work to a degree, but you can do massively better, by shifting your focus 180 degrees!

Here’s what we know: People do not need to be pestered or pressured into recommending a GREAT service. They automatically spread the word when they encounter something exceptional. However, we must first give people something worth talking about – a story worth sharing. When we do, they can’t help themselves. They shout from the rooftops.

An alternative approach

The alternative is to bake marketing into what you do. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  • Observe your marketplace and develop a product or service, which is based on what they want, rather than ‘just’ offering your version of what your competitors already provide.
  • Give people a story about you or your business, which is worth sharing. This means having the courage to be different. Easier said than done, but essential if you want to attract the interest of your marketplace.
  • Deliver a customer experience, which stands out for all the right reasons. Pull out all the stops. Leave your clients and prospective clients feeling moved and roused by the experience of working with you, visiting you or connecting with you.
  • Demonstrate your passion for what you do and your desire to help others. Passion stands out. Passion is infectious.
  • Have outsiders. You can’t have insiders, without outsiders. Insiders are the people who buy from you. Insiders are the people your services are aimed at. Don’t try and be all things to all people. If you do, your story will be vague and cease to motivate people.
  • Learn from the products and services, which you recommend. What lessons can be adapted to help you deliver something remarkable?
  • Strive to become remarkable. It’s the only way to compel people to remark (or talk) about your service to their friends and contacts.

Just don’t fall into the trap of trying to get people inspired about an uninspiring service or product. It’s expensive, low leverage, frustrating and the least rewarding way to develop your business.

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  1. Jill Thurman

    May 30, 2013 at 12:50

    So many things to think about here and some re-evaluating.

    I possibly got more value from reading this one blog than from consultants I’ve paid small fortunes to.

    Thank you so much Jim.

  2. Too many indie authors fall into this trap. Your four-point list in the third section of this post perfectly describes almost EVERY group book marketing plan out there. Many of them pull in indie authors without regard to whether they are trying to sell a good book or not.

    Baking marketing into your book involves, first and foremost, writing a great book. It’s been proven time and again, that a good book, with a good cover, and a good description will sell no matter what the market conditions.

  3. Jim

    As ever, you make some insightful, and thought provoking, points. Baking marketing into your business makes perfect sense. You hit it on the button, – understand your market and be exceptional. That’s different from what the majority are doing so takes bravery, I think, too.

    • Hi, Debbie. You make an excellent point about the bravery required. It’s not easy, but in my experience, it is required.

      Thanks for the feedback, my friend.

  4. Well hello Jim, thanks for this post and as Debbie points out, take the time to identify who you want to help and then really go out and help them solve their issues in a way that feels natural to you.

    By doing what complements and stretches your natural style, your presentations and content may not be perfect but people will forgive that if they can feel your passion to help them pouring out of their screens.

    Believe in yourself and your solution and the passion will flow without limitation

  5. I definitely agree that no matter what marketing tactic you employ nor which market you strive to enter matter’s if your current service or product is of no value in the market. However, revaluating and, or changing your core competency in order to integrate bake marketing into your current business strategy can be a daunting & time consuming task. Depending on how many services or products you offer you may have to totally start fresh – but I suppose thats the point. I think the best way to do this is by observing the market/market place, the top earners in that market, and their closest competition and from there finding a trend or niche that is currently untapped/not exploited. From there you offer a product or service no one elese offers – start the wave, and your product markets itself.

  6. Bravo Jim,

    This is an exceptional post even by your standards.

    A fine example of what you are saying and proof of its value, is Apple. They baked the marketing into their products when just let their users do the marketing, by telling everyone how great the products are.

    Thanks Jim.

  7. Hi Jim…honestly I had never heard of you before I read this kick ass blog, I am from india and 23 years old. I strongly feel now that I should keep reading your blogs as I am now in research phase of spreading a unique marketing idea. Its my first time. I am planning on using the huge mass of India to my advantage. Can u give me some insights on using the uniqueness of the business and penetrating to the masses in such a way that would work on the principle of “inception and retention”

    • Hi Mayank. Thanks for the kind words. I don’t provide one-to-one help via comment Q+A’s, but have written thousands of words on that subject here over the years. Us the search box on the right hand of the blog and try some searches related to your question. Search for terms like “word of mouth” and “stand out from the crowd” etc.

  8. I think people are scared to think outside of the box sometimes when it comes to finding a niche or adding something “different” to their products or services that actually catches the eye. Maybe they feel like rejection would be more prominent than success. But from what I’ve learned in my career in marketing, taking that leap of faith in order to make your competition forgettable is one of the most valuable things any business could do. I love this article, Jim!

  9. Hi Jim,

    I would like to say this is fresh articles and i want to use for my marketing blog.Thanks Jim for your good work articles and i will always follow your blog in future.

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