Yesterday, I shared what I truly feel is a quantum leap forward in how I, as a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, can bring you the collective wisdom of Duct Tape Marketing’s founder and recognized leader in the field of small business marketing — John Jantsch.

Today, I’d like to touch on how John’s Ultimate Marketing System, described in his book (Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide) has been updated to reflect the way the world of business and marketing is evolving and how it’s making our program known as The Marketing Catalyst . . . a whole new ballgame . . . for you.

Old is New (Again!)
The original Duct Tape Marketing Catalyst program was based on John’s well-recognized ‘7 Steps’ to small business marketing success:

1.  Narrow Your Marketing Focus
2.  Find / Communicate Your Core Difference
3.  Package Your Solution/s
4.  Create Marketing Materials that Educate
5.  Establish Your Lead-Generation Trio
6.  Automate and Dominate
7.  Live by the (Marketing) Calendar

Due to recent changes in how marketing is being done in 2011, the new seven steps are:

1.  Strategy BEFORE Tactics
2.  Embrace the Marketing Hourglass
3.  Adopt the Publishing Model
4.  Create a Total Web Presence
5.  Orchestrate Your Lead-Generation Trio
6.  Drive a Lead Conversion System
7.  Live by a Marketing Calendar

As you can see, the basics are still there, but there are some significant changes as well.

In the coming days, I’ll take each one of these significant changes / improvements in the ‘old’ 7 steps approach and explain not only HOW but WHY we’ve made the changes we have.

The world is dynamic, fluid and constantly evolving — your marketing is no less so! 

I just returned from Kansas City, MO. That’s where the annual ‘Gathering’ of Duct Tape Marketing is held.  My fellow DTM Consultants and I meet to renew alliances, build new ones and share the ‘best and the brightest’ ideas with one another.

This year, John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing shared a remarkable update to a venerated old standard — The Marketing Catalyst.

What Makes The New Catalyst . . . ‘New and Improved’?
Couple of things are readily apparent.  First, the program is now fully online.  That means that access to the participant materials is a close as your web browser and available 24/7/365.  “ON Demand . . . with the Brand (Duct Tape Marketing) that’s IN Demand”.

As you can see . . . the ‘new’ Catalyst is based on Duct Tape Marketing’s Ultimate Marketing System.  The ten (10) sessions provide a comprehensive approach to small business marketing that you can access — along with the guidance and support of SellMore Marketing –– over a period of time that ranges from 6 months to a full year depending on the needs of a client.

I also love that John’s made the program extremely ACTION-ORIENTED.  This is not an academic or philosophical program.  You’re going to work. Hard!

Each ‘session’ is based on specific behavioral ‘assignments’ that you must complete to ‘pass’ that session.  And there’s no place for shirkers, either!  If you’re serious about growing your business revenues by improving your marketing . . . this is a program you’ll love.

Here’s an image of the ‘Action Items’ for just one one of sessions:

Small Group Participation OR . . .  1-on1 Consulting — YOU CHOOSE
This version of Duct Tape Marketing’s Catalyst program is only available through a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant (like SellMore Marketing). If you prefer to work through the new Marketing Catalyst in a small group of your fellow business owners, that’s easily arranged.  If you prefer to work 1-on-1 with your Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, that’s easily done — using the online Catalyst site as your ‘base of operations’ while ‘we’ get you through the program content, assignments and to the improved results you’re seeking from doing your marketing — simply, effectively and (very) affordably.

My point — it’s comprehensive, and it’s easily used.  I sincerely believe this is one of the best things to come out of Duct Tape Marketing in quite some time!

Tomorrow, I’ll share what’s ‘new’ about the ‘old’ Catalyst. John Jantsch has been hard at work making serious improvements in how we help our clients approach their marketing.  It’s very uplifting and, these days . . . that’s a message of HOPE we can all benefit from having!

What Can I / We Do BETTER?

This question is designed to help you learn what you can do to increase your ATTRACTIVENESS FACTOR to the kind of people you’d like to have as your clients.

The previous question reminded you of how difficult it is to see yourself as others see you.  That’s why knowing how and where your customers would like you to DO BETTER by them is so valuable to you as a marketer.

When you ask this question, LISTEN . . . see if you can place the answers you get fall into one of the following categories of response:

1. Something you should . . . STOP DOING
2. Something you should . . . START DOING
3. Something you should . . . DO BETTER

If you think about it, these are the only three (3) ways that a performance GAP can be described.  So if you want to be better, you’ll find the answers you seek must fall into one or more of these three (3) approaches.

Kind of makes life simple, doesn’t it?

This question will reveal ways for you to remain and grow increasingly attractive to people who fit your Ideal Client profile.

Learn what you can DO BETTER . . . as your Ideal Client sees it!

Emil Brolick, the new CEO of the fast-food restaurant chain Wendy’s,  has some excellent observations on his new position and the challenges he’ll be facing as the CEO.

Vision . . . is Always a ‘Good Start’ 
“A leader has to bring a vision to an organization . . .” Agreed.  But you also need the strategies to achieve the vision or your vision won’t happen and your staff will feel disengaged very quickly.

Keep Your People Focused and Involved 
I’m fond of saying, “The difference between your people and your profit is their performance.” Management is often defined as, “Getting things done through other people”.  Those ‘other people’ are your staff.

Communicate Your Expectations
If other people are to help you carry out your strategies, they must ‘buy in’ to your vision. They must also understand — and that’s your responsibility — what their roles require and how they support the achievement of the strategic vision you have created for your business.

Appreciate Your Employees
As the leader of your firm you want to recognize your staff as the essential asset they are. Also, make sure they know that the performance of the business reflects their collective performance. “All for one and one for all” is very true.

Brolick says it well . . . “A leader has to define reality and give hope”.  Amen, Emil! 

” __ __ __ __  Happens!!”
Yes, it does.  There’s even a bumper-sticker based on that truth! A colleague and I just lived through our own little ‘train wreck’.  We weren’t responsible for it.  But we were able to respond and recover from it.

In fact, there’s a good lesson here on how YOU can make the most of a difficult situation when the __ __ __ __  hits the fan!

Step 1:  Don’t Blame
It’s tempting.  But it won’t change the situation.  It usually makes it take longer to resolve.

Step 2: Take Ownership of The Recovery Process
A personal commitment to do ‘whatever’ it takes to correct the situation is vital.  It forces you to focus on the future (under your control) vs. the past (not under your control).  That’s positive.  And, productive.

Step 3:  Commit To Specific Individuals That You’ll Correct The Situation
Seek out the people who are most compromised by the situation and pledge your personal commitment to make them whole, again.  Write them a ‘check’ to fix it.  Then, ‘cash’ it.

Step 4:  Make a Plan of Action to Correct The Situation
Learn why the problem developed.  That helps you develop a set of actions that will correct the current situation . . . and prevent it from happening in the future.

Step 5:  Implement Your Plan
Once you know WHY the problem happened and WHAT you must to do to correct it . . . DO IT!  Nothing changes until your intentions become true actions.

Stuff happens.  After that, anything else that happens is really up to Y-O-U.

As I allowed in my earlier posts: “Reason #1-3”, despite the potential benefits that working with a marketing advisor offers you, you might not benefit from working with one for several reasons. Here’s Reason #4 . . .

Reason #4:  You Don’t Have a Business Worthy of Marketing
No kidding.  Sometimes we find a business that, quite honestly, isn’t being operated very effectively.  In short, the customers, clients or patients aren’t having a truly ‘positive’ experience with the business or practice.

This is not to say that people don’t need or want what you offer. They probably do. It’s just that they feel ‘less than ideal’ when they seek to get it from your firm.

In this case, any promotional activity will only put you on the ‘Superhighway of Marketing Hell’.  The negative ‘word-of-mouth’ that a ‘negative’ experience with your business can cause will never be as compelling as any kind of marketing promotion you might run.

You Need Solid Management MORE Than You Need Good Marketing
The real foundation of any successful business is not marketing.  It’s good management.  Management that understands what attracts — and keeps — someone coming back to your firm for more of what they came for in the first place.  So sometimes, an advisor needs to help you assess and tighten up the operation before they ever help you promote awareness of your business to prospective clients.

No marketing can overcome poor management!

As I allowed in my earlier posts: “Reason #1-2”, despite the potential benefits that working with a marketing advisor offers you, you might not benefit from working with one for several reasons. Here’s Reason #3 . . .

Reason #3:  You Don’t Understand What a Marketing Advisor Does
This is problematic for two reasons.  First, if you don’t know what an advisor is supposed to do, how can you judge if you’re getting what you should be?  Second, if you believe you know what a marketing advisor is supposed to do, you’ll probably tell him (or, her) what you expect them to do. Sadly, that’s like using a gun butt for a hammer.  Technically you can do it but it’s not the best way to use the weapon.

A Marketing Advisor . . . ADVISES!
An advisor helps you formulate a marketing strategy and identifies factors that may limit your ability to generate interest in what you do and put revenues in your bank if you don’t.  An advisor is not going to design / update your website, copywrite your direct mail letters, manage your email autoresponders, print your tri-fold brochures, build a tradeshow booth, etc..  An advisor will, however, make darned sure you know which, why (and, how!) any of these actions is going to increase your revenues — or waste your money.

Think of it this way.  A Marketing Advisor helps you know WHAT you must do, WHY, HOW and may even arrange WHO and WHERE you can go to get these things done.  But an advisor will not do these things for you.

Understand what a marketing advisor really does . . . and choose yours accordingly! 

As I allowed in my earlier post: “Reason #1”, despite the potential benefits that working with a marketing advisor offers you, you might not benefit from working with one for several reasons. Here’s Reason #2 . . .

Reason #2:  You’re Not Ready, Willing or Able To Invest in One
You know the expression, “It takes money to make money”?  Obviously there are other factors.  But investing in your business is a key factor in making your business successful. You may invest money in your office, a website, a flight to attend a conference, taking prospects to lunch, etc..

All Expenses Are Not Investments
While the IRS may allow most expenses you incur as ‘business-related’ for deduction purposes, MOST . . . are not investments.  The difference?  An investment is money you spend that is likely to generate a ‘return’ not only of but on that money.  An expense may be necessary but lacks the potential ROI to be considered a business ‘investment’.

A Marketing Consultant is an Investment
Good marketing consultants ‘earn their keep’ by helping you generate revenues and profits many times over whatever you pay them.  If they don’t, FIRE THEM.  In fact, if they won’t offer you a GUARANTEE of some kind, RUN LIKE HELL!

Marketing Consultants are supposed to make you money . . . if you don’t understand or believe that about someone, find someone you can! 

I’m not being negative.  I’m being real.  With you.  Unfortunately, despite the potential benefit that working with a marketing advisor like SellMore Marketing — a certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant since 2005 — offers you, you might not benefit from working with us.

Reason #1:  You’re Not Ready, Willing or Able To Change
If you’re thinking about your marketing and/or hiring someone to help you do it better, you’re not happy with your marketing results. That’s a given.

Unfortunately, if you’re UN-willing to change the way you’ve been doing your marketing, you aren’t going to get any better results.

This a case where what you SAY you want and what you DO to get it . . . need to be aligned –– or you’ll continue to get what you’ve been getting . . . and I bet ‘Frustrated’ is at the top of your list.  Am I right?

Find Your Big, Compelling Reason to Change
If you want to change anything – your weight, your business, your relationship, etc. –  you need a compelling reason to do so.  Years ago, I said to a cigarette smoking friend, “You have no will power”.  He immediately taught me a great lesson when he said, “My will power is strong.  The problem is my will to smoke is stronger than my will to stop”.

So it’s a dynamic balance.  You want to change your marketing to enjoy better revenues and more profits.  But you also want to avoid making changes in your attitude and behavior.  One of your desires is going to win.  Which one actually does reflects what’s more important to you . . . status quo or real change . . . and only one can win . . . in any given moment.

Change Your Attitude . . . To Change Your Behavior
Marketing success reflects effective marketing behavior.  If your current behavior isn’t working as you want, you must make changes.  But changing behavior isn’t easy . . . until you find a more compelling reason to change than you have now that argues you should not.

Change your ATTITUDE . . . your RISK / REWARD ratio . . . or no advisor will make a difference in your marketing

“Let’s Shake On It, Then!”
Businesspeople make promises to their clients.  It’s what we do.  Unfortunately, the expectation of many (most?) clients is that a promise is likely to be broken.

You Need a SYSTEM
If your reputation for ‘keeping your word’ . . . or, promises . . . is so important but it seems to be the exception (not the rule) that businesspeople will break more than they make . . . you have to ask, “Why?”.  The answer is not that they meant to break their promise, but that they don’t have a system in place to make sure they keep them!

Make a Promise . . . “Write a Check”
If you’re in a service business . . . where the client’s buying your ability to ‘come through’ as you promise (and, your client expects) then you need a deliberate way to ensure that happens . . . consistently.  My suggestion?  “Write a check”.  Literally.  Not on your bank.  On your time!  Think of a ‘check’ as a written evidence of your commitment to your client’s happiness . . . with you.

When you make a promise . . . WRITE A CHECK to demonstrate your commitment to ‘cash it’ with your customer or client.  Here’s an example:

Is this SCARY?  You bet it is!  Especially if you’re not committed to deliver.  This is a huge ACCOUNTABILITY tool.  But, if you’re as good as you say you are, it’s a NO BRAINER, isn’t it? Actually, it’s going to help you to DIFFERENTIATE yourself and your practice!

NOTE:  If you’d like my Special Report on how to set up a ‘Promise Checkbook System’ . . . shoot me an email and I’ll send it right back!

You make promises every day . . . give people evidence of your commitment and watch your competition shake in their boots!