Episode 01

A Marketing Strategy Is Not A Business Plan

Episode 1

The team at Ajax Union talks to Joe Apfelbaum about how a Marketing Strategy differs from a business plan and why you need both.

Episode 1 Transcript:

Tami: Welcome to High Energy Marketing, a podcast with Ajax Union,  a digital marketing agency, Ajax Union, where we interview our CEO, Joe Apfelbaum on key marketing topics, and we share everything you need to know to properly grow your business online. This is a Q&A podcast. So I’m going to be asking Joe questions, and…

Joe: And I’m going to be answering them!

Tami: *laughs*… based off of marketing trends and everything that he wrote in his book, High Energy Marketing, by Joe Apfelbaum. You can get this book on AjaxUnion.com/book and follow along with us. We are going to go one chapter at a time and ask all of the really important questions to learn how to do high energy marketing.

Tami: And if you guys have additional questions, and you’re listening to this podcast, whether it’s on iTunes or Google podcasts or on YouTube, please email us amazing@ajaxunion.com with your questions, and we will include those questions in future episodes. So make sure that you email us your questions to amazing@ajaxunion.com.

Joe: So excited about doing this podcast with you, Tami. Let’s rock and roll.

Tami: So this is the first official episode of our podcast about High Energy Marketing. And today we are going to discuss chapter one, which is how a marketing strategy is not a business plan, different things marketing strategy, business plan, if you have one, you don’t necessarily have the other. So we’re gonna dive into what the differences are between those and why you need a marketing strategy.

But first, a little housekeeping. You can find us wherever you get your podcasts. also find us on YouTube, and we’ll be putting it on social media, we’ll be putting out little clips. So you should be able to get snippets of this wherever you find High Energy Marketing.

Joe: And if you want to check out our website, I’m sure we’re gonna have a lot of information there. So go to www.ajaxunion.com. We have so many great resources for those that want to find more information about marketing.

Tami: So Joe, do you want to hit us with a quick inspiration minute today before we get started?

Joe: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the right strategy will save you a decade. Most people are hoping to be successful in business. Most people think that maybe they’re going to get lucky. I believe that hope and luck are great things. But they’re not strategies.

If you want to be successful in business, in health, in relationships—find a strategy that worked for somebody else. They say success leaves clues. And so a strategy is something that you can reverse engineer, see somebody else that got what you want. And then you can follow that proven strategy. And chances are, you’re going to get the same results.

You can achieve anything in your life; you just need the right strategy, and you need to take massive action, and you can accomplish anything.

Tami: Strategy over hope. That’s our inspo for the day.

Thanks, Joe.

So we have a couple of questions for you. I have about six questions on our topic today, which is how a business plan is different from a marketing plan. And question number one from chapter number one of your book, High Energy Marketing— is how does a marketing plan differ from a business plan?

Joe: A marketing plan is something that you create to figure out if your marketing is going to be successful. A business plan is a plan where you talk more about your business goals, you talk about your operations, how things are going to play within your business. Marketing plan could be part of your business plan. But often people create their marketing plan without even having business goals.

One of the things that we talk a lot about with our clients is before you start any marketing initiative before you start sending traffic to a website, you first have to take a step back and set key metrics from a marketing perspective that align with your business metrics.

So if you don’t understand where you want to go with your business, your marketing is not gonna be able to help you get to a random place you don’t even know about.

So it’s really key to make sure that you have your business metrics in place. And then you can set goals from a marketing perspective to align with those business metrics.

Tami: You know, you’ll probably bring this up later. But just all along the way. I just want to remind everyone that marketing is about testing. I just felt like saying that, you know, because if you’re setting goals, right, especially from a marketing perspective, if you’re setting goals and you don’t reach those goals, you might get really disappointed.

Joe: And marketing is testing towards a specific goal. That’s why it’s so important to have those business goals and understand how your business is going to be operating from a business perspective. And then you can craft a marketing strategy that aligned with your goals and you can test out different things.

We don’t know what’s going to work from a marketing perspective. Marketing is testing. You’re trying to see, okay, is this gonna work? How much of this are we going to split this, this or we’re going to spend money on this or we’re going to try to do this activity, hire this resource.

But you’re doing all that work in order for you to figure out how you’re going to be able to gain a business objective. There are many marketing objectives or many leads that you want to get from a marketing perspective, but only to help you with your business goals.

At that point, you can determine what part of your marketing is working, and what part of your marketing is not working, because you are attributing it to a business goal.

Tami: So what would you put in your business plan that’s not in your marketing plan?

Joe: So for example, you would put in how many clients you would like and the type of clients that you would want. And you would put in how your business operates your profits, your loss, like understanding exactly what your cost of goods sold are, and how your business operates from a business perspective.

They are elements in your business plan around finance, there are elements around operations around HR, how you find people, all that stuff goes into your business plan.

But in terms of your marketing, you may have elements inside your business plan that reflect your marketing plan. But your marketing plan is understanding #1 is what are your goals from a marketing perspective? #2 is who is your target market that you’re trying to get?

And maybe you have multiple target markets that you include in your marketing plan, maybe you’ll have who your competitors are, maybe you’ll have what your messaging is, maybe you’ll have what type of tactics you’re going to be using, and what type of results you’d like from a marketing perspective.

But you’re not going to be talking about how you get work done, or how you source your products, or anything like that in the marketing plan. But understanding that as a foundation for creating your marketing plan could help you be able to figure out who your target market is in your marketing plan.

Because in your business plan, you got to get really clear how you’re going to grow your business to what level do you want to grow it, that’s not necessarily a marketing objective, marketing will help you achieve a business objective, but often people missed the boat on that and they don’t have a basic business plan. And they end up just winging marketing.

And listen, winging works to get you maybe from zero to 100k. But if you want to get to a few 100,000 in revenue, if you want to get to a few million dollars in revenue, if you want to consistently grow your business, then you have to have a clear written marketing strategy and understand that it’s different than a business plan.

Tami: So what comes first, the business plan or the marketing plan?

Joe: I think that having a very basic business plan written down, and then taking those elements and crafting your marketing strategy, you don’t need a 15-page plan.

There’s something called a V to a vision traction organizer that we recommend our clients create before they start their marketing plan. So there’s a book called Traction by a man named Gino Wickman. And I highly recommend you read that book.

It’s the entrepreneurial operating system. And he says that in order for you to be successful and have traction in your business, you need to start with a vision. And he basically lays out what you include in your business vision. It’s not necessarily a business plan about how you get everything done and your finances, and what your projections are.

It’s not about that necessarily. It’s more around really getting clear as to your priorities within your business. And your business goals, your metrics, both long term and short term and even your Big Hairy Audacious Goal could be in there.

And ultimately, once you have that you have your vision, you have your values, you get really clear, then you can go out and create a marketing plan. It’s really hard to create a marketing plan where you don’t even understand the vision of the business.

Tami: Okay, okay. So how does one develop a marketing strategy, if they don’t even know where to start?

Joe: Well, step number one is you set a business goal. Okay, so where do you want to be revenue-wise in your business? And what type of clients would you like to have?

How much would you like your clients to pay you? And that’s the basic idea of the business element of the business plan that you can bring into the marketing plan, then what you need to do is once you have your business goals, then you have to set marketing goals that are aligned to those business goals.

For example, let’s say you say you want 100 customers that are each paying you $1,000 a month, someone that rains so you want to make $100,000 a month. Now, in order for you to be able to achieve that you need to have customers that can afford to pay you $1,000 a month so if you’re targeting unemployed people, you’re probably not going to be successful at marketing.

So when you’re setting your target market from a marketing perspective, you need to decide the type of customers that you’re going to be targeting that could afford to pay you $1,000 a month and that would be based on “Okay, so I want 100 customers that will pay me $1,000 a month”.

So now things start making sense. Another thing that you want to include is once you understand who the customers are, is, what are their pains? What are their problems?

What are their gains, what are their needs, right now, if you don’t understand the problems of your customers or their needs, and they’re not documented inside your marketing strategy, you’re not going to be able to craft messaging that will work.

You can test all you want with random stuff at random people, but again, hope is not a strategy. So you need to have a plan where you identify the pains and gains of your customers.

There’s some more work that you can do within there. But that’s like the basics, understanding your business goal, your marketing goal, your target market, and then the messaging that goes along with it. And if you have that written down, and by the way, between me and you, we can sit down, have an hour conversation, and craft is on the back of a napkin, and you will be able to be armed with enough information to test out a paid marketing campaign.

Tami: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. So we just talked about creating this marketing plan. What are the risks, if you go into it without a marketing plan? If you attempt your marketing without a plan, what are you setting yourself up for?

Joe: So if you create a marketing strategy, if you basically create marketing tactics without a marketing strategy, if you just start going out there and doing stuff, for example, let’s say you said, “You know what, I don’t want to deal with mumbo jumbo strategies and plans, I just want traffic”.

So let’s say you start a Google AdWords campaign and you say, I’m going to start spending $50 a day for people that search a particular keyword and you’re not really considering who the audience is, you’re not really considering what their problems are, what you’re going to do is you’re going to be sending cold traffic from the internet to your website, where is not aligned with what the person even wants.

And so you’re either going to get customers that are the wrong customers, contacting you, or customers that can’t afford your services, or you’re basically going to get customers that will just make you crazy, there are a lot of people that will buy from you, and they’ll spend money with you, but they’ll make you not want to run your business.

So making sure that you understand your value is making sure that you understand who you’re looking for. And what problem you specifically can solve for them will end up making sure that A) you don’t get the wrong customers and B) you don’t waste a bunch of money testing things that you don’t have to be testing around.

Because now you know who you’re targeting, they say when you’re trying to go to the moon, you need to make sure that you’re precisely on point. Why because if you’re off two or three inches, by the time you get to the moon, you’re going to be off miles and miles and miles.

So in the beginning, when you’re starting off your campaign, it’s worth spending some time to sharpen the saw. So you don’t spend 18 hours cutting the tree down, spend 15 minutes sharpening the saw, and then you can cut the tree down in two hours.

So you got to be really smart and work on your business, not just in your business, don’t just send random traffic to your website hoping for the best. Because maybe you’ll get lucky, maybe somebody will be an ideal customer.

But why rely on hope, if you can rely on a strategy that works?

Tami: So what are some of the possible factors that stop a business from growing, even if they’re adding new clients?

Joe: Wrong targeting, if you’re targeting the wrong clients, if you are literally just onboarding the wrong types of clients, let’s say, for example, your goal is that you would like customers to spend $100,000, with your business over the lifetime value of that customer.

But the types of customers that you’re just getting because you’re getting customers for the sake of getting our customers that only earn $50,000 a year in revenue. Now you’re onboarding grocery store owners, one after another after another.

Your goal in your head is that you’d like customers to spend $100,000 with your company. But what you don’t realize is although you’re getting new customers into your business, let’s say, for example, you’re a web design company, you’re building websites for companies, and you want to turn them into $100,000 customers eventually.

But initially, they’re only spending $1,000 bucks, you could be dealing with a few 1000 customers of the wrong customers, but none of them have the potential to take you where you want to go.

I was talking to somebody who does logistics, and he has a business and he has over 1000 customers. And I asked him how much would you like your ideal customer to spend with you? He’s like $200,000 a year. And I said let’s identify review your customers. And we noticed that 80% of his customers are basically just one-time customers.

So he’s spending money, getting customers to spend maybe $100 with his business, he’s using up all his resources because he’s targeting the wrong customers. And he’s wondering why his business is stuck at $5 million in revenue, where it could easily be 20 million if he just got another 200 of his top customers.

And so that’s what I want you to think about as a listener is: am I targeting the right customers, or am I just picking up customers for the sake of picking up customers because it feels good to get a new client, but I’m spinning my wheels?

Sometimes it’s better to wait for the right customer and actually onboard the right customer that has the right values that can spend the right amount of money that can not make your employees want to quit on you because you just got these terrible customers, but instead get the right environment.

If you want to grow a forest, an orchard that will last you multiple lifetimes. Make sure that you have the foundation right, you cannot build a castle on quicksand and expect it to last many generations.

Tami: Thank you so much, Joe. This was amazing information, a great foundation covering chapter one of your amazing book, High Energy Marketing.

I hope that all of you listening got as much out of this conversation out of all of these amazing answers. As I did on the next episode we’ll be talking about lead-in products.

Joe: Oh my gosh, I’m so excited about that one. So much fun.

Tami: Be sure to subscribe so you can catch that episode so you can find us wherever you get your podcasts and also on YouTube at Ajax Union, A-J-A-X U-N-I-O-N.

Your action item listener is wherever you’re listening. subscribe, follow us on Instagram Ajax Union. You can also follow Joe on all platforms including clubhouse at Joe Apfelbaum, and LinkedIn at Joelinkedin.com, J-O-E linkedin.com. It redirects to Joe’s LinkedIn profile. If you didn’t catch that, check our description for all of our social media links.

If you have questions, shoot us an email at amazing@AjaxUnion.com. Our music is by Michael Suarez. This podcast was produced by Sarah and Shannon, our two amazing team members, and edited by Sami Mititelu.

Joe: Thank you everyone for being here. Thank you, Tami.

For more insights on your business’s marketing tactics

Quarterly Industry Insights Newsletter

Want insights on B2B marketing trends? Sign up for Ajax Union’s quarterly marketing newsletter below to get tips and insights on what’s trending in the B2B landscape that could ultimately affect your business.

Enter your info below to sign up today