My father gave me the best sex talk EVER!

“Ivana, it’s a young man’s job to hit on you. It’s your job to say no.”

There was a lot more to this personal chat between dad and I, but his core message was so powerful that I’ve applied it to just about every aspect of my life. You see, he knew me and understood that I was a little insecure going into adulthood. He knew that when you don’t know or understand something, you might be tempted to just do what the crowd is doing. The other thing he did was give me a peek inside the male mystique so that I could understand the motivation that drives “the poor guy” in the throes of a hormonal hijack.Smartphonee with wire forming "like" sign

Inside of a quick 10-minute conversation, he so completely simplified the emotionally charged interaction between two teenagers that my perspective was forever changed in that moment. When so many of my friends were swimming in a sea of insecure emotions, I was so completely clear about what was so, that I’ve been blessed with having healthy, happy and yes, profitable relationships in all aspects of my life. Thanks Dad.

What’s a teenage sex talk got to do with marketing? Other than sucking you into this article?

I shared this personal story with you because marketing, at its core, is a highly charged personal and emotional relationship that you have with yourself and your customers. And, like sex, a lot of people don’t want to talk about what’s really at the core of the issue.

That’s what I’m going to do here. I’m going to give you the marketing sex talk.

You are your own best marketing expert. ?

Let me tell you something. You don’t need a marketing degree or an MBA to be a great marketer. I know, the experts will try to tell you differently, but that’s their job. It’s your job to know who you are, what works for you and what doesn’t.

Your job is to stop focusing on what everyone says you should be doing and start focusing on your business and making money.

Suzanne Evansis a HUGE advocate of taking your business seriously. One of my favorite quotes from her is “Are you a HO or a BO?” In plain speak — “Are you a HOBBY owner or a BUSINESS owner?” Hobby owners play at being in business, and like HOs — they sell out and don’t trust in who they are to drive that business.

STOP and decide to own your business and the marketing behind it. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that will get you grounded and feeling secure and confident in your marketing:

  • Who is your ideal customer? Remember, you only have a business if your customer is ready, willing and able to trade their hard earned cash for what you promise. So who are those folks, what do they look like, what’s important to them when they are buying what you are selling and why should they choose you.

I talk to a lot of people who are very passionate about what they offer, the sad truth of it — is that people just aren’t looking for that or willing to pay for that. So embrace feedback that says — “Nah — people don’t want that” ?then look for what they want and give it to them. THAT is what it means to be a business owner.

Marketing isn’t about what you do — it’s about who you are

The best example of this principle in action is found on Food Network TV. On any given Saturday, tune it and watch one episode of Restaurant Impossible and one episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

As you’re watching put a special focus on the restaurant owners in each series. You’ll notice that the difference in the success of the restaurant doesn’t lie in the decor or the cooking experience of the owner or chef — but in who they are BEING inside their business. Another distinction between the successful business owners and the failures is where they put their focus — on using their gifts, talents and energy as a contribution to their customers. As a result — there are lines out the door of their business.

Now it’s your turn — ask yourself — “Who am I being inside my business and where is my focus?”

Don’t lie to yourself. Your results will show it.

If you are BEING scared, afraid and insecure — your ideal customers will run away from you. If you are being confident and looking to contribute to their success, they will feel that and flock to you.

You are already the only game in town – you just don’t know it yet

Another one of my favorite marketing sex talks actually came from mom —

“When a man wants something, he will do whatever it takes to get it.”

She told me this in the early 80’s — but this same quote was echoed by?Greg Behrendt, the author of the hysterically serious book,?He’s Just Not That Into You. “Men are never too busy to get what they want” — the same is true of your customer.

If you find yourself bending, twisting and working really hard to figure our how to get your prospects to see how wonderful you are –?They Just Aren’t That Into YOU!

Every 8 minutes a small business fails?

There are two reasons for this:

  1. Selling the wrong thing
  2. Selling to the wrong people

This is why they aren’t into you — you aren’t giving them what they really want. So either find an audience that wants what you’re giving or give the audience what they want.

The real answer is a beautiful blend of the two.

There are a couple of ways to go about this:

  1. Choose a set of customers you love that love you back — and then just do whatever it is they need.
  2. Define your specific strength and just put it out there and see who it attracts

You can be successful at either. My personal strategy is to focus my efforts on working with people who share my commitment and purpose and then explore what products we can create together.

Ummm – that’s enough for now

Have I gone overboard with this? Have I shared too much? I’m not sure. I just wanted to show you that marketing isn’t something you do or a service that you buy — it’s who you are and how your customers perceive you.

Marketing doesn’t require millions of dollars to be good. It requires your consistent commitment to being a contribution to your customers.

Once you are clear on all of these elements — the mountains of marketing strategies and tools will rise up to serve you.