• Writer for DDI on Medium

What You're Not Understanding About Advertising, Marketing And Branding


"Check this guy out!"

It’s quite possible to post a flyer of services people want and be subjected to feeling like “something else has preeminence over their purchasing decisions".


If Advertising In TnT And Marketing Everywhere Else Went Fishing!


Founders of local bootstrap businesses often fall into the trap of feeling “set up” by someone they assumed to be a potential buyer because they don’t take the time to consider the criteria someone needs to meet first in order to be considered a good fit to do business with.


So, they’ll duck-tape a few images together courtesy a free online platform or mobile app and spam as many social media groups as possible only to painfully learn that that type of visibility has nothing to do with how someone connects with their services or the quality of those leads. That’s also considered marketing: understanding the needs of the people you prefer to serve, studying their characteristics and creating things that will best influence them.


When your advertising isn’t being fueled by your marketing, it veils the value of your services, and you end up in the runaround.


Are You A Victim Of The Runaround?

Some time ago I received a message from an acquaintance “advertising” their services on Facebook. “Those students set me up!” She said. She was in dire straits, and logically, sounded desperate to find money.


If you’re a service provider, you know how frustrating it is when your plans are derailed because someone you assumed to be a potential buyer didn’t follow through on a project. Distinctive habits surrounding my own personal experience with being in this situation inspired me to name it The Runaround. (And it’s connected to a certain type of buyer. But I digress.)


In the end, she went right back to spinning top in mud with another flyer. This time, more hopeful than before that her results would be different. It’s said that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Since it was obvious to me that she had a marketing and branding problem, all I was wondering was what kind of results she expected instead? After all, it was clear what she was already doing was producing frustrating encounters.


I should add that prior to our conversation, by virtue of her images, on the surface it appeared like things were going pretty well.


But...


...There’s More To Fishing Than Just Counting How Many Fish You’ve Caught!


Once you’ve engaged in the process of marketing and executing your services for money, there will be evidence of missing parts that needs to be implemented in order to compliment the entire experience for both parties involved.


This can show up in the form of a buyer having a wrong concept about your industry or what you do that can be addressed via content so each time the next person engages you, it’s through the right concept. It could be a weak marketing message that can be stronger and convert quicker because it’s specific and noticeable. It can be potential clients ghosting you either while onboarding them or in the middle of a project that you could quickly eliminate with a no cock n bull process. Or, it could be the sluggish movement of your packages that you can reposition so the value is clearer.


The aforementioned are critical areas most local founders like my acquaintance surprisingly see as a nice to have. But, not having a brand subjects you to the runaround as well. Sadly, her numerous experiences feeling set up by potential students and clients hasn't rang through that something’s wrong.


If the desperation for money has been causing you to ignorantly serve others for years, you’re not a business owner but an amateur. And I’m inclined to agree with your flirters that no one should respect what you do because you don’t respect what you do.


Only service providers spin top in mud. Business owners admit they have a problem and (if they have the time to invest behind it) either learn the skills they need to solve it or hire a specialist to get it done.


Which Comes First, Advertising, Marketing or Branding?


Deciding whether to stick to DIYing your advertising for now, or invest in marketing or branding first really depends on how long you’ve been serving others or “been in business” as they say.


To guide your decisions I’ve created a simple list and divided it into 4 main categories with a breakdown of who fits into each category and what their options are.


  • The Newbie: someone with a hobby who wants to offer it to others for a cost. Their go-to option would be ole school word of mouth.

  • The Start Up: someone self-employed under 2 years with a sparse clientele should stick to DIYing designs until they’ve built credibility serving others worth investing money on.

  • The Service Provider: a self-employed person for over 3 years (possibly served at a professional level before becoming self-employed) inherently a jack of all trades and thinking about getting more clients, should start with marketing: identifying the needs of those they’re yearning to serve.

  • The Specialist: the professional providing a specific service for years, with a good understanding of who they serve, looking to put themselves online can invest in branding first. Later on, they can allocate money to double down on their brand through experiential marketing tactics and strategic advertising activities.

Your brand (everything about the service you provide) is influenced by your marketing (who you serve), and both are reflected through your advertising. When all elements align perfectly the hand holding part of your marketing can be more effective. But, without an understanding of your business, you’ll be stuck in a situation that leaves you feeling frustrated, calling yourself someone who makes “boss moves” but really a sad representation of what it means to be a boss.


That said, not every “business owner” is in the right position to apply branding, marketing and advertising effectively, in which case the default approach of spammy superficial design work for generic services applies.



I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB **Find your voice with One-Page so you can avoid the type of people who set you up! **Learn more about The One-Page here **Or, Sign up to receive these weekly articles in your inbox if you’re not quite ready to work with me yet. And please share my article if you liked it

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