Marketing can seem like a big, squishy, mystifying concept. Some of our clients start out skeptical of it. The first thing we do is correct some misconceptions.

Marketing doesn't have to be flashy or complicated. Marketing is spreading the word and giving people a chance to care. And the best way to up your marketing game is to double down on what's already working.

Before we guide clients through our step-by-step process for creating a marketing plan, we go through Balernum's 20 Stories marketing exercise. I'd like to explain how that looked for one of our favorite clients and then give you the template for free.

Meet Perry, Mr. Skeptical Himself

Fourteen years ago, Perry founded a now thriving high-end construction company. During our first call, I think Perry was worried that I was going to do the smoke-and-mirrors thing and try to convince him he needed to invest in display ads or HubSpot.

Don't get me wrong... PPC ads and HubSpot can be incredibly effective for the right businesses in the right growth stages with the right funnels in place.

That approach, however, would not be effective for Perry's target audience. Wealthy homeowners and very high-end interior designers do not click on display ads on their way to dropping $500,000 on a kitchen renovation.

That's why the pitch Perry had heard from a marketing agency in his city had left a bad taste. The account executive wanted Perry to follow his company's one-size-fits-all program. It was like the guy hadn't listened to a word he said: "My prospects don't research this decision online. They ask around and get recommendations from colleagues or architects or high-end builders."

Furthermore, why would Perry stop doing things that are working in order to start trying unproven strategies and tactics?

That just doesn’t make sense. 

Perry wanted to put most of his effort and dollars toward better scaffolding for already successful strategies. Meanwhile, he wanted to run one or two fun marketing experiments, including reaching minimum credibility on Instagram. You never know what can happen...

Sustainability, not Massive Growth

Perry's other concern was being talked into doing "marketing things" that would require him to go from 40-50 hours to 60-70 per week. Perry doesn't want what the cool kids call MASSIVE GROWTH.

He wants to grow 8% year over year. He wants to get home at a reasonable time to be with his wife and young children. He wants to grow his company, but he wants that growth to be sustainable.

Do you resonate with Perry's skepticism or concerns? I know I did.

If you want to bring more sanity, common sense, and sustainability to your marketing, I recommend that you go through Balernum's 20 Stories marketing exercise.

Try Balernum's 20 Stories marketing exercise.

Make a list of your last 20 sales or new customers and tell a short story about each one:

  • How did that customer find her way to you?
  • Why did she ultimately decide to buy?
  • What did she buy?
  • How much did she pay?

(If you’re an overachiever, you can also use the same exercise for your last 20 missed opportunities and dig up insights there too.)

20 Stories will help you pay attention to what wants to happen. You will notice emerging patterns.

For example, what if all of your best referrals come from a single referral partner? Why not buy that person a gift to simply say, “We noticed. Thank you.”?!

That’s what Perry did, by the way.

Or what if most of your recent growth came from re-marketing new services to existing clients?

Maybe you need to find a simple way to keep your customers in the know. Email drip sequences exist for that very reason.

????Anyway, here is the 20 Stories GSheet template you can download and use, for free????

I dare you to take yourself through this exercise and not learn something that has the potential to break your marketing wide open.

Be honest.

However, if you already know that you won’t make the time to do this on your own, then grab 30 minutes in our calendar:

You can tell us what you’d like to see happen in 2020, and we can share a bit about the process Balernum uses to come alongside clients and create common-sense, realistic, actionable marketing plans.