SDS5: Marketing Masterclass with Simon Bell

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SDS5: Marketing Masterclass with Simon Bell 2019-03-05T05:32:54+00:00

SDS5: Marketing Masterclass with Simon Bell


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Simon Dell: Welcome to the Simon Dell Podcast. Now, we’ve got something different this time. As part of my plan for this podcast, I’m planning on releasing what I’m calling masterclasses. These masterclasses are going to take a little bit of a different format. The purpose of the masterclass is for me to walk you through as a business owner or as a marketing manager a marketing plan, walk you through the ability to build your own marketing and business plan. That’s the point of these masterclasses. The idea behind them is that I’m going to break up every step of that plan into a little bite-sized piece that’s maybe 30 minutes or 45 minutes long and share that with you

To do that, I’ve also got Simon Bell back. He appeared in our third episode and he’s going to go look at everything we’re talking about from a more objective point of view. As you may know, he is a business coach. His marketing knowledge may be not as in depth as some of mine and the other people listening to this, but what I’m hoping is that he can give us a really good, objective viewpoint of everything we’re talking about. Does that sound okay, Simon?

Simon Bell: Sounds perfect.

Simon Dell: What we’re going to do is the first step of the masterclass, and the first step that I ever take when I’m working with a client, is to talk about their objectives. The first step we normally discuss and I probably lose track of the amount of times that I talk to clients that don’t have objectives, is understanding what their targets are long-term for their business. I’ll probably throw this straight over to Simon as well because I just wondered if this is just a phenomenon that’s common to me or whether this is something that you see where business owners don’t actually have any sort of hard and fast ideas about where they want to get to with their business.

Simon Bell: It’s not a Simon Dell only phenomenon, that’s one. I think it’s fairly standard across the board. I find it’s either they’ve set objectives or goals in the past, and then they haven’t achieved them, and therefore kind of maybe gotten a bit more conservative in how they set objectives in the future, maybe once bitten twice, shy, didn’t like the experience of failing. Let’s not go through that again and let’s just go through the motions and hope for the best.

Simon Dell: Yes. When I set targets, when I talk to clients about setting targets, I normally try and get them to… The first thing I normally reinforce with them is that you don’t have to hit targets. I know that sounds very strange, but targets can be moving feasts. For example, if you achieve your target in the first six months of the business, you don’t shut down the business and go home. But at the same time, there’s no beating, there’s often reasons for not achieving stretched targets. Targets are living, breathing things. Obviously, they’re there for a reason, but I like people to have a little bit of flexibility in them.

Simon Bell: I agree. I also think the main reason why most people get resigned to the target conversation or the objective conservation is that most of the targets or objectives that I see, lag-based objectives, results-based objectives as opposed to lead measures or actions. I think having a balance of the two there is essential. 

Simon Dell: Do you want to quickly explain those, explain the difference between the two?

Simon Bell: A lead measure or a lead target is something… Is an actionable target, so something that you can directly action. We might be… Let’s talk about it in a marketing sense, and again, Simon, you summed it up well with my marketing knowledge, so excuse my ignorance. But let’s just say for example Facebook followers as an easy one. The result of the outcome would be Facebook followers. Potentially, that’s a lead measure for engagement, which is a lead measure for call to action, or opt ins of some description, or whatever it might be.

But the lead measure would be an actionable task that they could take. So, number of posts, or number of blog posts, or number of podcasts, or whatever it might be. The actions specifically, they can control. And focusing on that as much as the outcomes, or the results-based objectives, or the result-based targets, I find is critical to success.

Simon Dell: There’s lots of different objectives and targets that people can put in place. The other thing I have to suggest is not to just sit there and hang your hat on one particular objective. You don’t want to sit there and go, “Right, we’re going to make a million dollars this year and that’s the be-all and end-all of targets for the year.”

Simon Bell: Totally. I think your targets should be in context to the overall outcome that you want. I’m assuming here in the podcast that we’re talking primarily to small to medium sized companies.

Simon Dell: That’s the idea, but I’d also hope and pray that there’s people in senior marketing roles within bigger organizations that perhaps have to set targets for their team, set targets internally for a team that might have three or four people in it, that might have 15 people in it and upwards. I want to get the psychology of the reason for doing this, and that sort of thing.

Simon Bell: I can definitely profess that those bigger organizations are not my bread and butter. Mine is the small to medium, so I can give context to that. And you could apply it to the bigger organizations. If you’re a marketing manager listening, it’s going to come down to that overall objective. If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur listening to this, one of the first things that I talk about is, “What’s the vision for the company and what do you want to accomplish personally from this enterprise?” and then using that as the context.

I have a little bit more of a warm, fuzzy kind of approach when I’m working with SMEs, especially with the business owners themselves. It’ll be specifically around what your ideal day, or ideal week, or outcome looks like at the end, and then we’re going to work back and add numbers to it, which is then going to in turn give context or scope to those objectives.

Simon Dell: That’s a really good point. I actually have both types that I can think straight away of times when I’ve had both types of those conversations with two different organizations. So, one conversation I had, and I often use this story, was when I was working with a physiotherapist. He had a small practice. I think he had something like five or six staff. He’d owned it. He’d built it up. A lot of loyal customers, there was a Pilates room in it as well, all those kind of things. And I said to him, what did he want to achieve? And he wasn’t focused on numbers, he simply turned around and said, “I want to have Fridays off.”

That, to him, was his goal. And just as you’ve said, we then went, “Right, in order for you to have Fridays off” his bookings were very slow on Mondays and Tuesdays. The outcome and the goal was to sit there and go, “Right. Well, we have to fix that. We have to fix that gap in your business, those Mondays and Tuesdays, because if we can fix that gap on Mondays and Tuesdays, you don’t need to be here on Friday.” Just like you’ve said, we then work back the numbers from that to actually put that all into context.

The second thing, the second conversation that I remember that was very interesting and it will be a client that I no doubt touch on again in the future, but the conversation we had was, “Where do you want to be in five years?” He had a huge business for his business in three separate channels, three separate businesses and brands, and all those kind of things.

He mapped out what he saw in terms of turnover, and size, and sales. Because he went straight for the numbers. The interesting thing was, when we mapped that back and said, “Right, for you to achieve that, you’re going to need these members of staff.” We were talking about taking this organization from a six or seven-person operation up to a 40 to 50-person operation. And that was a very eye-opening realization for him.

Simon Bell: Yeah, reality check.

Simon Dell: Absolutely, because getting that amount of stuff suddenly meant everything he’d been doing in the previous years, the habits that he had needed to change.

Simon Bell: That’s right. He wasn’t going to be able to be the be-all and end-all there. When you’re talking that size organization, you’ve got to learn how to manage people effectively very quickly.

Simon Dell: Absolutely. With six or seven people, it’s a flat structure.

Simon Bell: And everybody knows you.

Simon Dell: Who you are as the boss, all those kind of things. With 50 people, there’s chances are that people will be dealing with the organization and never even know who you as the CEO, or the managing director, or whatever you want to call yourself, is. Do you think there’s a better way of approaching it? Do you think it’s better to think in, as you describe it, the warm and fuzzy space, or do you think it’s better to go, “You know what? Let’s start with the numbers and work that back” or is it just a horses for courses type thing?

Simon Bell: I think people are going to have their own inclination to a certain side of the spectrum. I do believe that we’re emotional creatures. We’re creatures of habit, and feelings, and emotions, and we want to actually accomplish… There’s a fundamental belief that we all want to a sense of belonging and we want to be fulfilled. At the core of that, if you can find something that fulfils that in a business, the hard work doesn’t occur as hard work then. “I’m going to put in hard work in inverted commas.” It doesn’t occur like that because you’re working towards fulfilling a vision or a purpose at a greater level.

Fundamentally, I might be a bit different. I do like to dig a bit deeper with the business owner if I get the opportunity to work with the business owner. I know in your case, Simon, you don’t end with the marketers here, they don’t necessarily get that opportunity, but that’s the sandbox that I like to play in because I then get to dig a bit deeper and say, “Hang on, why are you here? What are you doing? What does it look like to be fulfilled as an entrepreneur?” because it’s all well and good building a multi-million dollar business, but you know and I know so many entrepreneurs that have ‘successful businesses’ that are dramatically happy and just not fulfilled.

I believe life’s too short to operate from that, hence why I lead down that path as opposed to strictly by the numbers.

Simon Dell: When you get those kind of objectives out of a business owner, do you encourage them to write it down, or broadcast it, or is it something that you feel should be in a hardcopy, pinned up on their wall? How do you suggest that they have a relationship with those objectives?

Simon Bell: Their personal objectives?

Simon Dell: Either or. 

Simon Bell: I think they’re different, like you said, horses for courses. I think the personal objectives — I’m a big believer or writing things down on pen and paper, still. I might be old school, but I think there’s something… In fact, I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast yesterday and he was interviewing Walter Isaacson. Fantastic podcast. He was talking about the benefit or therapeutical values of writing it down on pen and paper because there’s a permanency to it, and I related to that so much.

I’m a big believer of getting it down on paper. If it’s the personal aspects, like whether it’s your ideal day, or what you want to fulfil on a personal level, that doesn’t have to be shared, that doesn’t have to be pinned up anywhere. It could be in a journal, or whatever you use to keep a diary, or whatever it might be. But as far as strategic objectives for the team, I think visibility breeds accountability both personally as well as at a team level.

If it’s up, it’s out, it’s public… When I say public, I don’t necessarily mean your clients need to be seeing it, but if you’ve got a team and you’re building a team, then have those strategic objectives up. Have a scoreboard up. People underestimate the value of a scoreboard in a business. I promise you that.

Simon Dell: You call it scoreboard. I’ve seen people refer to it as a scorecard. Explain to me or explain to people listening what a scoreboard is to you. I’ve seen multiple different ones, but I’m just interested to see or understand what it would look like visually. I know we’re at an audio medium here, but…

Simon Bell: I’ll do my best to tell a story. I’ll give you an example. As some of you might know, I used to own the Gold Coast branch of the National College of Business. We had two scoreboards. Obviously, there were scorecard aspects to it. Catching up with my coach, I couldn’t necessarily take these massive glass whiteboards with me.

But I actually had two 1,200 x 700 whiteboards, glass whiteboards. On one was our key score, and that was events coming up with attendance and registrations, it was groups coming up with names on it. At a glance, I could see how we were tracking in reality number of calls made, number of connections made, depending on the different roster. 

Each different department of the business has its own scores. They weren’t all up on the board, but the key scores so that I as the business owner could then come along and, at a glance, in the grand total of two or three minutes, could see how we were tracking. It just allowed me to keep my finger on the pulse. That’s what I mean by scoreboard. And then we had another scoreboard, and you’d relate to it as a scoreboard, which tied in with our theme.

And what I mean by theme, each quarter, we had a particular theme because I believe creating targets is important. I also believe there’s three parts to any game, and that’s context, scores, and actions. And so, context is the theme in which you’re operating from. It could be your core values, or your mission, or whatever it might be. But each quarter, we have a particular theme. And I remember one year, one quarter, we had we called the GC400 which has just passed, but the GC600 is the actual event. But we had a particular target. 400 represented a particular score for us or revenue target.

So, we reproduced a racetrack on the wall. We had the actual GC600 racetrack on the wall, and we have cars, and one car was the blue car was the date of the time frame, basically break the track into 90 days, and the other was the revenue. It was literally a race between the red car and the blue car around this track. And again, it was a visual display of keeping us on target.

Now, some of you listening might think that’s a bit quirky, but I’ll tell you what, it’s enrolling, people love playing it. I believe people love playing games if the games are created effectively. That could be a version of a scoreboard as well.

Simon Dell: That’s fantastic. I think that sort of thing can be applied to any business.

Simon Bell: I’ll tell you the funniest thing, Simon. I had a client who was a very well-known air conditioning company in the western suburbs of Brisbane, and I’ve seen two of his senior aircon techs. They created two teams within the business, and they had a scoreboard which was literally a whiteboard divided into red team, blue team, with circles on it. Every time they did an install, they got to put a smiley face in a circle, and they had 40 circles on both sides, and it was which team could get to the 41st.

I’ve seen senior aircon techs run from the front door to the scoreboard to put a smiley face in a circle. That goes to show you the power of — if it’s created effectively, the power of it.

Simon Dell: That is engagement right there. That is engaging with your team and your staff in the most simplest way. Smiley faces, it doesn’t need any more complexity than that.

Simon Bell: Two dots and a curve.

Simon Dell: That’s fantastic. I think back on my time in a large corporate in the middle of 2000s. They had a scorecard. We used to get a road show, a CEO road show every three months, and they’d come along, and they’d put the scorecard up on a… I was going to say overhead projector, but it’s not that old, they put it off on a laptop, and a projector. They talk through it and we’d all want to strangle ourselves after that, an hour and a half of that. 

The problem was there, it was very corporate. They were trying to cram all this information into a single page to try and made it engaging, and it just failed. 

Simon Bell: The truth probably was he didn’t want to be there doing it as much as you didn’t want to be there.

Simon Dell: I think the takeout from there is, all businesses should have some sort of scorecard or whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t need to be complex, but if you can make it engaging and if you can make it fun, then even better.

The next question I’ve got for you is: How far out do you think people should be planning? Going back to that story earlier on, he was five years ahead of himself. I think the challenge that had occurred with that was that that five years had caused… It was either paralysis right at that point because he was thinking so far ahead that he wasn’t thinking about what’s going to happen next week or what’s going to happen the next three months.

Because it was five years, it failed to inject any sense of urgency in what needed to be done. If you didn’t achieve something this month, that didn’t matter. There was another month next month, and so on and so forth. How far do you… Do you think five years is bad? Or should it be one year? Or should it be a combination of all of those things?

Simon Bell: I think five years in this day and age is far too long. With technological changes, industry shifts, I think five years is just way too far out. I think three years and 12 months, I think three years to kind of create the context of the 12-month objective or game. Three years, 12 months, and then quarterly. We made the mistake, I made the mistake early on, of setting a 12-month game.

It was near impossible to keep it alive, because fundamentally, that’s what you want to be doing. It’s all well and good to set these objectives, but you got to keep it alive and present, which is why I liked to introduced the concept of game because game is when we’re engaging. But trying to keep alive a 12-month game, it’ll be like watching football — your football, not our football. By watching football that went for 3 days, kind of like a Test match.

Simon Dell: Yeah, LeMon 24-hour grand prix.

Simon Bell: It’s just like, “Oh, okay, cool.” And only the die-hard would stick through it. But for the average punter, it was like, ah. People leave stuff at the last minute anyway.

Simon Dell: I’ve always found personally that… I’ve tried to have a five-year plan and it’s failed miserably. What I’ve always found the most effective, and I consistently beat myself up because I don’t do it enough, but I find the 90-day plan are the best because you can put 10 things in there that you want to achieve in 90 days. I think that’s a reasonable expectation within that time frame of doing all the other bits and pieces that you have to do in life.

Yeah, I think five years is too far. Having said that, again, depending on who you are from a business perspective, if you’re a bigger business and you’ve got shareholders, or you’ve got important stakeholders, then a five-year look to the future plan isn’t necessarily bad as long as it’s not the only plan. If you’re having five years, and then you’re breaking them up into year goals, and then you’re breaking those years up into 90-day plans, that could easily work.

Simon Bell: You want to be observant and looking for trends, that’s for sure. And especially, like you said, the bigger the company, the bigger the organization, the further out you want to project. But I definitely wouldn’t get caught up in the need to have a rigorous plan that far out, that’s for sure.

Simon Dell: The next step, the next point that I wanted to make is that one of the things that I find, that I try to say to clients is, when you’re building your plan is to try and gather as much historical data as you can. A lot of people fail to buy into the value of looking what you’ve done in the past to try and draw some plans and conclusions for what you can do in the future. Do you find that a useful exercise?

Simon Bell: As a guide. There’s certain realities. Having said that, what you achieved 12 months ago was 12 months ago, and you’ve got the opportunity now to recreate. As the saying goes, you walk a mile, you see a mile. What you’ve used and what you’ve accomplished inside of the context 12 months ago, how you perceived the business, and your knowledge, your understanding of the marketplace, that could be vastly different 12 months on.

Simon Dell: I’ll give you an example of where I’ve seen it be useful. Because if you’ve got an organization that’s a sales-focused organization, the key for me is for them to understand how much revenue a single salesperson can generate. For them to sit there and go, “Right, we think it’s a reasonable expectation that any salesperson that we’ve got on earning $70,000 a year can generate 10 times their own salary in sales.” Those are just random numbers. Anybody’s got sales out there, they sell stuff out, they don’t start panicking that they’re not doing that.

Simon Bell: “They’re not doing 10 times!”

Simon Dell: “They’re doing two!” If they’re doing, then you probably have got a bit of concern on your hand. But that’s how I think historical data can be used, to sit there and say, “Look, here’s how we’ve performed in the past. Here’s some rules about our business. Here’s some things that we can change and here’s some things that we can’t change that are almost givens in the business.”

Simon Bell: I agree with that.

Simon Dell: That’s how I think people can use that historical data in the past. Another good example would be where you look at a busy period in your Google Analytics data, your web data, to understand trends in your business to go, “If we’re going to need extra staff, or short-term staff, or we’re going to need to overinvest in quiet periods from a marketing perspective, then here’s where all those quiet periods are.” You might be slow in December and January.

Simon Bell: That’s the example I was just about to use. Like, Christmas coming up, it never seizes to amaze me. In January, people go, “Oh, December was quiet.” Okay, well, Christmas is the same time every year, what did you do differently? Did you plan for it? “No, I don’t know. Nothing.”

Simon Dell: Do you know what? Again, I’ve known big businesses that suddenly get, “Oh, we’re having a quiet January.” And you sort of go, “Well, January’s quiet every year.”

Simon Bell: Historically. That’s a good example of historical. And also setting targets around that. That’s probably a really good example, actually. If you know December and January is quiet, don’t set your marketing and sales targets to be the same as June if June is your most profitable or biggest year, biggest month, be unrealistic.

Simon Dell: Absolutely. The last thing I wanted to touch on with objectives for this episode is budgets and investment. This absolutely echoes. If people don’t have business targets, the chance of them actually having a marketing budget are slim to none. Is there any rules that you’ve seen about how people should think about their budgets? I’ve often seen businesses where they go, “Right, we should be spending 25% on terms of cost of goods, 25% on staff, 25% of our turnover on overheads, and then 25% should be profit.” Is that still true in this day and age?

Simon Bell: That’s a really good question. This is a question that comes up a lot, especially with business owners that have been going for five or six years. “I think we’re doing well because we’re spending X and that’s what I think is the right thing.” The best tool that I’ve come across is industry benchmarks. Talk to your accountants. They all generally have it.

The ATO have industry benchmarks that are publicly available. Please don’t quote me on this, but word on the street is that’s what they use to flag audits as far as if your marketing expense is outside of their benchmark, or your client meetings, or whatever it might be. It’s probably not as in-depth as maybe the one you’d get from your accounting firm.

I know there’s companies that specialize in it. And I find it really good because they actually may not have every business, but they’ve got ones that are relative to pretty much every business. The ones that I used to use back at the National College of Business was they would have let’s call it a digital agency, marketing agency.

And they would say marketing agency with revenue between $0 and $150,000, marketing agency for revenue for $150,000 to $500,000, and marketing agency of $500,000 onwards, or whatever it might be, because that might vary in the different percentages of what you should and shouldn’t be spending on certain things. But in the context of marketing, I’m always a believer of, and I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, allowable acquisition costs and lifetime value of a client.

Simon Dell: I think what we’re going to do is we’re going to touch on customer and lifetime value in the next masterclass because I think we’ve got enough here to sum up for this one. But what I do want to finish on is my understanding of a marketing budget. I always walk into clients and they go, “Right, we want to do this and this.” And obviously, when you’ve used to run a marketing agency, or even now as a consultant, I sit there and go, “Right, what’s your budget?”

Because we can achieve anything that you want if you’re going to throw the money at it. But let’s be realistic here and let’s go, you’re not going to throw anything at it because you don’t have that money and you don’t have that cash flow to be able to do that. So, let’s be realistic with what we want to invest in. And so, I then say, “What’s your budget?”

And then the first thing they do is answer a question with a question and say, “Well, what should we spend?” And then you all end up in there in this kind of Wild West scenario where you’re both looking at each other as your eyes are kind of closing slightly. You’re trying to suss them out how much money they’ve got. They’re trying to suss you out how expensive you’re going to be, et cetera.

I’m now more about the transparency and I turn around to people and say, “Okay, I’ll give you a benchmark and I’m going to say somewhere between 5 to 10% of your turnover should be invested in your marketing.” And there’s some caveats around that, is that 5% to me is the benchmark. Every dollar you spend we will want to see that return to your business 20 times over. If you’re doing things right, that’s a good benchmark.

If you’re in a slightly faster growing mode or you want to overinvest to grow your business faster, you probably want to be close to the 10% than the 5%.

Simon Bell: Yeah. And you mentioned 20% there. Is that a realistic…

Simon Dell: No. Sorry, 5 to 10%.

Simon Bell: And then you want to get 20 times, I should say.

Simon Dell: Oh, 20 times. Again, that’s what I would think of as a reasonable target, spending a dollar to make $20. There’s a lot of factors in that, but having said that, I’d be turning around and say, “If I could spend $10 and make $100, I’d be happy with that as well.”

But once you get fine-tuned, once you’re really nurturing your leads, and you’re nurturing your existing customers and all those kind of things, especially if you’re really good at nurturing your existing customers, and you’re getting them to return over and over again, then those costs drop down quite considerably because nurturing the existing customer is a lot cheaper than going and finding a new customer.

So, somewhere between 5 to 10%. However, I then go, some of the bigger brands, some of the franchisees would spend up to 14%. There’s some major retail brands that will be spending 14-15% of their annual turnover on branding, and marketing, and all those kind of things. I’ve also spoken to a lot of building companies and industrial companies, where their marketing expense is around about 2 or 3%. Generally, they’re in a team putting tenders together because that’s their marketing.

I think one of the points I wanted to make here is, a lot of people don’t understand where they’re spending money on marketing. A huge construction business I spoke to once didn’t understand this. And I said to them, they go, “Oh, look, we don’t spend any money on marketing.” And I’m like, “Really?” They said, “No. We don’t spend any money on marketing.” And I sort of said, “Well, who is doing all your tenders?” And then they go, “Oh, well, obviously, we’ve got a team doing tenders.”

I said, “Well, that’s marketing, isn’t it?” And they went, “Well, okay, yeah, but we don’t spend any more money than that.” And I looked at their window and there’s a giant truck, or van, or something out there with their logo, and blazing across the side, the guy sitting opposite me in a table with a branded shirt on. There’s brochures on the tables and things like that, and I’m going, “What about your shirts, and your trucks, and your brochures? Who is doing all those?”

And they go, “Obviously, we do those as marketing.” People don’t sometimes understand where they’re spending marketing dollars. I’ve seen that happen so many times. Have you seen that as well?

Simon Bell: All the time. That’s the best example you could’ve given. So, what about your $150,000 year estimators that assuming they’re full-time? You’re actually spending $450,000 worth of marketing every year.

Simon Dell: They don’t get that. But going back to the original point there, in terms of sitting there, saying to people, “If you’re going to think about putting a marketing budget together and you’re actually going to take this seriously in terms of growing your business, once you’ve put your targets together, then let’s see how much money we’ve got to spend to start achieving those targets.”

I always say to people, that 5 to 10% is your area to play in. And then the challenge I say to them is that you’re not going to spend that 5% evenly across the year. As we’ve mentioned, you might be quiet in December and January, so let’s think about where we’re going to overinvest the budget because we know that there’s a lot more prospects out there, there’s a lot more chance of you winning business.

That, to me, is how I envisage a marketing budget. Again, I know you’re not going granular detail with marketing budgets, but is that the sort of thing that you would see out there?

Simon Bell: Yeah. Depending on who is listening to this, if you’re listening as a marketing manager for a bigger company, then obviously, this is basic bananas. But if you’re an SME, I think what you’ve just said there, Simon, is absolute gold. I think there’s that many people out there — because I don’t see that. I don’t see people going or coming up with a 5% of revenue equation and putting that money aside.

I’d love to see that. I’m sure you would, too. In fact, as you were saying it, I was like, one of the things I’m an advocate for with business owners, with SMEs in particular, is sub accounts and managing cash flow effectively. Because especially from a marketing perspective, and what I was visualising in my head as you were saying that, was literally a sub account with 5% weekly or monthly getting transferred in that particular marketing account.

I know it’s something we had with StaffBerry. We had a marketing account specifically for… In fact, that was a marketer’s dream because it was my mission. I had to spend it every quarter. I had to spend it. Because if I didn’t spend it, I wasn’t obviously working on my lead measures.

Simon Dell: I love that idea of a sub account. I think that’s perfect because there is nothing more ridiculous than seeing a business turn around to you and say, “It’s really slow at the moment so we’re not going to spend any money on marketing.” You just go, “That’s the reason you’re slow.” And you say it through gritted teeth and slap your forehead with your palm.

And I think if you take that route that you’ve suggested there, there is money there. It’s tucked away. It might be 6% one quarter or 4% another quarter, you adjust it accordingly, but there’s then no excuse for not investing even if times are quiet or if times are busy.

Simon Bell: Yes, and if you start to relate to it like the life, which it is, it is the life blood of a business, sales and marketing, it’s kind of like… Again, and this is just coming to me now as an opportunity to really empower business owners as well, is that money… Consider that money is already spent. Put that 5 to 10% or whatever it is that you want to budget aside like your GST, your PAYG, and your superannuation which should be in a sub account. And if you’re listening and you don’t have a sub account for that…

Simon Dell: Yes that’s seven years of mistakes there mate. Let’s not push that up again for me.

Simon Bell: Please the amount of times. But anyway, consider that money already spent investing.

Simon Dell: Absolutely. What I want to do is recap those points from today. I’ll recap them, Simon, if you want to just shout out at any point, go right ahead. The first thing I want to say to people, and these are lessons that I want people to take away and actually action. Number one, I want people to have to think about business targets, think about what they’re trying to achieve. Don’t overplay it with a five-year goal. Just maybe have some long-term goals but let’s start thinking about breaking up your business into 90-day or quarterly targets, quarterly objectives.

I’m sure everybody out there has heard of smart objectives and all those kind of things, but let’s make sure they’re things that you can achieve. Get some targets together. And you might have targets that you want to put up on the wall that the whole team can see. You might just have targets that you want to keep to yourself. The second thing is go and look back at some of the historical data that you have access to, be that Google Analytics, be that P&Ls, or sales data, all those kind of things.

Use that data to see if there’s any trends that you can discover, any useful information that will help you plan for the next 90 days, or the next year, or the next 2 years, whatever it is. There is huge amount of data in there. The other thing I’ll quickly touch on is that there’s a lot of industry data out there as well. You don’t necessarily have to be using your data to understand the trend in the industry. You can find industry reports and so on and so forth.

The last thing I want to add in there is think about your marketing budget. Think about it as an actual number, as a percentage of your overall turnover. Think of it going into a sub account, sub bank account in the same way that you would pay your PAYG, and your GST, and your super, and put that money aside so that it’s always there, so if times are slow, you’ve got budget to spend to generate your business. If times are busy, you’ve got budget to make it even busier and make sure those slow times never actually happen.

That’s summing up the points that I wanted to make for today. Any kind of last words or other things that you’d like to add onto there, Simon?

Simon Bell: Just the one that I want to add in there is: Visibility breeds accountability. Get those objectives up on the scoreboard. Get them visible for your teams, and obviously, be responsible for what gets displayed. That’s for you as well as for the business owner.

Simon Dell: That finishes up our first masterclass. We hope you found that useful. We are going to intersperse these. I know me and Simon enjoy doing them. We enjoy imparting some knowledge out there. Please check back. Please follow the masterclasses, and hopefully, you’ll get the opportunity to start building your own business plan, your own marketing plan, from them. Finally, please, if you get a chance, review this podcast. You can follow us on The Simon Dell Show on Instagram. I’m available on all sorts of social media channels: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Simon Bell, you’re available on where?

Simon Bell: LinkedIn.

Simon Dell: LinkedIn, so if you want to talk to either of us, you’ll find us easily on LinkedIn. Other than that, we hope to see you tune in to the next masterclass. Thank you.

Simon Bell: Cheers.

For more transcriptions of the Simon Dell Show click here: Marketing Podcasts