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Marketing Planning the easy way

couple looking at fresh food inside a market

One thing I’ve been thinking about is how the COVID pandemic is changing how we do business. It is now more the norm for a toddler to do cameos during a teleconference call. I, for one, feel more comfortable saying to potential clients, hey, my 3-year-old son may want to say hi. I have read several articles recently that people are speculating that these sorts of changes may remain permanent. This means that not only are the ways we conduct business may be changing, but also that how we do marketing may also change.

One of the biggest ways that I think marketing is changing is how we get our marketing plans. Because trends shift so quickly, our plans need to be flexible. But who has the time and resources to change on a dime a marketing plan. Well, actually, you do. I think that I’ve come up with a way to do it that will provide the flexibility, while remaining time and cost effective for you.
How do I know I can do this? I’ve done it before. I helped a grassroots political group gain the attention of international press, which years later they are still reaping the benefits from. One thing that we had to do was shift quickly.

I’m tentatively calling this marketing planning: marketing planning the easy way — just like plug-n-play. It seems catchy. I’m going to go with that for now.

Basics of Marketing Planning Plug-N-Play

The basics of the plug-n-play is that you have a strategy for the marketing plan, you pick a goal; you pick a tactic; you implement the tactic, and you measure the results. (Then you evaluate the results, tweak, and repeat). 

Strategy

In the chapter I wrote for the Indie Writing Wisdom*, I talked about the customer’s purchasing decision stages. So, marketing helps a potential customer to go from wanting to read a book to buying your book to read.

I also talked about branding in the chapter, but I didn’t go into it as deeply as I have and will continue to do so. Branding is not easily categorized. Using the steps that I outlined in the chapter of the Indie Writing Wisdom, branding is a strategy, goal, and tactic. It fits every step. Beginning in (probably) February, I’ll begin adding workshops on branding. I wrote a little about how branding is basically its own thing, but really I could write volumes on it.

There’s an area that I didn’t talk about in the chapter: relationship marketing. You’ve seen things about this. It’s the sales funnel where you give a freebie in order to introduce yourself to a potential customer and slowly build a relationship with that customer. It’s also part of the reader magnet marketing plans.

Starting this January 2021, I’ll be putting on virtual workshops on this marketing planning plug-n-play, where you’ll not only leave with valuable information but also a marketing plan you can do.

Goal

You choose your goal by narrowing down what you’re targeting from the strategies. So if you’re going to target the purchasing decision process and want to help customers in the evaluation stage, you may offer a free chapter of a book or a free sample or a free session. That way the potential customer or client can see if they like what you have to offer. To pick a goal, you pick a specific part of the strategy. When you write up your goal, you’ll want to make sure that it is countable. So if you’re targeting the evaluation stage, your goal may be: get 10 downloads of my free eBook this month. That way you can tell if your marketing campaign was successful or not.

Tactic

Tactics are how you go about accomplishing your goals. I talked about this in the chapter of the Indie Writing Wisdom. I also list them in the post Marketing: A Primer.

Implementation

This is where you plan doing what you’re going to do. So if you’re planning on using social media to promote your eBook for download, then you’ll want to plan out what images you’ll be using, what captions/text you’ll be using, and what hashtags you’ll be using. You’ll also want a posting schedule.

Measure

When you create your goal, you want to make sure that it is something that you can count. Here you look at the numbers and evaluate what they mean. You may need to change your tactics, implementation, or your expectations.

*Affliate link. Proceeds will be donated to the Encephalitis Society.

And, that’s basically the framework.

Beginning in January, I’ll be giving workshops where I’ll not only go over in more detail what the purchasing decision process, branding, and relationship marketing are, but also be using a worksheet that I have developed to get an action plan to get started on a marketing campaign.

Speaking of workshops, I’ll also be giving a workshop on how to reuse the great stuff you came up with while you were working on your elevator speech. I’m all about recycling and reusing, so that you can get back to doing the things that you love and make you money. 

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©2020 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved. Copyright notice: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

Disclaimer: Any articles, templates, or information provided by Michelle Raab Marketing on the website are for reference only. While we strive to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the website or the information, articles, templates, or related graphics contained on the website. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. 

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Do people use brands because their family does? Intergenerational Brand Loyalty

The other day I went to my living room to retrieve my laptop, and to my horror, I found the aftermath of some insect war. Carpenter ants lay dead on top of my laptop. A few struggling for their last gasps of breath. A lone soldier crawled around the battlefield. The horror of the scene only grew as I noticed on the floor around the end table was an even more macabre scene, too grotesque to describe.

Enter my husband. I won’t describe the comedy of marital negotiations that followed as we tried to figure out what we should do next. We settled on calling the exterminator. But which one to use? I remember that my parents, who used to live in Hawaii where the insects were most hardy, had good luck with the Xterminators (I made up that name, but they did use a real company). The Xterminators rid my parents home of the infestation of hell-spawn minions some may misprize by calling insects. So I thought, let’s call in the Xterminators.

This begs the questions. How loyal are people to brands across generations? To answer that, I’ve decided to do a little digging. After using “intergenerational brand loyalty” only to find the different between generations on brand loyalty, I found the magical keyword combo: intergenerational brand transfer.

In one study[1], it was found that amongst mother-daughter pairs transmitted more brand loyalty than father-son, but this is just one study. Does this happen a lot? It happened with me, but has this been found amongst a lot of studies.

Why would I ask if it happens in a lot of studies? The simplest answer is that people are complicated. Sometimes results happen in one study because the people they happen to be studying were different than the general population. For example, you probably would get different answers on whether or not the most current incarnation of the Doctor on the sci-fi series Dr. Who was the best or not, depending on who you were talking to. Sci-fi fans may have different opinions than those who don’t watch sci-fi. Even amongst sci-fi fans there may be differences in groups. Star Trek fans may have differing opinions than die-hard Dr. Who fans. Star Trek fans may have more variation in their answers, where their opinions were all over the place. Die-hard Dr. Who fans may be more polarized.

If you don’t like sci-fi, then insert your favorite television shows.

The answer is yes, at least in one situation. I’m going to keep digging. I’ll give an update as I find more information.

©2020 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved. Copyright notice: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

[1] Hussain, Khalid and Siddiqui, Kamran, Women Dyads Have Higher IGI on Brand Preferences (March 4, 2016). Sci.Int.(Lahore),28 (1),509-512,2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2742333

You can get started here on developing your marketing plan, or email me with any questions.

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Disclaimer: Any articles, templates, or information provided by Michelle Raab Marketing on the website are for reference only. While we strive to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the website or the information, articles, templates, or related graphics contained on the website. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. 

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Branding Research: Part 2 of 2

In part one, I talked about how a brand is more than just a logo for a company, product, or service. It’s the story of your business, products, and services. This story is told by you, through your promotion, your products and services, and how you interact with your customers. Your story is also told by the individuals who consume your products and services, and by the community of consumers. 

In this post, I’m going to be talking about the research that explains how this story is told and how this story is understood

The second part, how the story is understood, is key to how people decide to purchase goods and services. Branding plans should, therefore, be informed by knowledge of how people make purchasing decisions and how brands affect those decisions. This, and future posts, will shed light on this.

Why do we purchase the things that we do? What makes us choose one brand over another? Although you as a seller of products or services are coming from a place of wanting to truly understand branding, you also have to look at purchasing from the consumer’s perspective.

If you think about purchasing from the consumer’s perspective, which shouldn’t be hard since we are all consumers, the story of brands takes on a new perspective. Brands act as beacons for things we can purchase that will enhance our lives. Brands are like potential friends. Some we will connect with, and some we won’t. 

As sellers of products or services, this may seem a bit scary for, because we may think: what if I don’t connect with anyone? I know that you will. What you have to offer is more than your product or service, it’s you. And you add tremendous value to whatever you are offering.  

The key to branding is making sure that the story that you tell is authentic to you. The science of how that story is transmitted is both fascinating and also helps to be mindful and intentional in how we plan and execute our branding.

Although this post does not cover all areas of research on brands, it is a good foray into the research. 

These perspectives are from,

  • cognitive psychology,
  • social psychology,
  • cultural sociology,
  • and neuroscience.

Marketing Research: Science of why we buy

There are a number of branches in science (both biology and social science) that have examined brands. Marketing, as a science, began in 1959, where there was a call for a systematic methodology in examining how marketing works.[i]Research in branding also began in the 1950s.[ii] This was in the area of psychology, specifically cognitive psychology.[iii],[iv]

Branding research began in the 1950s with branding choice[v], why a consumer would choose one brand over another. There was a lot of debate over the next couple of decades with each new theory becoming more complex.

Cognitive psychology and brands

Cognitive psychology looks at how an individual thinks, makes decisions, remembers things, among other functions of the mind. When looking at the questions of how a person thinks about brands and how that leads to making a purchase decision, the question for the cognitive psychologist is to look at what is going on inside a person’s mind. Cognitive psychology, to reiterate, looks at how a person thinks about a brand and makes a purchase decision. When you come across research that is looking at decision making, it is most likely coming out of cognitive psychological research.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that the notion of customer loyalty entered into the picture,[vi] where a consumer’s past purchasing behavior was thought to have anything to do with future purchasing behavior. This may seem like common sense. 

If a customer liked a product before, they will probably buy that product brand again, but if you think about your own purchasing behavior, sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s not. This is why science looks at these questions to try and figure out when it would be true and when it wouldn’t, so that we can predict future behavior. This is one of the things that the Amazon algorithms is based on, predicting purchasing behavior.

In the 1990s, a researcher, named Kevin Lane Keller, looked at not only how a consumer thought about brands but also how they felt about the brands.[vii] This may seem to be over dramatic to say, but it was huge that someone brought feelings into the equation. I spared you the mathematical formulas predicting consumer branding choice in my earlier paragraphs. Let me assure you, there are lots of formulas. In those formulas, there wasn’t a bit about how a consumer felt. In the social sciences, decisions were usually looked at as rational, logical processes. It has been a mind-blowing experience for many in the social sciences to consider that decisions are often (if not mostly) based on feelings. So, this was huge. 

Take away about marketing science research

Every new study adds a layer of understanding to a particular thing, which in our case is branding. Unless a conclusion is outright disproven, each new study sheds more light on what we are looking at. For example, at first marketing science researchers only looked at how people chose a brand, then they looked at if a brand was previously chosen if that influences the next purchase (customer loyalty), and then they looked at how feelings influenced decisions. These are all building blocks for our understanding today, which will then be built upon in years to come.

Take away from cognitive psychology

When you are thinking about how an individual person will decide whether or not to purchase your product or service, this is going to be a decision process happening in their mind. Part of the decision may stem from logic. Part of it may stem from feelings. Cognitive psychology assumes that the brand has a fixed meaning, that is, a relatively fixed story that comes from the seller.[viii] Other perspectives added to this field by looking at what individuals and communities added to the stories.

When you see tactics that seem to be trying to increase your likeability, they are targeting the feeling part of the purchase decision making process. 

Social psychology and branding research

In a nutshell, social psychology looks at how an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others. The question that social psychology looks at for branding is how the brand is interpreted by the consumers. The focus is how the brand’s story is delivered by the seller and then how the story is interpreted by the consumer. Where cognitive psychology just looks at the story being delivered, social psychology looks at the brand as being the result of a conversation[ix].

Take away from social psychology

When you are creating your branding plan, you should keep in mind that the story about your brand isn’t just created by you. 

It’s also created by your consumers, meaning that reviews also create your brand’s story, as does the media, bloggers, podcasters, and what people tell each other about your brand. 

You can influence your story through the quality of your products, your customer service, and creating communities where you can build good relationships with your customers.

Cultural sociology

Cultural sociology looks at the different parts of a culture. Culture is the combination of unspoken rules, art, language, economy, religion, hierarchy, government, and more. Unspoken rules are like things we do that aren’t written down, but we all know we are supposed to do, like waiting in line is the custom in some places and not in others. From a cultural sociological perspective, brands are looked at as how are they integrated in a culture. 

For example, if you were looking at upper class east coast people, you might expect for them to wear certain kinds of clothes and use certain brands of clothes. If you’re talking about someone who is in the west and lives in a more rural environment, they might wear different clothes and buy different brands of clothes. The clothes are a part of the culture. 

Take away of cultural sociology and brands

Brands become a part of a culture and has meaning within that culture. When we create branding plans, we have to keep in mind that the target audience has a culture that will interpret the brand in a certain way. There have been a lot of marketing mishaps that have occurred when culture wasn’t properly accounted for. One example is Kentucky Fried Chicken. The tagline “finger licking good” got translated to “eat your fingers off.” Another example, If you run across news of an advertisement being tone-deaf, then this would be a marketing mishap that didn’t take into account cultural issues properly.  

Neuroscience and branding

What neuroscience looks at is how the brain works when we are thinking, feeling, and doing things to answer the question of which part of the brain does what. One way that this is looked at is by looking at blood flow. The idea is that with more blood flow in an area, then that area is the part most likely associated with a specific function.  

One way that neuroscientists try to uncover what the brain is doing is by looking at how the brain works doing one thing, and then seeing how the brain works doing another. They look for similarities and differences in brain activity. This has uncovered some startling things about brands.

In Buyology (not an affiliate link), one experiment looked to see how we experience brands. There was an experiment to see if people really liked two different cola brands: Coke versus Pepsi. It was a two-stage experiment. 

The first stage volunteers were given the two colas and asked which ones they liked. Most said that they liked Pepsi, and the area of the brain that is associated with liking the taste of something lit up. So, they said that they liked Pepsi and their brains agreed with them. Cool.

In the second stage of the experiment people were told which cola they were tasting before they took a sip. So, one sip Coke. One sip Pepsi. Then the volunteers were asked which cola they preferred. Most said Coke. Wait, what? Were these groups just that different in their preference? Uh, no. The brain activity was much different than in the first experiment, meaning what they were thinking and feeling was different. Instead of just registering a taste that they liked (like the first stage), their brain’s activity increased in another area associated with higher level thinking. The conclusion of the experiment was that the volunteers were wrestling with the actual preferred taste (for most, Pepsi like in the first stage) and the brand with which they had the most emotional connection (for most, Coke). Coke won out because of its branding, [x] the stories told by the company and the volunteers (the consumers). 

Circling back to the cognitive psychology research that showed that emotions were part of the purchasing decision process, neuroscience has shown how that plays out in our brains. Rationally, most people should have chosen Pepsi, because that was the taste that they actually preferred, but the emotional attachment to Coke was stronger. We do use our emotions to make purchasing decisions. Branding was not only the story told by the cola companies, but also the emotional attachment the consumers felt from the stories told within their culture. The branding, the story told by the seller and the consumers, had a powerful effect on the purchasing decision.

Take away from neuroscience and branding

We are taking an inside look into how we make purchasing decisions. Emotions play a huge part in our purchasing decisions. Making sure that people feel a certain way is vital when doing branding marketing.

So how does all of this fit together for branding marketing plans?

When you’re creating your branding marketing plans, you are trying to convey your story. Your values. Your reason for selling the products or services. This is what makes you unique, but it does something more. 

The most important goal for conveying your story is to create a feeling with your potential customers or clients. I emphasize with my clients that they should be authentic when telling their story. Why? Because the feeling that is conveyed when they are authentic is that you are getting to know a person and not some business entity. 

In purchasing a product or service, you’re getting human connection. The feeling of human connection is a very powerful one. 

I also emphasize with my clients to promote why they are offering the product or service, as much as what they are offering. It’s the why that potential customers will connect with. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave your questions in the comments below or email me.

©2020 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved. Copyright notice: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

You can get started here on developing your marketing plan, or email me with any questions.

References:

  • [i] Gordon, R. A. and J. E. Howell (1959). Higher education for business, New York: Columbia University Press.
  • [ii] Russell S Winer. The History of Marketing Science: 3 (World Scientific-Now Publishers Series in Business) (p. 19). Wspc/Now. Kindle Edition.
  • [iii]  The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology) (p. 209). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition. 
  • [iv] Russell S Winer. The History of Marketing Science: 3 (World Scientific-Now Publishers Series in Business) (p. 19). Wspc/Now. Kindle Edition.
  • [v] Russell S Winer. The History of Marketing Science: 3 (World Scientific-Now Publishers Series in Business) (p. 19). Wspc/Now. Kindle Edition.
  • [vi] Guadagni, P. M. and J. D. C. Little (1983). A logit model of brand choice calibrated on scanner data, Marketing Science, 2(Summer), 203–238.
  • Russell S Winer. The History of Marketing Science: 3 (World Scientific-Now Publishers Series in Business) (p. 43). Wspc/Now. Kindle Edition.
  • [vii] Keller, K. L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 1–31.
  • The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology) (p. 228). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
  • [viii] The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology) (p. 212). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
  • [ix] Holt, D. B. (2003). Brands and branding. Harvard Business School Teaching Note (N9–503–045).
  • [x] Lindstrom, M. (2010). Buy ology: Truth and lies about why we buy. Currency, p. 26-27.
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Branding Research: Part 1 of 2

For those who need to see the big picture, this will help you to understand how branding works to better in creating, curating, monitoring, and maintaining your brand.

Part 1

This is the first part of a two-part blog post. In this post, I will be giving an overview of this peak into branding research and discussing what a “brand” is, which is more than just a logo.

The notion of a brand can seem amorphous partly because of the ubiquitous use of the word. This makes it hard for people to think about their own brand. I’ve talked with a lot of solopreneurs and indie writers who are at a loss when they are trying to create their branding plans. I think that part of this is because there’s confusion about what a brand is. 

I think that looking at an overview of the research is good to understand what a brand is so that you can create and curate your own brand. This is especially true for people who need an overview before they can delve into creating or enacting an action plan.

This is by no means comprehensive, but more introductory look into the research.

I talked a little about what a brand is in my post Marketing: A Primer and in my post Branding: Starting from Scratch. Both posts were informed by research, but I didn’t discuss what that research was. So far, I’ve described branding as the story of your product, service, or company as told by you, your community of customers, and as individual customers. In this post, I’m going to go a bit deeper into what a brand is.

Let’s start with a little bit about why we want to look at brands – because the brand is often why a consumer buys a product or service and not just because of what the product or service does; it’s function.

What consumers are buying

“A world without brands would be a very boring world indeed.”[i] ~ Jill AveryAnat Keinan.

Meaning Based Assets

Brands can be called “meaning-based assets.[ii]” When people use products or services, those products and services become much more than just the needs and wants that the product or service fills. Embedded in the brand itself there is a story. That story becomes part of the life of the person who uses the product or service.[iii] Part of who they are becomes associated with that brand. Not all brands and not all products. But the point is that products and services can have a deeper meaning for the person consuming it, than just fulfilling a need. That added meaning is sometimes just below our awareness. Why do you pick one brand of toothpaste over another? Are they really that different? 

The meaning is the story that is embedded in the product’s brand. You may buy one cleaner over another because the company that makes the cleaner donates some proceeds to the wildlife fund, which is something that you support. So, you feel good about buying that cleaner because you are helping wildlife. Everytime you use the cleaner the thought that you’re helping wildlife may be a tickle of a thought in your mind.

The term “assets” refer to brands are a thing. I lightly touched on that in in my post Branding: Starting from Scratch. Calling a brand an asset also emphasizes that this thing has value. There is a value that it has for the product seller, and there is a value that the brand has for the consumer.

The value that a brand brings is that “brands are not about what you do, but what you enable people to do. Brands are about people, not products.”[iv]

The most important value of a brand is what it does for the consumer. Whatever it is that makes a product or service unique (because of what you do) is what makes the product or service uniquely valuable to the customer

When you create your brand, you are creating a story that will resonate with those who are purchasing your product or service. Those who become repeat customers or fans, what they are saying is that they are embracing your story on a very personal level. In this way, your brand becomes a part of their story. This highlights the very personal nature of branding, which is in part building relationships with your customers or clients.

This is one of the reasons that it is so important to tell your story through your promotions, so that those who will resonate with your story are able to find you to connect with you. 

Keeping in mind that your brand becomes a part of your consumers’ lives shifts the focus from just your business to your customers. Your business, then, becomes an act of service to those your brand resonates with. When you see taglines that include “serving your neighborhood since … “ that tag line is speaking to that service. Yes, you are making a living selling your product or service, but you are also doing it to enhance the lives to whom you are selling.

Branding to help showcase differences between similar services and products

Branding helps consumers to tell the difference in similar products or services that may be a better fit. 

Let’s say that there are two life coaches that have very different ways of asking questions. One is more matter-of-fact, which may appeal more to some. The other is more spiritual, which may appeal more to others. One coach is going to be a better fit for a group of potential clients, which the other coach will be a better fit for another group of potential clients. This also circles back to brand position. You can create a market, a niche market, based on your unique approach, even if the service or product is similar to another. I will talk more about brand positioning in future blog posts.

As product and service sellers, the more nuanced of an understanding we have on what a brand is and how that leads to the very pragmatic question of sales, the better we are able to create and curate our brands, and differentiate ourselves from others.  

The Research: Preview of Part 2

In the part 2 of this post, I’m going to talk about four different perspectives of branding in research, a little about the history of that research, and gives some hints on how that applies to you. Some of the perspectives will resonate more with you than others. Each time we look at the same thing from a different lens, we add information. They add to the nuance of understanding. In the second part of this post, I’ll give a framework on how to put those perspectives together.

So how can we unpeel the layers even more about what a brand is, so that we can be better creators and curators of our brands? Let’s look at the research.

There are four areas of research that I have find to be clarifying on what a brand is and the power of branding. These perspectives are from,

  • cognitive psychology,
  • social psychology,
  • cultural sociology,
  • and neuroscience.

In my next blog post, I’ll be giving a brief overview of these four areas of research.


You can get started here on developing your marketing plan, or email me with any questions.

References:

[i] The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology) (p. 209). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

[ii] The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology) (p. 211). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition

[iii] Levy, S. J. (1959). Symbols for sale. Harvard Business Review, 37(4), 117–124.

[iv] Fisk, P. (2015). Brand innovation: Embracing change to innovate your brand and accelerate growth. In K. Kompella (ed.), The Brand Challenge. London: Kogan Page, 41–82.


©2020 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved. Copyright notice: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

You can get started here on developing your marketing plan, or email me with any questions.

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Branding: Starting from Scratch

You have aspirations. You want to be known as an expert of something. Maybe you want to start a blog. Maybe you want to write a fiction book. No matter what  it is, in the beginning, you’re not what your aspiration is. 

You may even think that this is a Catch-22, where to establish yourself as the thing, you have to be that thing to establish yourself as that thing. How can you be an author if you haven’t written a book yet?

At this point, it may feel like you have to be a magician to conjure your aspiration into existence before anyone recognizes that you ARE who you want to be.

You can start establishing yourself as a writer even before you’ve finished the book.You can establish yourself as an expert, a blogger, or something else. I’ve done it, not once, not twice, but multiple times in multiple venues. I’ve even helped other people and groups do it.

It’s generally the same process no matter the venue and for whatever thing you’re trying to conjure.  At first, the thing (acknowledgement for your expertise, your identity as a writer, or your identity as … you name it) doesn’t exist and then you conjure it into existence. So how do you do it?

Mindset

The first thing is that it starts with your mindset. What is a mindset? 

According to Dr. Aparajita Jeedigunta, a Certified Professional Coach and Social-Personality Psychologist, your mindset is simply your internal framework — the core beliefs and assumptions that you make about yourself that dictate not only how you see yourself and your future potential, but also how you show up in all the spaces in your life and interact with the world around you. 

One problem you may run into is imposter syndrome, which can get in the way of fully realizing your mindset. “Imposter syndrome is something that afflicts all of us at some point or another in our lives, usually when we are about to do something that’s out of our comfort zone. It is that inner voice of doubt that tells us that we may not be good enough, or that we are just faking our competence until we get called out on it,” Dr. Jeedigunta explained. 

What are ways you can overcome imposter syndrome? 

  • Recognize when you’re having thoughts of self-doubt.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on what you can do.
  • Reframe your ideas of failure as learning moments.
  • Acknowledge your own growth and accomplishments.

If you don’t believe you’re an expert or writer when you do have the knowledge or have the skills, no one else will. 

It exists and it has a name

The second action step that you need to take is to create content that shows that the thing exists. You do this by naming it. If it’s a business, then you can use the name of your business, but if there is something different about your business, like your customer service, you have to name your customer service something.

There’s power in naming things. Naming something is the first step in making something exist. You also have to show that it exists.

How do you show that your thing exists? You provide evidence. You post pictures of your doing the thing. You write about it. You show people that the thing exists. For example, if you own a car washing business, post photos of your washing cars, of the line leading up to your car wash, of your employees, of your customers. 

If you build it … you have to build it

If you build it, they will come … eventually. You have to be patient while you’re building your thing. You have to give yourself and your thing time to gel.

It’s not enough to promote something and name it, you also have to build your thing. What do I mean by that?  Building means doing the thing that you want to exist for long enough for people to see that you are doing it.

If you’re an expert and are just beginning to establish yourself, you have to show people that you are an expert by being an expert and creating expert content. You might ask, how?

I’ll tell you. Answer questions posed on social media. Write articles for platforms like Medium or on your own blog. Show that you know what you’re talking about. 

And, not just once or twice. The number of times depends on a lot of things. How much a person is paying attention to you when they see your name. How much what you said aligns with what they know, so that they don’t easily dismiss you.

If you’re establishing yourself as a writer and want to show people that you are, post about your process and use hashtags that will get your posts noticed by the right people. Who are the right people? Other writers, bloggers, and readers.

And most importantly, get other people to say that you’re the thing.  The expert.  The writer. The thing you’re trying to establish yourself as. This is actually the most potent persuasive tool that you have, getting testimonials either in comments or as posts or whatever. Other people saying you’re something is more powerful than you saying it, because you might be exaggerating about yourself to make a sale.

Building something requires not only showing people the thing, but also giving people enough time to know that it wasn’t a one-of. Part of building is allowing time for your thing to establish roots to grow. 

Take-Aways

1. Mindset. You must believe that you are your aspiration. 

2. Show others you are your aspiration by doing what you aspire to be. Promote yourself by showing others that you are doing what you aspire others to see you as. 

3. Get others to endorse you. This is the most important thing, because it’s the most powerful. Other people saying you are your aspiration will carry more weight than anything else you can do, especially if that person is trusted in your community. 

You can start where you are marketing yourself. If you’re just starting, you can market yourself. The best time to market yourself is right now. 

©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED and held by Michelle Raab Writes, LLC.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

Originally posted in michelleraabwrites.com on March 23, 2020.

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You can get started here on developing your marketing plan, or email me with any questions.

Disclaimer: Any articles, templates, or information provided by Michelle Raab Marketing on the website are for reference only. While we strive to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the website or the information, articles, templates, or related graphics contained on the website. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. 

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Hi, I’m Michelle Raab — Welcome

This is the launch of my new blog, and I’m so excited! Why? Because I love marketing. Creating strategies. The science of it. Researching trends, marketing best-practices, and tips. Writing about it. Here’s where I’m going to share my love and knowledge of marketing with you. The small business owner. Sole proprietor entrepreneur. The freelancer. The indie creative.

Why did I start this blog?

I live in an area that has a small “commercial” area, a few short streets really. The street is lined with sole proprietor shops and family owned businesses from a grocery store to a bakery to many restaurants, clothing stories, shoe repair store, and even a nonprofit movie theater. I think that this is what makes the area that I live in unique, special, and charming. There is no other place like this.

One of the main reasons that there is no other place like this is because of the people who own those shops. It is the people who make this area unique. People who live and raise families in this community. Having unique communities enriches all of us. When I shop, I’d prefer to buy handmade soap from an Etsy shop than buy it from a chain store. Why? Because of the love that went into making that soap. Those artisans love what they do so much that when you get the soap, it’s like opening a present with how they package their item. That love shows through in the shops and restaurants in my area. The owners care about their customers and care about what they do. They are not alone.

Small businesses make up about 99.9% of all businesses in the US. Home-based businesses make up 52% of all small businesses. Careful planning is essential for the growth of these businesses. For me, small businesses are more than just numbers. They are the people at those shops that I like visiting.

Seeing small businesses thrive brings me joy, because behind the business is a person who is passionate about what they do.

Freelancing means freedom for so many. It provides a way to do something that they love and get paid doing it. It means making extra money, so that they can live more freely within their budgets. It means being able to be geographically free. For others, it is a way to pursue lifestyles that they find more spiritually rewarding. I want to help support that freedom by helping freelancers with their marketing.

Almost all mass media is owned by six companies. Our culture is in part created and curated by mass media. Mass media isn’t set up to help foster diverse voices, partly because they are too big. They can’t represent niche audiences, because their budgets can’t afford to market to that kind of audience. The big corporations are built to serve the masses, not niches. Indie writers, who are their own publishing houses, can afford to represent and market to those niche audiences. Representation is vital to diversity inclusion and empowerment. Indie writers and other creatives are not only vital to representation for diverse audiences, they also represent diverse audiences. The creatives are diverse. In my work with the World Indie Warriors that I founded and lead, we are creating a community that is dedicated in expanding the stage for diverse voices. As a marketer, I want to help you, the indie creative, find your audience.

The purpose of this blog is to give sound advice and foundational information that both stands on its own and is complementary to the paid consultation that I do. The consultation is available for those who want or need more personalized service.

What is this blog all about?

What can you expect on this blog? My plan is to give information that you can use to aid in your marketing efforts and background information into the science of it:

  • Quick Reads
    • Postcards from rabbit hole dives (Little summaries of things I find on my rabbit hole dives)
    • Tips lists
    • Trends
    • News
    • Recommendations
    • Quick book reviews
    • Quick summaries of news, techniques, tactics, etc.
  • Featured Posts
    • In depth analysis
    • How tos
    • How whys
    • Book Reviews with commentary
    • Summaries with commentary of rabbit hole dives

I will also include FREE Tip Sheets and worksheets that will help you in your marketing efforts. 

Who is this blog for? 

I have friends from graduate school who use their doctorate in psychology in marketing, because psychology is the foundational science for marketing. I think that small business owners deserve the same kind of expertise in their marketing strategy plans as corporations. In fact, I feel passionately about providing the same level of advice that corporations get, but for small businesses.

This blog is for small businesses (less than 5-10 employees), sole proprietor entrepreneurs, freelancers, and indie creatives. People who wear many hats in their business and need help with their marketing plans.

Your business goals can include ones like this is your career, this is a second or part-time job, a side gig, or even a hobby where you’re hoping to make just enough to pay for your hobby. In all these cases, you are concerned to one extent or another in selling your product or service. This means that you need a marketing plan.

How did I get here? 

My first foray into marketing was when I was in college, studying English Literature. I trying to figure out how to be a writer and make a living. Public relations seemed like a good way to do that. I did a PR internship, took newswriting and public relations writing from the Communications Department, and took marketing classes from the Business Department. I didn’t end up going into public relations at that time, but years later, I volunteered in an art museum in the public relations office.

I used my public relations and marketing skills throughout the years, but never formally went into marketing or public relations, until now.  

Recently, I fell into giving marketing advice.  After finishing my doctorate that took way longer than it should have (long story for another time), I was in a place in my life where seeking traditional employment was not a good option.  

With my degree I could get a job as a professor of some sort or work in the private sector applying my psychometric skills – statistics applied to people.  Those sorts of jobs require a lengthy lead time.  I had friends who spent years trying to get their professorship.  I was willing to work as an adjunct at a community college, which would have been easier than a tenured track position.  Even still, they take a while to get.  That was the problem.  Time.

By the time that I finished my doctorate, my husband and I were ready to start our family.  We were going to adopt.  The logistics of adopting a child and looking for a teaching position were complicated to say the least.  Plus, I really wanted to stay at home with the kid, at least until they went to kindergarten.  Working a traditional job was out of the question.  So, what to do?  What to do?  For a while, I spent some time in grassroots politics.  I’m deeply passionate about social justice and decided to apply my skills I gained in graduate school to help there.  I oversaw messaging for a grassroots group and had some success there in terms of helping to motivate people through our messaging.  But, it took a lot of time, so once we did get our kiddo I just couldn’t stay in the fast-paced world of politics.

That’s when I had the brilliant idea of returning to an old love: writing.  Before I went to graduate school for psychology, I was on a track to become a writer (another long story for another time).  I wanted to go to graduate school to get an MFA in writing.  Well, that didn’t happen, but I could still write.  That’s what I decided to do.

I did research into what I could do for writing and decided to go the indie publishing route.  I thought if I was going to have to do my own marketing that I might as well have full control.  Plus, I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, so being an indie was a great fit.  

I’ve met some amazing people in the indie writing community.  In fact, I was in love with the people that I decided to found and lead a community of indies, called the World Indie Warriors, to support and develop indie writers (long story for another time).  I had a dream to expand the stage for diverse voices and that dream is coming true thanks to some amazing people I’m happy to call friends, like JD GroomCassidy ReyneDr. Aparajita JeediguntaAlly Aldridge to name a few. I plan to transform this group into a nonprofit in the Summer or Fall 2020.

One of the things that I noticed when I talked with my fellow writers was that the marketing advice that was floating around made no sense whatsoever.  The data did not support some of the advice.  Marketing science did not support much of the advice, at least not in how the advice was being given.  There was much confusion from conflicting advice and outright bad advice.  I had to do something.  

I started giving advice to people individually.  Then, I started writing blog posts on my other website.  Before I knew it, I decided that I really liked marketing and the results people were getting suggested that I was good at it too.  

The problem with the advice indies were consuming was that, in general, it lacked the big picture – a foundation as to why one tactic could work under certain circumstances and why it wouldn’t work under other circumstances.  In helping indie writers, I also came across small business owners, and I found similar confusion about what to do for their marketing. That’s where I came in.  

Although I don’t always explain the bigger picture, I do have that and science as a foundation for the advice that I give.  As such, I can problem solve when things don’t go the way one would hope.  So, I began offering services from the limited liability company that I formed, in part to publish my books.

Then along the way, Michelle the writer got muddled with Michelle the marketer.  

I knew for months that this was a problem, but it was a problem that I put on the back burner, until I got a phone call from a colleague and friend from graduate school.  I had helped her on a project, and she received feedback from a couple of people about being confused about why I, Michelle the writer, was part of the project.  Fair enough.  A writer doesn’t mean that I’m qualified to be a marketing strategist but having a doctorate in psychology does.  I realized, of course, that this was a branding problem.  

So, it was time to rebrand.  I started this website and created the social media platforms that I would need to establish a new brand.  I set up content creation systems and worked to figure out my new brand.  I needed to make a mark that says, I’m here.  And, I did. 

Now, I have two websites and two social media identities.  (Well, three if you count leader of the World Indie Warriors).  This blog is where I’m be donning on the marketer hat. 

Thank you

Thank you for visiting my website and reading my blog. I hope that you find the information here useful and practical. 

If you have any questions or ideas on topics that I should cover, I’d love to hear from you. Just give your suggestions in the comments below or contact me directly.

You can get started here on developing your marketing plan, or email me with any questions.

©2020 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved. Copyright notice: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

Disclaimer: Any articles, templates, or information provided by Michelle Raab Marketing on the website are for reference only. While we strive to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the website or the information, articles, templates, or related graphics contained on the website. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.