The Virtual CMO

How to Build and Maximize Your Marketing Budget with Melissa Forziat

April 05, 2021 Eric Dickmann, Melissa Forziat Season 4 Episode 13
The Virtual CMO
How to Build and Maximize Your Marketing Budget with Melissa Forziat
Show Notes Transcript

In Part 13 of our Masterclass Series, Building a Strategic Marketing Plan for Your Business, host Eric Dickmann talks with Melissa Forziat, Principal at Melissa Forziat Events. Melissa is a Southern California-based marketer, speaker, consultant, and author. She teaches small businesses how to market on a budget and helps them execute their marketing strategies, in addition to working with business organizations to train their trainers. She offers keynotes, presentations, workshops, and webinars, and her national and international speaking schedule has taken her as far as New Zealand! To date, she has delivered over 120 workshops and webinars to thousands of attendees. Before starting Melissa Forziat Events and Marketing, Melissa’s career involved roles with the Olympic Winter Games, Rugby World Cup, and the US Olympic Committee.

Melissa is also the author of the free eBook Small Business Marketing on a Budget: https://melissaforziatevents.com/small-business-marketing-budget-ebook/

For additional resources on this episode and from our other episodes in this Masterclass Series, visit https://fiveechelon.com/masterclass

For more information on Melissa Foriziat and Melissa Forziat Events, visit https://melissaforziatevents.com/

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Carla:

The Virtual CMO podcast is sponsored by the strategic marketing consulting services of The Five Echelon Group. If you’d like to work directly with The Five Echelon Group and receive personal coaching and support to optimize your business, enhance your marketing effectiveness and grow your revenue, visit Five Echelon.com to learn more and schedule a free consultation.

Eric Dickmann:

Welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm your host, Eric Dickmann. In this podcast, we have conversations with marketing professionals who share the strategies, tactics, and mindset you can use to improve the effectiveness of your marketing activities and grow your business. Melissa Hey, welcome to The Virtual CMO Podcast. I'm so glad that you could join us today.

Melissa Forziat:

Thank you for having me, Eric. Pardon me while I rock out to your intro music. That was

Eric Dickmann:

I know. We we, you know, a lot of these are recorded in the morning. We need to get the blood flowing. We've had our little caffeine, and so we've sort of got to get things going down. So, so thanks for that. I appreciate you being here in the morning and and recording this with us. You know, we're doing this Masterclass series, which is all around building out a strategic marketing plan for your business, and I'm really glad that you're here today, because now we're getting into the final steps of that. And we're really talking about building out a budget to be able to support your marketing activities and really, you know, take your growth to the next level. So just as a means of recapping for our audience, I want to quickly go through where we are kind of in, in the process. So we started out with really, why are we building out a strategic marketing plan at all, what's the purpose of it? How to identify your target customer and ideal customer profile, the importance of product market fit and competitive differentiation, really then building a brand story that resonates with your customer, and then taking that brand story and coming up with some unique marketing messages that can really dominate in the marketplace. Using content creators, freelancers to then some create some great content of value that'll drive inbound marketing leads, using marketing automation, customer relationship management, and analytics to be able to have a repository for all your marketing activities and measure and analyze them. Then we got into a little bit around social media marketing, advertising, SEO, building a PR and communications strategy using email communications, and then we sort of get down to building out a marketing budget. So with that as sort of a lead-in, I'd love it. If you could just share with the audience a little bit about your background and what you do for your clients all around this topic of budgeting and marketing.

Melissa Forziat:

Absolutely. I'd love to. So I started out my career working with major international sport events. I feel like that was a lifetime ago. It was a whole different career ago, but that's where it started. I started with Olympic winter games, Rugby World Cup, I worked with the US Olympic committee. So obviously those are the biggest businesses, the biggest brands, the biggest events you can think of .They're attracting, you know, the amount of budget they have, the amount of people that are trying to attract is at a scale that no one person can really grasp, I guess, by themselves. But that's where it began for me, and I got, I sort of cut my teeth and figuring out what sort of processes they have in place. When you see marketing done on a scale of that size, it becomes very obvious how intentional it is and you learn some of those lessons very quickly. So eight years ago, I started my own business somewhat accidentally. I was in Seattle and I started my own micro-business. So I'm a micro-business owner and I kind of had to figure out how to take those great principles that I had learned from working with these huge organizations, but make them work for a business that looked more like mine. For the budget that I had, the resources that I had, the human resources that I had. And I found that I was working with a lot of clients that were in a similar position to me. So, a lot of the types of questions, you know, a lot of the types of questions people would give me would be these huge sweeping questions like, how do I market? Or, you know, I just need more clients, I just need more people in the seats, I just need, you know, more calls coming in, and those are, I think, really massive questions to tackle. And so for me, it's very much been about sort of methodically unpacking that and I love what you've said in your intro about how you've approached this series and just the fact that you're really looking at taking a deep dive into different parts of strategy, because I think as a business owner or a business marketer, it really does have to be a strategic plan and not something that's just piecemeal tactical solutions that don't connect to each other. So I think And, you know, anybody who's listening in on this series, something that I bring to the table and something that I'm really glad you're bringing to the table, eric is just this idea that if you think about it just a little bit in advance, you're probably gonna get a lot more out of your marketing and a lot more reach for your business.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah, I love your background as well, which is one of the reasons that I really wanted to connect with you and bring you on the show. Because I think we're similar in that way. You know, I worked for a very large Fortune 500 company. We did very big events that had massive budgets, you know, 500,000 to build out a trade show booth and things like that. And many businesses just don't have that kind of money in their marketing budget to be able to do that. And I'm certainly a believer that, you know, there are a lot of things that you can spend money on there, a lot of great marketing programs that you can invest. But I think every marketer needs to be conscious of getting the most value for the money that they're spending and certainly taking advantage of things that are low cost or even no cost. And so one of the things that I'm curious as you work with your clients, maybe you've seen this, cause I certainly have with mine is sometimes they view a marketing budget is a marketing plan.

Melissa Forziat:

It seems to happen a lot. And I think that sort of happens because the business plan process often happens first, and I think the numbers seem to be really important for that. But I think that the numbers don't tell you what the systems are and you really need systems to make your marketing work, because you can throw all the money in the world, an ad that reaches a lot of people. But if you reach those people one time and you have no way to capture them, you have no way to keep them warm and you have no way to continue communicating with them until they're ready to buy something from you. All that money you pumped into that one ad, what good does it do? So I think, you know, were you tend to see a lot of conversation about the numbers, in something as early on as like a business plan. And I think that's where a lot of businesses kind of get trapped into thinking that is the marketing plan. It's just numbers, it's goals, but how you're going to get there is something that I do think you need to spend some time flushing out because there's a lot of ways to do it.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah, and you need to know the journey that you're on and ultimately the destination that you're trying to reach so that you can employ the right marketing tactics to be able to get you there. And when I say that I've seen a lot of businesses that just kind of have a marketing budget, it's just a series of disconnected tactics that tend to be executed whenever they feel like there's a shortage of something. So we don't have enough leads coming in you know, let's turn on the faucet a little bit and go spend some money and go get some leads, but it's not a consistent approach. As you work with your clients, and you talk to them about that, how important is consistency as you look to your marketing plan, your marketing budget, and spreading those activities out over the course of a year.

Melissa Forziat:

Consistency is so important and here's, you know, It's funny to try to answer that question for an audience that could be made up of many different types of businesses. Because one of the things that I've really found is that, you know, okay, some businesses, the customers in your business may have more urgency, they may have a greater need to buy something in that moment. And it's just a matter of, are they going to buy something from you or a competitor? And so maybe their process is going to be a little bit quicker and they're just looking for as much information as they can get in a small amount of time. But for a business like mine, and I don't want to scare anybody, but I imagine you've seen this too Eric. I mean, when you're doing marketing, there's a much slower burn in that process. People often need a lot of information from you, they need to see you around for a while. I need to start to trust you, they need to really feel like they don't want to try to do marketing on their own anymore, and that they want to consult with you or work with you. And that can take a very long time. So I'll tell you an example from my own business, is that I've been doing a newsletter every week every Wednesday I drop a marketing tip of the week. It's a somewhat in depth piece of marketing advice. It package it up, I put it in a newsletter, I send it out the door. And I have people who call me up and say, Melissa, I've been reading your newsletters for two years and I'm ready to work with you now and their grant clients. But think about that. Two years, weekly emails at least, you know, if that, if they haven't heard for me anywhere else, that's a lot of my outreach towards them, and I think I've learned what the worst-case scenario could look like for my own business. And that if you can build towards that for any kind of business, You know, if you're an excellent landscaper and an excellent landscape marketer, you're going to be great. But if you're in an industry, that's got a lot more online traffic and a lot more competition in the places that you're trying to market, consistency is the only thing that's going to help you to cut through it and consistency over time. So hopefully everybody who's listening, your story maybe is a little bit more abbreviated than mine is. If you do have a business that looks like mine does, and probably like Eric's does, then, you know, we can help you with that. And I think consistency is how you get there.

Eric Dickmann:

I couldn't agree more. You've got to put yourself out there in a position that you're building that trust, your creating that emotional connection with your potential buyers, and that comes through consistency. Every email that you send out is not going to be opened and read. So if you just send out one or two, you're really rolling the dice that, that one or two messages that you've sent out are going to be the ones that prospect opens up. But having that information out there consistently make such a difference. And I think that's true both before and after the sale. I've had some guests on the show and we've gone into this in some detail, but. If you are somebody that sells something to a customer and maybe you don't expect them to buy from you for another five, ten years, that consistency after the sale is also a great way to keep that trust and then potentially build referrals from that person, from that customer, to other potential customers. So even after the sale, consistency is important.

Melissa Forziat:

I love it. And we are completely on the same wavelength and I you know, sometimes I have people who tell me, there's no way somebody would buy my product more than once or my service more than once, or stay at my bed and breakfast more than once. And it's like, first of all, you don't know that for sure. But second of all, they might know other great people, just like them in your target market, who would buy your product or service and they become, they can become your biggest advocate. So, I don't know why we find these excuses, not to communicate with the people who have already bought from us because they're potentially our biggest ambassadors. And I think it's important to remember that, especially if you have a product or service where you think who would need this more than once you, you really shouldn't count yourself out like that. Like you just don't know how communicating with the people who believe in you enough to support you the one time you just don't know that they won't do it again. So, you know, I love that you said that.

Eric Dickmann:

Well, and you talked about sending out a newsletter, which I think is a hugely important thing. We talked about that in a previous episode here about, you know, you want to start building a list, you want to start cultivating that list, and sending out content of value. So as we start to talk about how you put together your marketing budget, there are a lot of things that you can do around email communications, obviously building out that list, reaching out to people through social media. All of these are very low cost ways to do it. Yeah. There are tools that you can buy that make it easier, maybe streamline or automate the process. But if you really wanted to brute force it, you can do a lot of this stuff for almost no cost at all, right?

Melissa Forziat:

Yeah. I, something that I say often is marketing either costs, money, or time or combination of the two. And I think, you know, if you're at a point in your business where you don't have much money to spend. But you do have the time to spend, you can do these brute force tactics. You can do these list building techniques, and you can work the tools that are free and you can work them hard. And You can put some time into it and really make a lot of them. And if you do have a budget, then that frees you up in other areas. So I think, you know, a lot of the time when I'm working with clients many of the types of clients I work with are really small businesses and they might start with no budget. But as they start getting traction and they start getting more sales and more clients or customers, and they have more fulfillment to do, then time may start to become at a premium and they might have a little bit more money to spend. So I think. A good marketing strategy is something that you look at maybe even on a yearly basis. Sometimes more frequent than that. If you're in the beginning, stages and things are really changing quickly in your business. But I think, you know, looking at a marketing strategy at least yearly will not only allow you to decide, you know, can I still afford time or money wise to do the same tactics I was doing before? But also we can't forget that we have to be tracking where the target market is going, because if you continue to be somewhere that your target market is now leaving and you're seeing evidence of that. Oh, maybe find some other place to go that you can get a little bit more attraction and get back in front of them. Like. I think audiences, Mario. Migrate pretty slowly. And they gave us a lot of evidence they're doing it. So I think being able to look at that, you know, on a somewhat regular basis, let's us kind of take control of our budget, take control of our time and make sure we're still being relevant to the audience that we're trying to reach.

Eric Dickmann:

And you know with the experience that both you and I have had over our careers, either dealing with these very large companies that have big budgets or dealing with very small or micro-business that maybe, have no budget whatsoever. The marketing tactics that they could employ by and large, they're still fairly similar. I think if I look at marketing budgets and how you spend money, a lot of it can fall under, you know, the buckets of tools and automation, right? You can either do things manually, like you said, it's your time versus an investment in something else. So are you purchasing tools, investing money in getting these tools up and running to automate your process, or are you doing it more manually? Are you doing all your work yourself? Are you outsourcing it to a freelancer? Are you outsourcing it to an agency? Are you having people write and create content for you? It's really the scale to which you're doing things and how much work you're taking on yourself, and maybe how much you're putting on tools or outside resources to be able to execute. What do you think? Do you think that's a fair assessment?

Melissa Forziat:

Yeah, and I think I'd probably add to that paid advertising sources. And I think in many cases, the paid advertising sources have multiple ways of for example, most of the places where you could put a paid ad, you may also be able to do a feature, you know? So like if you're looking at earned media opportunities, if you're looking at radio or TV or print ads, or if you're looking at anywhere where it's an earned media source, where they could potentially say here's the fee to advertise here, while the other option is to get interviewed or featured or find a way to provide content for them. And so I think, you know, when I think about something like an Olympic games. Do you know if I think about the types of businesses that I worked with way early on in the career? You know, I'm sure they did some amount of advertising, but they really worked their opportunities to get interviews, features, partnerships to find ways to do more of a collaborative style of marketing. And I think ultimately that allowed them to. Manage their budget a little bit more carefully to still come up with options and to maybe even reach into some niche areas that they maybe wouldn't otherwise have been able to get into. But that ultimately they needed to get into, if they wanted to reach the kind of numbers they were going to during their events. So I think. You know, it really is. Like you mentioned a couple of really important prongs with the autumn. Nation with, you know, potentially hiring people and obviously paid advertising sources is another one that I would add to that list.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah, I think we talk a lot here about inbound marketing and the importance of organic content to be able to pull people to you. And you know, the difference really is when you have a good inbound marketing strategy, when you have great content, when you're doing your SEO research and keyword research, and being able to find opportunities to rank four topic areas that are going to be ideal for the audience that you want to reach. That's great, right? Because you can do a lot of homework ahead of time, build out some great content, and then it sort of sits insurance in the background, and you're not really spending additional money on that while you're pulling in that traffic. But on the flip side of that, when you talk about something like a Facebook ad, you are going after a very specific audience because of the targeting tools that they offer. You can be very granular, very finite about the people that you're trying to reach and sort of bypass that whole organic inbound method of driving traffic, and really go after people. But it's going to cost you money to do that. And so there are ways to do it either way or both at the same time, but each one has its pros and cons.

Melissa Forziat:

Absolutely. And I think that's where it comes back to evaluating whether you have the time or money to spend, or if it's a combination of the two, because I think it really makes different options available to you. If you can answer that question. So when you look at I don't know if there is such thing as a traditional marketing budget, per se, because she, me, I would put a column for money and a column for time next to that. And when I say a column for time, it's like how much. You know, If I'm sitting down and saying, I'm going to do a weekly newsletter while I had to make a decision that I was able to do that frequency. And then I had to look at the book, the components of that newsletter we're going to be. And I had to say, well, there's going to be a blog. Can I do one weekly? You know, what are the other elements of that? And so I kind of. Have to look at not only the scope of. Where I'm spending money, but look at where I'm spending time and see does that add up and, you know, Is it being used as efficiently as possible because when you see it all in front of me, with the same time across all of the marketing that you want to do, You'll start to see, well, there's just not enough hours in the week for me to do all this and serve my clients. Well, something has to give there. And so, you know, I think looking at both of those things side by side is actually all part of a marketing budget, because it's about how you're spending your resources. And for that matter, I would say it's the same thing. If you're looking at delegating or if you already have delegated because. I think that all goes into the picture, the person that you delegated to, if you're spending money on that person. Well, that's a dollar budget, but you know, they have time. So what are they going to do with that time? And I think a good marketing plan. Especially if you're at a point in your business where your budget is tight. If you look at it in those ways, I think it opens up the field a little bit more for you to really look at how to maximize all of the resources that you've got to bring to the table.

Eric Dickmann:

So as I would help companies build out their strategic plan and start going through this budgeting process, you know, you can look at things in a couple of different buckets. So I'm curious if we sort of take something like tools that you may want to have as part of your stack, if you will, to be able to execute marketing strategy. Are there certain things that you would say, you know, whether you're a micro business or whether you're a small or mid-sized business, these are some tools that you should look at, and I would just add to that, that even things like a CRM platform, marketing automation system, a social media management tool or whatever. Almost all of those have free versions, right? You can pay for a pro version or an upgraded version that gives you additional capabilities, but even if you're a business that has really no money to spend on tools, there are tools available to you.

Melissa Forziat:

Absolutely. So I think the one tool that I want to highlight though, as much as I'm a budget marketer type of person. I would say not for every single business, but I think a website is a critical piece of the puzzle for most businesses. And I say, not every business, I mean, I'm thinking of an example of myself here of like, I don't know, You know, it seems like if you're doing home renovation work, you know, you go. Somebody who, you know, They do the painting and they're like, Oh, but I need, we need the person who does the taping first. And then you get the painter done. And though we need the person who does this. We need the guy who has the sand, or we need the person who has this, or the woman who has that. And I don't even know if I have websites. I mean, they maybe have business cards, they have each other's phone number and they just refer each other. Seems to me. And I often think, well, Is really great. However, they did that. You know, and I'm sure there are other industries that do that too. So there may be exceptions to this thing that I'm saying, but I think for a lot of businesses having some sort of a website presence is important either because you plan on doing a lot of online marketing. In different forms and you want to drive people to that website and you want that website, you convert for you. Or maybe you don't think that you're going to do a lot of online marketing. Maybe you think that you're going to get all of your clients from in-person networking, even, you know, however we're doing that. Now, there are a lot of virtual ways to do that. Maybe you think that you'll be doing. You know, down the road, some major events where you're going to be strategic about like trade shows or, you know, different types of places where you can put yourself in front of a lot of people capture leads that way. Well, Even if you're doing things that are a little bit more networking based. A lot of times, like you don't know what somebody is process is going to be to vet you before they pick up the phone to call you to make that final sale. So I think, you know, even in the case where you're doing a lot of your initial marketing, More and more of a face-to-face setting. It helps to leave a paper trail until leave some social proof behind you and to leave some. Thought leadership behind you, if that's relevant for your industry. So that people can do a little research if they want to. Cause some buyers need that. And that could be the thing that they use now. You know, you could say that there are free tools you can do with that. You know, for example, there are certainly some social media platform is out there that you can use, but you don't own them. So I always think it's really tricky when people are using like a Facebook page. As if it were a website because it's not a website and Facebook could change and has changed its terms and conditions many times. And has made life more and more difficult for small businesses. I found over the years and there's no control that we have over that. So you either give into it and you let your business go, or you come up with something that you own. So I think. Oh, the website is the first tool that comes to my mind. When I think about the question you asked. And in the context of that, I am also a big believer in finding a way to have a lead generators and sort of an opt-in on your website because. Again, regardless of how people are coming to you. When people show up on your website, they are anonymous to you. You have no idea who they are, unless they take an action. So if there's something that you can offer, that's really enticing and short term and has distinctive value that you can Mark it. And they can get it for free if they just put in their contact information. Now, you know how to reach them. And I think whether you have an in-person model, whether you're trying to do a lot with online sales, Getting somebody's contact information and being able to have more touch points with them after their initial interest is part of most people's sales process, somewhere along the way. So I think those two things to me become relevant. And, you know, in terms of other tools, I'm sure there are a lot out there, but I do think it depends on the type of business model that you have, you know, are you going to need a CRM, maybe, are you going to need something that's going to be doing automated emailing, maybe? You know, so I think. I want to really highlight those two because they think they're important. And I think it's funny. Cause when I do presentations on online marketing tools and I taught, so I usually talk about five tools just to break them down a little bit more. And I'll talk about websites, blogs, social media newsletters, and lead magnets. And I'll throw out the question early, which one of these things do you like? I planned a bit of a teaser and I say, I think one of these isn't mandatory. Which one do you think that is? They never guess the one that I say they always guess. These letters are lead magnets. And to me. You know, We'll say websites. So to me, it's like, Oh, That's not actually what I'm thinking. And I like to be able to explain my thought process to get there. So websites lead magnets to me, the two really important ones that I'd say newsletters is a close third.

Eric Dickmann:

Hey, it's Eric here and we'll be right back to the podcast. But first, are you ready to grow, scale, and take your marketing to the next level? If so, The Five Echelon Group's Virtual CMO onsulting service may be a great fit for you. We can help build a strategic marketing plan for your business and manage its execution, step-by-step. We'll focus on areas like how to attract more leads. How to create compelling messaging that resonates with your ideal customers. How to strategically package and position your products and services. How to increase lead conversion, improve your margins, and scale your business. To find out more about our consulting offerings and schedule a consultation, go to fiveechelon.com and click on Services. Now back to the podcast. I love that. And I couldn't agree with you more because your website really is your digital calling card in many ways. People do research, you know, it's funny. I think it's been about a year now, but I actually did get on my front doorstep, somebody delivered yellow pages. And this thing has shrunk to the fact, you know, it's just this teeny little book now where it used to be these huge things, sometimes several volumes of them which just gives you some indication of how things have changed in the world. People don't look for a physical book like that to find resources. They're online, they're researching things on the web, they're going to Yelp, they're going to one of these various review sites. And it's very important to have a fresh, I think, modern looking website. It doesn't need to be huge. It could just be a page or two, but it needs to reflect a certain professionalism. I think that gives people context or a comfort in that you are a real business and that you are an authoritative business in whatever space that, that you may be in. One thing that I see happen far too often, especially with very small businesses is somehow we'll connect. And they'll give me a car to write down on a piece of paper and their email addresses, [email protected] to me. When I see something like that, that's a lack of professionalism, that's a lack of seriousness in your business because no serious business is going to have an email address like that. And so I really do agree with you that you need to have something online, make sure that things work. If people push buttons and forms come up that they work, they go someplace and you follow up on them. But having a professional website, I agree. I think it's a must.

Melissa Forziat:

Yeah. And it's, I am. I'm glad that you said that too, about the email addresses because you know, I get a fair amount of solicitations into my email inbox. I get quite a lot of them and I don't know. At some point overnight, I must've put on some sort of a list where I was, I don't know. I, you know, I got a lot of solicitations of people who want to sell me. Often marketing services, but you know, some sort of business service. And I have learned how to, I have certain criteria very quickly on if I'm going to pay any attention to it, or if it's going in the trash, most of them go in the trash because they look almost exactly the same to me. Every single time. Most of them are talking about how I can help somebody else's business. It's like you interrupted my day and tell me that, what are you going to do for me? But I think one of the major red flags for me is if it's coming from a Gmail or if it's coming from some address that doesn't have its own domain name. You know, again, I'm sitting through. A lot of solicitations. So if it's coming, you know, I just, well, if it has no signature, if it's got no. Like, if it doesn't look like it's coming from a professional source, it's not getting considered from, by me. And there may be some exceptions to that. You know, if you could then counteract that with a very highly personalized email, that really proves to me why you specifically reached out to me with this inquiry and how we can be collaborative with each other, because collaboration is a very big word for me. Then I might look at it, but that's never what's happening in those emails. So, you know, I've learned to really have an impression. About these sort of generic email addresses, and it can go a long way if you've got, you know, If that's not necessarily how you're meeting people for the first time, and maybe it can work for you. You know, if they've met you in a networking situation, then you hand them your business card and that's where you're sending them to. They've had another way of getting to know you first that may counteract whatever impression they have about an email address. So I think all of these things are, you know, about, you know, how are you making that approach and how can you better put your best foot forward to get that first impression out there? And then hopefully you can really convince them. Whatever way they need to be convinced in that way, in that. Pipeline. That you're worth a look you're worth working with.

Eric Dickmann:

I so agree with that. And, you know, you can use Gmail and you can have a custom email address as part of that. So that it doesn't come across looking like it's coming from a personal account or, you know, just some random sounding email address. There are ways around all of these issues, but that perception that you're giving out to the marketplace again gets back to that whole idea that we were talking about of developing trust, of developing a, you know, that authoritative position in the marketplace so that people feel comfortable doing business with you and all those little things that matter along that process. And, you know, as we're sort of winding our way towards the end of our conversation today, are there any specific things that you would recommend to clients? So if they're sitting down and they're saying, okay, I'm looking at the year ahead, I need to figure out just like you said, I've got my two columns my time and my dollars that I'm going to spend. Are there any specific suggestions that you have is people start to sort of go through those line items and figure out how to put together or assign dollar amounts to various marketing activities?

Melissa Forziat:

Well, I, you know, I think to answer the question that you asked, I think that having a picture of what your marketing strategy is first from a process and system standpoint is actually the first step. So it's like, does this thing deserve a line item in the budget? No, it actually doesn't belong in my marketing plan. I think sometimes we're throwing, you know, how much should I spend here? How much should I spend there? Two tactical solutions that actually have no place in your marketing plan that you won't execute, that you don't have a plan for how you'll do it and not burn out. So I think the question becomes, can you map it out a little bit and say, how am I going to reach people for the first time once I've met them, how am I going to get back in front of them? How am I going to keep them warm? If it takes more than a couple of times of my personal outreach for them to be ready to work with me. And then how am I going to get them into my services? You know? And I think. If you can sort of have a plan for how you're going to do all of those things before you try to set numbers and time to it, then the things that you set numbers and time to we're actually going to be relevant. And you'll be more likely to do them. So I'm a big believer that before you put quantitative values to things, you have to answer the what question, you know, what am I going to do and how many they get this done. And then how much money or your time is needed to do that. For example, if I said, I know I need a newsletter. And then I said, okay, that's great. How much do I spend on it? How much money? I don't need to spend money on it. How much time? Well, I know I need to do the newsletters. So now the frequency question can get answered and I know I'm driving the whole thing forward. So that's the question that you asked a question you didn't ask that I want to answer anyway is You know, if we're thinking tactically and we're thinking about how to really stretch a budget and you're thinking about what type of thing might belong in your marketing plan that maybe you didn't consider. I really encourage people to look at partnerships and collaborations, partnership marketing, and that does not mean signing a legal agreement and getting, you know, into a business arrangement with. Another business that's, you know, bound by contracts. It just means boosting each other's voices. And you can add that layer to all of the marketing that you're doing for your business, because anything that you're doing, is there an opportunity for you to. Give a little shout out or a nudge or a boost to somebody else's business and in turn, have them do the same thing for you at another time. And I think that's the kind of thing that if we start doing that, It really expands our reach. And it may just add a little bit more time into your process for a much bigger return. And I certainly believe that for micro businesses, like what I have. But I've seen the Olympic games do it. I mean, they have so many partnerships. I don't even know. I mean, the ways they classify them, the number of different terms they have for them. There's so many partnerships that they create and it's not to see it on that scale. And then to see that it works for a small business too. Makes me think any business can find collaborators and find, you know, others to. Be an ally with, and the process of getting their message out to the audience. So, you know, I encourage people as they're kind of going through, okay, what systems am I going to do? What processes am I going to have? Well, who can I involve? And, you know, how can I help? How can I help them, but also how can they help me? And to have that two way conversation from the beginning.

Eric Dickmann:

I think that's spot on. I mean, when you can add value to somebody else, a collaborator and they can add value back to you, it becomes a real win-win. And I would just also add to what you were talking about before, when you look at different things that are part of your marketing plan and you're going to budget. I would also want to make sure that you understood what is the outcome of whatever activity you're doing. So if you're sending a newsletter, why are you sending it? What are you hoping is going to happen by sending it? Is there a call to action where you're wanting somebody to come back to your website? If so, is your website ready for them to come back to, is it just for maintaining awareness? So you're sharing something of value, passing along some information, but you're not really asking anybody to do anything from that communication, I think it's just. Important that you connect the dots that everything, you know, you get the biggest bang for your buck in no matter what marketing tactics are implementing. If they're connected to the other things that you're doing, because that consistency doesn't just have to come from one area, it has to come from all your areas in all your marketing activities should be supporting each other so that you get the maximum value of the messages that you were sending out.

Melissa Forziat:

I love that you said that. And I think often that's the trap that people fall into. If they haven't thought strategically about the marketing plan, you know, you'll see somebody who says, Oh, I just did this launch campaign. Great. Now what? Like you met people and now you're going to ignore them for a while. Huh? And then, you know, you come back a year later to launch something else and you're like, Oh, all those people I met there cold. Now they're ice cold. There's this awkward relationship, not a good one. And it's like, well, maybe if you had just had a plan for how to prevent that, you know, all the work that went into that first launch would not be for not. So I think, you know, it, sometimes it is as simple as just saying, well, what's the next step from here for these people? Maybe I should tell them in this piece of content.

Eric Dickmann:

And this piece of content, that's right. You know, we've talked a lot about the buyer's journey and how people go and what content is appropriate at different stages, but yeah. Make sure everything is tied together. Let's I think this is great information. Obviously I know that you had a lot of value to your clients and I think that it's so important that people really think about how their strategy is reflected in their marketing budget. What kind of things they can do to maximize the dollars that they're spending and everything doesn't have to be a big expense. You can do a lot on the, on a small budget. And I think some of the things that you've shared today have certainly reinforced that. How can people learn more about you and your company?

Melissa Forziat:

Absolutely the best place to find me is on my website ,melissaforziatevents.com. My business is Melissa Forzia Events and Marketing. So most of what you're going to see there is marketing related a lot of it. So if you're looking to work with me, you can find that. But if you're looking for free information, you can also find plenty of that there in my tips of the week section. So there's a lot to peruse their, and you know, you can find my social media links from there too, if you want. The other thing I want to point out is if you land on my website again, melissaforziatevents.com, The Small business marketing on a budget ebook, pops up, and that's a really good resource for people who are looking for options, who are looking for maybe different tactical approaches that they want to think about if they would fit into their strategy. And so I really unpack them. It's a lengthy ebook. It's going to give you a lot of information, it's free, and it's just something that I hopefully helps people think a little bit more intentionally and strategically about what they wanted to include in their marketing plans.

Eric Dickmann:

I think that's great. And what we will do is we'll make sure that all of that stuff is linked up in the show notes so that people can find it and access it. And take a look at that Ebook, especially that's great. And this has been a great conversation and a powerful sort of end is we're sort of getting to the end of our Masterclass series. I certainly appreciate you taking time out of your day to talk with us and sharing all this information with our audience.

Melissa Forziat:

Thank you for having me and I'm so glad we were on the same wavelength. Sometimes I talk with marketers and like, we don't agree. I totally agree with everything that you're talking about here. And I think, you know, I can only imagine the amount of value that you've had in this series, this Masterclass series that you've presented. So the people who are listening to this are very lucky.

Eric Dickmann:

Oh, well, thanks. I appreciate that. It's been fun to have great guests like yourself on here to share their their wisdom. So thank you again. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Melissa Forziat:

Take care.

Eric Dickmann:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of The Virtual CMO podcast. For more episodes, go to fiveechelon.com/podcast to subscribe through your podcast player of choice. And if you'd like to develop consistent lead flow and a highly effective marketing strategy, visit fiveechelon.com to learn more about our Virtual CMO consulting services.