Mark Fortune Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Mark Fortune
Mark Fortune is my guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast.
He is a man who brings a very different flavour to what we generally see on the show everyday.
More often than not we talk about growing a business that attracts customers across the world
He believes the most exciting part of the marketing world is working with small businesses.
Yes, the ladies and gentlemen that we drive past everyday in our own towns, and neighbouring communities.
And the reason for this small town approach?
Well as it states on his official page:
- The technology and media landscape today makes it easier than ever before for a small business to compete and win against large competitors
- Small businesses are fun to work with, and results are easiest to see in small businesses; if something doesn’t work, it’s easiest to change in a small business
- Life is too short to spend the majority of your time doing things that aren’t fun, aren’t productive or aren’t leading to positive results.
But how did he get to this point of realisation that his future was closer to home than perhaps he first recognised?
How The Dots Joined Up For Mark Fortune
Well it seems to me that after moving through many different positions within the marketing world, it was when he performed the role of Instructor of Marketing at Arkansas University for two years.
We will find out if this is true, but more often than not our future becomes evident to us when we are directing other peoples futures.
Its at these moments when the words that come out of our mouth, stop us in our tracks and make us think “Wow…its ok talking this, but Im not doing this myself!”
Well lets find out this is true, as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Mark Fortune.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Mark Fortune such as:
Why so many companies struggle with defining their ideal customers at the beginning, and end up spending time servicing low quality clients instead of the ideal ones.
Why Mark tries his hardest to disconnect and get still in his life, so he can decide the next right thing to do for himself and his business.
How to start launching a program, by dry testing your services at first (even if it isn’t as pretty and well developed as you hope it will be)
How Martin Luther King, is the world’s best marketer and the reasons why i make that bold statement regarding the Civil rights legend.
How To Connect With Mark Fortune
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Mark Fortune Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:24]
Yes, good morning, everybody, and welcome to welcome to Join Up Dots. This is the place to come to for your motivational, inspirational conversation or chat. And on today’s show today, we’re going to be discussing online marketing. And my guest is a man who I suppose he brings a very different flavour to what we generally see on the show every day because more often than not, we talk about growing a business that attracts customers across the world. Now he believes the most exciting part of the marketing world that he lives in is working with small businesses. Yeah, there Ladies and gentlemen, that we drive past every day in our own towns and neighbouring communities. And the reason for this small town approach. Well as it states on his official page for technology and media landscape today makes it easier than ever before for a small business to compete and win against large competitors. Sounds good to me. Small businesses are fun to work with and results are easier to see in small businesses. If something doesn’t work is easy to change. And life is too short to spend the majority of your time doing things that aren’t fun, aren’t productive or aren’t leading to positive results. But how did he get to this point of realisation that his future was closer to home and perhaps he first recognised when it seems to me that after moving through many different positions within the marketing world, it was when he performed the role of instructor of marketing at Arkansas university to pursue years. Well, that seems to me a key point and we’ll find out if it’s true. But more often than not our future becomes evident to us when we’re directing other people’s futures is that these moments when the words that come out of our mouth, stop us in our tracks and make us be Wow. It’s okay talking this but I’m actually doing this myself. Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Mark fortune. Good morning, Mark. How are you sir? I’m great.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [2:09]
Good morning, David. Thank you for having me.
David Ralph [2:10]
It is lovely to have you here. You are in Little Rock, Arkansas at the moment. I seem to remember the home of Bill Clinton or something. Is that right?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [2:20]
Yes, the clinton Presidential Library is down the road a bit. But yes, this is this is the home hometown in home state of former President Clinton.
David Ralph [2:28]
And are you somebody that is really in with what’s happening in the world today or with your outlook of looking at small town businesses? Is the sort of the political landscape, not something that really sort of takes your attention too much?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [2:43]
Well, I mean, I think on a personal level, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the political landscape day to day I mean, it just it’s it’s it’s everywhere, and it’s sort of dominates the conversation just about anywhere you go in terms of presidents, I mean, you’re always aware of what’s going on and policies or practices or events that might affect what’s going on for for you or for my clients. But in general, you know, marketing doesn’t doesn’t change too much day to day due to the political landscape, you just sort of plug in and plug on and keep going with it.
David Ralph [3:13]
Like normally Omar, I ignore all political stuff. I just binkies total boring stuff. The only thing that I do, and I talk about it on the show, I occasionally dip into your president’s twitter feed just to see what lunacy he’s coming out with. And that’s the only thing I do just for a moment of comic relief, but actually for political, it bores me, so I don’t talk about it with anyone. It is interesting, because in your sort of bio, you talk about life is too short to spend the majority of your time doing things that aren’t fun, but having those conversations when you’d be better place to say, Let’s not talk about it. Let’s talk about the soccer results instead.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [3:50]
Well, I’m certainly more happy to speak about college football results and soccer in your world. My son’s actually a big English Premier League fan than I am wanting to talk about politics. That’s certainly a lot more fun. So I agree with you there. No doubt.
David Ralph [4:05]
Good. You say a guest but he agrees with the host. That’s what this is all about on this show. Yes, I agree with him. I
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [4:12]
support the same teams but we agree that the subjects fun.
David Ralph [4:15]
Yeah, there you go. Yeah. So So online marketing, right. I’m really fascinated about this because we have so many people that come on to the show, and they they talk about a global approach and literally blasting it out in all areas be everywhere is one of the sort of phrases that we hear you’re more focused or more laser targeted and you’re more into small businesses. So let’s talk about how that become because it’s it just seemed to me doing the research but a key point was in Arkansas University when you’re talking these things did did a kind of Penny drop for you marked at that moment? Did you sort of look around and think actually, I’ve got it already is time to go out on my own.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [4:55]
And that was certainly a major factor in it when I was a marketing instructor. And that was a lot of fun. And I did a lot of a lot of that. Because I just wanted to see if I could do it right, that’s cool. It was a bit of a theme through a lot of my careers, let’s just see if I can pull this off sort of thing. And, you know, I taught undergrad for a couple of years. And that was a lot of fun and very interesting. At the time I was doing that I was also a corporate Vice President of Marketing, Director of Marketing, you know, a corporate employee at the same time. And it just between doing all of that, and then sort of slowly downsizing my size, a company I worked for into just small businesses, which has been a lot, a lot more fun. You just sort of learned that what really produces results, and what really has an impact on the business, on people’s lives on their customers and what they’re really trying to achieve. And it’s, it was tough for me anyway, to do that in a large corporate environment. But between teaching and between working with smaller companies, it just sort of became more of a passion to say, Well, look, we can we can do a set of tactics this month, or this quarter or this year. And we’ll see the results quickly and and know whether or not our efforts were worth it versus just sort of consistently running big corporate programmes, and you’re sort of throwing it out there, and you’re not really sure what’s going to come back in terms of results.
David Ralph [6:13]
So is it something that is in your blood now? Have you found Yeah, Fang, every morning? Do you wake up and think, yeah, actually, I could see myself being a grey haired version of the person I am today doing the same kind of thing.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [6:27]
In the context of serving small businesses and helping small businesses grow, absolutely. I mean, it’s, it’s one of the best things about what I do all day, every day is I’ll talk with six different businesses today. And it’s not just purely one type of business or another. But they all have similar challenges in terms of how to grow their business, where to gain that next customer how to make sure that the customers that they’re working with are profitable for the business, and what’s the next steps for the business to grow into achieve? You know, that business owners dreams, that’s really what it’s after, you know, I’m after is helping them achieve their dreams and serving them and what they’re trying to achieve more so than, you know, that’s what happens for my business out of that as a byproduct. I try to keep the customers first, serve them first. And then we’ll everything else tends to work out well.
David Ralph [7:11]
And easy, something that people I seem to think it is. So this is a leading question. But I seem to think that it’s marketing that kills the majority of businesses, the fact that they’ve got a product, they can’t get it out to market, they’ve got a service nobody finds out about it, is it is it as simple as that marketing is the killer, you either got something that’s good that works, or your business is never going to thrive.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [7:36]
I think a lot of times, businesses, more often than not have something good that works that solves a problem for who they’re trying to serve. The challenge is what I run into consistently, as they’re not sure who they’re trying to serve, you made an excellent point earlier with. So many businesses are trying to reach every corner of the globe, with their message and their products and services. And the truth is what I see with small businesses is their markets a lot more narrow than that. I tell my clients, you know, everyone with a pulse is not a targeting strategy. But I think people get so passionate and excited about what they do, that they tend to believe that everybody needs, what it is they’re trying to sell or produce or serve. And they may in some sense, but you’ve got a core target market out there that you’ve got to focus on and be differentiated and have a strong value proposition for or else you’re going to end up competing on the easiest thing to compete on, which is price, which is nothing but a race to the bottom for most businesses. So I think you’ve got an excellent point in that. Not doing marketing well, and not having a strategy and a plan for who you’re trying to serve and what you’re trying to do and why you’re a good solution for their problems. Can can really hold a business back.
David Ralph [8:45]
Because I think the two things that holds the business back in my in my view mark is number one, they haven’t defined their customer, as you’re saying they haven’t looked at the avatar, they haven’t realised what they’re actually targeting. And when when the leads start coming in, they hadn’t defined themselves, I haven’t defined what they want to do with those leads coming in. And this is, once again, this is me sharing it. When I started up, Join Up Dots, I left myself open to so many things. And when I started coming through to me, I was thinking, I hate this, I hate this, this can’t be my life. So I sort of closed it all down purely because I hadn’t defined what I wanted to do with my time what services I wanted to provide. It’s always having the leads coming through. But it’s no good if you hate what you’re actually providing.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [9:30]
If you don’t wake up excited about what you’re going to do all day, you probably need to find another thing to do after you wake up. definitely agree with that that can be that can be a killer. I mean, here it is. You’ve started a business and you think it’s gonna be this wonderful thing and it’s just bringing the life out of you. That’s no fun. So,
David Ralph [9:47]
so where do you get your inspiration for business ideas when you when you expand? No, actually, I’m gonna hold that hold that in your head mark, this is how my brain works. I’m going to go even back further when you start To get that idea of actually creating duct tape marketing and fortunately marketing and your your companies, was it something that literally fell out the sky? Or did it have teething problems at the beginning is it interest me, but a marketing company could struggle with their own marketing to get going at the beginning.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [10:21]
It didn’t, it didn’t fall out of the sky, I actually got into this business through a lot of I’ll call it research, but it was more informal than that. But I was actually a Director of Sales and Marketing for a small business here in Little Rock where I live, and was actually trying to apply effective principles of sales and marketing for that business. And that was going on, right. And that was going well, but I was, you know, helping somebody else, make profits and not seeing any of that return for myself. And that was okay for them. But I wanted to do a little more. And there was a lot of the principles I was using was part of what is called the duct tape marketing system. And john jancis book that tape marketing was a part of what we were using, and part of what we were trying to do. And I realised at some point, well, I can apply this for a lot of different businesses. So as things evolved, and I decided to, you know, hang the shingle out and go out on my own and do my thing. I sort of had a system behind me that was a point of view and a perspective, that was very similar to what I’ve been doing for businesses, all my career, but this was one that sort of opened my eyes and said, Well, hey, now I can do this for 10 clients, or 15. Clients are 20 clients, as opposed to one client as an employee. And that was really sort of the bit of inspiration that made me think, Well, you know, the other part of it was back to our life is too short thing. I had sort of an internal, you know, am I could I really pull this off? Am I really capable of launching and owning my own business. So it doesn’t get any easier as you get older. So let’s figure out if now’s the best time to do it, and take a swing at it and go for it. And here we are, you know, nearly four years later, and everything’s going fine.
David Ralph [12:00]
Well, actually, your professional, your professional, podcaster, because you led me to my question that was next on that imposter syndrome, that moment when you’ve been an employee for a long time. And you know, I was employee for 25 years before I did this. And I remember thinking to myself, who am I? Who am I? To have the world listening to my ramblings, who am I, and it hung around with me, for about 300 shows I was I was a fully fledged full time podcaster earning my income, but I still had those feelings of someday, somebody’s gonna turn off the microphone and pull me away. So how did you get past that? Did you deal yourself with support? Did you speak to your wife? Did you? How did you overcome those imposter syndromes? At the beginning, when you’re thinking, can I pull this off?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [12:48]
Yeah, that’s an excellent point. And that that happens. That happens a lot. And I’m not sure that I’ve gotten all the way past that. I mean, there’s certainly mornings where you wake up and you go, okay, you know, it’s this today, when somebody figures out that I don’t know what I’m doing, right? Which is not I mean, it’s not true, it wouldn’t have lasted this long if it was true. But self doubt can certainly creep in anytime you’re doing these things. For me, I mean, yes, I have a network of support. And my family and peers in my business, I think have a lot to do with it. I’m a part of a network with 100 other consultants that, that do what we do. And we all support one another and help one another out of jams and things like that is really good. But at the end of the day, I think you just sort of have to bear down and do it. I’ve read there’s a lot of different sort of gurus and mentors and leaders that I read in one that I’ve read, this was on a probably a year or so ago, I was reading Michael Hyatt, and he made a statement, you know, when you feel overwhelmed, when you feel stuck, just do the next right thing. Right? I mean, because you know what the next right thing is, right. You knew it when you were podcasting. I know when I’m trying to run a marketing marketing consultancy. So if you slow the madness down just long enough to ask yourself, what is the next right thing? You know, take that next step forward. And before you know it, you’re unstuck and feeling more confident about what you’re doing and and on you go. And I found that really to be very helpful advice. And something I always try to refer back to is just do that next right, step in and you’ll be on your way. Well, let’s
David Ralph [14:15]
play some words that say that perfectly. I think Michael Hyatt might have nicked that issues. Oprah,
Oprah Winfrey [14:21]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. But what is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move and not to be overwhelmed by it because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment. You know, you’re not defined by what somebody says is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [14:53]
Right words, great words, of course, and I agree with that. And I think the thing that really applies to myself, Mark That is the choir to be quiet. I recently and I’ve been talking a lot about it on the show, I disconnected totally from my business for two weeks and went off to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. And I had so many clear visions when I was out there and not sort of like weird stuff. But just where you just allow the thoughts to come to you that since I’ve come back, exponentially My show is growing, because I suddenly could see the wood for the trees where when you’re in it all the time, it’s not a case of just doing the right thing. next right thing because you can’t see the next right thing is just like being bombarded. Do you have ability to step away from it totally, and leave it and go off to the woods and just, you know, shoot a bear or whenever you get up to you Americans?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [15:48]
I don’t shoot bears. But I have friends that do. Um, my fact I have a friend who did it recently, literally. But anyway, um, it, it’s, it’s hard to disconnect. I don’t I probably don’t do it as often as I should. My moments of stillness or moments of silence are a bit more fleeting and maybe shorter in duration. But I do get away regularly for at least a few hours. And you know, turn off all the technology, turn off the phone, turn off everything bombarding you and just say, okay, where do we go from here? Right. And sometimes it’s not even asking that question. It’s just sitting there and listening and being in the moment of what’s going on. And that really seems to help sort of centre things and get back in achieve some clarity. So I completely agree that some stillness and some silence makes makes a world of difference. Coincidentally, my wife and I honeymooned at St. Lucia many years ago, so I’m familiar with the island. It’s a wonderful place.
David Ralph [16:45]
It’s boring muck. It’s boring. I was, I was there for two weeks. And I thought I could have gone to Spain, I could have gone to Spain saved myself a fortune. It was just, I didn’t get it. I did not get it. The only thing I did get actually while talking to it was the amount of people that were sitting around on their porches in the evening, the sun was going down. And it seemed like the whole island were talking to themselves were in the United Kingdom. I’ve been in the same house for 15 years. I hardly say a word to my next door neighbours, but over there, there seem to be a big community of kind of porch sitters in the evening. And that’s got to be good, isn’t it? That’s gonna be good for not just yourself. You’re just a way of life being able to not have the TV on all the time, but just talk to your colleagues.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [17:31]
Well, we we have a front porch on my house, and we were sitting there was a lovely night last night we were sitting on last night and chatting with our neighbours. So maybe it’s just a this end of the world Western Hemisphere sort of thing? I don’t know.
David Ralph [17:44]
Yeah, we have just anti social over here. And we’ve discovered net Netflix never
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [17:47]
gonna do it at the pub instead of the front porch.
David Ralph [17:50]
Yeah, we do. But then we can’t remember what we talked about. Anyway. So that’s, that’s the problem. So so your business, right online marketing. That’s why we got you in here to help people across the world who are listening to the show to start making notes and bring some results into their own business. It is as simple advice is a sort of implementable advice that we can give to the listeners in regards to starting a business how to actually do that first foray into online marketing, web marketing, when I’ve got an idea of something that they want to do might be in entrepreneurial world, they might still be in a corporate gig, but I’ve got that first step forward, what what can I do to think?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [18:29]
Yeah, I think the first step is you have to have a bit of a plan as to who you want to talk to, and what it is, the value that you’re going to provide and the problems that you’re going to solve. And that might be as formal as a, you know, 50 page business plan that follows all the correct templates and formats and all of that, it might just be a one page, this is, this is what I do, this is my value, these are the problems I solve, and this is who I solve them for, I think you have to have that first. And once you’ve got because that gives you a direction and you’ve got some somewhat of a beacon to aim your ship towards so to speak. I think once you have done that, the very next thing you need to do is get a customer, right, because as the expression goes, everything’s all well and good to take the first punch, right? So until you’ve actually engaged with a customer and worked on solving the problems for them, and serving them. You don’t really know where your plan is going to adjust and
David Ralph [19:21]
how to get one mark, I’m just gonna jump in there. How do you get a customer when you’ve just got this idea? You haven’t got like a fully formed business, you’ve just got this idea of what you want to do?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [19:31]
Yeah, I think somewhat, it sort of depends on the business. If it’s a service provider type of thing that you’re going to do, I think it’s a little bit easier than if it’s a formal product on the shelf that you have to produce and have produced. In the product side, you’ve got to I think you have to have a prototype, right? You have to have some version, at least an early version of the product that you’re going to sell, and start introducing that to your target market. And that can be these days. It’s very, technically speaking, it’s easy to do online through social media and the web and things like that. But more often than not, you can start with friends and family, right? You’ve got some local network or local group of folks, local, maybe global, right, but people in your sphere of contact that you can reach out to and say, Hey, this is what I’m doing. This is an idea I have this is a product or a service, or a service, I’m thinking of offering, would this work for you? Or would this work for people that, you know, when I launched my business, and I didn’t, this is unanticipated results, one of the first things I did was I sent my friends and family email, right. And this is an email that went to, you know, everybody in my context, fear that I thought would be interested in knowing what it was that I was up to and what I was doing. Yeah, and lo and behold, I got three consulting engagements out of that email from friends and family that I didn’t even know had businesses that needed the marketing help that I was going to provide. These were people that, you know, maybe it was their side gig, or they were facing a particular challenge in their business that, you know, as an employee, I didn’t have any reason to think about, oh, well, how can I help john with this business. But you’ve got to start, you’ve got to start somewhere, you’ve got to reach out and make that contact, go to your local network, go to your sphere of influence your contacts, present them with the idea and see what feedback you get. That’s, that is that that’s the first step forward.
David Ralph [21:16]
So what we call that is dry testing. And we did a show recently, where we were saying one of the easiest way to dry test and you see it time and time again, is on Facebook, where people say, I’ve been doing really well, I’ve had these kind of results. I’d like to put it into a guide for people. Would this really help you? And see how many people come back and go, yeah, yeah, we fancy that really fancy. But is that as sort of easy way? Because most people on Facebook now, aren’t they really?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [21:44]
Yeah, I mean, that’s, that would be a great way to do it. That’s a wonderful place to do it, I spent it make that makes me think of a spin a number of my years in my corporate career in technology, marketing, and doing marketing and business development for technology oriented companies. And there’s an expression in that world called go or go ugly, early, right? I mean, get, get a product out there, get a service out there and get feedback on it. And another example, it makes me think of I don’t know if it’s still or not, but for years and years and years, Gmail from Google was officially in beta, right? It never, ever really was launched, it may still be in beta for all I know. And it that sort of gives you the cover, to make mistakes, to get bugs figured out to understand what you’re going to do to get customer feedback and adjust as to where the real value prop is. Because it’s almost certain that the original problem you felt you were going to solve and the original value prop you were going to take to market is not what you end up doing. Right? Um, because the market needs are a little bit different than what you thought they were and the opportunity to serve them profitably is a little bit different than what you thought and yes, things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, communities, where people a lot of people gather are wonderful places to start doing that
David Ralph [22:56]
is I am fascinated with Martin Luther King. Now, this is a segue into marketing. But I think that he must have been one of the greatest marketers in the world. Because when he did that, I Have a Dream speech, which nobody else remembers anything other than that 250,000 people turned up and he didn’t advertise it. He How the hell did that happen. But at its core, he was sharing a belief somehow that transferred between people, and they wanted more of that. And that’s one of the things that I think in marketing we see. As a failing people list all the benefits that they can get, but they don’t give that X Factor quality. So I think Martin Luther King, if you look into that and think to yourself, How the hell did he get a quarter of a million to turn up? When there was no Facebook? There was no Twitter, no advertising, he is a marketer. And he is he not the key marketer, Mark?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [23:50]
Well, there’s no doubt that he was one of the I agree, one of the best marketers and communicators of all time, I think, not only through his personal style, but what he had behind him beyond everything else was an idea whose time had absolutely come and was passed to. And he didn’t need Twitter to reach a quarter of a million people to do it. He was the power of his ideas and his movement and his in where he was trying to take that movement alone was was enough.
David Ralph [24:16]
I also very much like this idea that Seth Godin has of how can you create the smallest company possible? So if you think to yourself, right, how much how many bills do I have to pay each month, say $1,000? What can I do to get that thousand dollars in from one customer? And I like that idea as well. And I think if you take that that’s a real doable, springboard into entrepreneurship instead of thinking right I need 200 people and I know they gotta pay me $500 a month. It’s just too big do you think?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [24:48]
I think it can certainly be a I’ve always struggled with the idea of growth for growth’s sake, right? Doesn’t seem to, that doesn’t appeal to me a lot in and of itself. I don’t know that that’s reason enough to go Just acquire more customers all the time, just because you want to be bigger. I don’t know what, I’m not sure that I understand exactly what bigger gives you right. So I think I think what Seth is, is after there is, and I think this is germane to a lot of his ideas, and his writing is that you want to serve, who you serve extremely well, right. And that that audience may be one, it might be 1000. But I think the idea that, that knowing who your market is, and knowing what problems you solve, and how you solve them better than anybody else is absolutely critical. I completely agree.
David Ralph [25:30]
Okay, say he agrees with me again, he’s now my world’s official, favourite guest, he agrees every time I open my mouth, if only I was married to your mark, if only I was married to you, I’d sit on your porch. And we’d have a lovely time every night. Probably you wouldn’t have as a lovely time as I would. But still still, that’s my fantasy. So in your business, Ben, what is the bits? It’s a drag Finn. So there’s all parts of a dragon? Yeah, did you just push those off to other people? Do you aim for the fun at all time.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [26:02]
I try to aim for the fun at all times. It’s not 100%. That way, I think every entrepreneur would tell you that. administrative tasks, Bill Payne, HR related things, unless you’re a finance, person accounting and financial related things are not the most fun things that you do every day, but they’re necessary and put in part of the business. So you try to find the best system to get those done well and accurately, because your finances have to be accurate. And you have to, you know, you, as a business owner, have to know what’s going on there. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you punch all the numbers into all of the spreadsheets. So that part’s not as much fun, but you come up with systems and processes for getting the work done, well, efficiently and accurately. And, and again, you try to focus on what it is you do best. So once, I think it’s very important once you’ve got a company and you’re the owner, to focus on what it is that you do best within that company. And I think that’s when a lot of times you’ll see companies where the founders and the starters, or startup folks end up being more on the technical side of things, as opposed to the management leadership, CEO type role. They’re more inspirational than they are the day to day leader of things. And I think that’s a lot of what happens is people have to stick to what’s core to who they are and what gets them excited when they get up in the morning. For me, it’s interacting with clients, right? I, I will probably literally speak with six different clients and six different types of companies and six different businesses today, and that’s what energises me right learning what client a does and helping them solve their problems. And then bouncing to another call with client, you know x, y, or Zed and figuring out what makes them tick and solving their problems. That’s, that’s what energises me. So as long as I’m doing that I’ll be I’ll be doing pretty well in this business,
David Ralph [27:45]
right, so so what we’re saying then is the very first thing that somebody needs to do is they need to die, define the direction that they’re going, they need to know what’s right for them, and they need to know what they’re going to be servicing to the customer, then they’re going to step forward, and they’re going to take this idea and they’re going to dry test it and they’re going to put it out there and they’re going to see if there’s a marketplace for it, then they’re going to step forward, and they’re going to try to find a customer who will actually pay for that service. And then as it progresses through, they start to look at separating themselves from the minute details that bog everyone down to be out but to grow the business focusing in on their strengths only would that be what we’re saying? up?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [28:27]
Yeah, I think as the business grows, you figure out your problem set that you can solve for customers will expand and you’ll have different things that you can do. And you’ll have different resources available to you to do that. But that core mission and that core focus on on who you’re after is with is where you want to go now, you know, that’s going to change over time, right? What what Apple did in the beginning, as a startup, maybe a little bit different than what Apple does now. But that’s all part of the growth and evolution of a company. And that’s, that’s that’s a lot of the fun of what goes into it. Now that may end up being you want to stay in a solopreneur kind of model. And it’s going to be primarily you that’s delivering that value for your clients. And that’s all well and good. I think the important thing is to know that right? know who you are and what you’re after, as opposed to just sort of willy nilly chasing growth from every corner that you can get it
David Ralph [29:19]
and it will kill you. I I’ve had burnout twice. And I’m never going back. I am never going back to the state of burnout. And it seems to me now much less work I do. The big amount of results are coming because I found that sweet spot. You know,
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [29:35]
you know who you’re serving and you know what you’re after.
David Ralph [29:37]
I know exactly what I’m serving. I know exactly what I’m after. And I know exactly how to do it. But I couldn’t have got there without that hassle. And I think that’s one of the problems that people have, they kind of think is going to be an A to B you know, and it’s not is it is an 8.1 8.2 8.3 and it takes about three years that there’s this benchmark that I keep hearing time and time again, where people say the first year was me scrambling around trying to do stuff. The second year was a little bit of clarity. And then the third year was me kind of separating the the mess that I’d created in the first two years to really make the business what it is, would that be about writing yours?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [30:17]
Yes, I think that’s true. And I had a mentor early in my career, we were sort of discussing career paths and what what I could do and all this sort of thing, and he drew an A and a B on a sheet of paper. And then you do a tonne of zigzags connecting the two dots. He’s like, that’s what a career path looks like. And he was exactly right. It’s never it’s never a straight line. And yes, but by year, three or so there will be more clarity and in more understanding of where it is you’re trying to go. And I’m willing to bet in more instances than not where you are in year three is different than where you thought you would have been had you done it in year one. I mean, it doesn’t it’s never a straight line. And you don’t always end up exactly where you’re going, or where you thought you were headed. I should say,
David Ralph [31:01]
Where did you think he was heading right at the very beginning.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [31:05]
When I started this business, I really thought that I would spend a lot more time working on sort of high level, marketing strategy, business strategy, very high level strategy, sort of things without a lot of implementation, and tactics behind it. Not that they weren’t important. It was just that, you know, I wanted to work with business owners to help them achieve clarity of vision in their marketing and what they were trying to do. And then magically, it would all just happen. Well, of course, that’s not true at all. That’s not, especially if you’re working with a small business and a small business owner who is stretched for time and resources every single day. I can talk strategy all day long with them. But at some point, they’re gonna look at me and go, that’s great mark, but I need the phone to ring today. Yeah, right. I need I need people in the, in the shop in the store this afternoon. How are we going to do that? And then you know it, you look back now call? And I’m like, Well, of course, that’s what they were going to say how did I not know that from the beginning. But now you look at it and go well, of course, you know, the next logical step is to serve them with marketing coaching, or marketing programmes or marketing services that are going to help them get that work done, right. Because telling a small business owner, this is the five things you need to do without helping them get that done is not going to get you very far, because all small business owners are extremely pressed for time and resources. And they may love the strategy. But they also need to be able to implement it to
David Ralph [32:32]
ease astonishing as you say, you look back and you think, why didn’t I think that because quite simply, everybody wants to quick route. That’s what we pay for. We want to go from this level of learning to that level of learning. And we want to go from where we are now to more customers. And we don’t want the three years of self development in between. And that’s why people pay it. And the people that can provide the biggest results in the shortest time will earn the biggest money. So it is it’s a kind of a you slap your head and you go, why didn’t I think about and I’ll give you an example. or excuse me, clearing my throat, I created a company called podcasters mastery. And I thought that I will show everybody how to create a podcast and the online scheduling for beings and over behind the scenes nuts and bolts. And when I released it, and I sold, you know quite a few of them, I realised by looking at the video content, but a lot of it nobody was watching. It was just one or two things. And it almost plotted a journey through my content to where they want you to go. And what they wanted was they wanted to be able to know how to launch a podcast, they wanted to know how to reduce all the hassle afterwards. And I wanted to know how to grow a podcast without any of the sort of promotion and the hassle. It was a quite an A to B to C hassle free thing. But I couldn’t have seen that even though I knew that already. I had to see those that that data points all the way through for me to reassess my product and then bring it out to the market again. But it was common sense. It was total common sense. And so we we over complicate, don’t we mark?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [34:10]
Yes, for sure. I mean, I’d brand to a very similar thing. You know, when I launched my business, I thought, well, I can just coach people on what they need to do. And that’ll be great. Everything else will take care of itself. It’ll just sustain itself on its own momentum. Well, that wasn’t at all true. Because as soon as I’ve worked with small business owners, and we’ve discussed what they need to do and why they need to do it. Next question is, well, how am I going to get all that done? Write it you know, and it sounds like you’ve just added yet another full time job on top of the eight I’ve already got. Now I’ve got to do all the marketing work. Well, duh, of course that’s what happened. They didn’t i didn’t magically create more time for them to get all this work done. So now we got to think about how to deliver value to help them get all that work done. So I completely I understand and it’s it’s it like you said it’s very common sense had I I’d like to think had I stopped three years ago. And looked in, I would have come up with that answer. But I think you have to sort of experience it to realise that that was the next logical step.
David Ralph [35:06]
You do, you have to, and you have to realise that nothing is wasted as well. You might say, Oh, God, you know, I’ve just spent six months doing that. And it’s, you’ve learned, you’ve learned what’s working, you learn, what don’t, I just had a guy on before you, that’s a multimillionaire. And basically, you’ve got to pay six figures plus to hire him for coaching. And he failed, like 13 businesses before he found his thing. And he said, he couldn’t have got to where he was. Now without those 13 failures, that was absolute gold all the way through, as long as you continue to keep on moving forward. As long as you look at those failures as part of the journey and not just go, it’s never gonna work, never gonna work, I’m gonna go and work in Walmart for the rest of my life.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [35:48]
That’s true. And I think that’s why it’s important to have a plan from the beginning. And even to be extremely practical for a second, have a financial plan behind it that allows you to make some of those mistakes and adjust as you need to and have the capital to not have to go work at Walmart while you figure out what the next step is. But sometimes, that’s what you’ve got to do in between. and, you know, if you’ve got a vision and a goal for where you want ahead, you got to suck it up and do what it takes to get there.
David Ralph [36:14]
Now, one of the things just before we sort of move forward to the end of the show, one of the things that I’m interested that I’m seeing a lot of and I’ll be interested, in your point of view, is the amount of people once again on Facebook for saying, I have created his business only with organic ads, I’m not paying for ads, I’m not paying for marketing. Is that a real skill? Or are people actually doing that is the intrigue? Is the persuasiveness of curiosity, the real marketing tool there? Or is it what they’re actually saying?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [36:45]
I think it’s possible to do that, I found very few examples where once you get to get under the covers a bit that it’s really true that it’s all organic. And it’s not because they don’t have a good idea, or maybe because their product or service doesn’t work. It’s just especially to dive into the Facebook thing for a minute. The Facebook algorithm is that Facebook’s in an interesting dilemma, right? They exist to get as many eyeballs on their platform as possible to then monetize them by selling ads to marketers, right? But the problem is, they know that the more ads you see, the less likely a consumer is going to be willing to click on those. So they have to constantly tweak their algorithm, so that you’re seeing more pictures of grandkids or your neighbor’s lunch or whatever it is that you see in your newsfeed in fewer ads, but enough ads that Facebook continues to make money. That’s a long way of saying, I have a hard time believing that organic reach alone will do it. Sometimes it will just do effective, you know, really effective content and very persuasive value, and solving problems organically and helping people figure that out. But more often than not, it’s just very hard to reach enough of a market organically to get it done. So there’s got to be some paid component, especially within the Facebook world to make that work.
David Ralph [38:03]
Is I find on Facebook, what I do I don’t do anything on it for like a month, I don’t do a single post. And then when I do I seem to get a lot of traction on one. And then I don’t do anything at all, where I see other people. And you see it all the time. This does stupid asking questions. They asked, What’s your favourite movie on a plane? And what’s your favourite food? And you think, have you really got time to impose that question, let alone answer it. And one of the reasons they say it adds to engagement, but Facebook, look at it and say, Oh, yeah, because he’s doing that. And a lot of people are responding to these questions is a good thing to do. I think it’s better to just leave it follow. And then when you post something, Facebook seems to go Oh, he hasn’t done anything for a while. Let’s encourage him, and and sort of push it out to the masses, I get so much more interaction from stuff when I haven’t done anything for about four, four weeks, five weeks on it.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [38:54]
That’s interesting. I would I need to go look at your posts and see what mesh what formula you’ve cracked that, uh, that helps you that helps you get that? I think if if only every four weeks you posted What’s your favourite movie? or What did you eat on the plane last week, he only did that once every four weeks, you’d probably see that engagement go down, I have to believe your your posts are quite engaging, even if they are more infrequent. And I think that’s the I think that’s really the key is, you know, Facebook is there to from a from a user standpoint, to have a good experience to spend time on their platform because that’s what Facebook wants you to do. So as long as you’re creating content that is not just look at the nachos, I had lunch or something like that, or here’s my favourite cat video. I think you’ll I think you’ll do well. Even with more infrequent posts, like like you’re saying, to really reach your audience. There’s got to be some paid component to it as well more and more these days.
David Ralph [39:50]
But let’s play some words now from a guy who who was a master at marketing because he understood exactly what the customer wanted. It was the customer experience. His Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [40:00]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [40:36]
So great words are powerful words are called Steve Jobs. He’s the legend and a words that really sort of you can reflect on your own life and think Yeah, yeah, that pretty spot on. Steve, I’d slap you on the back of you if I was bear with you now.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [40:52]
Yeah, that’s, that’s absolutely true. I can you can listen to that and say, Yep, that’s exactly what’s what happened with me. I didn’t see it at the time. But if I look back, in my case, around 23 years or so, I completely can see how that how that happens.
David Ralph [41:07]
And so what happened 25 years ago, what what was your big dot vein mess led you to where you on that mark?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [41:13]
Well, so it’s it’s sort of what we discussed about that zigzag in your in your life, right? I graduated from college, and up until probably January of my senior year at university, I had every intention of becoming a history professor. That’s what my degrees in I have a really enjoyed history and really thought that that’s what I was going to do, right up until I realised I was really tired at school. And I’ve had enough school the last quite some time. So it was like, well, you kind of have the Oh, crap moment, and you got to go find a job right. And I was lucky enough to have it, I do think it was luck, because it was not with a lot of intent behind it, have had some experience in the business world and managed to put a liberal arts degree resume together with some actual practical business experience. And that got me hired. And that helped me figure out in my first job, which was, oddly enough for a large consulting firm, sort of what business was about and how it worked. And I had a wonderful mentor there that helped me sort of gain my business acumen. And I decided, Well, you know, I’ve sort of come in and out of the corporate world after that, it was, well, I really liked the music business. And I went and worked for a record label back when there were things called record labels. And there were things called record stores, and you had small chains of I know, young people listening to this won’t don’t understand, but there were places where you actually bought music on physical media,
David Ralph [42:37]
they coming back to tell you, they’re coming back,
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [42:40]
yes, I really get a kick out of vinyl coming back the way it is over here, that really, I get a huge kick out of that. But anyway, I was in the music business and things were going along and it was okay, wasn’t making a lot of money, but was having a lot of fun. And some family issues happen and there was some illness to deal with. And that caused me to move, I was out on the east coast of the states. And that caused me to move back home, which is Arkansas, this is where I grew up. And once I did that, to be with my family for a while and, and work through some issues there. I went back into corporate world worked for a telecom company, and eventually for a very large public data and software company. And, you know, 18 years later back in Arkansas, it sort of went from bigger company to smaller company to smaller company to real small company to start up on my own and developed a real passion for marketing and helping business leaders and, and helping small businesses grow and help them figure out how to serve their customers better. And using this wonderful thing called the internet and online marketing to help people get better results out of their business and somewhere along the way got married and had kids and here we are mean all those dot you you could have never told me in 1994 this is where it was going to end up because I could have never foreseen it like, like Mr. Jobs said in your quote there. But this is where it happens. And it’s it’s, it’s fun. And it’s been a wonderful journey and a good thing to be a part of, while you’re a part of it. So you won’t go back and change any of your dots. Well, you’d want to look back and say, Man, if I could tell myself back then by the way, you know, it’s not always a straight line, and I would have liked to have known, gotten to know myself a little better, a little earlier likes and dislikes and understand what energises me and what doesn’t energise me that probably would have shortened the distance between some of those dots a little bit, I think. I think being a little more willing to seek out mentors and leaders that had sort of been there and can help point you in the right directions, I think would help I think, I’d like to tell myself in 1994 to take a few more risks than you’ve taken that might have hastened the process a bit, which would have been all good, but you know, I don’t have any regrets about all the years I spent in corporate America and learning that because every bit of that led to where I am now and I think that’s true for just about anybody you’re being an employee and having a job is not a bad thing at all. I think it serves a purpose. You’ve got to understand what your purpose is, you’ve got to understand who you are and what energises you and then do your best to get there. And working in corporate America may be a good a good way to start that
David Ralph [45:15]
I think I would The only thing I would change, I would change some of the mental girlfriends I had. And then I’d be able to get my favourite jumper and my record collection back, you always lose your record collection to mentor girlfriends, it’s one of the things that they hold back from you.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [45:30]
Is that where they went,
David Ralph [45:31]
that’s why they win. Yeah, that’s why they went, they went to the mental girlfriend heaven in the sky, or wherever they take them all by them. You’ve already alluded to this, but I’m going to be fascinating to hear you speak to your younger self, because this is the part of the show called a sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back and speak to the young man, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out, because I’m going to click the music and when it fades up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [46:10]
With the first bit of the show,
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [46:25]
well, I would talk to myself probably going back to graduating from university, so that would have been mid 90s 1994 1995, I was in Washington DC. And I would I would tell Mark back then to take a little more time to know what what you were after in life and what kind of life you really wanted to live. As it turned out, I took a long time to to figure that out probably way too long. And I just sort of was okay just sort of bouncing along and going from opportunity to opportunity, which the good part was it made me very flexible, and I’m able to do a lot of different things. But I think it took it made the journey probably a lot longer than it than it needed to be. And that’s probably still even a little true today. That you know, when you really look at where you want to head and what you want to do, you can see it out there. Now the path is not going to be a straight line to get there it is always zigs and zags. But understanding where you want to go and having a purpose. And a goal for what you want to do both personally and professionally is is critical to success and happiness. And I think it’s very important to trust yourself. I don’t know that I had a lot of self confidence when I started off in my career 20 some odd years ago. And I think it’s very important that you trust yourself, because at the end of the day, no one knows you better than you know yourself. And you have to have the faith that you know what you’re what you’re after. And you know what you want to do, and you know the kind of life that you want to live in the sort of purpose that you have in your life. And it’s critically important to to apply that understanding as you go through life’s journeys, and go from.to dot
David Ralph [48:00]
write advice. Great advice so much. What’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir?
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [48:06]
Sure. So my business’s website is fortune marketing, Inc. That’s fortune marketing, I nc.com. You can always reach me through there, all of my social links are on that site as well. But you can find me on fortune marketing, on Facebook or at fortune mktg IMC, on on the Twitter and Mark z fortune on LinkedIn. Feel free to connect anytime I’d love to get to know you.
David Ralph [48:30]
And before we let you go, what is the number one bit of advice that we can leave our listeners with on online marketing. know who you’re going to talk to and what problems you’re going to solve all of the different channels and media to reach them can sort themselves out once you know who you’re after and what you’re trying to achieve. There you go. Listen, there’s Daigo form from Mark fortune himself, the expert on online marketing. Mark, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mark fortune. Thank you so much.
Online Marketing Expert Mark Fortune [49:09]
Thank you, David. It’s been a real pleasure. I enjoyed it.
David Ralph [49:14]
Survey, you have it online marketing, you know who you’re targeting, and you say the words that they want to hear basically. And it’s as simple as that. And there’s so many tools nowadays to make it as easy as possible. And of course, you can go over to Mark at his company, and, and he can help you further. But it all starts with you guys. It all starts with you. And defining yourself and also defining your customer and what you want to bring to the table. And if you think about how you can solve an issue, you’re half the way there. Thank you so much for listening to Join Up Dots athiya could go over to iTunes and leave a ratings and review. It’s so powerful, really so powerful, and we helps us push it up further in the charts. Thank you so much, but until next time, we’ll see you again. Cheers. by
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.