“Marketing Therapy: Unlock the Chains that Bind You”

ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE GFXAllison was interviewed by “The Kick Start Guy,” for Entrepreneur Magazine’s radio show — “Marketing Therapy: Get Unstuck, Grab Yourself by the Collar, and Achieve Success!” in 2001.This article summarizes the interview . . .


As a CEO or business owner, have you ever felt like your mind was going in circles when trying to decide what you should do next to grow your business?

Have you agonized over how to get more business, express your value, minimize your risks, and realize your dreams?

We’ve all been there! When you find yourself bound in this place, it’s time for a bit of “marketing therapy”. This process will help you unlock the issues that are holding your marketing strategies back, so you can achieve success and make more cash.

FEAR 2 GFXCommon issues relating to marketing include a fear of rejection – this is most common when you’re conducting sales.

After a company has been in business for 15-20 years, the issue of burnout and complacency often arises.

You know you’re stuck when you never can seem to find the time to unleash that marketing strategy you’d planned which, of course, is the issue of procrastination—the queen of issues for so many of us!

“Marketing therapy” resolves the core issue underlying that procrastination. Often it surfaces as a marketing strategy that really isn’t a good fit for your particular business or skills. Sometimes you just need that step-by-step knowledge required to take action.

Conversely, the fear of success, or of growing too fast, typically comes from the overwhelming worry that you’ll have to work even more hours than you’re already cramming into each day.

There’s another surprisingly common issue (to which women, in particular, often fall victim) – that of feeling like a fraud, or that you really “don’t know what you’re doing, and they’ll find out soon.”


Here’s just one technique:

Consider that calling a potential customer is not about talking them into something they don’t want. Instead, it’s a wonderful opportunity to help someone with the perfect solution you have, and make his or her life easier with your product or service.

After all, that’s why you started the business—so you could help someone do something in a better way.

Our favorite story about handling sales rejection is from a relative – the little brother, (I’ll call him Randy to protect his identity), who put himself through law school by selling dental products as a telemarketer.

He just hated this job.

He didn’t like getting the phone slammed down in his ear, like most of us do with telemarketers. He really didn’t like making sales, period. But he needed to keep his job.

BOND GFXTo survive, he developed a character that helped him cope—he called himself “Clint Bond,” (a combination of Clint Eastwood and James Bond- the character of his alter ego). Clint Bond gave Randy a sense of confidence and allowed him to disassociate personally to overcome his fear & loathing of sales – suddenly, HE wasn’t getting the rejections; it was his character who was getting the instant hang-ups.

Of course, we don’t recommend that you use someone’s name other than your own. But in Randy’s case, it really didn’t matter what his name was, as long as he represented the company and its products properly. He did quite well after developing this approach, and as a result he’s now a successful lawyer! Seriously, though, whatever works for you that is honest and ethical is fine.

If your company has a sales staff, the breakdowns often happen when there is not an efficient system for conducting sales, getting your promotional literature out the door, ensuring proper follow-up, project tracking and management, and seeing each job through to completion with a simple method for the owner to track progress. It’s simple to correct once the issue is identified.

knowledge is blissFirst, we recommend a marketing communications evaluation. We start with an impartial review of how a project was sold, what was communicated & promoted, what sales discussions were held with the client, how estimates were prepared, and what interactions took place, from inception to completion.

Then we offer strategies, editing, new tools for communications or similar to smooth out the process enabling better results. Here are a few tips until you’re ready for a complete review:

  • Establish project tracking forms that communicate regularly with the client on the progress of each project.


  • Revamp your marketing strategies to reach out to a clientele you will enjoy, be challenged by, respect, meet your goals with – whether those are financial or creative goals – and who will really appreciate what you offer.


  • Retool your promotions to ensure you are communicating from your deeper mission with the clients you want to attract.


  • Establish client surveys throughout the duration of a lengthy project, or at the end of shorter projects, to ensure you’re meeting your clients’ needs, and that everyone is satisfied. Be sure to review these with your employees, too! We offer a powerful, unbiased third party business evaluation called Knowledge is Bliss, that clarifies and strengthens your positioning at the same time.


SLEEP GFXWe all have issues with our businesses. Truthfully,  if your company doesn’t have some kind of issue, then you’re not trying hard enough!

Just as therapists cannot conduct therapy on themselves, we business owners need an outside, objective viewpoint, too. That’s exactly why we felt compelled to work this “therapy” into the strategic marketing consultations for growing companies.

Of course, you won’t have to sit on a couch and analyze childhood issues — that’s not the intent.  The object is to discover some powerful methods for harnessing your company’s strengths, your employees’ contributions, innate wisdom, and resources, and for getting the best results, period.

It’s rooted in your own innate intelligence as the company’s founder, which sometimes gets bogged down by your day-to-day operations, by rusty marketing that isn’t producing results, or by issues buried beneath the surface of your management structure.

When you, as the owner of the business, simply “feel” that something isn’t on track, it’s exactly the right time for this marketing therapy/strategy tune-up.

FRAUD GFXYou might be surprised at how many people feel this way. As a business owner, typically you will experience this feeling during the first 1-3 years of your business’s growth.

This is especially true in the professional services – you may find that a competitor has released a study before you, or has “built a better mousetrap” in some way. You may start to feel like you don’t have all the answers, or you may find other products in the marketplace that are just as valuable (or more so) than yours, and may even be less expensive.

Many professionals feel they must keep taking classes or earning new licenses to be competitive. We find that is often an underlying belief attributable to the fear of marketing.

Any of these factors can induce you to begin feeling like a fraud in some way.

This issue can often manifest itself in your marketing – you might respond by charging far, far too little for the value you actually bring to your clients.


The Solution gfxThe solution is to rethink your positioning—how you’re unique in your offerings. Then we can determine the value you bring to your clients, so you can resolve this issue and improve your revenues.

The hard part is, you rarely know you’re doing this when you’re doing it! That’s exactly why we created “marketing therapy” as part of our consultations to help CEO’s and owners with these issues.