In this episode, Stacy sits down with Tim Fitzpatrick, who is the founder and President of Rialto Marketing. The two discuss how important it is to have a plan and know the fundamentals when trying to market digitally. That being said, Tim believes that marketers can find more success by being organized and sticking to the basics!

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Stacy Jones (00:01):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results. My goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.

Stacy Jones (00:36):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, and I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Tim Fitzpatrick. Tim is the founder and president of Rialto Marketing, and helps businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress. His belief system is that most people overcomplicate marketing and that it doesn’t have to be that way. His passion for growing and developing businesses has been built over the last 20 years and includes having founded and co-owned and operated a wholesale distribution company that grew an average of 60% a year. Today Tim will be sharing the primary marketing fundamentals you should know. The benefits of having a plan, and how you should leverage digital marketing to it’s fullest capabilities. We’ll learn what works from Tim’s perspective, what should be avoided, and how some businesses just miss the mark. Tim welcome, I’m so happy to have you here today.

Tim Fitzpatrick (01:27):
Stacy thanks for having me. I’m super excited to be here.

Stacy Jones (01:31):
Of course. So you are all things digital and we were just chatting about what your experience is. Can you share with our listeners how you got to where you are today and what made you this guru of digital and loving this life?

Tim Fitzpatrick (01:45):
Absolutely. So I’ll give you the cliff note version because as most people know the entrepreneurial journey is not a straight path. It’s a winding road. When I got out of college, I got involved in a wholesale distribution company that I became a partner in. We grew that for about 10 years, very fortunate to just really hit a strong growth path there. And we grew at about 60% a year. We sold it. I worked for the company that bought us for another three years. And then in 2009, I got laid off. We got bought by a public company. They were freaking out. We all know what happened in 2008. And at the time, I felt like they did me a favor. I wasn’t liking what I was doing at that point.
I needed to do something different. So I took a little time off, shifted gears, and I got involved in residential real estate. And at that time there was a ton of foreclosures. I was doing a lot of short sale business. I was knocking on people’s doors. But after two and a half years, I was like, “Man, I can’t stand this. This is not a good fit for me.” I had the Sunday evening effect. If you’ve ever heard of that, where it’s Sunday evening, I was like, “Oh my God, I have to get up and do this all week.” What is the point?

Stacy Jones (03:05):
You were leading for the weekends. Leading for the weekends.

Tim Fitzpatrick (03:07):
Yeah. What’s the point. If you’re not going to enjoy what you’re doing as a business owner, you might as well do something different. So at that point I started thinking about, what I loved about being in distribution. It was changing. It was dynamic. And I said, “Look, I know what it’s like to grow a business, to market.” And so I got involved in marketing and that’s what I’m doing today. We’re just helping people simplify it because it’s such an easy thing to overcomplicate. But when you make things complex, they just inevitably they don’t work like they should.

Stacy Jones (03:41):
Okay. Well that is a great start to our conversation.

Tim Fitzpatrick (03:45):
Yes.

Stacy Jones (03:45):
So, you just to simplify things, and you say that like, it’s casual like, “Ah, just simplify it.” What do you do? What are the steps to actually simplifying marketing?

Tim Fitzpatrick (03:54):
So for me and my philosophy is it all goes back to the fundamentals. When we look at the fundamentals in any discipline, I don’t care what it is. If you’re standing up to the plate to hit a baseball, or marketing, or operations for a business, whatever it is, those fundamentals don’t change. They’re the same. The fundamentals of hitting a baseball are the same today as they were 50 years ago. And they’re going to be the same 50 years from now. So there are no new fundamentals. They don’t change.
But so many people skip them, especially when it comes to marketing because we have so many… I find most businesses are battling information overload when it comes to marketing. There’s the latest tips and tactics, there’s gurus, you got to be on Tik TOK, you got to be on Clubhouse, you need to have a YouTube channel. Whatever it is, there’s always a new flavor each week. And when people don’t have those fundamentals in place, it’s so easy to just chase that shiny object. And that’s not a way to have an effective marketing plan for your business. And so you’ve got to come back to the fundamentals because they lay the foundation for you to build the rest of your house from.

Stacy Jones (05:11):
And all those bright, shiny objects take a lot of time to actually do too. Especially if you don’t have those fundamentals in place.

Tim Fitzpatrick (05:19):
Yes. If you skip the fundamentals, your marketing is just a crap shoot. And inevitably, something might work a little bit, but you have no idea why. You may not be sure how to repeat it. And so you’ve got to come back to those fundamentals. If you skip them, you’re going to waste a lot of time. You’re going to waste money and you’re going to have to come back to them at some point. So that’s the way I look at it.
Now, a lot of people say, “Okay, great. What the hell are these fundamentals?” So I call them the marketing strategy trilogy. First, you have to understand your target market. Who are you going to serve? How are you going to serve those people? Who are your ideal clients? From there, step two is you got to have clear engaging messaging to that ideal client base. And three, you have to have a plan. You have to have some type of plan that you’re going to work and measure and make course corrections with. Those are the three fundamentals. If you have those things in place, you will have success, but you can’t skip those.

Stacy Jones (06:26):
And how do you go about making sure that those are in place?

Tim Fitzpatrick (06:27):
Yes. So with your target market, the easiest way for most businesses to start, and I’m assuming you’re an existing business. You’ve had some past clients. You have current clients. You start by asking yourself three questions. Who do I enjoy working for? Is one. Why the hell do I want to work with people I can’t stand? It’s just going to make your life miserable. Two, who are your most profitable clients? If we’re ever going to stay in business, we have to be working with profitable clients over and over again. And then three, who do we do our best work for? Because if you work for clients that you do your best work for every time, they’re going to be happy. They’re going to be repeat customers. They’re going to refer you. So you need to ask yourself those three questions. And the group of clients that you can answer positively to those three questions, that’s where you start to look for your ideal client types.
So when you have that group, then you can start to dig into what are the demographics for people in this group? What are the psychographics? When we look at the psychographics, how are they feeling? What are their thoughts? Their perceptions? The results they want? Those types of things. The psychographics to me, I think are just as, if not more important than the demographics, because the psychographics that’s what entice people to buy. So super, super important. But when you have that group and you look at the demographics and the psychographics, inevitably what happens is one to three subgroups come from that. Those one to three subgroups are your ideal clients.

Stacy Jones (08:09):
Are you saying that everyone out there is not your ideal client? That you should not be marketing to like Tom, Dick and Harry, all over the planet and every single country under the sun?

Tim Fitzpatrick (08:19):
What a novel concept. Look, most of us get into business, and at first it’s like, are you breathing? Do you have a heartbeat? Do you have money to pay me? Yes. Great. I can help you. But we find that after doing that, you’re like, “Oh my God, that was the nightmare.” I didn’t like working with that client. Or we didn’t do good work for that client. Or they weren’t happy. There was something about that, that just didn’t work. The other problem with just trying to serve everyone is, you can’t possibly target everyone and reach everyone. Your marketing efforts become far too diluted. And you’re just like, “Oh my God, where do I go? I’m trying to attract small business owners. Well, Jesus, they’re everywhere.” So you’ve got to niche down and find those people that you can serve best. And when you do that, it gives you focus and direction for where you actually need to take your marketing.
When I tell people, look, you need to focus on one to three ideal client types, I’m not saying those are the only people you can do business with. I’m just saying those are the only people you’re going to target your marketing efforts towards. Because when you understand exactly who those ideal client types are, then you can start to look at where are they? Where do they congregate? Whether it’s offline or online, you start to create a list of all these places where they are. What associations do they belong to? What trade shows do they go to? What influencers do they follow? What websites do they go to, to get information? All of those things are places people congregate. And when you have that list, now you know exactly where you need to be, to put your message in front of, to attract your ideal clients. Everything becomes so much easier. And everything starts with that target market. If you don’t know your target market, you’re dead in the water.

Stacy Jones (10:17):
Part of that is also that if you don’t know your target market, you don’t know what solution you’re actually trying to provide.

Tim Fitzpatrick (10:22):
Exactly. It’s like you’ll do business with people because you can solve a problem that they have. So you have to understand who those ideal clients are and what problem they have that you can solve. That’s where it all starts.

Stacy Jones (10:40):
And then where does it go? We got where it starts. What’s the next step?

Tim Fitzpatrick (10:44):
So, I know who I’m trying to reach, now I need to figure out what the heck I’m going to say to those people. And that’s when you start looking at your marketing message. And how you communicate the value that you offer to people, super, super important. I think most businesses try to get cute, they try to get clever and inevitably it falls flat. Because look, if we make people think about what the heck we mean, they’re gone. Especially now our attention spans are so short. We are so used to, I need information. It’s at my fingertips. If I land on your website and read that copy right at the top, and I can’t understand what the hell you do, I’m going somewhere else. It’s so, so important. So, how the heck do we do that? Well, we use storytelling. There’s a lot of marketers that use storytelling.
We use the StoryBrand Framework, if you’re familiar with that. Popularized by Donald Miller. It’s a variation on the Hero’s Journey. When it was introduced to me, I was like, “Oh my God, this is great. I love this. It makes perfect sense. It’s so easy for most people to understand.” And so that’s what we do. And so what are you doing when you use a storytelling framework? You’re inviting your customer, who is the hero or the main character in the story. You’re inviting them to a story where they’re that main character and your company is the guide. Because our clients, they’re not looking for a hero. They’re looking for a guide who knows exactly how to solve the problem and help them get from where they currently are to where they want to be.

Stacy Jones (12:23):
Right. And they don’t want to DIY it. They want someone who actually knows it. Who’s made all the mistakes under the sun, really screwed up over the years, quite frankly.[Inaudible 00:00:12:31] to develop into the expert that they are, to avoid them from screwing up.

Tim Fitzpatrick (12:37):
We, as the guide, we know exactly what they need to do. You have X problem. These are the steps. One, two, three, that you need to take to get to the other side of the river, to where you want to be. Guides, they have credibility, they have authority. They’re trusted and they can express empathy. I understand exactly what it’s like to be battling information overload when it comes to your marketing. It is not a fun place to be. Here’s what you need to do to eliminate that and start accomplishing your goals. And that’s all we’re doing. If you think about most stories, the one I always use is the original Point Break. Have you ever seen the original Point Break with Johnny, Reeves?

Stacy Jones (13:19):
Of course. Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, like Point Break 2, came nowhere close.

Tim Fitzpatrick (13:29):
Yes. I always say now I’m like, “Gosh, I’d probably date myself talking about the original Point Break, but Keanu Reevess is this FBI Agent, and there’s this band of bank robbers. And his guide is Gary Busey, who’s his seasoned FBI partner. And he’s like, “Hey, this band of bank robbers, the Ex-Presidents, they’re surfers.” You need to learn how to surf. And when you learn how to surf, you’re going to get involved with these people. You’re going to meet them, and then you can infiltrate them. And we catch them and avoid failure and we hit success because they go to jail.
Well, if you think about Keanu Reevess and most main characters, they’re stuck. They’re actually fairly weak characters because they’re like, “I got this problem. I have no idea what the hell to do.” I’m just standing here wondering what to do. I don’t know how to get to where I want to be. And the guide steps in and says, “I know exactly what you need to do. And here’s what it is.” So that’s why we want to use storytelling to position ourselves as the guide. And when you use frameworks like a storytelling framework, it allows you to go back to that framework when you need to create messaging. You’re not reinventing the wheel every time, you’re going back to the framework and you’re pulling pieces from it to create message it is. Whether it’s an email, or an Ad, or a social post, you have to be consistent with your marketing message. People take-

Stacy Jones (15:02):
It also makes it so much easier than trying to build each little a piece like in your head. That’s impossible, like you’re rebuilding and redoing and reinventing the wheel every time versus repurposing.

Tim Fitzpatrick (15:14):
Yes. You can’t reinvent the wheel each time. Go back to the framework, pull the elements you need. It’s like Lincoln Logs, you just pull the pieces, put it together, and then way you go. The consistency is, one, and being clear is the other part of it. But if you’re saying different things, each and every time somebody hears from you, it’s never going to register. They’re going to be wondering like, “Oh gosh, the last time I heard this person saying something, they were talking about this. Now they’re talking about this. What is it?” You’re confusing people. And Donald Mueller always talks about, when you confuse people you lose them, because we’re impatient. You make me take too much brain power, I’m I’m moving on. So, that’s how you create a clear engaging messaging.

Stacy Jones (16:07):
And then what, because we’ve gotten pretty much to step two. So what is the next step?

Tim Fitzpatrick (16:12):
You got to have a plan. Your plan is going to outline what you need to focus on, and the action and steps you need to take. And that’s where a lot of businesses don’t have a marketing plan. Like I said, they’re throwing spaghetti up against a wall, hoping it sticks. So we’ve got to have a plan. Now from a planning perspective, again, I like to keep things simple, a year ago, if you would have spent thousands of dollars on a one-year marketing plan, that’s 15, 20 pages, you would have burned it come March. Or at the very least it would have gone on the top of a shelf and started gathering dust.

Stacy Jones (16:50):
When you had to learn how to reinvent your business as a virtual one?

Tim Fitzpatrick (16:54):
Yes. Some had to reinvent a lot more than others. But we all had to make certain shifts. So the way I look at marketing planning is in 90-day sprints. Our businesses are evolving quickly. Our marketing needs to evolve with it. 90 days is long enough to start seeing things take hold, but it’s short enough for us to start looking at it and going, “Okay, we need to make course corrections.” And so you can adjust and then you just wash, rinse and repeat. It’s in every 90 days. But it’s not a 15 page plan. If you’re long-winded, this is a two page plan. I use it honestly for my business and our clients. It’s Google Sheet, and there’s six sections in this sheet.
One goes back to that fundamental of your target market. I want to see at least a minimum of just a paragraph of who are those one to three ideal clients. Ideal client, one put down four to six sentences about who the heck they are. That’s a reminder for you of who you’re trying to reach. Step two is what’s my goal. Needs to be specific, measurable. It’s obviously going to be time-bound because you’re working in a 90 day plan. But for example, I intend to bring on five new clients in the next 90 days. That’s specific. It’s measurable. It’s time-bound. We got to have a goal. We need to know what we’re shooting for. And usually that 90 day goal is something that is going to help you get closer to your one-year goal or your three-year goal, whatever that may be.
The third section is we got to understand what our budget is and what resources we have from a time perspective. We can’t put everything in the kitchen sink in our marketing plan. If you got $250 a month and five hours of your time each week. And if that’s all you have, that’s okay. There’s not a right or wrong here, but we have to know what we have to work with, because that’s going to determine what we put in our plan.
Then in the fourth section we have what’s our current marketing plan. And as we talked about Stacy, I may not have a current marketing plan, that’s okay. All we’re doing here is trying to identify where we’re starting from. My GPS can’t tell me how to get to the airport until I tell him where I’m starting from, that’s what we’re doing here. We can’t figure out what we need to do to get to where we want to be until we know where we’re starting from. So when you look at your marketing plan and what you’re currently doing, I look at eight main marketing channels. Every tactic can be lumped into one of these channels.
First is your fundamentals, your strategy. So your target market and your messaging, if you don’t have that dialed in, that’s where you need to start. Then you’ve got your website, you have your content, so blogging, podcasting, videos, whatever that may be. Search engine optimization, being found when people do searches in Google, social media, email marketing, paid advertising. So Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and then offline marketing. So that could be speaking, networking, referral, partner relationships, direct mail. Those are all examples of offline. All I want you to do in this four step, just write down what you’ve done, and what you continue to do.
Then in the fifth step, now we’re looking at what are we going to do in the next 90 days? And you’re looking at those same eight channels. Depending on what resources you have and how much money you have, you may only do one thing in the next 90 days. If I don’t know my target market, my messaging, I may work on just that in the next 90 days, and that is okay. But when you have this outlined, now it eliminates that distraction.
So that when some guru says next week that you got to be in Clubhouse and you got to be doing this, you can go back to your plan and go, “You know what? This is not my plan.” Maybe I’m going to put that on next 90 days list because I don’t want to forget about it. But it gives you the discipline to go, “This is not in my plan. I am putting it out there. These are the things I need to focus on for the next 90 days.” And then that last step is what metrics am I going to track? The metrics help you determine whether the actions that you’ve taken are starting to have bear fruit. And then at the end of the 90 days, we wash, rinse and repeat what worked, what didn’t, what course corrections do we need to make, and you put in a new plan and you start doing it.

Stacy Jones (21:44):
And you keep on doing this rinse and repeat, keep going, rinse and repeat, and all of a sudden your business is 10 years old. And you’re a multi-bizillionaire, and you’re crazy successful. And you’re still doing the rinse and repeat as you grow.

Tim Fitzpatrick (22:00):
That’s it. At least it keeps you focused. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t get as much done. A lot of people say to me, “Okay, well, great. How do I know what to focus on in these sections?” Well-

Stacy Jones (22:16):
Because I want to do everything. Absolutely we want to do this, and we want to do that, and we want to do all.

Tim Fitzpatrick (22:21):
We want to do all of it. So we use a tool we call the Marketing Evolution Index Checklist, which looks at phase one, two, three of a business with these various channels. And it says, “Hey, in phase one, when you’re just getting started, here’s the things you need to focus on for your website. Here’s the things you need to look at from a content perspective.” And that gives you a framework and a checklist that you can go back to just go, “Yeah. Where am I at? Well I’ve done this. I’ve done that. Haven’t done these things. I’m going to start focusing here in my next 90 days.”
Nothing’s full-proof, marketing is always about testing and making course corrections, but it gives you that framework and guideposts, you can go back to just go, “Hey, how am I doing? And are there things that I’ve skipped?” Oftentimes we’ll start working with people and they’re phase two with certain channels. And it’s like, “Damn you missed a few elements from phase one. We need to take a step back.” Get those things out and then we can keep moving. So, one of the things I did, I put together some free resources for your listeners. So, we can give them that link and all the fundamentals we’ve talked about, there’s free tools there for them to help get started.

Stacy Jones (23:39):
Awesome. And we’ll put that on the podcast page with your information, we’ll have that link available for people to guild out.

Tim Fitzpatrick (23:43):
Awesome.

Stacy Jones (23:46):
We’re wrapping up because we’re getting close to our time, but I want to make sure that for our listeners who are like, “Okay, 90-day sprints, I am ready and I need some help.” How can they get ahold of you, Tim? Where do they go?

Tim Fitzpatrick (23:59):
The best place to go is our website, which is rialtomarketing.com. So that’s R-I-A-L-T-O marketing.com for those free resources. If they just go to /marketing-mistakes-podcast, they’ll be there. If you love what we talked about, you hit some roadblocks with it, just click on the, get a free consultation button on our website. It’s all over the place. I’ll be happy to chat with you for 15 minutes and help you push through those.

Stacy Jones (24:26):
Let me see, and then what are the last few pieces of advice? Like if you had to say three leave-behinds for our listeners today, what would those be?

Tim Fitzpatrick (24:36):
Yeah, that’s a great question. One I would say is take the next measurable step. It is so easy for us to just get overwhelmed by all the things we have to do as business owners, if you focus on taking that next measurable step, that’s going to get you one step closer. Things just become so much easier. We’re breaking them down into their simplest form. And then the other thing I would say is just, don’t make things complex, boil them down, keep them as simple as possible. Because when we add complexity, we add stress and implementation and execution become so much more difficult. And when we add complexity, it also makes it a lot harder to troubleshoot. When we do run into roadblocks we’re like, “Where is the problem? Is it here, here, here, here, here, here.” Well, if you only have three steps, it’s a lot easier to diagnose. So that’s what I would say.

Stacy Jones (25:37):
Awesome. Well, Tim, thank you so much for sharing your insights today with us and to our listeners. You definitely gave some really valuable advice, especially with that simplify. Because it’s really hard when you are a brand owner, or an entrepreneur, or an executive, or someone who is trying to figure out the marketing for a company, all those bright, shiny objects, they all look so good and so yummy, and it seems like they’re going to be the magic sauce to like fix in your business, and they’re not. And you can drop in a magic sauce here and there, but you have to get those fundamentals that Tim was talking about. They really are so important.

Tim Fitzpatrick (26:14):
Thanks for having me Stacy. It’s been a pleasure.

Stacy Jones (26:16):
Of course. And then to all of our listeners, thank you for tuning into another episode of Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I look forward to chatting with you this next week. Have a great day.

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