This episode is about failing to market properly. A business must not only create a business plan, but must create a marketing plan. That marketing plan includes what kinds of consumers are target markets and what the brands behind the products mean. The marketing plan must include what the budget for marketing and what channels of marking will be used.
One of the bigger issues in creating a marketing plan is not segmenting the markets properly, which is what Jim and Anthony discuss. Anthony discusses how businesses failing to target their markets properly can mean disaster in trademark law.
Here is a lightly-edited transcript of the podcast episode:
Hey Jim, how are you doing?
Doing fine, Anthony. Thank you.
All right, we’re back with Jim Huerta of the Nessa group.
We need to look at markets for small businesses. What I do in my practice is a lot of arguing about who the consumers are for goods and services for a business. What are the channels of, of trade as we call it. Basically, what does your supply chain look like? What does your advertising look like? What does your marketing look like? Because all of that matters when you’re talking trademark law. Because, for example, if you’re putting the word “mercury” on speedboats, it’s a radically different set of consumers. It’s a radically different set of price points. It’s a radically different set of places of advertising than if you’re going to stick the word “mercury” on cars, even though there’s going to be some overlap. There still are going to be those differences.
I would say that I think a lot of small and medium sized
businesses tend to miss their proper customer base, miss their proper channels
of advertising to get their biggest bang for the buck. So how can we help
small, medium sized businesses to really hit the right channels of advertising?
They’re right customer base for the product, the right, um, you know, the right
supply chain to get the product built the best. What thoughts do you have on the
I’m a person who thinks very highly of doing your homework
and doing research or due diligence or whatever word people use depending on
whatever kind of department they’re in or whatever the subject is. I think a
lot of small companies – when we’ve talked about it before – could have a great
product and in doing the great product, and I’m really sitting down and looking
at, okay, we have this product, we got to know who our targeted market are. If
it’s a segmented market, if it’s a straight targeted market, we get into the
demographics that exists within that market. What I always strongly recommend
is, again, you have to know where you’re going with that product. I mean you,
your comment about “mercury” is right on you hear that you’ve been looking for
who want speed boats as opposed to fishing boats.
So you lost a big audience already and it’s not done necessarily the way it should be. I think the research is very, very important. Even the specific location that you have in order to take an elevated view of what you’re doing is important. You go into a location, you’re trying to find out if that’s the place you want to put your product down and you want to do a Beta of your product there, the test market, you really have to do some homework and it does not hold true just for SMEs. We can sit here and have some very funny stories about some very major corporations that in their expeditious way of getting their product out there, they have lost a lot of advantage because they did the wrong thing. They said the wrong thing, whether they didn’t take the time to prepare for it. SMEs need to be very attentive that their product matches the demographics and marches and matches the targeted market that they’re looking at and, and don’t take it for granted. You know, we can make it [inaudible] I’ll just do a big email blast and I’ll think, no, that’s not going to help you. Or another one, and I can speak specifically to where you know what all the Tinos all think alike. They all speak. No, they don’t be careful that you’re not going with a product into the Latino market for particular culture within the Latino space. That doesn’t like what you sell it.
I once met somebody years ago who helped companies market to
Latinos and first thing I said was “What’s the difference?” Not yet knowing
that that, of course, there’s a difference, but I was hoping to hear, well
there are, you know, our company has divided the, the Latino market into like,
you know, 10 separate segments and here are the ones who are most closest to – maybe
– the immigrant population and maybe, but no, it was just kind of like a very
blanketed statement and that kind of took me back that you would want to take
one big segment like that and just treat it as one big segment rather than, and
that’s good that it took you back.
There are 31 or 32 cultures in the Hispanic community and
they have tastes and foods that are different, they have appearances that are different,
clothing styles that are different. You just can’t make that assumption just
because they’re able to communicate with each other. And even the
communication, you get a guy like me of a Cuban descent, when I speak to other
South American/Central American countries, they know right away that I’m either
Cuban or Puerto Rican because I speak much faster than they do. And they get it
right away. This guy’s on some kind of a wire that he can’t come down, but you
gotta be careful. I mean, I ran a company called Research and that’s what our
job was and we were working with some pretty large firms because they were
saying, we get the numbers, we believed the numbers.
How do I walk in and make these people start thinking that I believe in them and they should believe in me? And that was our job. Get right on the ground, feet on the ground. That thinking about what’s your sales pitch? How are you even shake hands with something or your body language? You have to have that courtesy as Americans. Sometimes we’re like, we win and New York is relentless and we’re on the moon the last day with walking, but we’ll look at that person where that person stands. I really should approach them differently. You know, we don’t think that way, but you need to do that. You need to think of, the differences of all the market segments.
It’s true in the English speaking world as well. I mean,
you’re not going to be able to target Canada in the same way that you’re going
to target the United States and you can’t target England, Scotland, Wales and
Ireland all exactly the same way because there are separate cultures. There are
separate laws. Even though the, of course they’re speaking the same language
right now. They’re not always speaking
To your point, to the, to the, uh, your expertise, I mean,
you, you, you get a brand name or copyright or something like that. I can
imagine from your standpoint, oh my God, I just said something that’s so
totally offensive to those people that they would invite if I gave it to them.
I mean, you, you’ve gotta be real careful. You’ve got to do your homework.
It’s, it’s my, my biggest message to people because it’s a shame that you’re
not successful because I’m going to say to you, if you come to me with an
intellectual property piece, you, I would say, what does it do? What can it do
that you haven’t thought about? And I agree with you that this is the right
product for many different industries. The shame would be if we misguided
enough that the be able to put, to speak the language of that industry.
And we’d be confusing it and you lose, you would lose a space that you don’t want to lose. Very, very important. I, I even, you know, we run, uh, as you know, we have this thing that we do five times a year raising capital for companies, you know, and, and we stress to these companies and they are definitely SMEs by the way. We’re dealing with, please think about your business plan. Think about the market, think about your branding, think about what you say. And when you get to that top side executive summary, make it short, but make it targeted. Don’t be, don’t make people think that you will say joke with the guy who goes to the right cords as well. Watch. Would you like to write that? You really can’t do that. You’ve got to, you’ve got it. You’re asking for someone to put money up and pay for your dream so you better be perfect than what you’re saying when it comes to the market. Cause they will work their way through that. That’s a weakness. You might lose it and the business plan isn’t static. It can be mobile. A business can pivot. I hate that phrase and I never liked saying word pivot, but businesses can pivot and the product itself can evolve.
Absolutely. And that’s exactly right.
A business plan. It’s what I say to people about budgets.
When I, even though I was working with large corporations in my career and you
would get all this, this push back about the budgets and about, or the, you
asked me to cut 10% from here and like, and I say this is a matter, this is not
taken for granted. This is to go to tell you whether we’re right or wrong. And
by the way there’s a plan and there’s forecast. So you are forecasting numbers
that can be changed. We can re-forecast their numbers, but we need some kind of
a guide to see what we’re doing with our business. People are terribly afraid
of the numbers and I think it’s come from that understanding how the numbers
I mean again, what I said to you in conversations, that preparedness, that training, that understanding what that means to a business. A lot of people find it to be one of those administrative details that are a pain in the back and they didn’t want to deal with. It can not do that. You, if someone says to you, “How much does it cost for you to make that product?” And you tell him you don’t know. Wow. I mean, they’re gonna say, Wwhat do you mean you don’t know your price points? 20 bucks. What’s my margins here?” Right? Some people really will give you this. I really don’t know. You can sit in their face. They haven’t thought about it. They’re so excited about the product, so excited about the market. They think they have chosen that. They forget, I’m looking to multiply my investment. I want three, four times x by investment.
And if you can’t tell me what you’re burning, it’s a serious problem here. These are always, things would shake themselves out with a good business plan. And people who know there’s people out there who was so talented, he said, uh, we have, we bought a business plan package that we use for all our clients.
The wording is pretty simple because everybody forces you to
think for your business. The only complex part of the business plan that we
have bought, which was okay in a package, is the understanding the financial
projection because it’s all a formula driven and there’s a lot of triggers that
if you don’t know those triggers, believe me when I first tried doing it, you
could have heard the screens four blocks away, but the idea that things like
that exist and this people that could do that for a living, cool, safe, I’ll do
Play a few for x, x amount of dollars, do some research and vet the person and if they’re good, bringing them on, spending that money. If you’re going to use a credit card to run your business, that x amount from that credit card and pay this guy, because eventually that’s going to come back to cornea. And once you have it, you can change it any way you want, but now you’ve got the template. Now you have the ability to say, well, that was a hiccup on my part. I just learned from Anthony than if I use that, it’s going to kill me.
I’m an advocate. Obviously you could tell the way I speak about it, the advocate of, of being prepared that way because it’s the devil’s in the details and unfortunately the business plan sometimes does a fits. It gets the details added.
Okay, sure. Jim, thanks very much.
Oh, thank you. It’s always a pleasure being here and we’ll do it again soon.
I’m looking forward to it.