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Why Jim's Marketing Isn't Working

Stop draining your marketing budget on agencies. Opt for in-house marketing instead. Here's why it could revolutionize your approach.

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The other day, I was on a strategy call with a potential customer. Let's call him Jim.

He'd paid a marketing agency a ton of money to give him a slick-looking website that essentially said nothing. You know the type — lots of images of perfectly diverse groups of people smiling and high-fiving each other.

It didn't establish his credibility or cement his authority. It didn't tell me what he did, who he worked with, or how it would make their lives better.

And this wasn't the first time a marketing agency had failed him.

"We've worked with so many different marketing people over the years. They all seem to say the same thing. Keep posting stuff on social media. But they don't really know what we do, and this means we're not talking to our customers."

That's why I told him to bring his marketing in-house and do less stuff.

Peter Drucker famously said, "Business only has two basic functions, marketing and innovation. Everything else is a cost."

It can be tempting to outsource your marketing to an agency, but consider this:

  1. They'll never know your product or business as well as you do, nor care about it as much as you do. So you could waste thousands of dollars on tactics that won't work because they never took the time to understand you and figure out what makes your customers tick.
  2. You're helping the agency build its intellectual property (IP). Not yours. That means every time you end the relationship with one agency and start with another. You're back to square one.
  3. You're one of many clients on their books. You're one of the many clients on their books. If you're not shelling out millions of dollars on advertising, you won't be their top priority, so you probably won't get the results you deserve.
  4. Most agencies earn an advertising commission, so they'll often encourage you to spend a ton of money even if it's not in your best interest.

Marketing is something you want to own because it will make your business more valuable.

When you bring your marketing in-house...

  • Every dollar you spend benefits your business.
  • You keep all the marketing know-how (IP) inside your business.
  • You build a dedicated team whose sole focus is to make your business more successful.
  • You increase the value of your business to potential investors.
  • You know exactly what you do, so wouldn't that make you the best person to educate customers?

How will you start taking control of your own marketing?

Loose Goals, Tight Systems

You think you've done everything, yet sales remain low, leads are poor, and conversions are few. Don't let your efforts go to waste—find out what's really going on and how to fix it.

Systems

Stop for a moment and think of the biggest problem in your business right now.

This probably won't take much as it's likely top of mind for you anyway.

What did you come up with?

Not enough sales? Low profits? Bad company culture? Poor-quality leads?

None of these are the actual problems. All of these are symptoms.

They're symptoms of a bad system. The problem is the system.

Eating junk food for every meal is a system. It's just not a very good one. Do this long enough, and illness will become a symptom.

Only connecting with your audience when you want to promote something is also a system. Again not a very good one. The symptom will be an unresponsive list, unsubscribes and spam complaints.

And just as good systems compound over time, so do bad systems.

While goals are great, the reality is everything you want is downstream of your systems.

Just like you, over the years I've tried just about every goal-setting strategy out there—writing them down, visualizing them down, visualizing them, sharing them with people to keep me accountable, blah, blah, blah.

None of these worked beyond the honeymoon phase.

The problem is they all mostly rely on willpower. Even if you happen to achieve them through sheer force, the gains are usually short-lived.

Here's what to do instead: Loose goals, tight systems.

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says, "The more disciplined your environment is, the less disciplined you need to be. Don't swim upstream."

In my book, Lean Marketing (page 194), I define loose goals and tight systems as follows:

"A loose goal sets the direction you want to go without being fixed on the final destination because there is no final destination. The goal is to keep playing the game and improving indefinitely. A tight system sets up your environment so it's easy to keep improving."

Every time I've ever made serious progress on anything, whether it be writing, weight-lifting, or marketing, it has been a direct result of my tight systems.

Every time I've stalled or gone backward, it has been because my system sucked.

What systems do you need to tighten?

Things You Can't Afford

Brian Tracy’s advice highlights the importance of valuing your time. Learn how setting an aspirational hourly rate can transform your productivity and help you achieve greater success.

Business

Brian Tracy said, "As I become more successful, I couldn't afford to do things I used to, like mowing the lawn."

There have been insanely productive times when I've accomplished things in the span of a few hours that generated millions of dollars of future revenue.

Conversely, there have been times where I've spent a full day on nonsense. Stuff that had zero positive impact on my business. Things like emails, pointless meetings, and admin tasks.

The more successful you become, the less you can afford to do certain things.

You'll find that team members, clients, and vendors try and pull you into meetings, ask you to put out fires, and just chit-chat.

These aren't bad in themselves, but they come at a huge opportunity cost.

We entreprenuers have what I call Superman Syndrome. There's a problem, we'll fix it. Someone needs us, we're there.

It feels good to say yes, to be needed, and to be at the center of things, but it comes at a price.

Whenever you say yes, to be needed, and to be at the center of things, but it comes at a price.

Whenever you say yes to something, you're implicitly saying no to something else.

That something else is usually the important, value-building work.

One thing that helped me refocus on what I would say yes or no to is by setting an aspirational value to an hour of my time.

I initially set it to $5,000 per hour.

So if someone requested a 30-minute meeting, I would think twice instead of just saying yes, because that meeting is going to cost me $2,500. It had better be worth at least that.

Now to be clear, I wasn't actually making $5,000 an hour at the time, but what comes first, the chicken or the egg?

If I continued wasting my time on low-value tasks, I'd never get even close to that hourly rate. Whereas if I used this hourly rate as a filter for what I said yes or no to, I'd be working on high-value things that massively improved my chances of getting there.

What will you reset your aspirational hourly rate to?

Random Acts Of Marketing

Stop the confusion caused by random tactics. Discover how The 1-Page Marketing Plan can revolutionize your marketing with five essential questions—click to read the full article!

Marketing
Random acts of marketing are like playing a slot machine. Sometimes you get lucky, but we need to turn it into a reliable vending machine.

I wrote The 1-Page Marketing Plan to give business owners more structure around their marketing.

(And I did — for millions around the world!)

You see, most people think that one or two tactics are going to be that one thing that brings in revenue.

SEO...

Social media...

PPC and running ads...

They're playing slots, praying they find the right combination to win big.

They're going about it all wrong.

But it's not your fault.

Literally, every marketing expert will tell you that their ONE tactic is gonna be the game changer in your business.

They're really great at the one area of marketing, so they'll sell the hell out of what worked for them.

Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet when it comes to marketing.

You need a strategic game plan, with all the different channels of the business working together towards a single common goal.

This is why Phase 1 of how we work with clients is focused entirely on Strategy.

Without a concrete plan, you're:

  • Throwing spaghetti at the wall.
  • Wasting hours on what is ultimately a money drain.
  • Not sure if anything is actually working because you're just "doing marketing"

As opposed to with a plan, where you actually know what to prioritize and you're confident in what you're doing.

What most people don't tell you is that strategy is actually quite simple—and it's the exact same for every niche and industry.

You have the book — so you have the blueprint.

But there's an even simpler way to think about it.

All you have to do is answer 5 questions:

  • Who are you talking to?
  • How does your product or service make their life better?
  • How are you getting in front of them?
  • How do you get them to trust you?
  • How will you get them to buy?

That's it.

How would you answer these questions for your business?

You're Either Growing Or Rotting

Imagine winning consistently, like pulling a lever that propels your business upward and beyond. Learn how our clients achieve continuous success using The Lean Marketing Accelerator program.

Miscellaneous

One thing I learned from my time in the tech industry is that having an incredible product today doesn't mean you can stop innovating, improving, and upgrading...because if you do, tomorrow someone or something will disrupt you.

To stay ahead of the market, it's important to always improve and iterate based on customer feedback.

In other words, you're either growing or rotting.

Ever since, I've applied this idea to every product my team and I launch.

In January, we launched The Lean Marketing Accelerator, our flagship program.

Since then, we've helped clients get amazing results like...

A GPS tracking and management software company achieve their highest revenue in business yet...

Realigned the team behind a crypto education business and got them focused and running like clockwork (as opposed to missing deadlines and going in 4-5 different directions)...

More than doubled the number of products sold for a company that's the Amazon of agriculture...

These are a few among dozens of client success stories.

I mean, the #wins channel in our company Slack pings non-stop:

But we're not stopping there...

We've added more operating systems — these are our frameworks, distilled down into step-by-step actions. We've made it as simple as "do this, then this, in this exact way."

We've incorporated advanced accountability — we have an incredible client success system in place now to ensure everyone is seeing value and making progress. We refuse to let you fail in your implementation.

Calls with me and my CEO, Anna Kloth — I get loads of requests for coaching with me. We'll be running a weekly advanced business strategy clinic where you can get to lean on me and my CEO for personal mentorship and troubleshooting.

A done-for-you hiring package — if you just have too much on your plates, this optional add-on will ensure those marketing tasks get done regardless of how busy your schedule is.

External experts to run specialized clinics — these specialists from our network are absolute geniuses in their respective lanes, whether that's systems, social media, PPC, SEO, etc.

To reflect the enormous value of the program and to ensure our clients receive the highest quality attention possible, we're raising the price of the program.

In just one week (June 3rd), the standard Accelerator program will go up from $7,000 to $8,000 but there's still time to lock in today's pricing.

Find out more about The Accelerator HERE.

You still have the opportunity to make 2025 your best year yet or double down if it already is.

Rich Entrepreneur, Poor Entrepreneur

Do you ever wonder why the rich get richer while the poor get poorer? Discover the entrepreneurial mindset secret I wish I had known sooner and learn how to rewire your brain to unlock your business success.

Business

You've been hypnotized to fail.

If you're anything like me, you grew up in a working-class family of modest means. Maybe just like me, you constantly heard phrases like:

"Money doesn't grown on trees."

"Do you think I'm a millionaire or something?"

"They're rich because they're greedy."

The thing I envied most about kids who were raised by rich parents wasn't the material trappings, it was the money mindset.

It took me a long time to figure out that money is made in the mind long before it hits the bank account.

It took me even longer to rewire my brain from poor to rich.

I'm in the advice business. I hear from and talk to entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

The difference in money mindset between poor and rich entrepreneurs is stark.

When I say "poor" or "rich," I'm not necessarily talking about their current bank balance. Two entrepreneurs may have the exact same revenue, profit, or bank account balance, and it's usually pretty obvious which one will stagnate and which one will massively grow.

Last week, I saw this stark contrast between rich and poor entrepreneurial mindsets firsthand.

I received messages from two different entrepreneurs.

Both are struggling with a similar problem.

Both have similar revenue levels (in different industries).

Both make similar profits.

Rich entrepreneur: Hey thx for the time on Tuesday, really appreciate it. As I mentioned, I'm currently reading [book name redacted] and [book name redacted] and working my way through [course name redacted]. I want to make sure I haven't missed anything, let me know if there are any other resources I should be aware of to fix [problem].

Poor entrepreneur: Hi Allan, my challenge at the moment is [problem]. I've been considering [course name redacted] for a long time, but it's a big financial and time commitment, and I don't want to make a mistake. What do you think?

In a year, two years, five years, who do you think will be further along?

If you had no other information, who would you bet on?

I'm not throwing shade.

I spot it because I got it.

I've been there — umming and erring about something that, had I taken action on, would have saved me YEARS and made me a fortune.

But thankfully, I've rewired my mind.

Now I have a virtually unlimited budget for books, courses, and experts because it's like a cheat code for my life and business.

What personal or business problem are you currently struggling with that you've underinvested in?

You're Going to Hate Me for Saying This

Many business owners wonder why they have numerous leads but few conversions. Discover this surprising strategy to transform your approach and turn prospects into action-takers.

Sales Conversion

Earlier today, I was talking to an entrepreneur who runs an awesome niche service business.

His service massively reduces potential downside risks in his industry.

He wanted to know what kind of marketing to do for potential prospects who are not problem-aware (i.e. people who don't even know they have risk exposure).

Most marketers would say something like, "Run an educational campaign to highlight the potential risks in their business."

That sounds like common sense, but it's bad advice.

It stems from the mistaken belief that marketing exists to generate customer demand.

In reality, marketing is there to tap into existing demand.

My advice was to steer clear of the problem-unaware marketing segment.

It's usually a money pit.

Here's an excerpt from my new book, Lean Marketing:

The unaware are usually not worth marketing to. Trying to convince them they have a problem will be an uphill battle...Many inventor types live in this world and usually die poor and disillusioned. (Chapter 2, page 40)

You want to be the painkiller, not a vitamin.

A vitamin is something optional that may provide some future benefit.

A painkiller is something that can be taken to relieve pain immediately.

Most entrepreneurs haven't reached even a tiny fraction of all the problem-aware prospects in their market.

Why, then would you go down the difficult, expensive, and frustrating path of trying to convince the unaware they have a problem and then try and sell to them?

Double down on the problem-aware and sell them the painkiller they desperately need.

Chris Do Podcast

How to do more with less marketing? Learn the importance of understanding market shifts, listening to customers, and applying Lean Marketing principles for sustainable growth.

Marketing

I was a celebrity in Mexico...for a day.

I couldn't even go to the bathroom without someone stopping me for an autograph.

It's a true story. One I recounted when I was recently a guest on The Futur podcast with Chris Do.

Listen to it here for free.

I also break down:

  • How I would approach marketing in today's uncertain times
  • The three major leverage points in your business that are going to give you the most ROI for far less time and effort
  • The tasks most business owners are focus on — and why they're absolutely killing your growth

And much, much more.

It's over an hour of insights, stories, and shenanigans. Hope you enjoy it.

Listen here.

Instant IQ Upgrade

In business, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Unlock your potential and master this skill that transformed my life and it will change yours too. Check it out here.

Messaging

I’m the perfect target for an unscrupulous mechanic. When I pick my car up from a routine service, and he starts explaining all the work they did, I know I’m about to get ripped off.

“We replaced your flux capacitor, realigned your brake shaft, and topped up the elbow grease“

I nod my head, pretending I know what he’s talking about. But we both know that I have no clue, and he takes full advantage. “That’ll be $967 all up. Will that be cash or card?”

Let’s be real. The list of stuff I’m bad at is much longer than the list of things I’m good at.

Despite this, I’ve managed to start, grow, and exit multiple businesses, build substantial wealth in the process, and live an incredible life…all mostly thanks to one skill on the short list.

That skill is copywriting.

Learning how to use words well has changed my life, and it will change yours, too.

I often say that marketing is the master skill of business…but copywriting is the master skill of marketing.

Words are the building blocks of marketing and influence.

When you want to program a computer to do what you want, you use computer code.

When you want to influence a human being to do what you want, you use words.

Whether you’re influencing a prospect to buy from you, a customer to trust you, or a talented person to join your team, the right words at the right time are your most potent tool.

That’s why, in my new book, Lean Marketing, I dedicate the longest chapter in the book (Chp. 5) to copywriting. I compressed 20 years of my hard-won knowledge and experience into that one chapter because I know how impactful it will be in your business and life.

I introduce that chapter as follows (page 99):

“A not-so-smart person who can communicate well will always beat a super-smart person who can’t. That’s great news because upgrading your communication skills is much easier than your intelligence.”

That’s not hyperbole; it’s the story of my life. 

Ready to upgrade your copywriting skills? Glad to hear it. What level would you like to play at?

📖 Level 1 ▶️ Pre-order my new book HERE (do this regardless; books are the most incredible bargain in the world)

🎯 Level 2 ▶️ Check out our self-paced courses HERE (including messaging, email marketing, and hiring)

🚀 Level 3 ▶️ Apply to Join Accelerator HERE (we run copywriting clinics twice a week)