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What I’m about to share with you is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty!

Marketing IdeasBefore I reveal this true story I’d like you to answer three questions for your own business. Do you have a written marketing plan for your business? When was the last time you asked your customers about their needs and wants? Do you know what marketing works in your business?

If you answered yes to these questions, this story will be an enjoyable affirmation of your skills in marketing your business. If not, prepare for a shock.

The majority of small businesses in Australia are no better than hopeless with their marketing. They don’t know what marketing really is, they don’t plan it, and they don’t measure it. And worst of all they hardly ever communicate with customers and prospects about what they really want!

The best business people understand that marketing is a ‘mission critical’ part of their business. Or at least that was what I thought!

However, it wasn’t until I presented to over 3,000 businesses in seminars around the country that I realised that marketing is nowhere near the level it needs to be in small-to-medium enterprise. It’s more seen as ‘mission whatever’ than ‘mission critical’.

I’m passionate about the use of quality strategic marketing in any business so I set about developing a simple marketing system that could be used by any business owner, small or large. The RAPID Marketing System is a codification of the effective and successful process that we use in our own consultancy. But it is designed so that any small business owner can learn and apply it.

Which is where you, as the dynamic small business owner, come in. I want to train you to be a better marketer, with a system that is workable and can be implemented in your business with 100 percent certainty that if you apply it, you will be able to grow your business.

There are a couple of provisos to this statement –they are not disclaimers –about the RAPID Marketing System. They are simply that you have to have a product or service that people need or want, and you have to be willing to operate in an ethical manner in your business. Why? Because these two conditions ensure a sustainable business model. If you don’t have something people want and you don’t operate ethically, your business will not survive long-term.

We define marketing as ‘the sum of all actions taken in a business to create want or deliver value’. Simply put, if a customer doesn’t want your product or doesn’t value what you deliver them, your business is not sustainable.


The RAPID Model consists of five steps: Research, Analyse, Plan, Implement and Detect. In the research step, you collect information about your market, your competitors and your customers using tools such as the internet, company reports, brochures, visits to your competition, surveying customers and more. A lot of this information is readily available and surveys to customers can be very quick and simple. The research step is all about abolishing assumptions in your business. Assumptions are not the way to plan a marketing program.

A recent case study is an industrial company. Through research, we found that customers and staff had totally divergent opinion on what they needed and wanted. This led staff to treat customers in totally the wrong way when they visited stores to purchase. Our solution was to get staff to focus more on what customers wanted; which was to ensure delivery of the goods on time and also on keeping the customer informed of progress on their orders.

We discovered nearly half of all customers would pay an additional four percent premium for better service. In this low margin industry that would be a 50 percent improvement in profit if they could apply it to all of these customers. Better response to customers needs means better profit. Who would have thought?

[Next: Analyse]


The analysis step is about gaining insight into the key trends in the market that you can take advantage of. How to target the right prospects; analysing your own company for strengths and weaknesses and understanding what is happening in the market that will influence your business over the coming 12 months. This helps you filter the information you collected in the research step.

My company, Blue Frog Marketing, recently helped a client analyse overseas market trends and launch a new style of product into the Australian market. He sold over $500,000 in the first three months of operation.


In the planning stage, decide on the positioning of your business. What is your focus? What do you want customers to remember you for? What resources do you need and finally, what are your objectives for the next 12 months? In a plan I wrote for a client in the health market, we repositioned the product and became the third largest new health supplement in Australia.


Implementation is the stage that most businesses start their marketing with! That means no research, analysis or planning. Most businesses react to any advertising offers they get without thinking through where to spend their marketing dollar. Blue Frog adjusted the spend of a major rural brand a few years ago from 100 percent giveaways and advertising, to include more promotions and direct mail. The brand grew by $9 million in one year.


In the detection stage, you need to measure the results of your marketing effort; how to get out of the mystery of what works and what doesn’t. This fifth step in the RAPID process is what is missing from 99 percent of all marketing programs. In a recent client review, our measures showed a return of $23 for every dollar invested in a promotion. Another client review revealed that average customers spent 50 percent more in the last five years.

Now, there is one final and very important secret in this story. Do you know what the most valuable thing in your business is? Product? Staff? Premises? If you answered your customers, congratulations! Because it is the customers who ultimately determine the long-term value of your business. And that is why your database is the most important thing in your business. It unlocks this value. The value of your business is linked inexorably to the size of your database. Grow your database and promote value to it more often and you will grow your business.

You need to be persistent with your marketing. But most of all you need to make marketing as ‘mission critical’ in your business as your accounting system, your manufacturing system or your safety system. If you want to succeed in the future, one of your key tools is an effective marketing system.

–Hunter Leonard is founder and managing director of multi-award winning marketing consultancy, Blue Frog Marketing and author of Marketing Has No Off Switch (www.rapidmarketingbook.com.au).

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Hunter Leonard

Hunter Leonard

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