John Jantsch Duct Tape Marketing a Lesson in Branding
John Jantsch, calls himself a 25 year overnight success. After spending some time with him, I understand his point. John started his own marketing agency about 22 years ago which he started after spending some time working for one. The first few years his agency did typical marketing campaigns for companies. John really enjoys working with small businesses. He realizes their needs are very similar to larger companies but they don’t have the same resources. He struggled with this challenge early in his agency’s life. Eventually, John set out to create a turnkey, curriculum based approach to marketing for small businesses that could be delivered by other marketing professionals. As John says, it’s a marketing plan that explains to a small business “here’s what you need to do, here are the results you can expect and here’s how much it costs.” Most of his clients are services businesses, resellers and construction/home services. They all need marketing but struggle finding it from a traditional marketing agency largely because the traditional agency’s fees are often not palatable to a small business. John has found a niche by turning marketing services into a product.
The Power of Duct Tape
In the early days of John’s marketing agency it was called Jantsch Communications. As he began to develop his turnkey marketing system, he realized it was time to rename it and develop a brand for it. He was looking for a name that would represent the value of his turnkey marketing program. His daughter gave him the inspiration he was looking for. One night she had a few friends over and as teenagers sometimes do, a minor incident occurred to the family car. She tried to cover it up by using duct tape to repair a damaged bumper on the car. It almost worked. But, she left the roll of duct tape out which is how John discovered the cover up. But, the light bulb went on for John that duct tape is very strong, so he re-branded his company to Duct Tape Marketing. When, I suggested to John that the meaning of Duct Tape Marketing is marketing that sticks, he said I am not the first to say that. Bummer…John has created a memorable brand thanks to his daughter’s cover up attempt. And, who said teenagers aren’t helpful!
Marketing That Scales
John was an early adopter of online marketing. His Duct Tape Marketing blog has received press coverage and even led to his Duct Tape Marketing book. His Duct Tape Marketing podcasts are also very popular. John’s passion for helping small businesses inspired him to duplicate his model so it would scale. His long term goal became the creation of a network of coaches that can install the Duct Tape Marketing system in small businesses, and giving other consultants the ability to have a brand they can embrace. At the time of this interview John has about 60 certified Duct Tape Marketing coaches in the U.S. and about a dozen coaches outside the U.S. John is optimistically expecting to triple the number of coaches in 2010.
Evolution of Duct Tape Marketing
While many fundamentals in marketing haven’t changed much, the platforms have evolved quite a bit and continue to. John provides an online component that is modular and allows coaches to deliver training/consulting efficiently. His coaches use the Duct Tape Marketing planning software with a client, plus a series of programs which a coach can use with an online component. The modular program approach gives a coach many ways to keep clients engaged in an ongoing relationship.
Earning the Right
Duct Tape Marketing teaches small business marketers to share great content which can build awareness of their expertise. When a marketer builds awareness, trust and credibility it’s perfectly acceptable to occasionally make an offer pertaining to their products or services. A recent study by Razorfish shows that many consumers are looking for deals from the brands they follow online in platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The key is for marketers to build a good relationship with their followers in order to be well received with online offers. The old adage applies here: people buy from brands they know, like and trust.
2010 Small Business Marketing Trends
More small businesses are embracing a blog as their approach to a website. A blog is a terrific SEO tool. It can create a hub of content, create awareness and build authority for any business. Smart small business marketers are starting to look at their online marketing as a way to enhance their offline marketing. It will not replace their face to face (offline) marketing, which is very important to a small business. Online tools allow small business marketers to complement their offline marketing. John predicts small marketers will continue to embrace Facebook as a platform to build their online presence. I like the fact that Facebook is both social and business. It’s a hybrid social media model that allows small businesses to be more human. John points out that even search optimization will be affected by the growth of social platforms like Facebook. I agree and I’ve blogged about this before. It won’t be long before Google will provide search results that include recommendations from people in your network. We both agree that Google Wave has a lot of potential but, at the time of this interview it’s too early to predict its adoption. But, it sure has a lot of potential.
Duct Tape Marketing is both a lesson in branding and a fine example of how small businesses can build very successful marketing plans with offline and online components using a proven approach that has become an overnight success in 25 years. 🙂