There are a few reasons why so many entrepreneurs fail. I believe that lack of marketing is the biggest one. And that’s also what entrepreneurs think. According to CBInsight Post-Mortem research, 42% of the entrepreneurs who failed said the number one reason for their failure was ‘No market need.’
Finding the market need is, as I see it, the first and most important role of marketing. It always starts there. It’s all about where is the biggest market opportunity at the current stage of the company. Any company. Otherwise, you might try to go in the wrong direction.
OK. Let’s admit it. What would you say if I asked you what is marketing? You would probably tell me it’s lead generation, social media, building a brand, or the like.
And you are right.
Marketing is everything you need to do to get customers and build your brand. In order to succeed in doing so, you need two things. First, you need to understand who your target audience – your potential customers are… Second, comes the most important law of marketing; The law of Focus.
There is an old legend about a farmer that went to the market and bought a golden hoe. This hoe has the power of digging 100 holes in the ground. So the farmer took the hoe and drilled one hundred small holes all over his farm. Instead, he could use the golden hoe to dig in one place, and then he would have a deep excavation where he could build a swimming pool or another room to his house.
The same is with marketing activities; you can try and do hundred different activities to different audiences with different messages, and you will get zero effect. But you can do a few larger activities for your most potential customers with the correct message and create a most successful company and brand.
In our episode today, I chose to focus on three entrepreneurs that chose to focus on one direction and won the game.
Michael Nemeroff saved the financial future of the family and says: “We do one thing—quickly. That’s our success.” It called focus!
Michael Nemeroff is the CEO and co-founder of RushOrderTees, a fast growing eCommerce custom t-shirt printing and apparel company. Founded in 2002 when Michael was only 17 with his brother and sister, RushOrderTees specializes in screen printing and embroidering services for everyone from teams to small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
Over the past 18 years, the company has focused on the customer experience by streamlining the entire process with its innovative design studio, incredible service, and the quickest deliveries in the industry.
Michael’s career and story
- This is probably the third business that I started.
- It was like a combination of being on the computer, being a fast typer, and getting lucky that my brother took the first design course, didn’t want to do his homework, and gave it to me.
- I turned it into affiliate marketing. I had a need to make money because that’s what we needed to survive.
- My dad was kind of done, shutting down his business with my mom and Ben, his friend said to him, “You’re a great sales guy. Come on the road with me door to door. We’ll sell shirts to pizza shops and restaurants. I’ll show you exactly how it works, where to get the shirts, where to get them printed, and you can be making money this week.”
- Initially, my dad didn’t have the mindset to do it but then my brother pushed him to do it. And he actually got in the car with them. In the first two days, they sold three different places. I think it was like making about $1,500.
- I launched a website and a marketing campaign on yellowpages.com. The website just said, “Russia disease needs t-shirts, click” and there was a blinking phone number.
- That was the entry into taking custom t-shirts online.
- It was usually a localized business where you would go to a t-shirt shop and meet with the guy. He would tell you when you get them and you’d work out the design with him. So, the online t-shirt idea was a hit.
The biggest, most critical failure with customers
- When we were growing the business, the problem was that we over-promised.
- We told too many customers that we would be able to hit their deadline. We actually didn’t know that we weren’t able to, because we just didn’t have the production capacity. We were really young.
- Over-promising and under-delivering is a real issue because you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to say you can do something you can’t do. But I also think it’s a part of growing.
Biggest success with customers
- We do one thing—which is custom t-shirts and apparel—quickly. That’s our success.
- We didn’t really innovate, but in terms of the industry itself, like making something new, but we brought something to the industry that it didn’t have because so we just deliver the exact shirt you want when you need it.
Ross Kimbarovsky: “We focus really hard on the customer and the customer-experience throughout every touchpoint.”
Ross founded and is the CEO at crowdspring, where since 2008, 220,000+ experienced freelancers help small businesses, entrepreneurs, agencies, and non-profits with high-quality custom logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services.
Crowdspring has worked with the world’s best brands, many of the world’s best agencies, and tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and startups.
Before founding crowdspring, Ross practiced law for 13 years as a successful trial attorney. There’s a rumor that Ross left his law practice in 2007 to found crowdspring so that he could wear shorts to work. That rumor is true.
Most passionate about
- Crowdspring focuses really hard on the customer. I’ve been running this business since I started it, for the past 12 years.
- While we all read a lot about how important it is to focus on customers and how products need to be well-built, as well as that the full experience is important, it takes some time operating a business before you really understand what it’s important.
- Today, we focus really hard on the customer experience throughout every touchpoint with our product, from the time we meet the customer to the time we finish with them.
- That includes focusing really hard on improving every aspect of our online marketplace for creative services. We make sure that we have very high-quality designers and providers in our marketplace. We also make sure that our product is easy to use because we have customers from other countries.
About the product
- Crowdspring is a global marketplace for services. Over the past 12 years, we have built up a base of more than 220,000 designers and service providers helping entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies, and nonprofits with logo design, graphic design, web design, packaging design, even product design and business names for every stage of their growing business.
- Unlike traditional marketplaces where you pick from bids and proposals, on Crowdspring, you post your requirements and pick from actual designs built to your specifications. So, in a logo project, you get 100 logo designs for your business and you pick the one you love. The designer gets paid and you get the intellectual property rights to that design.
- Crowdspring is all custom design work. So, it takes the custom design work that agencies may ultimately create for you when they build a brand identity, for example.
- The other insight we had was that people buy based on portfolios and on people’s education. This is what would be done in a traditional marketplace. If you hire a freelancer, you normally look at their resume and portfolio, and see what they went to school for, because you’re paying them, anticipating that they’re going to create good work for you in a few weeks or months.
- What mattered is: Were you talented or good at your skill? That’s the only thing that matters on Crowdspring because you compete based on your actual work, not pricing. The client sets the price, the designers submit actual designs, and the client picks their favorites.
Best advice for entrepreneurs
- Stay connected with customer support. Your customer support team is on the front lines.
- Have dedicated teams that support your clients. Sometimes, you’ll outsource it.
- Ross first became customer support when he built the company due to the following reasons:
- He wanted to understand “the pain our customers were feeling working with our product. I felt that I could not understand this unless I felt that pain with them.”
- He wanted to do the job himself first. “I think it’s really important. There are things I may not be able to do. I’m not an engineer, so I couldn’t.”
Dan McGaw Best Advice: “Focus on generating revenue. Sometimes it’s much easier to sell and get your customers, not only to raise money.”
Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and the CEO of McGawdotio, an analytics and marketing technology consultancy and SaaS platform, UTM.io.
In addition, Dan also finds time to be a 500 Startups Mentor, and has previously started the first business accelerator in Orlando.
He’s also a thought leader in the MarTech world and CXL instructor on the topic. Having spoken at the leading Marketing conferences and online events, including Traction Conf and Forget The Funnel, his expertise lies in helping businesses extract and interpret the right data to grow their revenue exponentially.
Dan previously served as the Head of Marketing at Kissmetrics and in the past he’s worked as a CMO consultant for a number of high-growth companies, implementing tools, offering support, and analyzing data.
In 2015, Dan was selected to be a United States Ambassador of Entrepreneurship by the United States Department of State, where he had the privilege to advise the government, universities, and private corporations on how to build entrepreneur ecosystems. He even flew out to Mexico to be an entrepreneur ambassador for Tijuana and Mexicali!
Dan lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, 3 sons and two French Bulldogs. He’s a keen runner and a self made millionaire who grew up in the ghetto, fought his way out, and is very grateful for the hardships he had in life as it taught him the persistence and grit required to succeed today.
Most passionate about
- What I’m most passionate about today, of course, is marketing technology and marketing analytics. This is a big area where I spend a lot of my time.
- I love building marketing technology and sales technology stacks with our clients and with a lot of different people.
Best advice for entrepreneurs
- Focus on generating revenue.
- To do sales, you have to talk to customers, you have to talk to prospects, you have to get out there and sell your product better to generate revenue. That’s the fastest way to grow.
- I’m a big believer in bootstrapping.
- Sometimes it’s much easier to sell and get your customers, and not only to raise money.
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