The Trials and Tribulations of a Digital Marketing Entrepreneur

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Strategic Marketing Insights for Business Leaders

February 04, 20246 min read

You're an entrepreneur. You have a great idea, and the product tests show that customers agree. So, you invest a lot of cash to starting your business. But despite loads of initial support, your business still fails.

Maybe instead, you've been running your business for 10+ years. At some point, you hit a wall. Market share is plateauing (even dropping off a bit), and you can't shake that "small business" label.

Anything could've impacted your success, regardless of whether you had a fresh idea or ran a successful business for years. After all, there's a reason 70 percent of businesses fail. So why make it harder on yourself by failing to have a marketing strategy?

Marketing is just another business function, right? Once you have the funds, you hire an employee or a firm to take care of your brand's promotional efforts. Then you cross your fingers and hope that attention will bring in sales, revenue and business growth.

That's a flawed approach, and I'll tell you why. YOU—the person who started it all—are completely removed from any branding, advertising, search engine optimization, public relations, email marketing, or any other marketing efforts.

How can your target audience relate to your products without knowing the face behind it? Going all-in on marketing means stepping front and center.

marketers presenting to leadership team

You're Missing Opportunities By Staying Off the Radar

I've worked with tremendous entrepreneurs, but many approach business marketing all wrong. They build a business and try to let it speak for itself. Once I suggest personal involvement, they're like deer in headlights. They don't want to put their image on LinkedIn or build connections on social media. And their photo? That stays far away from anything having to do with their business. In other words, they stay in the shadows when they want sustainable business growth.

Another example: an entrepreneur has a great idea and starts working with the right people to get it to market. In the process, everyone loses touch, and putting the heavy lifting in the hands of hired experts instead. The difference is these experts don't have the same personal stake as the entrepreneur. They don't know the personal story behind the business, and they're not as passionate about it. The result? That winning idea never crystallizes into a great business.

That's why staying off the radar isn't just a missed opportunity; it can actually threaten your business. Putting yourself out there is rough, and maybe it seems easier to leave marketing to the pros, but nothing works better than active involvement. Why? Because there's importance in and an inextricable connection between entrepreneurs and marketing.

The Connection Between Entrepreneur and Marketing

Faceless brands benefit no one. When you think about UnderArmour, chances are Steph Curry pops into your head. Or for Apple, Steve Jobs will always be the first personality to connect.

Most entrepreneurs aren't famous, and no one expects that. But that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of how people relate to other people over faceless brands.

That's why personal brands—like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk—are so closely connected to their marketing campaigns. Maybe you don't know CyberDust, but when the social network was new, Mark Cuban put every bit of his personal brand into marketing it.

The same goes for startups in any industry. The founder is the main salesperson of the business, to investors or the millionth customer. You can't just let the professionals do their jobs, because they need you to guide them, share your passion and be the face of the brand. You need to take advantage of that connection and put yourself out there to be successful for sake of customer retention.

marketing team and business leaders

Finding Business Marketing Passion

As an entrepreneur, you don't have to do everything yourself, but you do have to provide a personal brand to your business. Take that passion you already have for your business and translate it into a passion to market and sell it.

So how do you get pumped about your own marketing goals? Start by understanding how you and your business can benefit from your involvement. Forbes shares some ways for entrepreneurs get involved:

  • Attach a persona to your company. Share personal stories, images and posts on your social media accounts. That'll humanize your brand and help your audience understand the passion that drives the business.

  • Live your company's mission and vision. If you're fighting poverty, make your life (and its public-facing side) reflect that truth. If you want to advance an industry, showcase your personal expertise. The more your personal brand can reflect your business goals, the better.

  • Leverage your support system. Successful entrepreneurs have networks of industry professionals, so why not leverage that? Connect with the right people on LinkedIn, share your expertise and ask them to promote your business. Of course, this means you can't be afraid to be the face of your business, which is true for newbies and seasoned business owners alike.

You have to go all-in. It means sharing your passion with everyone who's ready to hear. It means connecting your personal and business social media accounts, but not losing your humanizing touch. And of course, it also means working actively to amplify your brand messaging.

Don't pocket those extra dollars at the end of the month. Don't leave work early on a nice weather day. Instead, invest more in business marketing, like taking a deep dive into your social media marketing or learning more about your consumers.

It all sounds complicated, but your business strategies will be better when you're more invested. The more you go all-in on marketing your business, the higher your chances of success. Don't wither in a pile of forgotten startups—become an industry force instead.

Ready to Go All-In on Marketing Your Business?

You might still be hesitant, and that's okay. So I'll leave you with one more bit of advice: seek help when you need it. Going all-in on marketing isn't about going it alone. Instead, it's about understanding how important marketing is in growing your customers, revenue and business—and being proactive.

Even skilled marketers are outsiders. I don't know nearly as much about my clients' businesses as they do, nor do they know as much about marketing as I do. But partnership makes a difference. Working together brings out the best of both worlds, leveraging your personal strengths and brand as much as marketing best practices.

Are you ready to go all-in on marketing and get involved in promoting your business? Don't wait; bridge the gap between your personal and business brand. Do everything in your power to propel your business. Your reward? Long-term personal and business success!

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