Episode 138 - How you can be as good as Ikea marketing with Finola Howard

Melanie

The Monday Morning Marketing podcast is brought to you by Esther of IPA Group, bringing premier online promotion to your business.

 

Esther

And Melanie of STOMP Social Media Training, who empowersbusiness owners to manage social media and marketing for themselves. And we'reback with another episode. Today we're talking about how you can be as good asIKEA marketing with Finola Howard, intuitive marketing strategist of how GreatMarketing Works. Welcome, Finola.

 

Finola

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so delighted to behere.

 

Esther

We are so delighted to have you, because as the title ofyour company says, you know all about how great marketing works. So we'retalking first about IKEA. What does IKEA do well that makes us all want tomarket like them?

 

Finola

Well, I start with this idea that I make the assumption thatevery business can market as well as IKEA, but every business has to know thatthat's possible first. And also they have to go deep enough into their businessto take those leaps forward that actually connect all the dots in theirmarketing. Marketing fails when it's fragmented and it sings when it'sconnected, when it starts from a very simple basis of start, and I always dothis, we start with values. What is your business about? Who are you trying tohelp? How are you doing business? And then everything else you do has to fitthat. But most people and this is where the opportunity is for small businessor any business is most people forget to look for the gaps in that alignment.And what you can do is you can take it one piece at a time and actually plugthe gaps. You don't have to do it all in one go. You don't have to have thishuge international team to help you, although it really helps. That's how itworks for IKEA. But you continually stay close to your customers, stay close toyour purpose, stay close to your values, and make sure nothing jars with that.That's why you get these terms like, "was somebody off brand",because something didn't fit. And when something doesn't fit, it losestraction.

 

Melanie

So just so that other people know, I am actually here. Andas usual, Esther has run away with my chosen candidate for today.

 

Esther

She likes me more than she likes you. I mean, that's how itworks with every guest.

 

Finola

Love it.

 

Melanie

Quite seriously. It's very ambitious, isn't it, to say howyou can be like IKEA? Is it a mindset thing as much as anything else, Finola?

 

Finola

Yes, it's mindset. I think the biggest battle for marketingfor small business is mindset, anyway, is can I, should I, how do I. But Ithink actually, if you send yourself into and this is why. This is something Isay all the time, marketing is your truth told and great marketing is yourtruth shared. And I have been saying it for years, and I'm probably boringeverybody by saying it but when you say Marketing is your truth told, you firsthave to have the mindset to believe, to share your own truth, to tell your owntruth first. And when you tell it cohesively consistently and connect all thedots, then the market says, oh, that's very interesting, and the obvious one ofthat's very authentic because it all seems to click and there's no dissonancehere. So therefore, I will share that truth because I believe them. And that isgreat. Marketing is your truth shared. But you first have to start by beingbrave enough to share it and to tell it. And most of us avoid it because youhave to dig deep.

 

Esther

I'm sure, too, though, that the authentic part. And thekeeping on brand is easier for small to medium sized businesses than it wouldbe for giants like IKEA, Tesco, et cetera.

 

Finola

No, not in my experience, because they have a team to watch for it. If you say if you are a one man show, one woman show, small business,you have five to ten employees or whatever else it is, it's the first, startingwith the belief that somebody wants to hear it. And it's actually very closelyaligned with positioning, USP (unique selling point). Your unique selling pointis always the way you do it. Because often I would come across people and say,but I'm just another "insert name" company, just another web designcompany. I'm just another healing company. I'm just another wellness company.I'm just another... And you're not.

 

Melanie

I'm just another social media company for a marketingcompany. The three of us here

 

Finola

Yeah. But nobody and also, this is not new information.Nobody does it like you, but you have to start to believe that and then go,okay, but how do I do it and what do I believe and what am I passionate aboutand who do I help best? You know, this idea of and I always talk about youchoose your customers. There's this thing of waiting for a customer to findyou, and it's not. It's you get to choose. And this is what levers you into thenext stage of your business, is making the active choice of people that youwant to work with, that you love to work with. Because if you can't fall inlove with your customers, then you cannot do great work with them.

 

Melanie

Okay, so we've shifted our mindset. I know everybody can'tsee us because we're nodding furiously here at everything she's saying. Butwhen it comes down to the practicalities, there's also limitations, not just inthe lack of self belief and self esteem, but also monetary and time. So how canyou help somebody as how great marketing works pull that sort of timemanagement and that resource management out of the customer that you're dealingwith.

 

Finola

So say you've done all this work and you've found your idealcustomer. You've done your ideal customer profile and all that good stuff youguys have been talking about and you've found this wonderful one liner thattotally resonates with your ideal customer. When they come to the landing pageof your site, they know what transformation is going to look like. You've gotthe messaging down. When you've got that place where you sit into this identitythat you've truly embodied for yourself and for your business. And that'sreally the hardest piece. And in my experience, it can take, you can findcompanies who can't practise and will stay stuck in the growth of theirbusiness. I've seen it for ten to 15 years, I've seen people stuck until theyown who they are. When they own, and this is the first really big milestonethat a company, small or large faces is owning their own identity. When you ownit, you move straight into process, and process is what saves you time. And youguys know this. You do things like figure out, what do I want? You've alreadyfigured out, what do I want to become known for? What are my four key thingsthat when someone thinks of me, these are my four kind of areas I'll blogabout, I'll do video about, I'll do all of these. So you narrow it down tofour, two, or even the one great thing that you want to become known for, andthen everything has to feed to that. And then you batch your social media, youbatch whatever you can, you put processes in to save you time.

 

Esther

I was just shaking my head there at the videos. You dovideos? I don't do videos ever. But the rest of it, yes, the rest of it allmakes sense now. You were saying and we had a guest on a couple of weeks agowith talking about social media policies in the workplace and how larger teamslike IKEA would have people monitoring what's going on, what's being said,what's going out. I remember a few years ago, like I said, we said before westarted recording, the concept of time has changed. We've lost a couple ofyears in the middle there, but there was a tweet from Tesco. Some guy had,Tesco's in UK, some guy had complained that there was a worm stuck to hiscucumber and it had been killed in the wrapping of the cucumber, the plasticwrap. The cucumbers come from the ground. Worms are in the ground, right? Sothere was this wonderful back and forward and the guy from Tesco even wrote aeulogy and a poem for the worm. They named the worm and obviously they gave hima refund and all this other stuff, but it was wonderful. I'm sort of going,would there have been somebody standing over that person going, yeah, that'sallowed. You're allowed to send that because Twitter is really fast and you'rethinking of political candidates and stuff that are just constantly tweeting.Is there time to monitor everything that's going out or do they literally haveguidelines to go yet? We're allowed to be funny. We're allowed to be straightto the point. We're allowed to all of these things.

 

Melanie

I just want to quickly interject here, because that sort ofthing would be on Zendesk, wouldn't it? And that's like a customer service toolthat larger agencies would use. Am I talking I don't know whether you're justbeing polite, smiling at me, or just going, what the hell are you talkingabout? I've actually seen that in action once with one of my clients. I've beenthere watching them use Zendesk or things like it. And there is somebodynormally who's on well, certainly at this place, there's not just the teamleader and the person coordinating the staff, but there's a brand ambassadorthat's floating around making sure that what's out there is correct. And it wasthe first time I'd come across this when I was actually with this client.You've been working for much larger companies than myself Finola. So is thissomething that's typical? Does this typify what teams do?

 

Finola

Well, my experiences and this is why I said at the startthat we start with values and we look at culture. I mean, a lot of my work ofmore recent times has been working with HR managers from a culture perspective,because it's internal marketing. But this is about trust. Well, this is myview. Trust your people, give them freedom to actually enrich your brand,enrich the experience of what your brand, your company means. Because when youdo that, things happen that you never believed could happen. And instead of youhaving this one dimensional, flat, dehumanised identity, you actually have thisrich tapestry of different. So one of the things that I would have done withone client tech company and they grew much faster as a result of this is westarted to at the start, the only person who really had the big hitter blogswas the CEO. And what we did is I was involved in a process where we trainedeverybody to write and we had a process where we used Slack and stuff likethat, so that it was peer review instead of having someone look over yourshoulder. So we had the financial person blog about stuff from a financialperspective. We had the interns blog about what it was like to work there. Wehad everyone blog and it meant that you had this kind of 360 perspective ofevery single aspect of that company. The direct impact of that was they stoppedhiring recruitment agencies because people wanted to work there, because theyfelt part of this whole entity that was making a difference in the world, andthat their voices were heard in the company. Not that the company put thevoices on them. They had the freedom to add their depth and their unique voiceto the mix. It was powerful.

 

Melanie

It sounds amazing. And the fact that you can also build upauthority as well as part of that brand and be recognised for what you'recapable of as an individual, rather than just as the brand. Spectacular tactics

 

Finola

And they grew exponentially and became the world's largestnode consulting company in the world.

 

Esther

Brilliant. Now, we talked about at the start how you can beas good at marketing as IKEA. Do we need to have the budget like IKEA does tobe able to fulfil?

 

Melanie

Please say no.

 

Finola

Well, what smaller businesses have, and this has really comeabout as well in Covid, is this ability to move faster and to able to hear moreclosely the voices of their customers. And it means that they're much moreagile, and larger organisations are craving agility because things move sofast. So being small is powerful and to embrace that and not see it as a block,but see it as this is my superpower, I get to be agile and move based on what Isee. And the only thing that I have to do is figure out what I'm wanting toachieve and make sure I'm correct. I'm always in step with my customers, mychosen customer, not my passively received customer, my chosen customer.

 

Esther

Yeah, I think that's a good point as well, because a lot ofsmall businesses feel obliged financially to take on anybody and everybody thatcomes to them, especially when we started out. Melanie and I have alreadydiscussed this previously, like we just said, yeah, I'll do that, I can dothat, even if it's something that we didn't know how to do or didn't want to door didn't like doing, just because you felt you needed to grab the customers.But all of that, like we were saying, is mindset. It's digging down deep intoyour values, into your USP and into the culture and the brand that you want toportray and that you have, because there's no point in being one person onlineand a totally different person offline.

 

Melanie

I just wanted to ask as wonderful a tactic as that was tomake the people of the brand feel fairly represented and obviously to representtheir knowledge, when it comes to brand personas, because you've talked aboutcustomer personas and finding and working with the perfect customer, but surelythere might be some sort of confusion if there's numerous people hopping ontosocial platforms. I know they have to adhere to a brand persona, but it's verydifficult when you've got multiple people doing that. How do you offset thisissue?

 

Finola

So it's not about adhering to customer persona, it's aboutadhering to the mission of the company. What are you here to do? What are you far?This is the question I asked. What are you far? And my example always isbecause when I remember you might have heard me tell the story before, that Iwas driving in the car one day and my son, aged three, at the time, oh, my God.This doesn't know the story anyway. And he said to me, Mommy, what are you for?And I went, oh, my God. And I said to him, Well, I'm here to love you. Real papanswer. And then I wanted to get my own back. So I said, So what are you for?Because I'm so involved. And he said, I'm for digging. But what I love, and Ialways give this example, is he did not hesitate. He knew what he was here todo. He loved tractors and diggers and all that at the time, and he was fordigging. So it's what are you for?

 

Melanie

So what's he for now, out of interest?

 

Finola

Rocket science.

 

Melanie

Quite a difference isn't it.

 

Esther

One goes down, the other one goes up. But at least he knewfrom the start what he wanted. And like you said, no hesitation. It's likethose mind association games, isn't it? Say what you see, say what you think,and then they ask you a question and you have to sort of straight out, don'tthink about it.

 

Finola

So the first question then, for a small business, is whatare you for? And your great marketing comes from bringing everything intoalignment with that. That's it. And that isn't rocket science.

 

Melanie

I wish it felt that simple when you were doing it.

 

Esther

Well, she just said, it's not rocket science.

 

Finola

Another story. I also remember saying that to a group I wasworking with and someone put up their hand and said, but our business isactually about teaching everybody how rocket science is so easy.

 

Esther

It's even easier to market it.

 

Finola

The trick is to, yes, it's difficult, but it's about goingdeeper. That's what it is. That's where mindset comes in. It's about beingbrave enough to look deep enough to say, okay, I'm here to accomplish this.This is my space. This is the space I can own. And I'm really passionate aboutdoing this.

 

Esther

Brilliant. I mean, we could talk forever and we sort ofstarted before recording, talking about giving examples of some great marketingin smaller businesses, but we're running out of time, so we'll save that onefor another time. And we'll have you back to talk about examples of greatmarketing and how they work. Do you have any courses? How can people get intouch with you? What's your website? Give us some of your socials so thatpeople can go and find you, learn more from you and hire you.

 

Finola

Wonderful. Thank you so much. So you can go tohowgreatmarketingworks.com. And at the end of every quarter I do a freequarterly planning programme that helps set you up for the next 90 days and ithelps you think about your business in terms of making leaps every 90 days. Sogo to howgreatmarketingworks or click on my links that you'll see on Instagramand stuff and join me there.

 

Esther

Brilliant. You can find Finola's information at the bottomof the show notes as well.

 

Melanie

Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Finola. You'vebeen somebody who I've respected and followed for quite some time, and I feel alittle humbled to have you on the podcast. So genuinely very happy to have youhere, and I do hope it won't be another three or four years before we actuallysee you.

 

Finola

Thank you so much. And I feel the same way about you twoguys. Thank you so much.

 

Esther

Brilliant. Thanks for joining us today, guys. We're back next week with more Monday Morning Marketing. Until then, bye bye.