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Coaches Diary: Success Comes From Great Marketing


The latest casebook notes from coach Olivia Stefanino introduce the power of thinking marketing over products.

Debbie and Mike sat in my office looking both fatigued and defeated. Having given up full time employment nearly three years ago to launch their holistic therapy business, the pair had found that rather than living their dream – they were now living their nightmare.

While both were passionate about the therapies they practised – a sentiment shared by their happy clients who had written a number of glowing testimonials – they were becoming increasingly disillusioned by the sheer grind of trying to build a business.

As with many small and medium sized businesses, it was clear that the couple’s focus and interest had been on perfecting their products and services. However, what they needed to do was shift their attention to marketing their products and services.

As Joe Polish and Tim Paulson say in their new marketing development programme ‘Piranha Marketing’, “There is no relationship between being good and getting paid. There is a huge relationship between being good, being a good marketer, and getting paid.”

Until our meeting, Debbie and Mike had been relying on word of mouth to bring in more business. However, the couple had not implemented any marketing systems and without a substantial client base, word of mouth was simply too slow. More people needed to hear about Debbie and Mike and fast, if the couple were to hang on to the last of their savings.

I asked the couple if they could answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Do you know the lifetime value of your existing clients?

  • Do you know where your best clients come from?

  • Do you have a trackable marketing system?

  • Do you have a marketing procedure for generating leads?

  • Do you know how much it costs to acquire a new customer?

As the couple began to shake their heads, it became increasingly clear to all of us why their business had not yet lived up to expectations. Mike was determined not to waste any further time and immediately booked four sessions with me in which we would create the systems needed to make the couple’s business dreams come true.

As homework before our next session, I asked the couple to consider not only their “unique selling proposition” but also their marketing message.

Debbie had told me that when the couple had first launched their business, they had advertised within the local press. Disappointed with the response, the couple had erroneously concluded that all advertising was ineffective. However, when they showed me their promotional literature, it became clear that it was not the media that was at fault but their message.

Like many businesses, the couple had listed the features and offerings of their holistic therapy practice in their promotional literature. However, they had not addressed the benefits to the customer let alone the emotional “wants” of potential clients.

“The message,” I told the pair, “is key. “After all, the only difference between a one pound note and a fifty pound note is the message!”

Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. To find out more and to download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power”, visit


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