November 09, 2023

Coaching for Marketing and Business: 4 specific examples of how good guidance led to a better strategy


In the AI Guild, we hold coaching sessions every week. After one of these sessions, Flint gave me a good idea – reach out to marketers and learn about their coaching experiences, to give us ideas to improve our own coaching.

And of course, to help all you improve the coaching experiences in your career (on either side of the relationship) as well as give you ideas for your marketing strategy.

Read on for marketing and business ideas from an education retreats and conferences company, solopreneur translator, IT suite, and virtual event platform. These responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Coaching for Marketing and Business: 3 specific examples of how good guidance led to a better strategy

This article was distributed through the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

She got new skills and an entire mindset shift

Dianne Beattie, Founder, Simplify:

The best business coaching I've ever received is through one-on-one coaching sessions with Coach Gusty of Coach Gusty Business Excellence.

His expertise lay not only in strategies but in fostering self-discovery, using the Socratic method with pointed questions to encourage personal insights.

He assigned me a competitor analysis project, which involved crafting a detailed chart comparing the unique value propositions, pricing, and offerings of seven competitors. This intensive task took weeks, dedicating four to five hours each day.

He discussed this information with me over several sessions; this long, detailed process was not totally painless because he held me accountable for every step of the way – but I’m glad he did.

After completion and significant discussion, my position in the marketplace became very clear and felt like I might have a significant advantage over my competitors.

New marketplace positioning led to $5,000 advance

Utilizing MECLABS resources (Editor’s Note: MECLABS Institute is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa), we honed my website's messaging with compelling headlines, subheadings, and bullet points that strengthened my market position.

So, what was the result? I was clearly at the top of the market for my offering. People were so impressed that one businesswoman looked at my offer and paid me $5,000 in advance to get a system immediately.

He was dedicated to seeing me transform, guiding me towards ongoing progress rather than fleeting success. As well, he had great empathy for me and connected with me emotionally.

Stepping back and identifying an untapped market

The best marketing coaching I've ever received is from Flint McGlaughlin with MECLABS Institute.

Prior to working with Coach Gusty, I struggled to gain traction for my all-in-one Simplify System for months, even using MECLABS’ proven marketing tools on my own. Trying to educate unfamiliar prospects felt like jamming a square peg in a round hole. My messaging failed to resonate despite countless hours explaining the urgent need.

I didn't have a strong understanding of what marketing tactics actually drove results for my business. This changed when I started taking courses with Flint and Daniel Burstein and utilizing resources from MECLABS.

I was able to step back and identify an untapped market I could serve without complex education. The missing piece finally clicked – no one offered free cyber risk assessments. Thousands of businesses were being hacked weekly with owners oblivious to their vulnerability. My experience uniquely positioned me to provide this crucial service while attracting my ideal customers.

A cost analysis confirmed the viability of this service. Once I identified an ideal customer and a game-changing offer, all that remained was to refine my marketing framework. I returned to MECLABS, retracing my steps through Flint's methodology.

32% reduction in CPL and a 45% increase in CR by addressing customers’ needs

Applying Flint’s methodology to real-world scenarios, coupled with tools in Notion (the connected workspace that hosts the AI Guild's tools and resources) and support from the AI Guild, not only enhanced my marketing skills but also reignited my passion for the craft. He provided customized AI prompts that helped refine my selling points, teaching me how to elicit small commitments that led to larger conversions.

Through MECLABS' scientific research-based approach, I am learning how to create high-converting landing pages, write compelling copy, and conduct A/B tests to optimize my marketing.

Applying those hard-won skills, I tailored messaging specifically to cybersecurity decision-makers. This time, the scientific methodology is working. Cost per lead dropped as I eliminated ineffective tactics, while conversion rose thanks to targeted copy. I achieved a 32% reduction in cost per lead and a 45% increase in conversion rates by focusing on campaigns with proven results and creating copy that directly addresses my ideal customers' needs.

Flint's marketing methodology is the culmination of over 30 years of rigorous scientific research and testing by MECLABS. He has distilled these proven lessons into a step-by-step framework that transforms marketers to drive business success.

An entire mindset shift

Following Flint’s meticulous methodology at MECLABS imparted me with more than just new skills – it provided an entire mindset shift. I now have confidence that my marketing is based on scientific principles, not hunches. This proven system has unlocked my ability to resonate with my target audience.

Today, my focused cybersecurity risk assessment service stands ready to help secure businesses nationwide. Progress was slow, but Flint's inspirational systematic approach gave me the missing piece – how to truly connect with my customers. I'm grateful I persisted until finding the right peg for this hole.

Bad coaching advice – hype and exorbitant fees

While Coach Gusty and Flint helped me greatly, I have also received bad coaching advice in my career. The worst business and marketing coaching I've received was from coaches who made unrealistic promises, used hype and no substance, gave generic advice, and charged exorbitant fees.

To avoid scams – ask for references, interview the coach, beware of unrealistic promises, and make sure the coach uses evidence-based methods.

Unconventional marketing advice catapulted her business through the pandemic

Stephanie Scheller, Founder, Grow Disrupt:

Best marketing coaching I ever received was, "The days of marketing your business or product are over. If you want to succeed, you have to think differently to stand out." It came from Jesse Cole, the owner of the Savannah Bananas at one of our events, and it was the impetus for me to embrace the violin as a keynote speaker, and the ADHD element of our events as our differentiator.

Both of these have been integral to our growth over the past two years and played a huge role in how we not just survived the pandemic as an events company but thrived through it, doubling in size. We also achieved sold-out status on our events in 2022 (something we hadn't pulled off before) and we've been in the black on every single event since the pandemic started.

Worst marketing advice – don't tell anyone your unique value proposition

The worst marketing coaching I ever received was: "Oh...don't tell anyone that your events are designed for people with ADHD – no one will want to attend!" That came from someone I, at the time, really looked up to and convinced me to put a hold on going public with the realization that our formula of events really supports ADHD focus and retention. When I finally did go public, people embraced it with open arms.

From $235k in revenue to $960k + from $275k in revenue to $2.2M

Following the good marketing coaching has opened doors for me to get invited on major podcasts, onto stages and behind the scenes with events that I never would have gotten to participate in if I hadn't embraced that differentiator.

We have been pursuing how to craft an event specifically for entrepreneurs with ADHD since 2018. In that pursuit, we've had a large percentage of our attendees at our flagship event attribute their growth to the event. Two businesses in particular stand out, one of them went from $325,000 revenue to $960,000 revenue in a single year (2020), the other went from $275,000 annual revenue to $2.2 million in a single year (2021).

On the marketing side, once we embraced the ADHD focus for our events, we finally (after years of working towards it) achieved sold-out status on our events and have repeated that at every single event since.

Getting $3,000 to $5,000 per keynote

On the violin-side, I have been speaking for years and have regularly been paid for those speeches, but even as a published author and as a TEDx speaker, I always had a hard time getting events to pay my regular rate ($3,000 to $5,000 per keynote). When I added the violin, within a year, I had event producers reaching out and have received only marginal pushback about the quoted rate. I spoke three times this year for my listed rate and already have six speaking engagements lined up for next year as well.

I've learned that not every piece of advice I receive is necessarily for me. Not every piece of advice I give to others is necessarily for them either. And not to take it personally when it isn't a fit.

These experiences have taught me to ask questions and really listen to understand, not listen to respond, when I'm coaching.

For example, I just got off a call with a lovely woman who was asking for ideas on how to level-up her business. At the beginning of the call though, she simply asked me, "I'm a leadership coach, what should I do to generate clients?" And instead of starting to spew ideas, I started asking questions about what her message was, what made it work so far to generate her current clientele, who her target market was, what her sales process was, etc.

I spent probably twenty minutes asking questions. And then three minutes detailing two marketing strategies for her, one of which is HARO (Help A Reporter Out). At the end she looked up and said, "I've been told by everyone under the sun to 'niche down, start a newsletter and hire a lead generation service.' This is the first marketing strategy anyone has shared with me that doesn't give me the ick factor."

Without realizing it, she had literally built her own hamster wheel

Catherine Diallo, Owner and Certified Translator:

Over the years, I have worked with a few business coaches. I received the best coaching from an Ottawa-based immigrant entrepreneur coach named Karla.

Instead of calling herself a business coach, she refers to herself as a small business strategist. It immediately captured my attention.

Following many coaches on social media, I have observed that coaching often revolves around mindset questions and focuses on one's personal life, habits, and beliefs.

In business, mindset and personality play an important role, but I am not someone who likes to talk about these things to many people.

3 things she needed help with

It was important to me to truly understand my business, master the relevant tools, and achieve results.

In fact, I knew I needed help with three things:

  1. Define my objectives
  2. Come up with strategies to reach these objectives
  3. Introduce easy-to-use tools to implement and track my progress

As I discussed my business journey with Karla, she agreed that I needed a hands-on approach.

It was a pleasure working with her for almost a year, and she was everything I could have hoped for.

3 things she learned

There were a few things I learned that I now consider crucial, which I had never considered before:

  1. Analyze data before doing anything else
  2. Track one's actions
  3. Do more of what works

There was a (hidden?) mindset lesson in all of that – before working with Karla, I had a tendency to repeat myself constantly. By reaching out to the same types of people in the same way. When it came to marketing, I had tunnel vision. Without realizing it, I had literally built my own hamster wheel.

As soon as I started tracking what I was doing and saw what worked and what didn't, I almost automatically optimized my efforts, did more of what worked, and stopped doing what didn't.

Karla suggested we analyze the Canadian Industry Statistics before defining goals and creating strategies, to understand my industry. Tables are a natural turn-off for me, so I wouldn't have done this myself. As a result of Karla's guidance, I am no longer scared of these tables, and I am now comfortable checking them out by myself regularly.

A new operational framework

In our work, the tracking part ties into the analysis part. I did not have a list of all my clients before I worked with her, let alone a plan on how to follow up with them. Karla came up with a Trello board where I listed all my objectives and related actions. In addition, there was space for comments, which allowed me not to get lost in my head or repeat myself.

Before working with Karla, I was doing many of the right things, but not necessarily at the right time, in the right order, or in the most efficient way. Essentially, I already had all the knowledge I needed to succeed, but I wasn't equipped with the operational framework.

Thanks to the operational framework we developed together, I now know how to:

  1. Streamline my actions
  2. Track my progress
  3. Recalibrate my strategies

Having learned this from Karla, my approach to business has been transformed forever.

Bad coaching experiences – cold emailing and automated scraping

Working with a few business coaches, I did have some bad experiences before Karla. The marketing coach recommended sending very long cold emails and using LinkedIn automation tools.

Cold emailing isn't permitted under EU law, which is where many of the course participants were based. And using LinkedIn automation tools can actually get you banned from LinkedIn. In fact, one of the course participants ended up receiving a warning from LinkedIn due to suspicious activity.

Structure for solopreneurs

In speaking with other solopreneurs, I often sense a common theme of doing things without a structure. Since many solopreneurs used to be employees, they tend to fall into the same traps that they are trying to avoid through entrepreneurship.

Coaching is not something I do. However, whenever I'm asked for my opinion, I share what I've learned about tracking progress and analyzing data. It seems to resonate with many people.

He prefers to share his own experiences, not tell people what they should do

Joe Davy, CEO, Banzai:

Early in my career, I received a lot of advice from people who would say things like, "Here's what you should do…" The issue with this type of advice is that it's often based on the giver's personal experiences, but as the recipient, you lack the context. You might wonder why they're offering this advice and what led them to believe it's the best course of action.

Now, I'm cautious about giving advice. Instead, I prefer to share my own experiences, which I've found to be much more valuable for others. Sharing an experience goes something like this: "I found myself in a situation similar to (describe situation), and here's what I did. The outcome was (X), and I also encountered some unexpected consequences, such as (X)."

As an example, I was once trying to decide whether to terminate an employee or to continue to coach them. As a member of an entrepreneur group with members who have previously experienced this, I mentioned the question in hopes of support. Several of them shared examples of employees they had tried and failed to coach. Others shared stories of employees that had successfully been saved through coaching and lots of patience.

Ultimately, based on those experiences, I decided to move the employee to a new role and keep coaching them. With time, this switch ended up benefiting both the company and the employee, and it's probably not an idea I would have produced on my own, or by getting advice from my investors or board.

Great strategists essentially serve as walking encyclopedias filled with knowledge about various challenging situations you might encounter (especially in fields like marketing and business, where there are many challenges). These strategists know how to select the right "page" from their encyclopedia based on the specific situation. By sharing experiences rather than giving advice, you help the recipient build their own library of strategic insights.

Related resources

Innovation Leadership and Coaching: You should almost always do less than you think (podcast episode #46)

Data Pattern Analysis: Learn from a coaching session with Flint McGlaughlin

Voice-Over Coaching: Tips for improving external webinars, internal trainings and other content

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