Marketing tips

Five Things I Learned as Protege in Marketing

While I was studying chemistry, I must have missed the marketing classes. Oh wait, there were none. Or, if there were, no one told us about them. Besides, they kept me “chained” to the lab and scientific instruments. There was no time for such classes. But later, when I became an entrepreneur, the lack of knowledge and skill was rearing its ugly head.

What to do? Luckily, I was blessed to meet remarkable and caring mentors who helped fill this vital gap. I have been a protege in marketing ever since.

These Five Tip Go a Long Way – Don’t Make It Too Complicated!

Here are five fundamental things I have learned. Of course, there is much more. Yet, these five tips go a long way in creating success in your marketing. We tend to make it more complicated than it is.

Marketing tip 1: Meet More People (Network)

I worked as a scientist in a small but fast-growing high-tech company many years ago. My colleague Caroleen Williams was the company’s Director for Government Marketing. We connected. Caroleen saw my entrepreneurial spirit and took me under her wings. She invited me to go to some networking events with her. At the time, that was a new world to me. Yes, at first it felt a little weird to me to go somewhere where you don’t know anyone and embark on “small talk.” But after a few meetings, I started to feel more comfortable.

Marketing tip 2: Build Relationships – And Ask for Referrals the Right Way!

When I took the big leap and became an entrepreneur in my own business, I met Patrick Carney. He owned the Referral Institute, a franchise created by Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of Business Network Initiative (BNI). He became another fantastic mentor. I learned referral marketing from him (and many other things). One distinction is the VCP method:

  • When we first meet people, we gain visibility.
  • Next, we might gain credibility with them
  • The final stage is profitability which may mean purchases, referrals, or being helpful in some way

Patrick and I ran a mastermind group for five years. He introduced me to many other teachers, DC Cordova, Eric Lofholm, Clinton Swaine, Greg Reid … the list is long!

Marketing tip 3: Figure Out Who You Want To Reach

My first “business” was called “Family Focused Health International.” My mission was to abolish obesity in children. I aimed to create awareness and enroll parents into improving their family’s lifestyle. I produced good content and hosted some events. It was fun!

Yet, monetarily it was a failure. Inadvertently, it was a hobby rather than a business. I had no focus on who I was attempting to reach. My “ideal client” was families in the U.S. and even worldwide. My “target market” was just a ted broad.

I am so blessed that June Davidson stepped into my life. She saw strengths in me I couldn’t see myself. June is President of the American Seminar Leaders Association (ASLA), and Founder of Coaching Firm International. She also founded “Women Against Child Trafficking.” She has always pushed me to get clear on who my target market is. This is often one of the toughest questions in business. She and I published two business books, 101 Quick Tips for High-Talent Companies and 101 Quick Tips for ESOP Leaders.

Marketing tip 4: Stage Time Is Wealth Time

I learned this expression from Clinton Swaine from Frontier Training. A well-crafted, engaging speech builds visibility and credibility in a short time. Often, profitability follows at its heels. I think it is best to provide genuine value. Some speakers focus on selling (some even use NLP techniques) – personally, I think that is a turnoff and not a strategy for long-term success.

I love working with Toastmasters as a way to continually sharpen my speaking skills.

Marketing tip 5: Follow Up – And Have A System

The fortune is in the follow-up!

At least 90% of sales and resulting revenues come from follow-up in most businesses. Most purchases don’t happen on the spot. My friends Robert and Irene Donnell from P5 Marketing have taught me many things. For example, having a sound system for follow-up is essential (I use Hubspot). For many, follow-up is challenging. We forget (a system solves that problem).

But I think the main reason for the lack of follow-up is the fear of sounding “salesy,” being too pushy, and fear rejection. An excellent remedy for that is tip #2: Build relationships. Genuine ones. It makes life a lot more fun – and it works!

People don’t care what you know until they know you care. And people buy from people they like.

I’m Curious

  • How did you learn how to market yourself and what you do?
  • Which insights did you gain?


  1. Tyler Orion on at

    Well said. And sweet to think of Caroleen – are you still in touch? She was a terrific role model for so many of us.

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Thank you, Tyler. Yes, we are. We catch up every so often.

  2. Tami Creeser on at

    I’m a copycat. I watch people who are successful at what I want to accomplish and fit their techniques into my comfort zone.

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      That is smart, Tami. There are two parts to what you are saying. “I watch people who are successful at what I want to accomplish.” Very smart.
      Then there is the even more intriguing part “fit their techniques into my comfort zone”. Cool! I want to know more about that!

Leave a Comment