I never thought joining a network of competitors would have improved my business.
The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network is an international network of marketing agencies and consultants committed to delivering results for clients.
It was started by John Jantsch, also known as America’s most practical small business consultant. At the time of this writing, there are 150+ members spanning the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
I had been listening to John’s podcast since 2008 so was familiar with his thinking and marketing work. During one podcast he mentioned he had this network of marketing consultants. It sounded intriguing so I hopped on the introductory webinar to learn more.
This network is not one where you just join and that is it, you need to put in the effort of becoming certified which is a 60+ day process plus an annual fee.
Why would I choose to join such a network? Five reasons:
This network is full of marketing experts. Some are big strategic thinkers, others run amazing website companies, some are sales masters, others are analytic wizards, still others niche in areas like Facebook advertising.
As marketing becomes more and more specialized, it is becoming impossible to do it all, even with a large internal team. Having access to other experts in the network who are open and willing to support my client projects help me bring the best team to my clients, not just the best available to me locally.
Too, this gives me the chance to be brought in on projects with other consultants. A key claim to fame of mine is a strong marketing project management and strategic execution skill-set. In plain terms this means I get stuff done. I’ve been able to work with other consultants on projects to get the wheels in motion and set up the most effective and efficient processes for them to run their client marketing programs.
As much as we can have the best of intentions to read those industry newsletters or take that online course or attend that marketing lecture, it is easy to let day-to-day work take over.
This network supplies weekly training geared towards a busy professional running a marketing company. The key here is “marketing” and “business owner”. The training sessions keep me on top of the latest changes in the industry and are taught in a practical manner. This means I can leave the training knowing how to apply the concept to my clients’ work and how to introduce it into my company work-flow which is practical, trainable for my team and financially doable for my budget.
The network hosts “boot camp” weekends around North America throughout the year. A typical session has us arrive on the Friday, power through Saturday and a half-day Sunday, then back on a plane home Sunday night.
Each bootcamp covers a specific marketing topic. However, the best learning, in my opinion, comes from the other consultants. Even though, technically, we are all competitors, the sharing of challenges regarding pricing, finding business, closing business, running profitable programs and the emotional support needed from colleagues who are in the same boat is welcome and valuable as I continue to lead my business.
I attended each of the bootcamps last year and came away with so much from each of them. Helpful advice on how to adjust my business, new colleagues and friends as well as a strong feeling of contribution to a valuable and helpful network.
I mentioned the certification at the beginning of this article. I think it is a valuable differentiator. Let’s be honest here, marketing isn’t brain surgery. We don’t have a board to certify that we are ready to operate. Anyone can hang out their shingle and call themselves a marketing consultant.
What going through the certification does, is make you take a hard look at your own business and apply the very same concepts to your company as you’ll be advising your clients to do to theirs.
This (I’m being real here!!) painful and serious process helps to ensure my business is doing all it can to grow and succeed. I hope this also shows my clients that I am serious about this craft and skill. So serious that I commit finances and time to invest into my own company and my own consistent learning of the discipline of marketing.
The systems thinking and set up taught in Duct Tape Marketing has been trusted by 1,251 companies and growing.
Joining this network has improved the services and level of consulting I can provide to my clients. It has been one of the best business decisions I’ve made.
This post originally appeared on the New Initiatives Marketing Blog