Business Info Guide is a website that shares useful resources with fellow entrepreneurs. Founder Stephanie Chandler launched the site in 2004, and is on a personal mission to find and share solutions to make the entrepreneurial journey easier and more successful. Here she speaks with marketing expert Nikolas Allen, author of the new book, “Heavyweight Marketing – Knockout Strategies for Building Champion Brands.”
Business Info Guide: What is your book about?
Nikolas Allen: “Heavyweight Marketing” is a book for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to build a more meaningful brand. I use real-world stories, examples and case studies and also include examples from my own experience as a brand-driven consumer seeking excellence in the marketplace.
The book is divided into three sections: Build Marketing Muscle, Tackle Your Tools, and Buff Your Brand. The chapters are concise and easy to read, and I worked equally hard on the design, the format and the layout, as I did on the content. My goal was to create a modern marketing manual that is both beneficial and enjoyable to read.
BIG: What inspired you to write your book?
NA: After about 15 years in the advertising biz in Minneapolis, I moved across country to a small town in northern California. The local business community was struggling and I saw an unmet need. I started a marketing consulting company called BAM! Small Biz Consulting and worked with tons of biz owners whose idea of marketing was opening their doors and hoping the tourists would pour in.
The business grew for 3 years, at which time I got a job offer that was too good to pass up. I accepted it and closed BAM! Over the following year, I wrote a book detailing effective strategies and tactics I used with my clients, as well as for my own company. Since BAM! was built around a boxing theme, I called the book “Heavyweight Marketing” as a final nod to my biz.
BIG: How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
NA: I went to school for advertising design in the early 90s and worked my way up the career ladder. I’ve been an employee, a freelance contractor, and an entrepreneur. In addition to BAM!, I’ve also run a video production company and a graphic apparel business. I’m passionate about branding, marketing, design, storytelling, writing, art, music and pop culture, so I try to integrate all these things into my life whether for business or pleasure.
BIG: Can you describe a typical day in your life?
NA: When I was consulting, there was no such thing as a typical day. That was a great thing, because I enjoy variety in the workplace. For the past year and a half, I’ve been on an 8 to 5 schedule producing content marketing for a company. I get up between 5:30 and 6am and write for an hour (I’m currently working on my first novel). I go to work and spend 8 hours on the computer crafting email newsletters, website graphics, videos, and social media posts on behalf of the company.
After work, I’ll spend time building my author platform. That could mean marketing my latest book, adding content to my author website, seeking review targets, prepping promo packages, or posting to various social media sites. Basically, I spend way too much time in front of a computer. To counteract that, my girlfriend and I like to bike, hike, work out, do yoga, and travel. Oh, and we’re both book hounds who love to read.
BIG: What do you most enjoy about what you do?
NA: I love to connect with people over shared passions for business and marketing. I also really love to write, and to create. It is very fulfilling to hear from clients or readers how my work has helped, encouraged or inspired them. My first book is an art marketing book called “Death To The Starving Artist” that has sold throughout the world. I get amazing feedback from artists about how that book has benefitted their art careers. “Heavyweight Marketing” is still pretty new, so the feedback hasn’t quite started rolling in, but I’m hoping that it will also make its way into the world to educate and inspire business owners of all kinds.
BIG: Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
NA: There have been many. I’ve had some great teachers, positive friends, and encouraging peers along the way who have made my journey more enjoyable. I’m inspired by people who find success by pursuing their dreams. People who make a living doing exactly what they love. People who take big risks. People who bounce back from failure. People who overcome tremendous odds. People who dare to try, no matter how uncertain the outcome. People who live with integrity regardless of how rich, powerful, successful or famous they get.
BIG: Can you share some business tips for our readers?
NA: I’ve concocted a simple recipe I would like to share: Successful Marketing can be achieved by using the Right Tools to reach the Right Audience with the Right Message.
I often start with the Message. With every new marketing initiative, I like to ask: What’s the story? How is your offering unique? How is it better than your competitors’? What’s the narrative behind your brand? What are your company’s values? How do they align with your message?
Of course, you also need to know your customer: Who are you trying to reach? What resonates with them? What are they passionate about? How will your offering make their lives better, easier, more enjoyable? Where can these people be found?
When you know who and where your target is, you can then determine the Tools you will use to reach them. Is your audience really found on Snapchat? Or are they still relying on email? Do they gossip on Facebook, or at the hair salon? Do they read the newspaper or do they prefer blogs?
Right Tools. Right Audience. Right Message. It’s not always easy to nail all three of these elements, but when you do, your marketing WILL be effective.
BIG: Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
NA: I’ve got a soft spot for 80s hair metal. I played in rock bands for 15 years starting fresh out of high school in ’86, and was infatuated with the whole L.A. rock scene. My tastes changed over the years, of course, but I still carry encyclopedic knowledge of all the bands from that era. You can take the boy out of the rock, but you can’t take the rock outta the boy.
BIG: What’s next for you?
NA: Right now, it’s all about finishing my novel. It’s a murder mystery with a good dose of character study featuring a handful of unique individuals in a small West Coast town. I had already started a third non-fiction biz book on branding when the idea for this novel idea hit me hard and heavy. As any writer knows, when the muse comes knocking, you open the door.
BIG: Is there anything else you would like to add?
NA: Yes! “Heavyweight Marketing” has been named a Community Choice Winner in the 2015 Small Business Book Awards in the category of Startup. The annual contest, put on by Small Business Trends, featured over 200 book nominations this year. I’m thrilled and honored to have been included in this contest!
This interview was originally posted on Business Info Guide.