Hi Nicole, what brought you from sunny Queensland to Adelaide?
I wanted to broaden my horizons and have a fresh start and not being a big city fan, Adelaide was the perfect option. I moved here in 2003 to study, and while it took me a while to feel at home here, I've not looked back. Market Me was launched in 2010, when my twin boys were just 9 months old.
It was towards the beginning of brands using Facebook as part of their marketing, and I saw the need for a creative experience-based solution between high-end services and business owners doing things themselves.
I loved the thought of being in Business and working for myself, and this was the perfect Business to run from home while bringing kids up.
Is the marketing field for everyone?
I would say no. To really stand out in marketing these days its more than just having a University Degree. An uprising of entrepreneurial, creative and experienced type marketing solutions, and the way marketing is growing, means you really need to be able to think outside the box, outside the basics, and creatively, to succeed. Business owners need vibrant marketing people to come up with creative ideas. We need to be able to build vision, tell a story and have the ideas to back it, and the energy & a can-do attitude to make it happen. Much of traditional marketing is no longer doing the job.
Is marketing your passion?
My passions are creativity, generating ideas, business, making a difference, working with people, leadership & training. It just so happens that Marketing and working alongside businesses ticks all of these boxes. It's rare to be able to outwork all of these things in the one Industry, but it's amazing.
'An uprising of entrepreneurial, creative and experienced type marketing solutions, and the way marketing is growing, means you really need to be able to think outside the box, outside the basics, and creatively, to succeed. '
How does your business stand apart?
Marketing is not a one-size fits all, you can’t just say everyone needs a coaching program, an e-book or an Instagram account. I specialise in social media and experienced-based marketing but I take the whole marketing landscape into account when advising a business in a certain direction.
I stand behind my marketing company. I am my own brand, you work with me & my team here in Australia on the ground. I take a vested interest in your brand. Strategy and Direction is done by me. I am all about long term relationships and tend to go above and beyond to keep that relationship alive. My team help to outwork all the basics.
I am a self taught marketer, which makes what I do experience based. I did not attend Uni, I simply took it upon myself to learn. Up until this day I have no marketing qualification. I started with a bit of experience and a creative mind knowing that I could make a difference. If I don't know how to do something, I learn. I make it my job to learn the latest & greatest trends. A lot of marketers out there have qualification but are not creative and up to date with what's working now. They can be stuck 5 years behind, doing things the way they were taught.
How long did it take before you got your first customer?
I used social media full on at the start and had clients from day 1. The more my visual portfolio grew the easier it was for me to get more work. I have been pretty much fulltime from day 1.
How did you gain marketing knowledge when starting out?
I did quite a bit of reading online, took some e-courses, and found key digital marketer influencers to learn from. It is important to not copy from other firms, but learn from the process and utilise what works and avoid what doesn’t. Marketing trends tend to change so quickly, and its super important to attempt to keep up. I'm still learning to this day, and that's the way it should be.
How do you promote your business?
Facebook is my major platform, I have over 7000 followers at the moment. Sometimes its hard to work out whether people are even seeing your posts, but I am reminded that Marketing is a process, when people ring me and say “I have been following you for 2 years, can we talk?”.
I use workshops, webinars and e-courses as a way of educating and training a larger number of people at once, but it's also a lead generation strategy. People know by the end of the event whether they need someone like me to be working with them in business or not, and whether they like the way I do things. Marketing is Education in my books and I find this to be one of the best ways to grow a business, and make an income along the way.
I utilise some of the other strategies such as free ebooks, and content along with other social media platforms. It's important to never stop marketing regardless of how busy you are.
'It's important to allow any Business to evolve, and marketing is one of those areas that is constantly changing. If you are still doing things the way you were doing them 3 years ago, your strategy is now out of date. '
Do you often attend networking events?
Absolutely, it is quite crucial. I am fairly busy but I try to go to around 3-6 a year. I do not go there to make sales, it is not a matter of rocking up and pitching to them. I am there to make connections and build great relationships. Then follow up on different platforms to continue the conversation. If people see what you have to offer, then they will work with you. One of the great things about me being my brand, is that if they connect with me, they connect with my brand. The process is so much simpler and less salesy.
Interacting with like-minded people at networking events can really give that boost you need to keep going. It's empowering and uplifting.
Some of my best long term clients have come from networking events.
How has the Adelaide start up scene changed since you first came here?
When I first started in 2010, there wasn’t the type of small business hype and discussion we have today. I've seen the Business arena change drastically in recent years. One of the greatest things about Adelaide is word of mouth. A lot of my work comes from word of mouth.
It has never been easier for start-ups, with a lot more information and resources available such as New Venture Institute at Flinders Tonsley.
In your opinion, what constraints do women face in entrepreneurship?
As a single mum of 3 (including twin boys), the juggle between business and home life is quite challenging. There can be a lot of guilt for some about working so much, or constantly having their emails open. I regularly get phone calls when I am heading out the door or on the school run. When you work for yourself, its not always a 9 – 5 job. You are required to be available, and when healthy boundaries are in place, this juggle can actually have many upsides.
It's also hard to take a break. As mum's we don’t get weekends or long weekends. You are either working or on mum duty. I've had to really watch my working hours and my health and try not work late at nights. It's hard for us to take time out just for us, but we need to do it, as difficult as it may seem. One of the things I'm working towards is taking a day off through the week so I can actually relax, and do the things outside of work and home.
Storytelling, it is no longer about marketing just a product or service.
In the next 5 years what will be the next big thing in marketing?
Storytelling, it is no longer about marketing just a product or service. This will turn people off. There is a complete shift in marketing happening right now. How can one put their offering in story format so that it's not so sale-centric which can switch people off?
I always use an example of the Gopro camera. Their youtube channel has videos that use storytelling to promote their brand. The video includes live shots of people having the time of their lives, jumping of cliffs, out of planes, surfing etc. They show you how the Gopro can add to your life in many different ways, and by the end, you want one! There are no buy now, get steak knives, or any salesy push. Its building vision and storytelling. Very powerful.
What is your plan in 10 years?
I love what I do, but I also know that I only have so many hours in any given week. I want to be able to live and enjoy life along the way not wait till I am retired so I am planning on scaling up to a point where I work myself out of the business, and just do the things that I do best. I want to focus on writing resources, books, eBooks and training people. My dedicated team will be on the ground.
Do you have any advice for upcoming entrepreneurs?
Learn then earn. I've lived by this for the last 6 years. The more I learn the more comfortable I feel charging higher rates and the more I can offer. If you don’t know how to do something, go and work it out. This one character trait is one of the ways I stand out from some other Marketers.
Ditch tradition. Yep I said it! Regardless of how old a Business is, tradition is one of those things that can really keep you stuck at a certain point. Remain in start-up phase – continually learn and evolve. Keep up with the times or risk falling behind. This has to become part of your DNA. This really puts some off, but when it becomes the way you do things, you have a better chance of really getting it right. Doing things the way we've always done them, doesn’t cut it anymore.
Collaborate. I've worked with many over the years covering off on the areas where I am the most skilled in, while they manage the rest of the jobs. From white label, to consultancy firms, to larger tender projects. Being open to collaborating with people has meant huge growth in my business. When you help someone else achieve their goals by doing what you do best, everyone wins.
Evolve. My Business looks a lit different today to what it was when I started out. But allowing myself, my skills and my business to continually evolve has kept me on the upper hand in many ways. If something isn't working, I ditch it. If I have a service that I really dislike doing, I ditch it. If trends mean I should be shifting my direction a little? I do it. When this becomes how you do business, you win, and you stand out.
To get in touch with Nicole Jones, and learn more about what she does, visit her website - http://marketmemarketing.com/
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