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Tom Marin

Building Brands

By Tom Marin

About Tom

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.


How the ‘Strategy of 100’ Can Build Your Business

Most business people have at least 100 people they call their business associates, strategic partners, vendors and related support services providers that they know well. Add to that clients—current and past—and your number easily becomes 500 or more based on how many years you’ve been in the business world.

With a group of 100 or so, formalities are not necessary. That’s because behavior can be controlled on the basis of personal loyalties and direct contact.

With larger groups, that approach becomes unwieldy if not impossible. Basing your marketing program on your “personal influence” will allow you to dramatically increase your influence and build market awareness.

The “Strategy of 100” lets you establish a solid marketing foundation that can grow under its own strength and power, which is far better than trying to push your brand messaging to people who:

a) don’t know you,
b) have no reason to trust you, and
c) have many alternatives already lined up in your business area.

This is why a “cold call” is so cold when the circumstances are that the person you are trying to reach doesn’t know you, doesn’t recognize your product/service, and already has a source for what you are calling to offer. Making 100 calls of this kind usually results in 10 or fewer actual contacts that lead to appointments, let alone business. Such results a perhaps great for direct mail, not so great if you don’t have 40 hours a week to devote to cold calling.

The “Strategy of 100” lets you start with people who do know you, trust you and will give you an audience. Often, business marketers go straight for the big numbers by using broad media and venues. This approach may be great for well-established brands like Nike or FedEx, but how about the vast majority of small businesses that don’t have global brand budgets?

Your better option could be the “Strategy of 100.” An important factor to realize is that the 100 people you know each know 100 other people who trust them as much as they trust you. That gives you a universe of 10,000 people to potentially target with your marketing.

If you decide to pursue this strategy, there are five main drivers that will help guide your efforts:

1. Make sure you know which social media platforms are ones that your key contacts are using. In any given industry, there are usually four or five main places where members are getting their information. These are the venues you need to participate in, becoming an active member and offering advice and expertise to help others solve their problems—not acting as a sales representative!

2. Forge strategic alignments and partnerships with key industry drivers.
Your best sales people are your clients, so why not provide them with extra services to gain deeper loyalty and trust so they will in turn advocate on your behalf? It’s the kind of self-producing strategy that can bring a strong return on your time and investment.

3. Share your information freely. One of the best ways to become a known and trusted brand is to offer insights in your area of expertise to all who seek them. This simple principle is a stumbling block for companies that want to guard their information, not realizing that if they would only share their experise they would gain an expanded client network.

4. Know your industry well. Understanding your industry and being able to offer strategies within it will make you someone people seek out for advice. The more you know about your particular industry, the more comfortable potential clients will be with you and your brand.

5. Don’t over promise beyond what your business can provide.
Nothing breaks trust faster than an underserved client! The simple rule is, deliver what you promise and only promise what you can deliver.

The overall “Strategy of 100” will begin to build your client base as you make it worth a client’s time to pay attention to what you have to offer. The more relevance you offer, the faster people will want to get to know you and your products and services.
Tom Wants to Hear Your Branding Issues:
If you are a printing company or product/services company serving the print-media market and would like to be considered for a feature in this blog, please contact Tom Marin for an interview.

Follow MarketCues on Twitter for branding and social media tips, as well as the latest trends. Tom also welcomes emails, new LinkedIn connections, calls to 407.330.7708 or visit How can he help solve your branding issues?

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