Frequently Asked Questions
An Interview with Marketing Strategist Amanda Young, MBA
How long have you been a marketing strategist?
My marketing career began in 2000 when I went to work for one of the top advertising agencies in downtown Chicago. By the time I earned my MBA in 2004, I had already learned the ins and outs of the agency world and helped plan media buys, win new business, organize a silent-auction fundraiser, and support all aspects of agency life. As a natural born planner, my agency experience offered a framework for thinking ahead and creating marketing plans that worked together with each part building on and enhancing the others.
How did you become a marketing expert?
I love learning new things. To get good at anything, you need to be a sponge and seek knowledge from as many experts as possible. For starters, I absorbed marketing strategy and brand theory from really talented professors. Then I worked closely with the leadership teams at creative advertising agencies who taught me to think without limits while asking weird questions to uncover huge opportunities. While leading the marketing efforts for entrepreneurs, small businesses, start-ups, and nonprofits, I experienced a variety of challenges that provided me with an arsenal of solutions. Whenever I was exposed to a new marketing or business topic that interested me, I signed up for classes, seminars, coaching, or online courses to keep my skills current. As an avid bookworm and life-long learner, I read 3-5 books a month on average for business and pleasure on top of Wired and Inc. Magazine.
Who are your clients?
Creative entrepreneurs with young kids and young businesses who offer their services to make the world a better place by helping others. They are often overwhelmed by the idea of marketing, aren’t sure what to say to attract clients, and don’t clearly know who their ideal clients are. I’ve worked with a wide range of clients in a variety of industries including photographers, event planners, weight-loss coaches, intuitives, artists, personal stylists, consultants, life coaches, and interior designers. They are all looking for more clarity and the next steps to take to move toward their goals.
What three words describe you best?
Adviser. Connector. Mom.
Adviser: Advice has been something business owners, friends and family have been coming to me for my whole life. As a kid, I was described as “mature”, “an old soul” and “wise beyond her years”. Friends came to me for dating advice, homework questions, and help with their job searches. Now, they come to me for help planning their marketing strategies, learning how to network for new business, figuring out what to say on their websites, and building awareness of their services.
Connector: I love networking. Meeting new people, learning what their superpowers are, and figuring out how to connect them with the people they seek makes me happy.
Mom: I have two kids, Ada and Iain. As an entrepreneur, I juggle their needs with the demands of running a business and supporting my family. My success lies in the ability to work quickly, make decisions, stay on top of our schedules, and turn off my work when I’m home with my family.
How are you different from other marketing strategists, business coaches, and consultants?
Many coaches and consultants go into a business with preconceived ideas, formulas, and suggestions without getting to know much about the people they are working with. They offer ideas but no way of implementing them. Or they provide strategies that would be great if the business owner could afford support staff or had ten more hours in their day. Some even push their own services, products or agendas without much care for what the business actually needs.
I prefer to help entrepreneurs realize their goals by aligning their marketing strategy with their personal preferences (introverts need different tactics than extroverts) and resources (time, skills, knowledge and budget) so that they can successfully implement a marketing plan that works for them. I recommend individualized plans that break marketing down into manageable steps that get results, and ongoing support to adjust our strategy as the entrepreneurs I work with become more clear about what they want and where they want their business to go.
What kind of personality do you work best with?
I work best with entrepreneurs who are empowered to make decisions, open to change, willing to try something new… and able to get back up when things don’t work out perfectly. We naturally tend to want to work with people who are similar to ourselves. That tendency helps me attract optimists who want to make the world a better place while finding more efficient and effective ways to maximize the results from their efforts. My clients tend to hate networking and feel like self-promotion is slimy. Together, we can find creative ways to promote their work and attract their ideal clients in ways that align with their goals.
How do you work?
I start by asking a lot of questions about my clients’ businesses. I learn everything I can about what they are doing that is and isn’t working, what they want to try, and what they are willing to try. Once I have an idea of what services my client is providing and how they are positioned within the marketplace, I can get a feel for what their messaging should be. We work together to identify a few goals they want to strive for and then we create an overall strategy and a step-by-step plan to make it happen. A lot of the work we do generates ideas that can be implemented quickly, easily, and affordably for quick results.
What results can I expect?
Entrepreneurs who work with me find the clarity to move forward in their business and confidently know what their next steps are instead of constantly spinning their wheels and feeling exhausted. They focus on and attract more of their favorite clients so that they enjoy the work they do and achieve better results for their clients. They make more money and are less stressed about marketing. And they save time and money by investing in the right marketing. They are in control of their marketing, comfortable talking about their businesses, and seeing results from the work they do.
Can I sign up for one strategy session with you?
No. I prefer working more long-term with my clients because I know that’s how they get the best results. In the early stages of business, I find that what we really want and what we think we want aren’t always aligned. As things shift in their businesses, new ideas are uncovered. By working together over several weeks or months, we can incorporate new insights into their marketing strategy to make it even stronger. When we have time to peel back the layers of their business, we can start to see real results.
I’m really busy and overwhelmed. How much time is involved before I get results?
I understand how valuable your time is so I set the intention with all of my clients that our work together saves them twice as much time as we spend together. I work quickly and think fast. By sticking to a focused call agenda, we can maximize our time together while finding the clarity we need to decide the next best steps for you to take in your business. If you make our work together a priority, you’ll see results almost immediately. Like many things in life, if you put in the effort, you’ll see the rewards quickly.
I haven’t invested in marketing before. Is this going to work?
You should start seeing results within a few weeks of working together and you’ll get new ideas from our first meeting. To get results, you have to show up and do the work. By being more clear about what you offer your clients, you’ll create momentum toward your goals. You’ll gain confidence in your messaging and have a clear picture of your ideal client. The beauty in this process is that, instead of splattering your marketing all over the place and hoping it works, you’ll have strategic messages that automatically attract your favorite clients.
Will I see a return on my investment?
Yes. Sometimes marketing changes will have an obvious effect on your bottom line and you’ll know that a certain strategy led to new clients or the achievement of your business goals directly. Other times you’ll see changes in behavior (more social media activity, sign-ups for your newsletter, clicks on your website) that won’t translate into revenue immediately, but will grow your business in the long run. My goal with every client is to help them achieve their marketing goals while making more money.
If I’m not quite ready to get started, is there a way to sample your work?
Please read my book, Finding Clarity: Design a Business You Love and Simplify Your Marketing and complete the free companion workbook. Both will offer insights into how I work while helping you become a more clear and confident in your business.
For more information, contact Amanda.
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