Sept. 27, 2022

Reverse Engineer Your Business for Profit with Russell Lundstrom’s Marketing Plan Formula Ep. 88


Russell Lundstrom is an born and bred entrepreneur. Having started multiple 7-figure businesses, and helping hundreds of other businesses repeat that success, he is now on a mission to simplify the world of marketing.

Passionate that entrepreneurs are the mind, heart, and engine of the world, he is driven to improve the world through better business.

“When good business succeeds, everyone’s quality of life gets better”

After 35+ years on the front lines of marketing, Russell created the step-by-step marketing framework called the Marketing Plan Formula. This simple 5 step process reveals the most profitable marketing strategies through reverse engineering the unique keys to success already contained within your business.

Russell is now on a mission to teach this process to every entrepreneur on the planet.

Where to find Russel Lundstorm

Website: marketingplanformula.com

 

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This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcript

Russel Lundstorm:

If you look around your office, everything from your phone to glasses, guitars, whatever it's, cuz some crazy person had a dream and a vision and said, I'm gonna put everything on the line to make this happen. And it's the hardest thing in the world, but that's why we have all these amazing things in our lives. And that's who I work for is that entrepreneur.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their businesses? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life? Are they building to exit these and a myriad of other topics? Will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful and FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. My book RELENTLESS is now available. Everywhere books can be bought online, including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com. Try your local indie bookstore too. And if they don't have it, they can order it. Just ask them the reviews are streaming in. And I'm so thankful for the positive feedback, as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively. It is not enough to be resilient. You have to be RELENTLESS. You can go to TheRelentlessBook.com for more information. Thank you so much. Russell Lundstrom is an entrepreneur who has started multiple seven figure businesses and is now on a mission to simplify the world of marketing. We talk about what led him to start marketing plan formula, what his strategy for growth is, and if he uses his own advice, in his business now let's get right into it.

Russel Lundstorm:

I've just been a serial entrepreneur. So I've started probably more businesses than I care to admit to which basically just implies. I have failed a heck of a lot. So I had actually been lucky enough to sell a business. Right when my wife got pregnant with my first. And now her story was, she was just graduating from medical school and her residency when she got pregnant. And so we both had discussed for a long time. One of us needs to stay home with the kid. We didn't want to be the nanny parents. And she looked at me and she's like, well, don't look at me. I've just spent 18 years in school and so I was like, all right. And it was funny how the universe works. It worked out really well, cuz I was actually not too thrilled with my business partners at the time. And it gave me an excuse of getting out of the business where, "Hey, would you guys buy me out so I can stay home and be Mr. Mom." And so I spent seven years at home raising kids.

Natasha Miller:

Raising kids, does that mean during those seven years you were not in a business of any sort?

Russel Lundstorm:

I did not work well. I mean, do we ever not work? It's an affliction we have, right? No, I managed investments. I taught myself how to trade and I got a series three while I was raising kids. And, but no, primarily I was focused on the kids. I thought what an opportunity. And I was literally like, not literally, but I was out of work for four or five years. And then I slowly got back into it. As my sister was running a tea company of all things. She brought me in to help with marketing and ops. So that was my slow reintroduction to the professional workforce.

Natasha Miller:

And what was the Tea company called or what is it called?

Russel Lundstorm:

It was a company called Ouma Nutritional, and it was an interesting company because it was back in 2010, 2011 back with the Google internet heyday, and we were selling. It's kind of an absurd story, but we were selling a box of tea that we bought in China for a $1.50, and we were selling it at $50 a box as a weight loss tea. And it was doing pretty well so-

Natasha Miller:

Did it work?

Russel Lundstorm:

Yeah, it was quite nice margins and we had some Google SEO that we were getting 3000 unique visitors a day to the website. So it's not hard to be successful when you have those two things together.

Natasha Miller:

That's amazing, but did the Tea work for weight loss?

Russel Lundstorm:

It was Olong Tea, which is not a great mystery right now, but yeah, there was, and I have to remember this was a while ago, but it was a compound in that Tea called ECGC I believe. And what it did is it sped up your metabolism, but of course we put the marketing spin on it and it was great tea and yeah, we had some pretty great testimonials, but with weight loss, there's no magic button.

Natasha Miller:

So it, it had some speed in it?

Russel Lundstorm:

Something like that, yeah.

Natasha Miller:

Okay, cool. So I was wondering if it was a frustration with marketing that led you to start your current business?

Russel Lundstorm:

It was a frustration. So, I hang out mostly with business owners and I'm in the CEO group entrepreneurs organization. And what I got frustrated with was one in my other businesses. So I also started a supplement business with my sister and we would repeatedly hire marketing agency after marketing agency, after marketing guru and whatever worked for everybody else. Never worked for us. And it was that repeated like frustration and failure. And then hearing from my friends who were like, ah, yeah, I hired that agency and I spent six, eight months paying 'em five grand a month and got nothing for it. Like if I never hear that story again, That would be a beautiful thing. That was really the impetus. And it was this idea of like my heart and soul lies with the small business entrepreneur. And it was really born out of like, how can I help these people?

Natasha Miller:

And how long ago did you start it?

Russel Lundstorm:

2019, right before COVID shut the world down, which was again, good timing. It gave me a year to kind of really knuckle down and develop the ideas, cuz it is a new idea in marketing. I think I've never seen anyone really take the same tech.

Natasha Miller:

Did you have before that an EO qualifying business was that the supplement business?

Russel Lundstorm:

Yeah, the business I sold to raise my son was my EO business. That was actually a translation agency. We, um, there's a lot of stories in here. We had started in 2000. I was working, it was a.com blow up company. Actually, they were translating websites and software into foreign languages and totallygreat.com story. They raised 10 million and they burned through it in about eight months. And for a startup to have three full-time lawyers on staff is a little ridiculous, but they did. And it was one of those things where I was the production manager at the time for them. And they went out of business and I just looked at my team and was like, we have these great clients. Let's just go home and continue doing this. And so we built a translation agency out of that.

Natasha Miller:

Interesting. Okay. You're all over the place, but so am I?

Russel Lundstorm:

Yeah. Right.

Natasha Miller:

So how do you help entrepreneurs like me with their marketing plans, their marketing strategies?

Russel Lundstorm:

So kind of the journey led me to a place where I kind of realized one day that. The problem in the marketing world is one it's even a little hard to define what is marketing. I mean, it's everything from your website to your letterheads, to even do your employees wear shirts like that's marketing, even how your customer service answers the phone is typically marketing. So marketing is this giant world of opportunity for business. But every business has limited resources and what's missing was this idea of how there's no tool set that tells the business, we should be doing this versus this. And what's appropriate, what's not, what's a waste of resources and what's not. And so. It was this idea of a marketing blueprint and the analogy I always use. And the word we're trying to coin is Marchitects. We're marketing architects. So if you're building a house, it would be insanity. No one in their right mind would ever think to build a house without a blueprint and just go hire a general contractor, hand him a bunch of money and say, go build my dream. Like they would not have the first idea of how to even start or worse yet you don't hire a plumber or an electrician to go build your house. Right. But in the small business world, this is what happens every day. These visionaries have this vision of their dream, home, their business, and they need help with marketing. And so they go hire. Marketing agencies, general contractors are even worse, freelancers, not worse in the sense that it, they're not good, but that it's not the right appropriate person. And they're trying to build this business through marketing without a blueprint. And so I don't think it's the idea that the marketers aren't to blame. And I don't think the founders are to blame. It's this idea of a marketing blueprint that's really kind of missing in the business world today. And that's what we help companies.

Natasha Miller:

And you don't see marketers, marketing agencies, fractional CMOs doing this type of work. There was a white space. Is that correct?

Russel Lundstorm:

Yeah, there is. As in any industry there's good and bad, right? Like there's very great marketers out there. The twist that we did is we went and said, all right, look, marketing is really overwhelming. So how do we really boil it down into its simplest elements and then rebuild from that. How do we make marketing into a machine that's repeatable and duplicatable and scalable so that it can be treated? Like a function of the business versus this throw as much stuff against the wall and hope something works, which isn't really a machine it's kind of, I don't know what is?

Natasha Miller:

And it's a reaction. It's a-

Russel Lundstorm:

It is, it's very reactionary. And so we very much come in like architects and plan out a blueprint. And then execute. I think just most businesses you get excited and you're like, "well, shoot," now there's TikTok. And last year was Clubhouse and 10 years ago was my space. It's always something.

Natasha Miller:

And who's your ideal client?

Russel Lundstorm:

My ideal client. So we have two parts of our business. We have a school we commonly refer to as our CMO school, where we work with junior and mid-level marketers who wanna come in and learn how to do this blueprinting process. And then we kind of certify them and they. Have three trajectories, they go off of, at that point, they either start their own fractional agency. They start a traditional agency or enhance their own current agency, or we have, they go get a job as a CMO and rise up the company that way. And then on the B2B side, we work with a lot of business founders and CEOs who want this blueprint. But don't have the internal resources to do the work. And so at the end of the day, we just put those two groups together and it's a win-win for everybody. So we can go in and service our executives, help them develop the blueprint and then execute. And then on this side, we have what we like to think are some of the greatest marketing minds in the world today. So-

Natasha Miller:

Have you ever thought that you should write a book that you should write the story of your life to help other people learn from your experience? Please go to MemoirSherpa.com and learn how I can help you write, figure out your publishing path and market your story, your memoir to a best seller status. All right. Here's a trick question.

Russel Lundstorm:

Yep.

Natasha Miller:

What is your marketing blueprint for your business?

Russel Lundstorm:

My marketing blueprint. So-

Natasha Miller:

Did you do one for yourself? Are you following that?

Russel Lundstorm:

Of course I did.

Natasha Miller:

Not everyone, does you know that?

Russel Lundstorm:

So what we teach is in the simplest form, marketing is really, we call it this master marketing equation and we treat it like a math equation and everyone's heard this, but if tease it apart a little bit. It's really a functional thing. It's if you can show the right message to the right person at the right time and place, that is marketing, that will work well. The trick to it is the right message and the right time and place are both 100% dependent upon the right person. So when you ask me, what does my marketing plan look like? I have a marketing plan specifically for our CMO school and the three groups of people who are attracted to that opportunity. And then I have a separate marketing plan for the business owners and founders that wanna put this blueprint into their business. So it's actually, I have four marketing plans currently for my business or one plan with four divisions, I should say maybe.

Natasha Miller:

And is there a software or is there something as a tool that you use to follow along the blueprint and double check and check in and KPI or dashboard or?

Russel Lundstorm:

Well, the marketing plan is like a blueprint. It's pretty complicated and a lot of moving parts, but kind of the foundation of what we use. And it's actually something you can download. We make available to everyone. We call it the single sheet marketing plan, and it's kind of a tricky piece of paper actually, cuz most people look at it and kind of roll their eyes. Oh, it's so simple. But I've yet to have a business owner that can sit down and fill this thing out. The way it's phrased is really particular too, in that it forces you to ask questions, but basically that's the tool that we use to keep on track. It's kind of like Gazelle's use and Vern Harnish's work. He has that single page strategic plan for the year. It's actually two pages. It's kind of like that where you can use it. It builds out at a very high level, but it'll illustrate for you where the gaps are in your business, in your market. So that you can then focus on those gaps, cuz most, everyone has at least 50 to 70% of it filled in it's those missing gaps that are the turnkey that makes everything work within this business.

Natasha Miller:

What is, and this is kind of a parallel question, but I'm gonna ask if anyway, what is your number one strategy for growth for this business for you right now? How are you acquiring the clients and-

Russel Lundstorm:

There's a concept in marketing that I'm a big fan of. And so there's within the marketing plan. There's kind of five main elements of what we call the quote, unquote, the marketing. You have to have that master marketing equation. You have to really understand your offer and you have to really understand your unique selling proposition. And that's what wraps around your offer that goes into the master marketing equation that makes everything work, but kind of the big strategy that we take now is this idea of, and it, maybe it stems from my history of trading in the markets and whatnot with probabilities. But what we wanna do is we want to get, and we start every engagement with who is that most valuable customer to your business. And let's create a marketing message. That we wanna attract that person that's ready to buy today. The way that probability goes, we use a golf analogy. So if you're teeing off in the tee box, your probability of hitting a hole in one is pretty low, but if you're on the putting green and you're like two feet from the hole, your probability's pretty darn high. And so we kind of take that philosophy is create the marketing to go find that person that's so frustrated and so ready to buy right now. It's not the biggest group out there, but they're ready to buy where we wanna get them. And it just takes them a little bit of marketing to flip the switch and they're buying. And then from there we work outwards to get closer to the tee off box, which is a much larger audience and that's where you scale, but you need to get that close to the conversion event as possible to start and building out from.

Natasha Miller:

Can you describe a win of one of your clients that closed that gap?

Russel Lundstorm:

Yeah. So probably the most well known one is we did this with, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and they had a situation. It was a different situation, but it was where they're an older business. They're worldwide famous. And they had a website that was attracting. I think it was well over a hundred thousand unique visitors a month to the business, but also in 30 years of business. And this is kind of applicable to maybe an e-commerce play now, too, where they had so many different products that people were coming to their website and not able to find what they were looking for. And Rich Dad, they felt that they weren't able to serve their clients to the best of their. So we did this reverse engineering process with them, where we figured out, "Okay, you have four main product categories." and within each of those, there were several sub-buckets and we built out, everyone's heard this idea of client avatars and personas and things. Well, we actually came up with 35 different personas for Rich Dad and because we knew what the end place looked like. We're able to then build out this funnel system. It was basically a quiz that funneled people from a starting point on their homepage to the exact information that they wanted to get from rich dad. That's great. And as a result, And I still think they used this funnel today, but as a result, we saw their conversions lift by 60%. And last time I talked with the CEO, he said, every time they send to that funnel, they make half a million bucks. I wish I had it.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah, you should have, done that for sweat equity.

Russel Lundstorm:

Yeah, I know. Right.

Natasha Miller:

It's business, really feeling on that. Do you know what quiz software you used for that? Was it bucket?

Russel Lundstorm:

It was bucket. Yeah. That's Ryan's product. It's, bucket's a great product.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah. It's pretty intense.

Russel Lundstorm:

Yeah. I've done a ton of work around quizzes and a lot of our customer research comes from Ryan's work. He's brilliant.

Natasha Miller:

Cool. Okay. So the last question I'd love to talk to you about is did you start this business with the idea, and this is for you, Jessica Fialkovich of an Exit.

Russel Lundstorm:

Great question because I am a huge fan of not only Jessica, but I think entrepreneurs wait way too long to think about their exits. This business was actually started. My exit plan is a lifestyle business. I'm not creating the next conglomerate multimillion billion dollar marketing agency. We have a very boutique small business now where I said, we believe we produce the greatest marketing mines out there today, and we connect them with the greatest businesses out there. And that's how I personally am making my ripple in the world. Steve jobs talked about denting, the universe. I can only affect so many people, but if you look around your office, everything from your phone to glasses, guitars, whatever. Because some crazy person had a dream and a vision and said, I'm gonna put everything on the line to make this happen and they do it right. And it's the hardest thing in the world, but that's why we have all these amazing things in our lives. And that's who I work for is that entrepreneur. And if I can help make the next company that invents the next iPhone to Ching, that's great. Like I don't need the financial rewards for that. Just knowing that we've increased the standard of living in the world. A smidge is why I do what I do. And so this is really a lifestyle business and helping entrepreneurs.

Natasha Miller:

For more information, go to the show notes through your listening to this podcast. Wanna know more about me go to my website, OfficialNatashaMiller.com. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast now. I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Russell Lundstrom Profile Photo

Russell Lundstrom

Russell Lundstrom is an born and bred entrepreneur. Having started multiple 7-figure businesses, and helping hundreds of other businesses repeat that success, he is now on a mission to simplify the world of marketing.
Passionate that entrepreneurs are the mind, heart, and engine of the world, he is driven to improve the world through better business.
“When good business succeeds, everyone’s quality of life gets better”
After 35+ years on the front lines of marketing, Russell created the step-by-step marketing framework called the Marketing Plan Formula. This simple 5 step process reveals the most profitable marketing strategies through reverse engineering the unique keys to success already contained within your business.
Russell is now on a mission to teach this process to every entrepreneur on the planet.