Move at the speed of trust. Focus on critical connections more than critical mass—build the resilience by building the relationships. 

adreienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy

Welcome back to Week 11 of the miniMBA. We've entered the final section of the program - Experience and this week is all about analytics and measuring what matters. In the last lesson, we talked about trust-building content. This week will use adreienne's advice to move at the speed of trust and focus on critical connections.

 If you are just joining us, you can catch up on the previous lessons here

Have you been finding these lessons valuable? Registration for the Business Growth Program is now open. This article came out in the Times this week about the changes to the Harvard Business School curriculumand I'm not going to lie, I was quite pleased to see just how far ahead of the curve Business Growth for Creative Entrepreneurs truly is. All of these ideas are just making it the mainstream, like considering how damaging the idea of scarcity and competition are to capitalism and building cultures that don't just acknowledge anti-racism is a problem but actually create cultures in service of it. Seeing these institutions doing their best to rise to the occasion thrills me. But no curriculum is more deeply and broadly informed than BGCE. You can check out our reading syllabus here for more insight. You can find out more about the program here

Looking forward to continued learning in 2023! 


We’ve identified our relationships and created clear, enthusiastic messaging. Now it’s time to build and execute our plan. We first want to recognize that marketing and sales are two separate strategies. We can think of marketing as an opportunity to build awareness and engagement, while sales are about converting and closing. 

Each revenue stream in our business will have its own marketing strategy. If we’re omnichannel (we do retail, DTC, wholesale and maybe even sell to trade), then we must have specific marketing strategies for each revenue stream. So our first step is to identify our revenue streams. But the good news is that we already did that in Week 5 - Financial Planning. Our marketing & sales strategies are the building blocks of our financial plan. They tell us exactly how we plan on achieving the projections we set that week. We never build a marketing & sales strategy independently of setting financial projections and vice versa. The two have a symbiotic relationship. 


But before we can identify what strategies we need for marketing and sales, we must first understand what we're trying to achieve. Marketing and sales are not one-size-fits-all. So often, we need clarification on what our business needs to prioritize, and we get caught up in what everyone else is doing: running ads, making reels (lol!), joining tik tok even if that's now necessarily where our customers are. We never take the time to identify what we're trying to achieve and how we measure that and most of those strategies I just listed are only ever about awareness building, not converting.

  • Are we trying to meet new customers?
  • Bring more awareness to our company or product? 
  • Convert the audience we already have?
  • Increase our average order value?
  • Build a larger repeat customer base?
  • Do we know the nuance between a customer that is B2B v. B2C? 
All of these have vastly different strategies that need to be considered, so if we're just focused on *awareness*, we're not going to fix the problems that are plaguing our growth even though we'll seem "busy" cranking out content. When we think about moving at the speed of trust, it's critical to consider what it is that matters most to your business, or else our efforts can become wayward, and we can become frustrated with our lack of impact. We end up throwing money at a problem that can't be solved through investment alone. It demands specificity of outcomes. 


As I mentioned earlier, each revenue stream you have will need its own set of marketing and sales analytics. Some companies refer to these as KPIs but don't worry too much about the lingo and focus on what it is you are trying to measure. 

  1. Set your annual financial goals. A marketing plan should only be created by knowing what it is the company as a whole and each revenue stream is trying to achieve.
  2. Identify how many customers per revenue you need annually to make that financial goal a reality based on your average order value
    1. Here we may ask ourselves, is our AOV what we would like it to be for our company, or do we need to strategize how to increase our AOV? That would require its own marketing strategy. 
  3. Once you know how many customers you need depending on whether you are keeping our AOV as is or setting strategies to increase it, we look at your current conversion rate
Now, here's where you can start looking at multiple strategies. 
  1. Is your current conversion rate ideal for your industry, or do you need a strategy to increase your conversion rate? What's the point of bringing more awareness to your company or visitors to your site if you cannot convert them? 
  2. Do you need to increase your conversion rate or increase your returning customer rate? Or both? What's the point of building a consumer community if people don't return? 
  3. Based on whichever path you just chose (keeping your conversion rate as is or setting a strategy to increase it), how many customers do you need to make it to your site to make that conversion rate a reality? That's an awareness metric, the only one we typically focus on, and as you see above, we miss many more opportunities to connect. 
Each of these would need specific numbers you are trying to achieve. We don't just say things like "increase"; we want to know by how much and what that looks like as a total. 

And then, it's key for us to break these metrics down by our seasonality and the smallest building blocks: by month, by week, by day, and even for some Ecomm, by the hour. 

This is important if you are a product or a service-based business, and this is by no means an exhaustive list of what it is you could measure. This gives you a foundational idea of different ways to think about this. 

How does all of this relate to moving at the speed of trust? If you know what it is you're trying to achieve, you're marketing and sales efforts will be more authentic. They won't have the spray-and-pray vibes of most companies' marketing; just trying to reach as many people as possible and thereby sacrificing the quality of content and connections over quantity. 

Take time to think about what it is you need to measure, and next week we'll talk about systems to make that happen. 


This week, I'm sharing a generous gift because it's my favorite season (the holly-day season), and I feel so passionately about helping companies actually get their marketing and sales right. So below is a worksheet I developed for my program Beyond the Feed, which will become a new part of Business Growth for Creative Entrepreneurs in 2023. 

Head to the "Do" section of the AHH Resources Page and use this worksheet to help tie your financial, marketing, and sales goals together. Get your data set up, and when we go to build out tactics next week, you'll have a place for those too. 

Good luck! We'll see you here next Wednesday for Week 12: Marketing and Sales Systems. If you have a colleague who should join us, they can sign up here


If you've been following along with the bite-sized lessons from this miniMBA, now you can join us for the full program launching in January. This is the 9th year of the program, and you can find out more details here and read the full Program Manual here


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