Section 1: Understanding your customer and the market
Section 2: Your vegan marketing toolbox
Section 3: Creating and carrying out your marketing plan

Recap, resources and support

What we've just learned

  • It is your responsibility to run a successful vegan business otherwise you can’t help the vegan cause.
  • You can do more good with profit than a loss.  You’re not just running a business, you’re on a mission.
  • You need to keep a notebook and it will become one of your most valuable business assets.
  • Your product can be a physical product on a shelf, a service, or someone making a donation to you.
  • You need to audit where you are now so that you measure your progression at the end of this course.
  • A low score on this initial audit isn’t a disaster at all, it’s more about what your potential score could be.
53 Comments
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Can’t believe its taken me so long to do this course, 18/30 was my score but i have a long way to go to get this higher.

That’s actually a brilliant start Kevin – and glad to have you here!!

Two. In all my years as a service provider (B2B), I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument that I should have an email list.

15 out of 30 for me! However, I study marketing but want to learn more about my market as a vegan. This course feels like it found me and I’m so excited! Thank you for the time and attention you’ve put into this.

11/30

Much better then I thought it would be. I am here to connect and expand my knowledge and my network.

As a brand new business I need all the help I can get and so far the course has me thinking in different ways about language already. Which is fantastic. No question for me, just wanted to say thank you.

Umph, I scored myself 20, maybe too kind on myself, but its a mature business in a new guise. Very interested in the ancient language point and how to not use the word “brand”.
What are the latest ideas out there?
Identity
Projection
Visage

DJ

Hi David & Lisa!!

I joined the Tribe a week after I paid for another marketing course hahaha, but now that I have finished that one, I am super eager to learn from yours. My biggest issue is not confidence that I can make it work, but knowledge and understanding. I was moderately successful as a travel agent (clients all word of mouth) but I really want my vegan business to go through the roof, so that I can continue making a difference and help our shared mission. Being a ’70’s child and having lived in the sticks (literally) for the majority of the last 20 years, I am new to online marketing and getting my product out there. So I am here to learn and connect.

I have taken your advice and I get up every morning at 5 am, and study until 7 am, and I will not stop until this course, and then my coaching course, are both done. Time is my biggest constraint, as I need to keep two businesses afloat in order to pay off debts and keep a roof over my head. But we all have 24 hours in a day, and your solution was brilliant (no idea why I never came up with that myself?).

So no question, just a big thank you to you both, for stepping up and setting up this platform for us all to congregate, and join hands in the good fight ahead.

Thank you!!
Ingrid
South Africa

Thank you Ingrid, that means a lot to us. Something Lisa also talks about in her Make It Happen workshops is reconnecting with the joy of why you first setup a business. Is it that you can’t find the time, or you have disconnected with the joy? Because when you find the joy then like magic you find the time to engage with a task.

Keep us updated as you go through the course, and if you have any specific questions make sure to post them in the Slack group.

David

Thank you David and you are 100% correct – it’s the joy I need to reconnect with in order to make more time available. Priorities shift with the level of excitement for something. There is always more time than we think. Thank you for hitting that nail on the head!

Loved the idea of dancing around for every little success. So true. I am glad I’m not the only one scoring so low (11). Looking forward to more advice. Also very important note – as if I hadn’t known – that I need to take my business more seriously, also regarding time investment. Thanks 😉

Brilliant Susanne. Yes, it’s not the score you get NOW that is important, it’s seeing the score that your business COULD get. As long as in the future you think your business could get up to 15 / 20 then that means it’s worth investing your time into.

Lisa still does a run up and down the office when we get a new member, in fact she’s done it twice this morning 😆

The wonderful thing is that no matter what you are intending to do, someone else has already worked out how to do it. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. And sometimes the best way is to find those people who have already done what you want to do and learn how they did it.

Remember we’ve also got the Slack group where you can ask questions of others in the group too, which is really useful for working problems out.

A 21 for me! Only as of recently, otherwise most likely would have been half that! Super excited to learn some new skills and gain deeper insights 🙂

Ah Jay, in that case what’s stopping you and why are you here?! 😆 If you’re sure you’ve got all the knowledge and potential then what’s the missing piece? Is it the time to do it all, is it just experience and confidence, I’d be interested to know and see how we can help!

Hey David! Great to hear from you!!

At the moment just the time! Juggling part time job with our new baby, business and a touch experience newbie to it all!

Defo more organised now! finally even got around to starting the course! 😀

Hello, 8 out of 30 for me and that’s exactly why I am here! Looking forward to continuing this course!

That’s better than 0 out of 30 Briony! Don’t let that dishearten you though. This is just to take a benchmark. The important number is what you THINK your business could get.

David 🌱

Hello David & Lisa

No particular queries at this stage but I’m definitely eager for more.

It was difficult answering some of the audit questions at this early stage in my business’ development, as I have an idea of what I should be answering and / or a little experience in most areas but not the confidence nor experience of promoting my own products. I know which direction we’re heading in now though!

Thank you for offering such a great, relevant course.
Laura

Sadie Millermaggs May 24, 2021 at 9:35 am

Hi Lisa and David
Quick comment as I REALLY want to move onto the next section….

I honestly thought it was a bit premature to consider my marketing now as I still have so much to figure out and of course with so much studying to do but, after just the intro I already feel like this was actually the ultimate time for it. I am so excited to be investing my time in something so well considered. I really feel like VBT sincerely has our best interest at heart!

Many thanks for your great work

That’s the difference between a business being a hobby and setting out to build one that makes an impact. Would you launch a business if you hadn’t figured out yet how to make your product? Of course not. So why would you launch a business if you hadn’t figured out yet how to sell it either?! Because you might find that you might need to make changes to the product in order to be able to sell it, so that needs to be built in from day one.

Sadie Millermaggs May 24, 2021 at 10:30 am

Very true!! Technically this is day one for me. And while I still have time to decide which product I take forward I know this course will help me determine which one carefully and no doubt in smaller time frame.

Thanks for offering this class. I feel like I’ve already learned a lot in the intro. My obsessive question is “how can I find clients or prospects for my marketing business from all the plethora of vegan companies out there?” I know this is something I need to figure out for myself, and I don’t expect you or anyone to throw an answer to me. I expect to learn a lot about this as I go through the course. In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of networking and I plan to increase this in the coming days and weeks.

The HARDEST thing about being in marketing is doing your OWN marketing!! I know from many years of running my own agencies – it’s all so clear when you’re working for a customer but really hard to then turn the lens back on your own company!!

The thing you need to figure out (and you will come to this in section 2 and 3) is who is going to most likely connect with YOUR own brand of consultancy. I’m thinking you probably only need a handful of new customers a year, so there’s no point in launching a strategy to try to reach and appeal to as many people as possible.

In chapter 4 we look at defining your customer and really getting to understand them, because once you know who is really going to connect with your own flavour of marketing, once you know who’s problems you are REALLY going to solve then you can work out the ‘value proposition’ that will most connect.

For example, in my first agency I spent the first 10 years trying to sell to ‘anyone who needed marketing’. It was a hard slog. I then switched and specialised to working with industrial manufacturers. As part of that I took on a role with The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Manufacturing Ambassador. I got to understand the unique and very specific challenges in family-owned manufacturing businesses and then identified the reasons why a specific group of these didn’t engage with marketing (they were scared / didn’t understand it / had bad experiences previously). I then worked out an approach and way of working to ‘hand-hold’ them into the new world of marketing. And then, finally, I focussed on finding JUST these very specific kind of people / businesses to work with and I was so relevant to them that I had an incredible win-rate.

This cut down my potential customers by 98%, and it was the easiest 5 years of finding new business that I ever had.

This is the process that you will likely go through yourself. You have a wealth of experience so I would ask you: who is the perfect fit for John? Who will view you as the saviour of their business? Who will connect with everything you are saying and just lap it up? Who’s problem can you REALLY solve? What’s their age, location, background, previous experience, turnover / income, motivation for being in business, biggest problem et al. Because once you know this, you can make sure that all your messages are talking just to this gal / guy and they will hit home 100%. Rather than trying to talk to everyone, only managing 15% relevancy and being in competition with every other outfit who says they know marketing.

And you might think that ‘veganism’ is the niche – but that’s like saying you are going to sell to anyone that owns a dog. Yes, you’ll have a point of commonality with them as a starting point, but there’s no such thing as a typical vegan any more. Just look at the people who are VBT members, they are an incredibly diverse bunch!

As I said, you’ll find more on this in chapter 4 so please keep me up to date in the comments on your thought process as you go through the course!

David ??

David, thank you so much for such a thoughtful and articulate reply. I knew I was making a great decision in hooking up with you, Lisa and the Tribe. I’m sure I will gather much great insight as I go through this course. I will definitely keep asking questions as they come up.

12/30 – I really looking forward to learning new marketing skills that actually work. Huge thanks! Absolutely loving what you are sharing here.

That is an AMAZING start! The question now is where do you THINK you could be at the end. Just goes to show how many pieces you already have though, you now just need to learn how to put them all together. Really looking forward to see what you take away from the next few sections.

David

Thanks so much for your encouragement. It’s so exciting to think that I can learn to put all of the pieces together after winging it for years. I am all in!!! Honestly, I think I’ll shoot for the stars… but I’ll be happy if I reach the moon.

Hello, I think identity may be a better word for branding.
Also how easy is it to certify a product as vegan? Or is it enough to say it’s vegan. Thanks! Laia

Hey Laia, that section on language has opened up all sorts of conversations on the topic so I’ll probably end up doing a podcast episode on it in the future!

You CAN just say your product is vegan (as long as you believe it is) because there is no law around that, but I actually collect examples of where products have been marketed as vegan but they are not. Such as ‘vegan’ chocolate made with lactose-free milk or even sofas that were promoted as ‘vegan’ alternatives to leather but were made from wool!

In this case, it’s simply that the manufacturers don’t understand what vegan is, so to give people confidence you should look at getting one of the certifications like The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark. Lisa put a guide together about the different certification schemes here:
https://veganbusinesstribe.com/how-do-you-get-vegan-certified/

They do cost money, and The Vegan Society one (which is the sunflower symbol we all recognise) starts at about £350 a year and scales up depending how big your company is and how many products you sell. But if you are looking to give people confidence (especially people buying gifts for vegans who are not vegan themselves) and you have the budget for it then they are very worthwhile.

David

Thank you! I know my product is vegan because I have a formula developer creating it and she has told me, but as a start up I can’t afford the certification, but at least I know 100% it is.

Yes, many people work up to getting an official trademark and in the early days that money is often better spent elsewhere to actually get a product off the ground!

The problem isn’t usually in the actual ingredients though, it’s either how the ingredients have been prepared (ie they use animal derivatives as processing agents which don’t have to be declared because they are not an active ingredient) or it’s further down the supply chain in the ingredients of those ingredients – it becomes a complete rabbit hole!

We’ve worked with some huge brands to help them register for the Vegan Society’s trademark who were certain their product was vegan, only to find that when you really started integrating their ingredients and suppliers they were not. For example, a beauty product that had citrus in it – it turned out the fruit was waxed (as many citrus fruits are) before it was processed into the ingredient. Citrus is usually waxed with shellac which is insect-based. This didn’t have to be declared in the ingredients the supplier was using so they had no idea, but basically their lemon-smelling product they were certain was vegan actually had insect lactations ground up in it. It’s this kind of detail that a good certification process will go through and bring to light.

So it’s ALWAYS worth going back, not just to the supplier of an ingredient, but to the suppliers of the supplier, to find out all the processes that the product has been through. Again, this might not be something for now as it’s time-consuming and suppliers don’t always like to disclose full details, but I actually recorded a podcast on what you should look out for that you can find here:
https://veganbusinesstribe.com/015-are-you-sure-your-product-is-100-vegan/

I know we haven’t had a 1-2-1 yet so really excited to find out more when we meet!

David

Yay! I’m so glad I found you guys, this course is exactly what I need right now. Thank you 🙂

And we’re so glad we found you! Keep us updated as you go through the course, and if you have any questions just put them in the questions section at the end of each chapter!

😀 Ace, thank you, will do

Great intro, especially the bit about language – really got me thinking

Hey Caroline, yes. I suspect we’ll have some larger discussion about the language in the future. On the back of reading that section someone, one member introduced me to the Facebook group ‘Unlearning Speaciesist Language’:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/unlearningspeciesistlanguage

Absolutely loved section 1, especially the audit. After working in marketing for how ever many years its quite easy to fall into comfort and assume you know what your doing, this has definitely knocked me down a peg, and really boosted my motivation to step up, rethink, refresh my knowledge and identify the improvement i need in business. Thank you, cannot wait for the next section. ?

Hey Callum and great to see you made a start on the course. The audit is a similar tool to what I used in my previous life to gauge both what areas of a business needed focusing on but also what their capacity was for growth.

When we had our 1-2-1, I remember making the point that in YOUR previous life you were marketing in an established industry where consumer motivation was really well understood, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re having to go back to the lab again to work out what makes your new customers tick. A lot of the work you’ve done before in digi especially will really help.

I think you’ll also find chapter three a real challenge to your thinking, but in a good way!

Let me know when you’ve worked through it.

David

this first module has been great. The whole language thing is fascinating – so much cruelty to unpick and redefine. The audit was a good exercise to do especially as you only had yes or no answers. Was that intended for the procrastinators? For some my answer was ‘kind of’ and ‘a bit’ so decided they must be a ‘no’. Lots of room for improvement but excited that this course is going to help me do that!

That’s brilliant Karen, and I’ve been quite taken about how the note on language has connected with so many. I might do a podcast episode on it!

The audit is a really useful tool, it’s similar to one I used to use to measure businesses in my former life. It identifies where improvements can be made and is good for setting goals. If you look at that list and say ‘Well actually, I’m not there yet but I think I can get to a score of 18-20 out of 30″, then you’ve got the makings of a great business. If you think, “I’m only ever going to be an 8-10 no matter how much work I put in” then it might be worth putting more time into thinking about what you are offering first before going any further.

David ?

That would be a great podcast! The audit showed me I have lots of room for improvement but not all the ‘no’s’ were hard no’s! Which is good news!

It most certainly is, and what the audit is for, please keep us updated – especially what your score is at the end!

Maria Aguirregomozcorta January 4, 2021 at 6:52 pm

Hey everyone!
I am very grateful to be part of this community. Thank you David and Lisa for creating it and putting this course together – I finally found a place to learn and develop my business that speaks my same language!
And talking about language, since being vegan Richard and I are very aware of how the language is based in activities that are racist and cruel against animals. We also catch ourselves very often using them. Thanks David for PETA’s list, I will certainly make the swap!
Like Pauliina, I will be happy to join you in brainstorming a loving and peaceful, yet strong and powerful, language for marketing.

This is really interesting Maria. It wasn’t until we’d pretty much finished writing the course that we realised about the language of business we use daily and it seems like it’s something that is making other people think too. I might start out with a podcast on the topic and then see where that leads!

D ?

Pauliina Salmenhaara December 17, 2020 at 12:08 pm

I’m fascinated by the section on the cruel practices behind so many of the words we use. Suddenly it feels awful to say that I’m in the process of re-branding. If you ever do something further in changing the language, I’d be interested to join you in brainstorming.

I was really close to re-rewriting the course to address some of the language used Pauliina. So much of the language of business is based on cruelty and war, even things like saying you’re taking an entrenched position. Lisa and I catch ourselves in our personal lives also, putting all your eggs in one basket, going the whole hog, killing two birds with one stone.

PETA actually came up with a list of alternatives for every day phrases:

  • “Bring home the bacon” becomes “bring home the bagels”
  • “Killing two birds with one stone” becomes “feeding two birds with one scone”
  • “Flog a dead horse” becomes “feed a fed horse”
  • “Hold your horses” becomes “hold the phone”
  • “Let the cat out of the bag” becomes “spill the beans”
  • “All your eggs in one basket” becomes “all your berries in one bowl”
  • “Open a can of worms” becomes “open Pandora’s box”
  • “Be the guinea pig” becomes “be the test tube”
  • “Taking the bull by the horns” becomes “taking the flower by the thorns”
  • “More than one way to skin a cat” becomes “more than one way to peel a potato”

I am sure we could do the same for business phrases too.

David

4/30, this is why I am here. I’d be happy with 10….but going for over 25.

Hi Heather, that’s great to be both that honest and that ambitious! What the audit is really good for is judging what POTENTIAL someone’s business has. If you were to run through the audit and think ‘you know what, I can only see this business ever getting a 5’ then I would urge you to stop and rethink what you are doing. If you think you’ve got a business with the potential to get 25 however (and knowing a little bit about what you do I think you probably have) then that should give you the confidence to know that you have everything you need, you now just need to fill in the blanks in a logical way.

The course will give you that route map. There is ‘no one weird trick’ or ‘one big secret’ to marketing. It’s having an understanding and a strategy of several different elements which you just implement very competently and consistently. A mediocre strategy carried out exceptionally will always beat an amazing strategy carried out poorly, or not at all.

Please keep us updated with your thoughts as you go through this!

David

16 out of 30 not bad for someone who has worked in marketing for 27 years but I am learning daily that the vegan market is unique in many ways.

I liked the fact you admitted in the introduction that the majority of the smaller vegan businesses you approved in your early stages just didn’t have the funds to invest in their marketing and this is my experience as well.

It is a huge requirement but it is not seen as the No.1 burning problem or issue that needs action and support from the off set and this does make it difficult to generate new work to help vegan businesses with video and digital marketing.

There is a culture now that exists for vegan entrepreneurs and businesses wanting to do everything themselves but in the long run this is not the best strategy.

I am spending the rest of 2020 doing more market research into what are the ‘real’ burning problems and I aim to create digital products and online course like this one that can support many vegan businesses with these problems.

That is my pivot at the moment having been doing this for just over 2 years as well.

This group and your incentive as a subscription model is a clever way to support the fundamental marketing issue for vegan businesses.

Marketing by its very nature can also be seen to be counterintuitive to what some vegan businesses stand for but as you rightly have identified if you’re not successful and no one is seeing your content, message or service then this is ultimately not benefitting the vegan movement.

There is no shame is making money, thriving and generating abundance in supporting others with our vegan products and services. In fact, it is essential for the movement to group and keep making an impact.

I am currently offering a free 10″ video to vegan business owners who want to promote their brand this Q4. Sign up for free here.

https://www.theverycreativegan.com/free-video-ad-and-marketing-top-tips/

I’m glad a low score isn’t a disaster – lots to learn and so glad to be here to learn it!

Yes! This initial audit is based on a business evaluation system used to measure a company’s growth potential. What you get NOW isn’t what’s important, it’s what you think you can get in the future with some work and guidance that really counts.

The section on language was interesting – (vegan ) food for thought.
I’m going to be a sad geek – back in the days of Granada, Yorkshire Television, Tyne-Tees, Thames and the ilk, at the start of each show they showed their channel ‘ident’ ( obviously short for identity). Could ident be an alternative to brand? We could make it so…

From my teaching days, use it 3-5 times and it becomes embedded!

That is a really good idea. How about we veganise it? Call it a ‘vident’ or ‘vedentity’ !

There are other more general terms such as visual identity, but it would be great to have something as punch’ as ‘brand’.

David ?

We could veganise it, but dealing with muggles….if we are trying to change common usage of offensive / inappropriate terms I think it needs to be done by stealth!

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