4FFM is an actionable step-by-step guide that saves $60k a year
The 4 Step Fondation Focus Method can give you a Marketing degree within 6 months. Without any significant downside, you’re learning to master the knowledge of ads, services, and finance. A real-life degree is incomparably cheaper than a University counterpart.
1. Read Evergreen Marketing books
Humanity has hacked the learning process by inventing writing systems. We can pass thousands of years of knowledge in less than 500 pages. Head out to the nearest book store and search for the following.
- 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
- 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out from the Crowd by Allan Dib
- Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
Start your journey by reading, and never stop turning pages. The books above are easy to read for the general public. When you get the hang of it, head out to Columbia Marketing Science Program Overview and download first year’s Marketing curriculum.
The curriculum offers books and suggestions. Read it to continue your journey. Columbia currently ranks highest for Marketing programs, but that can change at any time.
University curriculum is not easy to digest as the recommended books, but you’re going to understand what’s going on. When you’re sure about your skill, get your hands dirty. Practical work is the next step. I recommend starting the second step as soon as possible — may be in your third week.
2. Start a project
Set up a budget. You can start as low as $100 a month, or however your bank account is set up. Find a niche or a product you like and want to advertise. If you’re feeling brave, invent your category.
Ebooks and other digital products are an easy start. You can save yourself the hassle of international shipping and global availability. You can’t ship every product anywhere in the world. And digital products mitigate this obstacle.
Next. Create a landing page using Wix templates, GoDaddy WB, or WordPress landing page templates. A decent page with a commercial domain and hosting is not more than $70.
Free hostings with free domains also exist, but I’m not recommending it. Nothing is truly free in this world, and free hosting often comes with pesky advertisements.
Then, create a story around your product and focus on customers. Tell them exactly who they are as a person when they support your work. When the landing page is ready, think of paid advertisement.
Develop a Facebook marketing campaign and focus on India. The emerging market is enormous and full of potential. India has the biggest English speaking population. Indian people often use English to communicate. The price of admittance is low compared to any developed nation. One marketing dollar in the US is worth roughly 10 in India.
Think of 5 different marketing ads for your project, and assign each one a daily limit. If your monthly budget is $100, max your daily limit at $ 3. You’re going to see what works after a week. Drop ads that don’t convert to sales, think of new ones, and keep the good.
3. Start a Crowdfunding Campaign
The next step is a bit more demanding, but crowdfunding is possibly the most valuable thing you’re doing for your degree. Maybe your business is destined for the stars.
This step is your graduation. I recommend pairing up with someone that shares the same passion for marketing and business.
Next. Find a project that needs funding. Contact the authors. Explain your background and your intentions. Offer your expertise in return for experience. Present a win-win argument. Tell the business about the benefit of cooperation. Tell the project owners how you’re going to remedy their headache.
Then. Head out to a crowdfunding site of your choice. Kickstarter is one of the largest platforms in the world. The company has raised $4,56 Billion from 2012 to 2019 to fund creative projects.
Kickstarter attracts art projects and technological innovation. More than one-third of all projects get fully funded. The platform imposes time limits and rules to attract money. If you don’t reach your goals, the money goes back to backers.
Set an attainable goal judging from the project potential. An achievable goal is a half of what you think the project is worth. If you think fans can pledge $6k, ask for $3k. You’re here to graduate, not to get rich quick.
Kickstarter is full of people that want to see you succeed.
Graduation step-by-step guide:
- Find a favorite project. The homepage features a scheme. Beneath, the Waves campaign raised $7,430 in 5 days. Beneath the Waves is an art project about the sea world.
- Study the story and replicate the key points. Add attractive graphics and a short video clip. You can use Fiverr to find affordable designers. You don’t need to spend more than $50 for a good quality image and a short clip.
- Research analytics. Shorten the URL to get a bit.ly. You can click one share or embed it to get a similar link to this one: http://kck.st/2yroai3. Until recently, adding ‘+’ at the end of the connection has lead to an analytics page. Bit.ly has changed this feature recently. Now, the analytic part is available only to link holders. You can find an alternative with Google. Search for ‘Bit.ly data analytics’ or head out to BitHive. Add the shortened link to discover their traffic sources. You’re finding where the project gets the traffic that converts to donation. Focus on the most lucrative channel.
- Beneath the Waves has collected $7,430 through 153 direct FB and Twitter links. Most users have used their mobile devices to access the campaign. The project has 242 backers as of this writing. The remaining traffic has come through Kickstarter itself. The platform often features and promote attractive and favorite projects. Landing your idea on their homepage is almost a guarantee of success. Investors often browse Kickstarter to find and support attractive projects.
- Beneath the Waves data is a little underwhelming. Starting a FB campaign and sharing the link in relevant groups is an excellent choice to kickstart a similar project. Usually, you’re going to discover relevant blogs or other traffic sources. Traffic blogs are goldmines. When you have the link to a traffic goldmine, head out to the page and research articles connected to the project. Contact the blog staff and try to get a featured article or a video promoting your project.
Once you reached your goal, release the funding to your client and celebrate with a glass of bubbly. You’re officially a real-life Marketeer. Your University paper is your track record.
4. Contact industry leaders
Many argue that the sooner you apply this step, the more time you’re saving. Feel free to use this idea any time you wish. I left it for last because I believe that you know more about the world of marketing after graduating with the Kickstarter campaign.
You’re supposed to weed out the stuff that you don’t understand by the end of the program. The idea is simple yet frightening for some.
The point: Someone already lives your version of success. Why don’t you contact that someone and ask the right questions to upgrade your skill and perspective? You’re saving money, time, and energy. The lessons are creme-de-la-creme of education.
Contacting industry leaders or idols is often easier than most people realize. Start by not fixing yourself on just one person. Find at least five individuals you want to ask questions about marketing. I’m not disclosing private contact information in this post due to obvious legal implications, but I’m outlining a step-by-step system to find a reliable marketer.
The easiest and most obvious step is to contact university professors or attend their public classes. Ask for an audience at the end of the class. Individual professors hold Nobel prizes and own marketing agencies.
When it comes to Medium writers or publication owners, you can easily drop a note on their stories and ask them to help you out. Stay brief, explain your passion, and tell them that you’re not taking much of their time.
Another method is searching for emails on Google and sending cold emails. Many CEOs answer polite cold emails. You’re in for a surprise.
Writer/Marketers like Chris Fox hold regular Reddit AMA sessions where they answer questions about writing, marketing, and self-publishing. Chris is known for super-fast writing and launching ten new books a year.
Make the first contact by requesting to ask a few questions. Explain your goals in one sentence and acknowledge that they might be busy. Don’t pressure, and don’t ask what’s on your mind directly. Most marketers are willing to engage and help their tribe. Make the process valuable for both parties.
Asking the right questions is an essential part of this idea. I’m offering a list of in-depth lines. Feel free to add tailored questions according to your experience. If in doubt, use the stuff below.
- Who is good at marketing despite the poor approach? Who is good here that shouldn’t be good?
- What is the most controversial or unorthodox legal marketing idea that took the world by storm
- What is the biggest mistake amateur marketers make?
- What are the common mistakes at the professional level that you see all the time?
- What is your favorite instruction book or resource in marketing?
- If I had to teach myself about marketing, what would you suggest?
- Who is the most impressive, but not famous marketeer?
- What makes your different?
- Who was your mentor?
- Have you trained others to follow your footsteps? Was it successful?
- If you were to teach me how to master the world of marketing, what would you do?
- What are the key principles you abide by every day?
- How does a healthy career in marketing look like?
The right answer from an industry leader is invaluable. Contact your idols once you understand the problems of modern marketing, and once you’ve tipped your toes in that pool. Follow their advice to elevate your skill, perspective, and, ultimately, your business.
Traditional education is a relic from another time. The university system is chunky, expensive, and long. The world is changing rapidly. The economy is not the same as just four months ago. New generations are changing professions due to automation and swinging market conditions.
Holding a degree in one field doesn’t make you an expert anymore. An American student is another name for a young debt holder. University programs are valuable, but you can choose a different path if you don’t have the privilege of spending a few years and insane amounts of money.
Real-life Marketing Master’s degree is equally valuable to its counterpart. The system teaches you about the world of ads, services, and funding. 4FFMis easy to follow, and almost non-existing downside:
- Read evergreen material
- Start a small project and aim at developing markets
- Graduate with a crowdfunding campaign
- Reinforce, hone and deepen your skillset by contacting industry leaders
The four steps above speak about the real state of the economy. Traditional marketing agencies love when new hires have a proven track record. A track record is what makes for a hot CV.