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What Phase of Marketing Are You In?

  • Jason FoncecaJason Fonceca

Note: This post was part of the “Marketing That Works” Ideas Contest, showcasing 20 of the most innovative marketing ideas from the blogosphere’s up and coming marketers. We’ve since picked a winner – check out this post for the details! 🙂

I hate to be the one to break it to you but you’re probably clueless about where you’re at — marketing wise. (Who am I kidding, I love it :D).

Oh I know, you’ve studied it, you’ve made progress, you ‘get’ marketing, but I’m talking about something deeper. I’m talking about the 3 phases of marketing + creation.

The amount of people in the world who are clueless about the phases of marketing + creation is gigantic. The 1% get it, the 99% don’t.

There are phases of creativity and marketing that everyone is moving through, and most people have no idea where they’re at, or where they’d prefer to be.

I want you to be one of the one’s who ‘get it’.

I’m gonna give you a taste of the good stuff right away, but only to whet your appetite, because it’s the in-depth explanations that really blow the doors open on your potential, and we’ll address those later in the article.

So here they are, the 3 phases of marketing:

  • 1. ‘Newborn’ Idealists – Newborns are full of energy and idealism, and love creating things that are of value, that are personally meaningful. Many artists and fresh entrepreneurs are in this phase.
  • 2. ‘Teenage’ Marketers – Teenagers are tired of being supported by Mom and Dad, they want to flex their wings and have their own freedom, so they come close to abandoning their idealism so they can ‘make money’ and ‘commercial success’. They study business, sales, marketing etc., whatever they can do to actually sell something.
  • 3. ‘Adult’ Creators – Mature, well-developed creative people who’ve found a satistfying balance and overlap between creating something that they love, and naturally applying marketing principles effortlessly, so that the market can’t help but like it.

Ah, is this ringing any bells? Can you see yourself in any of these phases? Well, a key to true success is knowing which phase you’re in. You need to be aware of where you are, and have a clear view of what steps to take to keep progressing.

I’m confident in assuming that you’d like to be at phase 3, and if you’re in phase 3, you’d like more mastery over it, so I’m going to give you a deeper understanding about the phases.

You’ll notice phase 3 goes far beyond “giving people what they want.”

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs

Keep in mind, what I’m about to reveal to you is extremely rare knowledge. Steve Jobs got it. Successful people are those who spend most of their time in phase 3, but often without even realizing what’s going on, and they aren’t able to teach others with clarity.

That’s where I come in. I’m explaining these phases as clearly as I’ve ever seen them explained, and I want to see your awareness and understanding sky-rocket, and from that, you can grow easily towards where you want to be.

1. ‘Newborn’ Idealists

How can I tell if I’m in this phase? Well, you and the people you hang around use phrases and ideas that go something like this:

  • “I don’t do it for the money.”
  • “I want to change the world.”
  • “I create for ME.”

What can I do to master this phase? Hone your craft. This is all about practicing things you love, until you get a feel for what you do well and passionately. I’ve tried tons of artforms: drawing, writing, musical, digital, video, and more. And I’m good at all of them. Really good. But in honing them these skills over the years, I eventually came to realize that since I was little, everything I did was all about clear, creative success (with style). That was my real craft, find yours.

What exercises will help me? Any exercise that helps you Find Your Life Purpose.

Most people trying out ideas, creating for ‘love not money’, and half-finishing projects just don’t really know what their life purpose is. They’re still figuring it out, and so they keep experimenting. That’s fantastic, the world loves bold experimenters, eager to find their place in life.

There’s no rule that says you have to figure it out early, and Colonel Sanders – the founder of KFC – didn’t start his business till almost 60 years old. Still, you might WANT to find this out faster, and move to stage two.

If you want a really quick way to find your life purpose, try this:

  1. Grab a sheet of paper or a word document
  2. Divide it into 2 columns and on the left write SKILLS as a heading
  3. On the right write INTERESTS.
  4. Now write down a list of any skills you have. Really brainstorm.
  5. Next write a list of any interests.
  6. Finally, go over them all and rate them between 1 & 5.

Then ask yourself this question:

“What do I love to do on a daily basis that focuses on my skills and interests and adds significant value to people’s lives?”

How can I progress to the next phase? Learn the concrete language of marketing and business – not just art, dreaming and creativity. Involve yourself in the economy, and understand the connection between your value and message, and delivering to the market.

(And I have heard of some people reversing the order of stages 1 + 2, but I’ve never seen stage 3 happen until afterwards.)

2. ‘Teenage’ Marketers

How can I tell if I’m in this phase? Well, you and the people you hang around use phrases and ideas that go something like this:

  • “You have to focus 100% on the customer”
  • “You better fill a niche
  • “I don’t care as long as the market likes it.”

What can I do to master this phase? You’ve already honed your craft, you’re good at what you do, but it’s dreamy and not solid in the economy. You want it to be solid in the economy. You want it to be something that has traction and that people can get behind. This means you need to do whatever you can, whatever it takes, to learn about selling you strengths (read Napoleon Hill’s “Selling You”), marketing (Mirasee is VERY recommended), and connecting with customers (read Dan Kennedy)

This was a really tricky one for me. I came from an arts background, and I always dreamed of being successful, creating a business empire, making money, fame, etc., but I was resistant. I didn’t want to read business books, I didn’t have a mentor, I didn’t have a business model, and I failed over and over until I was homeless and basically forced to learn how to really engage the market, or starve.

What exercises will help me? Any exercise that helps you find Your Sweet-Spot Audience, and exercises that help you deliver your value to the market (usually someone with a ‘problem’ who’s more of a beginner than you.) If you’d like to get a little more concrete and statistics-based, Google A/B Split-Testing or Talk To Your Customers Through A Survey, it’s magical.

Part of connecting to your market is knowing your market options and then focusing on one’s that suit you. You want to connect with a market that suits you, right? The market that suits you is your sweet spot, it’s fairly easy for you to reach, and very attractive financially and otherwise. If you’d like a quick and easy way to know your market better, try this Sweet Spot exercise.

  1. Brainstorm some reasonable groups you can connect with. If you’ve lived your life, you’ve probably noticed hobbies, groups and communities that suit you more or less.
  2. Rank your groups on how Attractive they are to you, and how Reachable they are to you. (For example: Rich, powerful, influential celebrities might be ‘attractive’ but might not be very ‘reachable’ for you, right now.)
  3. Get a piece of paper and divide it into 4 with a ‘cross’ (horizontal line, and vertical). The vertical axis is Attractiveness, and the horizontal axis is Reachability.
  4. Now draw a circle representing the size of one group, and their attractiveness and reachability and label it.
  5. Repeat step 4 for all your other groups, and you`re done. Now you can see your sweet spot group, it`s the one in the top left corner, with high-reachability and high-attractiveness.

“Find your Sweet Spot market, invest time and energy in knowing them.”

How can I progress to the next phase? Make this market knowledge and mastery habitual. Practice it. Write about it. Teach it to others, use it to make some money or spread the word about what you do. Relate to your customers and the market. Develop your brand. Once you make this habitual, you’ll be able to move to phase 3…

3. ‘Adult’ Creators

How can I tell if I’m in this phase? Well, you and the people you hang around use phrases and ideas that go something like this:

  • “Sure, I could do it for the money, but I know that’s taken care of anyway.”
  • “Yes, this is a successful launch, but I’m focused on helping people through my passion, period.”
  • “Come on man, I’ve been at this awhile, I do what I want because I can Create The Demand *and* the project.”

What can I do to master this phase? By this phase, you’re reasonably skilled at your craft (whatever it is), you have a habitual and intimate connection with the market, and your customers/fans, and you’re able to reach deep into your roots and create something you dearly love, and because of your powerful connection and intimate knowledge of the market, it will soar.

This was one of the easiest for me to understand, because the reason I spent so much time in the first phase trying every art form, and in the second phase, resisting market-knowledge and creating for a niche, was because I knew, deep in my heart, there were many people in the world who created from the third phase, singing or painting what they enjoy and reaping tons of commercial success effortlessly.

That was what I wanted, and I focused on it so much, that I didn’t realize the other 2 phases were vital to move through.

Also in this phase you’ll be learning very powerful techniques like:

  • Creating Demand (Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula)
  • Influence + Persuasion (Kevin Hogan’s The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say “Yes” in 8 Minutes or Less!)
  • Universal Laws (Abraham-Hicks – Law Of Attraction).

The design exercises will allow you to create something powerful and magical through a shared vision and community. They allow brilliant insight, and are a big part of how Apple created the Mac, iPod, etc.

The power intention and focus-exercises are incredible, and they’ll work any time, but when you have a habitual mastery over your creativity, and over the solid language of business and the market, you are in a position to meditate, focus, and practice qualities that you’d like to show up in your value, and in your audience.

Following Napoleon Hill’s Hidden Secret Of Success is one of the most effective things you can do here, but as this is an advanced stage, this exercise is more in-depth than it appears.

  1. Develop a burning desire for…
  2. A single, major, definite purpose and…
  3. Decide to commit and focus, then…
  4. Grow your desire.
  5. Secret ingredient: Repeat daily w/ consistency + discipline.

High-level creators are able to use their desire well, craft and polish absolutely incredible Definite Purpose with Pure Language, and they commit with passion, and repeat.

How can I progress to the next phase? Well, there may be a next phase, but I’m gonna leave you here for now, it should be more than enough to digest 😉

To Wrap Up

You now know the 3 phases of marketing + creation:

  • 1. ‘Newborn’ Idealists (starving artist/entrepreneur types, convinced they’ll live the dream without the market)
  • 2. ‘Teenager’ Marketers (money + market obsessed, hoping to one day live their dream)
  • 3. ‘Adult’ Creators (basically effortlessly creating value for themselves + the market)

You have indicators to tell you where you at, you have exercises to help you progress through the phases or jump-start you. I want you to succeed, and you can be a stage 3 superstar like the Richard Branson’s or the Lady Gaga’s. Get started!

Remember, everyone progresses through these phases, it doesn’t matter where you are, admit it, embrace it, and move forward. The world and the economy needs more stage 3 success-stories, and you’ll absolutely adore the blessings and rewards that come from being there.

39 thoughts on What Phase of Marketing Are You In?


Lost somewhere in the ocean that is the 99%, sadly. But I’m hoping one day I might reach the fabled island of 1%

Jason Fonceca

Thanks for contributing, Florin.

This post is meant to demonstrate that there are clear phases, and that people move through them all the time.

Perhaps you’re not as lost as you think, since you found your way here, and perhaps it’s not as ‘fabled’ as you think 🙂

Kitty Kilian

Just 1 %? That is disappointing

Jason Fonceca

Well, it’s all just guess work, but I can add some perspective.

With a world population of ~7 billion, 1% of that is…

…70 million.

So 70 million phase 3 creators, doing their thing, to me, it’s pretty awesome.

What’s even better, I focus on what phase *I’m in*, not at all about everybody else.

I can see you in phase three if you keep taking steps towards it, Kitty. Rock on!

Kitty Kilian

That is a neat breakup. I wonder, in this theory, how many people reach stage 3 percentagewise?

Jason Fonceca

I don’t think anyone has the solid stats on this but…
“The 1%” sounds like a good guess 😉


Excellent post Jason – even though it made me a little depressed to realise I actually wasn’t as mature as I think I am.

Some fantastic resource and exercises too giving me something very clear cut to do with my Sunday so that I can move up those phases a bit faster.

Jason Fonceca

Thank you so much Priya, that’s really high praise if the article had such a profound effect on you!

And I think you’re probably MORE mature than you think you are, because as Peter Sandeen said above, you can only understand and admit phases you are in (or have been in), so clearly, you’re far along the path 🙂

I’d love to hear (and I think we all would), any progress you make and results you have… so let’s say we’ll see you on Sunday 😉

Either way, thanks so much again Priya, I’m very touched, and everyone here helps me feel the vibe in this community is all about helping each other and being honest.

Rana Shahbaz

Great post Jason and I really like the closing of this post where you said that we should admit it where we are and work hard to move to the next level. This is how I think most of us can do a big favor to ourself because I think it is so important to have the clear idea of where you are and where you want to be.

Jason Fonceca

Thanks so much Rana, I am thrilled at the positive response, it’s been “great post” “epic post” “fantastic post” all the way lol — feels good to be loved 😉

And you’re right, that is a key point: understanding where you are, even if it’s just for a brief moment, and then focusing on where you want to be is very effective!

There’s a great community here, you’re a part of it, thanks for weighing in!

Paul Jun

Basically everyone above stole what I wanted to say, but overall, excellent post. Informative, insightful, broke it down clean and clear, and I always appreciate a good video and document outline.

You hit all the points of an excellent post.

I definitely consider myself the #3 and meet all criteria. Nice work Jason, as always.

Jason Fonceca

Thank you so much Paul!

I view your comments here (and others) as evidence that if I focus on my passion and fun, and pour my heart into it, it easily and powerfully touches others.

I know this post moves people, which is why I’m so big on other people’s eyes seeing it, and I deeply appreciate everyone of you 🙂

Chris Nadeau

Jason, there is a ton of great information here. I really don’t know what else to say, except THANK YOU! 🙂

Going to dig deeper into my SWEET SPOT!

Jason Fonceca

Thank you, sir. I really appreciate it, and I know zeroing in on your sweet spot will help loads 😀

…and as I mentioned to everyone else, if you want to reciprocate, please share this awesome info with your people and anyone you think might connect with it. It is powerful stuff that can really contribute to people’s success, and it’ll make you look good and smart while you’re at it. 🙂

Jason Fonceca

I just wanted to say that I’m really touched by the deep, heartfelt responses to my post *and* the quantity!

I’d love it if you guys felt inspired to share and spread this — I don’t think it should be kept hidden or only remain here — I personally believe it could be a mini-game-changer for anyone creative or creating things 😀

But either way, thanks to Danny (and Peter!) for providing this venue, thanks to all the other contestants for raising the bar and sharing so much value, and thank all you commenters — you rock!

Denise Butchko

You have such a great spirit in helping people and providing them with great action items to help. And I really like the teenage marketing analogy – lots of people get to that point and they’re not very inspiring to connect with because you feel like just a transaction.

Jason Fonceca

Thanks so much Denise, my old site had “spirit” in the name, lol 😀

Danny Iny actually inspired me to include action items, and now it’s a habit! 🙂

You’re right about the teenage marketers… lol 😀 I think most people have had some… less-than-pleasant experiences with one phase or another.

Great to connect 🙂

Jason Anthony

Great stuff, J!

I think writing out and ranking (skills and interests) is a great way for people out there to tap into and provide VALUE. It’s what it’s all about.

Learning as well – reading those books, getting a mentor – failing as many times as it takes! Too many people stop way too soon at the first sign of adversity.

Jason Fonceca

Hahah, you too, J! I love your focus on value, it IS what it’s all about. It’s the foundation of our economy!

I have never had someone NOT be clear-er on what value they can provide after doing that exercise 🙂

As for those who stop at the first sign of adversity, I like to think of them as “exploring other options” (ie: not following their dreams for a while :D)

Heheh, thanks for bringing our attention to the VALUE of this post 😉

Peter Sandeen

Hi Jason,

First of all, the video was a good idea 😉 and the post really good.

I think the phases you described will help many to understand how expert marketers work. But I believe you can’t really understand what the levels above the one you’re on mean, until you reach them. The questions you mentioned will help, but especially the third phase is difficult to grasp for someone in the first phase. They’ll say to themselves, “That’s me! The only difference is success…” When in fact more than just their success changes when they progress.

Jason Fonceca

I thank Lain, Adrienne, and Paul for the video inspiration 🙂

You’re spot on, Peter. Like anything in life, we can’t understand them till we reach them. Words are just words until people have the context to really connect with them.

Very well put. You might not be able to understand other levels, but you can always know where you are, where you aren’t, and where you’d like to be 🙂

I teach many, many deep, brilliant things, but only those who are ready for them, and who can connect their experiences, can really resonate with it 😀

In the meantime, I do my best to translate to the ‘level’ they’re at. (<– note, I don't see it as levels, I see it as people speaking different languages, from different cultures :D)

Nicholle Olores

Thanks for the tip Jason. I think I can put myself in Phase 1 because I am not making something for money. By the way I am new to marketing and this one may help me.

Jason Fonceca

Beautiful, Nicholle (love the spelling of your name, btw).

Knowing where you are is ridiculously powerful, and if you apply the exercises, I expect you’ll have substantial results!

I bet you’re not as new to marketing as you think (most people have been doing it their whole lives, just not that consciously and not that well :D) — either way, you’re definitely at the right place, Firepole is an absolute goldmine of help, and I haven’t even scratched the surface.

Thanks so much for contributing, I’m psyched for your success, ryze up!


Jason! Truly amazing post, I need to do these exercises when I’m at home later. I’ve just graduated from Phase 1 into Phase 2 (kind of floating in between, actually), so I really need something like this to help me focus and grow just a little bit more. I tend to get lost in my own dreams and accomplish less – what I love about what you’ve outlined here is that ultimately, you can build a successful business out of those dreams. The world really does need more of these!

Thanks for sharing this awesome advice! 🙂

Jason Fonceca

Thank you, Tanya! What I really love about the community here, is they’re eager and able to see the value in the post, and they’re focused on understanding their phase and progressing.

I’ve been there, I’ve had experience with all three phases, and that’s part of why my teachings of Sexy Success over at Ryze, is aimed at helping people get where they want to be.

Keep ryzing! 🙂

Cassie | womenswaytowealth

Hi Jason, great post. You’ve got so much information in here. I’m with Tom, I love the attractiveness versus reachability graph. One of my high priority jobs at the moment is to take my master list of all blogs in my niche (it’s a long list!) and qualify it down to my top 10 blogs/forums etc. so I can really contribute and engage with my target market.

I’m going to run the list through your attractiveness v reachability grid too and see what rises to the top. Thanks for the new marketing tool.

Am also trying to work out which phase I’m in, and more importantly (perhaps another post series you could write in the future?) how to get from the phase you’re in to the next phase.

This is a great twist on the classic marketing stuff. Knew you were going to rock Jason!

Jason Fonceca

If you and Tom like the attractiveness v. reachability, I can resurrect an article from my old site where I explain it in depth 😀

Not only that, but I love it too, it helped me very powerfully in my life and business, but it’s trump-inspired so… 🙂

Your idea of narrowing the blog list in your niche is really smart too!

I really feel like this post can get the community thinking more along the lines of where they really want to be in their life, and yes, I agree, Cassie, a ‘moving from phase to phase’ post is a great idea!


I have no idea why this post did not generate tons of buzz and comments, this is by far the best. Unfortunately for me, this post gives more useful information than mine.

I like your video editing skills. Do you use keynote?

Jason Fonceca

OMG, Craig, thank you so much man.

Really. That feels fantastic.

I poured my heart and soul into this, offering deep, fresh perspectives, guiding people towards some of the most fulfilling ways to live, providing actions, visuals, and videos, and my other post for Danny had *huge* response ( see here if you like this one, you might like it too: )

For you to give such a compliment made my day, man.

At the same time, I commented on your blog and fb’d it because it was so awesome, so don’t sell yourself short.

I think it’s safe to say there’s a mutual admiration 😀

My video editing is almost entirely done in Adobe After Effects, if you wanted to create something like it — you could use Adobe After Effects entirely (but for me the rest of the Adobe Suite makes an appearance here and there [ie: SoundBooth, Photoshop, Premiere] – I love Adobe so much.)


Craig, I’m with you – I was blown away by Jason’s post! Read it late in the week, so I’m a little slow on the uptake, ha. Needs some Twittering and Facebooking. 😉

Jason Fonceca

Thank you all so much!

Bless you, Tanya. Bless you 🙂

Christie C

Hi Jason,

I seem to be in the Teenage Marketer phase and for some reason, kinda started out at that. I started my online business as a way to pay off student loans, so the idealist/starving artist mindset was never in me. Now I have to just figure out how to surpass the phase I’m in and truly bring some of the things I enjoy into it. I think that’s definitely success to me! Thanks for the tips, I’ll have to try these.

Jason Fonceca

Hi Christie! Nice to meet you and thanks for contributing 🙂

Just *knowing* where you are in these phases is SO powerful. It allows you to leverage it well, and move to another phase if you prefer it.

It doesn’t matter too much how you got there, and if you ‘skipped’ the starving artist phase, that’s probably a good thing.

Cassie said people might like a post on how to go from Phase to Phase, which I intend to write, watch for it 😀

To get started on shifting to phase 3 — you can leverage the power of writing (every successful person writes very passionately: diaries, goals, wants, desires, ideas, snippets, etc.)

If you were to write down all the things you ENJOY doing, and then rank them with a # from 1 to 5, that simple thing can focus your biology, and create new neural pathways.

Passionate, pure, focused writing for five minutes or so can start to change everything.

Either way, I’d LOVE to know how it goes. I’d love it if you came back to this post or checked out my site and let me know. Keep rockin’!

Jay Venka

I think im in third category of “adult creators” but many time i feel like im not 🙁 at least in 2012 im trying to be a mature marketer concentrate more on helping people and selling in a subtle way, no hard selling, no bouncing with affiliate links 🙂

Jason Fonceca

Hi Jay! Nice to meet you. That’s wonderful, man 🙂

I’d suggest that if you’re sometimes in 3 and sometimes not, it means that you are “in 3 on some subjects”, but when certain other subjects come up, you have a different mindset + perspective.

Danny himself is a ‘soft-sell’ guy, I believe, so you’re in the right place and on the right path man!

Tom Treanor


Nice post! You’ve included a lot of great resources. I like the Sweet Spot market 2×2 with attractiveness and reachability! I’ll take some time with the post and see what opportunities I might be missing. Thanks for posting!

Jason Fonceca

Thank so much Tom, I really appreciate it 🙂

I always aim to give success-focused wisdom, with some sexy style 😉

I’ve seen you around some other sites, and I can tell you’re on a good path, I’d love to hear any results or progress at all!

Jeanne Pi

Like Tom, the Sweet Spot Audience exercise is what did it for me. I’m at the stage in my business development where identifying the sweet spot is critical.

Many businesses are doomed to fail because they target the wrong audience. Had they taken the time to drill down who the buying customers are, they wouldn’t be scratching their heads now wondering what went wrong. Do this analysis and you’ll increase your chances for success.

Epic post, Jason!

Jason Fonceca

Glad to hear it, Jeanne! Rock it 🙂

And it’s not only about finding the ‘right’ buyers, at least, for me, the sweet spot model works best because it is ‘less limiting’ and shows that yes, you can engage ‘less lucrative’ crowds, but you will feel the resistance of less reachability or less attractiveness, but hey, if the opportunity is calling you… invest 😀

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