Ilise Benun, Marketing Mentor – InnovaBuzz 162

Ilise Benun

Ilise Benun, Marketing Mentor

In this episode, I’m really excited to have on the InnovaBuzz podcast as my guest, Ilise Benun, an author, business coach, national speaker, and founder of She is also an adjunct faculty at Pratt Institute and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Ilise is also the author of 7 books, host of 2 podcasts – the Marketing Mentor Podcast and the HOW Design Live Podcast, and a prolific blogger.

In our discussion, Ilise talked to me about

  • Her Smart Marketing Foundation
  • Cloning your favourite client
  • Her 3 key tools for marketing – strategic networking, targeted outreach and High Quality, Pain Point, Bat Signal Content Marketing

Terri Trespicio on episode 152 suggested we interview Ilise.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Listen to the Podcast

Marketing works. That is the beautiful thing about it. There is nothing magic about it. It just works if you do it. @IliseBenun on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor

Key points and take-aways from this episode include:

  • Find your niche and find your people. You can choose to look for your ideal client first and then find the niche that it belongs to or the other way around.
  • Clone your favourite client. Be clear about who it is you are looking for.
  • A niche is like an umbrella and your ideal clients are the people who fit in that umbrella. You need to figure out how you can tie together the different types of people, business or industries in that umbrella.
  • It’s OK if you have to exclude or alienate certain people. If you have chosen a viable niche, there will be plenty of prospects around you.
  • Keep the marketing going and keep the conversation expanding with your existing clients so that they are aware of how much you can bring to the table.
  • Keep evolving with your clients. Keep learning about how their needs are changing and how you can cultivate your relationship with them.
  • Always put your business first and not the client work first.
  • Your marketing is your future and your current client work is your present. Client work is not really more important than marketing. Marketing is long term. It is looking into the future. It is aspirational and enticing.
  • Word of mouth is a euphemism for taking whatever comes along.
  • Marketing works. That is the beautiful thing about it. There is nothing magic about it. It just works if you do it.
  • A marketing smart website should be about your clients and their needs. It is not all about you. It is essentially about them and how you help them.
  • You have to have a niche. You have to know who you are focused on.
  • 3 key tools for marketing:
    • Strategic Networking
    • Targeted Outreach
    • High Quality, Pain Point, Bat Signal Content Marketing Networking
  • Generosity is a marketing tool.
  • The more of a business detective you are, the better you will understand the way your best prospects think and the problems they have, and the more you are likely to deliver solutions to them that they can use in a language that makes sense to them.
  • Timing is crucial when it comes to marketing.
  • Writing should not be an obstacle to producing content.
  • Podcasting is an incredible networking tool.
3 key tools for marketing: Strategic Networking, Targeted Outreach, and High Quality, Pain Point, Bat Signal Content Marketing @IliseBenun on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Ilise’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.

  • #1 thing to be more innovative –  Flexibility is the key. Be constantly looking out for how you need to change, adjust, shift, and learn for whatever is coming next. 
  • Best thing for new ideas – Listening to my clients. Just constantly knowing what I don’t know. Constantly listening to the market for how I need to change, what I need to offer, and always reinventing myself.
  • Favourite tool for innovation –  Google Docs, Zencastr, and Function Fox.
  • Keep project / client on track – Communication. Be patiently persistent.
  • Differentiate – What is it about you that is different? It may be different for each person. Listening to what it is that this person is appreciating about you and how can you do more of that, and finding a way to make that true more quickly.

To Be a Leader

Be open. Constantly learn and listen to the market. Change what you do and reinvent constantly.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Ilise through her website and on Twitter.

Suggested Guest

Ilise suggested I interview Gigi Rosenberg, a public speaking and presentation coach. So Gigi, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Ilise Benun.


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Cool things about Ilise

  • She studied Spanish and French in college.
  • She started her business in 1988 and has been self-employed for all but 3 years of her working life.
  • When she isn’t working, you can find her walking her dog, Fanny in Forsyth Park. 
A niche is like an umbrella and your ideal clients are the people who fit in that umbrella. @Ilise Benun on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Listen to the Podcast

Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

1 Comment

  1. Amni on April 10, 2023 at 20:50

    Great podcast episode with ! Her insights on freelancing, pricing, and client relationships are valuable for both seasoned professionals and beginners. Plus, the episode emphasizes the importance of leveraging technology to boost productivity. For freelancers looking to make the most out of their time, email finder tools can be an asset in finding and connecting with potential clients. Thanks for sharing this informative discussion!

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