Most businesses have marketing problems, but these 7 marketing problems can tank your marketing efforts if you’re not careful.
And when it comes to marketing problems, well, we’ve all been there.
You throw dollars and time at marketing your business, reading the latest advice from the gurus, piecing together how the newest social media networks are supposed to work, downing bad coffee and stale pastries at networking mixers…
And, at the end of the month, you’re not really sure exactly where your time and money went or if any of it actually generated a lead or sale for your business.
This is what I like to call “meh marketing.”
Yes, you know you need to do SOMETHING, but nothing seems to be helping you actually grow your business, so you’re left feeling just a little sick to your stomach and exhausted by the idea of putting more time and money in next month.
(By the way, we help our clients with their marketing problems by analyzing their marketing and implementing a strategy. We’d love to see if we can help you get out of the meh marketing cycle.)
Diagnose Your Marketing Problems
The first step to marketing that actually generates leads and sales is to diagnose the marketing problems you’re currently facing.
It’s like anything — if you don’t know the problem, you’re never going to find the solution.
Once you have a clear idea of what the problem is, fixing it becomes much more possible.
Most “meh marketing” stems from one or more of the following marketing problems.
1. The Shotgun Effect
Do you have different strategies brewing in your head all the time?
Maybe you bounce around and try several social networks, throw out some Google ads, run a radio spot, and then, just to see if it works, you put a freakin’ coupon in the local paper.
Do you have a hard time explaining what you’re doing in marketing because the answer really depends on the day of the week and what idea you came up with this morning?
You may be suffering from the shotgun effect.
Sure, 80% of success is just showing up, and man, you are showing up all over the place, so good job, right?
But you’ve got to show up consistently.
Sporadic, off-the-cuff, zero-consistency marketing activities won’t win you anything.
The real problem with the shotgun approach is that it’s hard to track and hard to be sure if something is working well or not.
What happens is that, even though you’re spending a lot of money and time on marketing, you’re only able to spend a little bit on each type of marketing.
Which means that you’re not giving each type of marketing the chance to show if it really works or not.
Google Ads are a perfect example of this.
Sure, there’s a minimum you can spend on Google Ads, but the reality is that Google Ads tend to work best with large budgets, and it can take months for the ads to get streamlined and perfected — even by seasoned professionals.
If all you do is spend the minimum for a month and say, “well that didn’t work!” you might be writing off a really great marketing channel because you didn’t give it the resources it needed to shine.
So stop with the shotgun! It’s time for a laser focus. Pick one marketing method for the next three months. Put time and money just into that. See how well it works before you pull the plug.
2. Paralysis by Analysis
Maybe your problem is that you worry SO much about doing things the “right” way that you just never do anything.
You’ve poured hours into research and planning and scoping out competitors, but you’re afraid to just pull the trigger on your own strategies and campaigns.
Doing no marketing at all is as bad as, well… doing nothing!
The fact of the matter is that every product and service is different, and every business that offers those products and services is different.
Every brand is different.
Every marketing message is different.
And people see so many marketing messages every day (over 5,000!) that the only way to “do it the right way” is to just start — and then optimize after.
You’re just not going to get the perfect marketing message out of the gate. Even professionals struggle with this.
However, once you start, for example, putting some Facebook ads out there, and you start to test different content and see how some performs better than others, you’ll start to actually get an idea of what the “right way” really is.
3. The Cheap-O
There’s a myth so many business owners and marketing directors have been led to believe… that if you work hard enough, you can successfully market your business online without spending any actual dollars.
Let me just tell you: that’s not the case. Nothing in this world is free, and a successful marketing strategy requires a healthy budget.
The problem is that there are tons of cheap or free “options” out there.
Social media is a perfect example of this. Sure, you can do organic social media for free, but are you going to get results?
Some “experts” will say yes, but the people who become huge on social media organically and make money off it are exceedingly rare.
And a lot of those “influencers” who claim they don’t spend money to boost their follower count or get engagement…
Yeah, they do.
Cheap marketing is truly a waste of money. You’re better not spending any money at all than wasting a bunch of time on marketing that doesn’t have a chance of succeeding in the first place.
What’s the point of spending a few dollars a month on a Google ad if you’re not spending enough to reach anyone?
Why waste time and effort on a TV commercial if you’re only willing to spend enough to run it in a tiny market when no one is watching?
If you’re going to do it, best to do it right.
4. Resource Deprived
Without the right team of people in place, your marketing problems will always pile up beyond your ability to handle them. If you can’t dedicate the time and energy yourself, it’s time to hire either a dedicated employee or an agency.
If you’re constantly scrambling to keep up or just not tackling the marketing tasks because they seem too daunting, it’s probably time to stop doing it alone.
Many small businesses run into this problem, but there are plenty of medium-sized businesses that do this too.
It’s not uncommon for owners to hold tight to the marketing reigns. They’re usually worried that they’re just not going to be able to trust someone else with their branding, that someone else will ruin it.
This is a great way to ensure nothing ever gets done.
At the very least, it’s time to put together a brand style guide — this can ensure your marketing is done the way you want it to be done without someone else messing it up.
That way, you can stop coming up with marketing strategies you’re never going to have the time to implement, and you can start letting your team put things into place.
5. Bright & Shiny Syndrome
Similar to the shotgun effect, the bright and shiny syndrome makes it virtually impossible to focus on a strategy and see it through.
There’s always a new network, an awesome idea, a better tool, or a guru pushing a method.
The temptation to take a left turn and leave your current strategy in the dust is SO strong.
But, if you’re constantly starting something new, how will you ever know what really works for your business?
Look, marketing takes time and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. Many strategies need months before you can really see an effect.
If you see a new marketing strategy that you just love, make a note of it and file it away. If your current strategy still isn’t working in a few months, then maybe you can try this one.
6. Zero Accountability
I am absolutely baffled by the amount of time and money that gets poured into marketing with no idea if any of the marketing activities actually generate a return.
It can be complicated to understand the ROI of different marketing activities, but that doesn’t mean it should be a free-for-all.
A good marketing plan should always include a way to track what’s working and what’s not.
Now you might need some help with this. Digital marketing can be difficult to track, and even though things are getting better, it’s still hard to be sure exactly how successful you’re being.
At the very least, sit down and set up whatever analytics are available to you through the marketing you’re currently doing.
You should also ask everyone who makes a purchase how they heard about you and if they were satisfied. Getting feedback is the only way to find out what’s working and what isn’t.
7. Poor Implementation
Even the best strategy will fail when it is poorly implemented.
Inconsistent activities, poor design, terrible content, and off-brand interactions will never generate the leads and sales you expect — these are serious marketing problems no business owner should have to deal with.
Hiring or working with professionals will elevate you from your competition and make your brand stand out. Well-implemented strategies will cost you much less over time as you see results faster.
And investing in the expertise and experience of a professional marketer or agency will yield a much higher return on your marketing investments than trying to do it yourself.
The Cure to Meh Marketing Problems
Whew! That was pretty depressing, huh?
With so many ways to go wrong in your marketing efforts, how does anyone get it right?
Here’s a peek at how we develop and implement marketing strategies that help our clients win more business.
1. Know Yourself and Your Target Market
Before we even begin to think about a strategy, we first get to know the brand and their target audience.
Each business has its own unique voice and key personality traits. Every marketing strategy and tactic should support the brand and how they want to be perceived by their target markets.
Once that’s nailed down, it’s time to focus on the people who make your business what it is — your customers!
Understanding exactly what motivates people to purchase your products and services is the key to success. What fears do they face that you help eliminate? What are their pain points? How do you solve their problems?
What does “success” or “winning” look like to the target market, and how can you set up your products and services to perfectly guide them to that success?
All of that should guide your marketing efforts, including what type of marketing you should even be doing. If your target audience is on Instagram, then you should be too. If they’re watching TV, you need to be there.
And if they’re not, then you shouldn’t be wasting money there at all.
2. Set Your Goals
Once we have a crystal clear picture of the business and who they are targeting, we set goals.
What, specifically, does the business expect to have happen as a result of their marketing strategy?
Setting goals is critical to success. If you don’t set a goal, how will you know if your marketing has been successful?
Goals don’t have to be lofty, but they should be realistic. Bringing in 1,000 new customers a month might not be realistic — but what about 100?
Think about what you really want your marketing efforts to do. Do you want to sell a particular product? Do you want to push a new service? Are you trying to increase brand awareness?
Set meaningful goals that are going to push your business to where you want it to be.
3. Create a Plan Based on Reality
Now it’s time to do some research.
We look into everything we can to learn about what the business has done in the past and how effective (or not effective) it has been.
We study their analytics and campaign reports to find out how their marketing is actually performing.
We also look at competitors and successful businesses marketing to the same audience.
What can we learn about what they do? What should we emulate? What should we refrain from?
We gather information about the target audience through surveys, reports, and accumulated data to understand them as best we can.
Then, finally, after all the groundwork is laid, we create a specific strategy outlining exactly what marketing activities need to take place over the next 6–12 months based on their goals.
That strategy is complete with key tracking metrics, a method for tracking those metrics, and suggested checkpoints to ensure their marketing is on track for success.
Our most successful clients either have a fabulous in-house team, or they hire us to implement the strategy for them.
A stellar strategy with no one to implement it won’t do anything to grow a business.
Ready to Give Your Marketing Problems a Kick in the Teeth?
If you’re sick of meh marketing and you’re ready to up your game, we can help.
The Art of Marketing ebook gives you the plan you need to stand out in your market, start generating the leads you need, smack down your marketing problems, and close sales faster.
Click the button to learn more about the ebook.
And give your marketing problems a kick in the teeth.