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Sometimes business leaders hear about a new marketing tactic or media platform and immediately assign their marketing department the job of executing it. I like changing things up and testing new ideas, but often this can be an answer to a question that hasn’t been asked.
The real question is why isn’t marketing delivering the results we expected and what can we do about it?
Let’s start by accepting that every market is different. This is important because many business owners have a tendency to duplicate what similar companies are doing in other markets. That may be your first mistake, but let’s look at a number of others.
You don’t really understand your target: A common marketing error is trying to be all things to all people when, in fact, you probably have a very targeted client niche. Rather than spread yourself too thin, consider digging deeper into customer segmentation tools that allow you to determine your target demographics and psychographics. Once you have this data, you can align your marketing tactics with your target’s behavioral tendencies.
You’re sending the wrong message: The days of self-serving marketing messages that do nothing but outline your features and benefits are long gone. Today’s consumers are smarter and more resourceful. Stop comingling sales messages with your marketing. Keep marketing messages pure and highlight your one differentiating value proposition (not features). It’s maddening to see businesses bombard consumers with features and benefits in the hope that something will stick. Simply answer why they should do business with you and only give them one indisputable reason.
You aren’t telling stories: Let your work speak for itself by highlighting why your clients retained you. Use case studies and testimonials; be transparent and show numbers (metrics or dollars); and, most importantly, highlight the emotional transformations your company has made, telling the story from the customer’s perspective—not yours.
You don’t have enough third-party validation: Many companies don’t offer validation for their products or services. Don’t assume that your target client is going to believe everything you say. Serious buyers will see what others have to say about your company. Seek a high number of reviews and in-depth comments. Remember that consumers don’t expect you to be perfect; the most powerful reviews are honest and transparent where bad experiences occurred, but your company handled them like a pro and made it right.
You’re stopping tactics too soon: Sometimes you have the right message in the right channel and it just hasn’t reached its tipping point. I’ve spoken to many business owners who say, “We tried that before and it didn’t work.” When probing deeper, I discover the tactic was executed over a very short period of time. Marketing takes time, along with consistency of message and frequency. Press through your pain spot and you’ll see results.