Last week I received a call from Geraldine, an owner of a small business in Montreal. She has an established business and has created a unique new product which has no real competition, she also has what appears to be a market with real unfulfilled needs.
She is finding it difficult to get sales despite the fact that everyone she speaks to tells her she’s onto something outstanding and valuable. After a brief chat with her, I agree it sounds like she has something special. So why isn’t it selling?
She tells me about her marketing process and I ask her to send me the collateral material that she is currently using.
When it arrives I’m confused.
The message is unclear and so is the target market. I have no idea what makes this product distinct, nor can I identify its primary benefit to potential buyers.
This is particularly interesting because she has been in her industry for 15 years, understands the business well and has a small but successful business. Marketing this new product has got her stumped. And more importantly her prospects don’t get it either.
Like all of us, Geraldine doesn’t have as much business as she’d like. Most of her customers come from networking and referrals. This is sufficient to give her a good living, but not sufficient if she wants to build a sustainable business that can be sold when the time is right.
She knows she has to market this new product, but she’s finding it a very uncomfortable process. So much so that she’s willfully neglecting to market it. Nor is she setting up the fundamentals to ensure a successful marketing campaign.
This may sound unusual, but it’s not, I see similar situations every day. Business people who know they need to market but for some reason won’t do what needs to be done. In some cases they even know what to do, but simply don’t do it. What’s the problem?
There seem to be 3 primary answers:
- Marketing is a creative discipline, with many open ended answers. It’s hard to measure and in most cases is only superficially understood, so most people don’t dig down deep enough to find the answers they require.
- To be effective, we marketers are forced to answer questions that challenge our fundamental assumptions about our business and who we are and this makes us uncomfortable.
- We too readily accept mediocre results as normal and find it hard to believe with a little skill and knowledge we could dramatically improve our results and our bottom line. We tend to be satisfied with what we believe is normal.
Geraldine was a victim of the first two and only her distinct lack of results had forced her in desperation to look for help.
She had tried to approach marketing piecemeal without forcing herself to first answer some fundamental questions. She discovered what most good marketers already know; it’s very difficult to get good results with marketing tactics until you get the big picture right and are clear about exactly who your target market is; why they buy from you, what they expect to buy from you and how they expect you to deliver it to them/
Few business owners have clear and concise answers to those questions, so it becomes more difficult to find other people who need your solutions and to find ways to engage and interact with them. As result when they do try marketing and it falls flat, they blame the tactic and say it doesn’t work in their business. When instead the reasons for their lack of success lie with incomplete understanding of the market and the tactic they are using.
Many entrepreneurs are astonished to discover that by simply changing your headline on a direct response letter to something that resonates more readily with your audience, you can increase response rates by several 100 percent. It’s the same with most of the marketing tools available; use them tactically without understanding the big picture and you get a poor result. Use them with a strong understanding of the big picture and watch your results soar. Understanding them at a strategic level is uncomfortable and can be hard work and that’s what prevents most business owners from becoming successful marketers.
To be an effective marketer, there are questions to which you must find the answers:
- Who is your target market?
- What are they lacking that you can provide?
- Why do they buy from you?
- What do they expect to buy from you?
- How do they expect you to deliver it to them?
Develop clear answers to these questions and you’ll reap the benefits in increased sales and marketing that generates a flood of new prospects.
If you need help with working through these questions and improving your marketing, the Rapid Growth Mentoring Program may be what you need. For more information please email [email protected] or call 416-444-PROS.