3 Top Reasons Marketing is Tough
Have you ever had a client or customer rave about how much fun being in the marketing business is? I hear it a lot. People say things like “How exciting. You must enjoy making businesses successful with such fun stuff.” Maybe you’ve thought or said something similar lately. Here’s the lowdown.
Marketing is tough. It’s a lot more than Facebook Live, Twitter feeds, and SEO. Marketing is a plan, a series of ideas committed to paper in an organized and calculated fashion, a strategy. Marketing is tough because there are more ways than anyone can count to run campaigns for lead generation. There’s a lot of creativity AND science involved to get it right.
Once tied to a series of tactics, good marketing campaigns are then released upon the marketplace. The proper objective is to attract your ideal audience toward your direction as opposed to your so-called competitors. Marketing is tough when you consider the following:
- Most small businesses have no idea from where their customers or clients originate. What made them decide to choose your business? The only way to know what caused them to buy is to not market at all. And even that isn’t entirely They might have noticed something in the store window or the door in the case of brick and mortar businesses. Or, they might have been referred to the company by a customer.
Let’s face it, small businesses are almost always concerned with cash flow. When the owner is uncertain of how to market, they look at their competitors and copy what they’re doing. Or, worse yet, they copy what the industry giants are doing. Using either strategy is a sure way to lose. The little competitor has probably done the same thing, so everyone is attempting lead generation the same way, creating a “Me-Too” marketplace. You need to stand out, to be above the fray, to be unique.
To copy the mega-players in your space is just as bad if not worse. They are usually working with investors’ money, like playing a game of monopoly. It’s not coming out of their own pockets, while every cent you spend is yours. The big guys and gals have deep pockets to play the throw spaghetti at the wall game, but you’re messing with your child’s college fund, your profits, retirement fund, employee’s bonuses, etc.
- Marketing is action, testing, action, testing, decision-making on a variety of media. It’s not magical, out of the box cure-all processes. For email marketing, it’s testing subject lines, the message, batch mailings, finding the one that produces the greatest open and conversion rates. When it comes to content, there’s knowing whether it should be video, an article, podcast, eBook, white paper or something else. Maybe it’s all of the above.
Marketing is not like the Kentucky Derby. Placing money in a marketing campaign is not an instant win. You can’t go from the starting gate, around the track and into the winner’s circle in a matter of moments. The long haul has to be the mindset, not a try it for a month and say it doesn’t work. Each tactic should be tested, adjusted and retested until there is a winning version. Then it is unleashed to generate leads or revenues.
- Marketing is like a puzzle that, with all the pieces connected in perfect alignment produces the type of picture you expect to see. Marketing is about all the pieces of earned traffic (online presence, branding, webinars, public relations, events, content, social media, digital display, referrals), and for many it’s also paid traffic (pay per click, call tracking, pay per impression, co-marketing, display ads).
Liken marketing to an orchestra, and all of its sections and subsections; percussion, woodwinds, brass, strings working together for a common cause. Within the strings section is violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Woodwinds consist of clarinet, oboe, flute, piccolo, basset horn, saxophone. The other sections of an orchestra also have subsets. Separately they have the ability to play melodic sounds, but together in planned unison they make incredible music. When was the last time you conducted a philharmonic orchestra?
- Sales and marketing are two different functions. Sales are the process of enrolling prospects into clients/customers. It is the transaction for which we all strive. It’s why we’re in business. Marketing is the process of attracting the right type of customer. There’s an explicit handoff from marketing to sales, but small businesses try to do both of them without being very good at either of them. And, when marketing is outsourced, the responsibilities are limited to generating qualified prospects. The small business owner and the sales department are responsible for closing the customer. Sometimes small businesses do a lousy job closing, and the blame falls on “poor marketing,” which is not a fair conclusion.
Obviously, there are more goals for marketing than lead generation, but the above example should be clear enough to understand that responsibilities are limited on both sides of the coin. Marketing, when planned and executed correctly creates brand awareness, builds reputation, enhances brand image, improves marketplace visibility, and most importantly, attraction.