May 202017

Are you trying to figure out why your marketing is not working?

Take a moment to think about your marketing strategy and the marketing materials that you and your team have created. Are the materials professional in their appearance? Do they put you and your business in a positive light and show that you’ve assembled a great team and created a business that anyone in their right mind would want to do business with?

If you could answer “Yes” to the above, congratulations, but unfortunately this is not enough to make your marketing work! If your marketing does not start first by considering the problem your prospect is trying to solve, then, and only then, showing that your company is the one that has the most compelling solution to that problem(s), you’ve likely missed the mark!

All marketing must start with the needs, fears, and propensities of your prospect in mind. If it doesn’t, you may get lucky and end up with marketing that works, but you’ll greatly increase your chances of success if every stage and every element of your marketing is based on solving known issues that the prospect is actively trying to solve!

Let’s look at a couple of simple examples.

Example 1

Pizza Place 1: We have great pizza! It’s based on a recipe that’s been in the family for 100 years! Come give it a try! Our excellent cooks and wait staff are looking forward to serving you.

Pizza Place 2: Our customers have voted our pizza place the best pizza in town four of the last five years! We guarantee it will be out in fifteen minutes or less, piping hot and tasty, or the next time you come in, the pizza is on us. We also deliver, with a thirty minute or less guarantee, in case you’d like to stay home and enjoy our delicious pizza while watching the game! Come on in or give us a call at 858-xxx-xxx.

Which of these two pizza places are you likely to visit first? Some may opt for Pizza Place 1, as they like the idea of the family recipe that’s been around a long time. But many, if not most, will gravitate toward Pizza Place 2, for several reasons. First, they will like the fact that customers (not just the pizza place itself) have validated that the pizza is good. It’s not just the pizza place saying how great its pizza, recipe, cooks and staff are. This addresses one of the main concerns of the prospect – will the food be good – of other people like me consistently say it, then I feel more comfortable with giving it a try? Second, many people who buy and consume pizza are used to getting their food quickly – they will like the idea of a 15-minute guarantee. Again, looking at their needs, if they’re looking at pizza or some other form of fast food, there’s a decent chance they are hungry already, so tasty food delivered quickly is very appealing. Finally, though this may be more subconscious, they will like the idea that Pizza Place 2 also delivers with a guarantee, which shows they likely have it together operationally – another signal of a well-run operation.

Obviously, we’re only talking about which place you’d go to first, or on a one-off basis if you were traveling. Once we’re talking about repeat visits, a lot will be predicated on how good the food is, what the service is like, what the overall experience is like, and in general, whether the respective restaurant delivered on what it promised during the initial visit.

Example 2

Gym 1: It’s only $10 per month and we’re open 24 hours, so you can come in at your own convenience. We have modern equipment, including all the free weights you could ever want.

Gym 2: We are a judgment free zone! We have all the most modern equipment and we’re open and staffed 24 hours a day, for your convenience and safety!

Which place would you try first? Your answer will depend on which category of gym prospect you fall into.

If you are a young, likely male gym-goer that’s on a tight budget and works during the day, you will likely gravitate toward Gym 1. If you are a female, less testosterone-driven young male, and/or senior person who likely values safety and not being judged, but also cares about convenience, you will likely gravitate toward Gym 2.

The above leads to the discussion of another important topic, which is market segmentation (aka niches), a concept we’ll deal with another time.

But regardless of the need for segmentation and understanding which segment(s) you’re targeting, Example 2 serves to further illustrate that prospects will make trying and buying decisions based on their perception of how well your product or service offering meets their needs and solves their perceived problems. It is, therefore, very important that you are constantly in touch with those prospects and their (preferably unmet) needs on an ongoing basis!

Could you name and describe in detail the five biggest issues (fears/concerns/problems/frustrations/etc.) that your prospect is dealing with right now? If not, you are not in a great position to market or sell to your prospect yet! In order to be effective, your marketing and sales approaches must be structured and delivered with content and in a way that makes the prospect believe that what you’re offering is the solution to their problem(s), or at least a big step in the right direction. Without this knowledge, you may create marketing and sales materials (or presentations, etc.) that happen to hit on the key issues for the prospect, but if you do, it will have happened by chance, rather than by proactively seeking this critical information about where your prospect’s “head is at,” then structuring your delivery to help him/her solve the critical issues at hand.

Re-create the examples above with your business and market. How does it look? Where would you go, or whom would you go to first?

Take the first step toward making your marketing more effective. Take time and do the research – preferably first-hand, talking directly with prospects – to understand where they’re coming from and what their pressing, unmet needs are. Once you understand this information in as much detail as possible, you will be able to create marketing and sales materials and approaches that will yield the results you seek. Beware though, these needs may change over time, so make sure you are staying in touch with the needs of your prospects and current customers! Talk with them frequently, directly, and through other market research mechanisms, the adjust your marketing accordingly.

Are your current marketing materials more about you and your company than about your prospects and their issues/concerns/needs? If yes, you need to work on changing that as soon as possible! Get started today!


Paul Morin