3 Reasons Why Your Marketing May Not Be Working

Marketing drives sales, right?


In a world of the empowered customer, the old ‘marketing drives sales’ model is becoming grossly out of date.

Sure, marketing is still very important: it’s just that the order of action has changed, and marketing now fits in differently, and may have a very different role.

Here are 3 key reasons why your current Marketing may not be working:

  1. Push rather than pull: most marketing is based simply on a ‘push’ philosophy, and indeed this is still taught at most business schools. The reality of a customer empowered world is that your customer doesn’t believe a word you say when you’re trying to push them: they can find out all they need to know about you from reviews on the web, discussion forums, and comments on social media. Intelligent marketeers in this new world change from trying to ‘push’ to trying to ‘pull’, through being genuine, responsive and truly remarkable.

A client of ours for example, a pub, have developed their offer so well that they are usually full at weekends, so they’ve developed a ‘VIP club’ of regular customers who always get first choice of weekend bookings, discount taxi rates, and a weather forecast by email every friday!

  1. Polishing a turd: let’s face it, we all want to hype ourselves up a bit, and present a ‘click bait’ image to the world: yet, we need to get a grip on ourselves and stop trying to polish turds. The empowered customer will find the truth over time, and if you’ve quietly under-promised and over delivered, they’ll love you and promote you to their friends. If, on the other hand, you’ve over promised (which is known as ‘normal’ in many marketing circles), and then slightly under delivered, your unpolished turds will be laid bare for all the world to see … and there’ll be nothing you can do about it.

Consider ‘webuyanycar.com’ who realised that they were getting negative publicity because customers realised they could probably get higher price for their car if they sold it privately, so took the bull by the horns and advertised this fact, and also emphasized that their service was much faster and less hassle: you pays your money and takes your choice!

  1. Your agenda, not their agenda: the traditional approach of marketing is to try and expose how ‘great’ we think our products and services are, in the most efficient way possible, to our target market. The reality is that customers don’t give a damn: they’re only interested in what they want, and how your product or service will solve a need in their life. In a world where customers can research answers to their needs at the touch of a button, any place, any time, your opinion on the ‘greatness’ of your products or services is now irrelevant, and instead just gets in the way of your customer finding what they want. Focus instead on making life easy for your customer and showing them that you genuinely care about their needs.

This was done brilliantly by Honda a few years ago in their advert stating, ‘Isn’t it great when something just works?’

Good examples of ‘new marketing’ would also be:

  • Publishing articles or booklets that don’t sell anything, they just add value to the reader step by step. If the reader gets value from them, they may well then contact you when they need some help in that area.
  • Having a trial period without an automatic tie-in (i.e. no sign up for credit card or direct debit).
  • Videos and information that explain the basics of your offer and what sort of customers it works best for … and what sort it doesn’t.
  • Systematically treating loyal and returning customers more favourably than new ones: and making this clear up front what you’re doing and why.

In a nutshell:

In the old world of one way mass communication, and the relatively dis-empowered customer: your marketing was the mainstay of your route to market: it was the best solution for you and your customer.

In the new world of two way mass communication, and relatively empowered customers, your marketing instead needs to add value to your brand and customer relationship: then, and only then, will they spread the word to those around them. Then you’ll be a winner.

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