Why marketing doesn't work

28 Sep 2017

5 questions to help make your marketing work

Too often I meet companies and entrepreneurs that have wasted £1,000s on promotions that haven’t worked. Depending on who they have met along the way, it might be social media, networking, door drops or a website that they have been convinced will solve all their problems and get them more sales. And it hasn’t.

Then either they carry on because they have been convinced it will work or they stop and decide marketing is a waste of time. The reality is that all these promotional methods can work but before you do any promotion you need to think about much more fundamental marketing issues.

These can be encapsulated in five key questions:

  1. What is your vision for your business? What do you want it to be known for? What values do you want it to reflect? Are you professional or fun, do you want to rule the world or just Barnsley – how can you possibly develop any promotional campaign without being clear about the answers to these questions?
  2. What dreams are you satisfying or problems are you solving for your customers? This question might lead to a more focused set of offerings or a recognition that using collaboration to add to your products and services is important to really address what your customers need.
  3. Who are you targetting? Thinking broadly about your target markets can lead to major new opportunities. When Nintendo looked beyond the gaming market to families and people wanting to get fit they opened up huge potential for their Wii, which had been struggling to compete in the mainstream gaming market.
  4. How much is this worth to them? What prices are you charging? Pricing strategy and providing an entry level product, premium product and regular income are all exciting and critical areas to consider. When I was running marketing at Dyno-Rod I increased the prices by 66% overnight and increased the number of jobs won as well as profits and turnover. It worked because the low price was putting people off - who would believe the market leader would cost less than a local plumber – there must be a catch!
  5. How can you make it easy for people to buy from you? If you think about what makes Amazon successful, it is not particularly innovation in their products. Originally they were selling books, which have been around for centuries, by post, which has also a 200-year history, but what they did was make it really easy to buy from them. If you sell online you will be compared with Amazon even if you don’t want to be.

After you have considered all these questions then finally we get to promotion:

How can you let the people you are targeting know about what you are offering? Where do they go, what do they see?
If you don’t do it this way round you are likely to be selling the wrong product at the wrong price to the wrong people in the wrong way.

Good marketing is about thinking before acting and asking the right questions. Then generally it doesn’t cost lots of money and may cost nothing if you get the right collaboration.