Don’t Blame Marketing: 3 Things It Can’t Fix

There’s a pattern of thought that I observed during my time as a corporate employee. When a company is failing to meet its business goals, the assessments often go something like these:

“We’re not getting new customers because our marketing isn’t working.”

“Product sales are down. It’s Marketing’s fault.”

As a solopreneur, don’t get caught up in that mind set! Although ineffective marketing strategies and tactics might be part of the problem, other underlying business issues are probably the root cause.

No matter how well you generate brand awareness or target messages to your audience, you’ll fail in converting prospects to clients if you don’t have some fundamental business strengths behind your marketing efforts.

3 Things that Marketing alone can’t fix if they’re broken:

1. Your product or service lacks quality or is outdated – You’ve got to walk the walk if you’re talking the talk in your marketing. Is your product or service delivering what you promised in your sales sheets, social media and on your website? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes…have you ever stuck around after you’ve ordered something that didn’t live up to your expectations? If what you’re offering is sub-standard, make it better. Spend the money and time needed to bring your products and services up to speed so they provide value and are competitive in the market.

2. You don’t follow up on leads promptly – When opportunities happen, you’ve got to move on them – and quickly. I’ve already lost a potential new client because I wasn’t available to call him back within 6 hours of when he left a phone message for me! You’ll never know what a prospect’s tolerance for waiting will be until you’ve exceeded it. Don’t take any chances. Be vigilant in responding to inquiries Stat!

3. Your pricing is way out of line – You might be successful in leading prospects to your door, but it can do more harm than good when they won’t step from the outside in because you’re too expensive. I’m not advocating that you aim to be the cheapest game in town, but do some research. Find out what the going rate is for comparable products/services and what level of pricing your target prospects will bear. If you want to charge a premium rate, you darn well better demonstrate that your products and services are in some way superior and can offer value above and beyond what your competition is providing.

So, resist the urge to automatically blame your marketing approaches for lack of business. Certainly evaluate your efforts and adjust your course if you’re not bringing in new prospects, but also realize that marketing can only do so much. Getting prospects to notice you is just half the battle. Your success in signing on new clients and earning their business depends on your ability to respond to your customers’ needs with products and services that provide value.

What examples do you have of businesses or organizations that have blamed marketing when they should have been looking at improving other areas of their businesses?

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