7 Marketing Problems Every Business Runs Into (and 3 Solutions to Avoid Them)

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Most businesses have marketing problems, but these 7 marketing problems can tank your marketing efforts if you’re not careful.Marketing Problems — Outlines of gears, crossed swords, people

(By the way, this article was originally posted on LinkedIn — You can read the original article about the problem with “meh marketing” here.)

We’ve all been there.

You throw dollars and time at marketing your business, reading the latest advice from the gurus, piecing together how the newest social media networks are supposed to work, downing bad coffee and stale pastries at networking mixers…

And, at the end of the month, you’re not really sure exactly where your time and money went and if any of it actually generated a lead or sale for your business.

This is what I like to call “meh marketing.”

Yes, you know you need to do SOMETHING, but nothing seems to be helping you actually grow your business, so you’re left feeling just a little sick to your stomach and exhausted by the idea of putting more time and money in next month.

(We help our clients with their marketing problems by analyzing their marketing and suggesting a strategy — and we have a DIY version of our entire process. It’s called the Analyze Your Marketing ebook, and you can learn more by clicking the button.)

Get the Analyze Your Marketing Strategy PDF

Diagnose Your Marketing Problems

The first step to marketing that actually generates leads and sales is to diagnose the marketing problems you’re currently facing.Marketing Problems — Diamond, Target and Arrow, Magnifying Glass

Most “meh marketing” stems from one or more of the following marketing problems.

1. The Shotgun Effect

Do you have different strategies brewing in your head all the time?

Maybe you bounce around and try several social networks, throw out some Google ads, run a radio spot, and then, just to see if it works, you run a Groupon or some other offer.

Do you have a hard time explaining what you’re doing in marketing, because the answer really depends on the day of the week and what idea you came up with this morning?

You may be suffering from the shotgun effect.

Sure, 80% of success is just showing up, and man, you are showing up all over the place, so good job, right?

But you’ve got to show up consistently.

Sporadic, off-the-cuff, zero-consistency marketing activities won’t win you shit.

Get the Marketing Strategy PDF

2. Paralysis by Analysis

Or, maybe your problem is that you worry SO much about doing things the “right” way that you just never do anything.

You’ve poured hours into research and planning and scoping out competitors, but you’re afraid to just pull the trigger on your own strategies and campaigns.

3. The Cheap-O

Social media has killed the marketing budget.

There’s a myth so many business owners and marketing directors have been led to believe… that if you work hard enough, you can successfully market your business online without spending any actual dollars.

Let me tell you, that’s just not the case. Nothing in this world is free, and a successful marketing strategy requires a healthy budget.

4. Resource Deprived

“No man is an island,” right?

No woman either for that matter.

Without the right team of people in place, your marketing problems will always pile up beyond your ability to handle them. If you can’t dedicate the time and energy yourself, it’s time to hire either a dedicated employee (or team) or an agency.

If you’re constantly scrambling to keep up or just not tackling the marketing tasks because they seem too daunting, it’s probably time to stop doing it alone.

Get the Marketing Strategy PDF

5. Bright & Shiny Syndrome

Similar to the shotgun effect, the bright and shiny syndrome makes it virtually impossible to focus on a strategy and see it through.

There’s always a new network, an awesome idea, a better tool, or a guru pushing a method.

The temptation to take a left turn and leave your current strategy in the dust is SO strong.

But, if you’re constantly starting something new, how will you ever know what really works for your business?

6. Zero Accountability

I am absolutely baffled by the amount of time and money that gets poured into marketing with no idea if any of the marketing activities actually generate a return.

It can be complicated to understand the ROI of different marketing activities, but that doesn’t mean it should be a free-for-all.

A good marketing plan should always include a way to track what’s working and what’s not.

7. Poor Implementation

Even the best strategy will fail when it is poorly implemented.

Inconsistent activities, poor design, terrible content, and off-brand interactions will never generate the leads and sales you expect — these are serious marketing problems no business owner should have to deal with.

Hiring or working with professionals will elevate you from your competition and make your brand stand out. Well implemented strategies will cost you much less over time as you see results faster.

And investing in the expertise and experience of a professional marketer or agency will yield a much higher return on your marketing investments.

Get the Marketing Strategy PDF

The Cure to Meh Marketing Problems

Whew! That was pretty depressing, huh?Marketing Problems — Briefcase, Dollar Sign, Loudspeaker

With so many ways to go wrong in your marketing efforts, how does anyone get it right?

Here’s a peek at how we develop and implement marketing strategies that help our clients win more business.

1. Know Yourself and Your Target Market

Before we even begin to think about a strategy, we first get to know the brand and their target audience.

Each business has their own unique voice and key personality traits. Every marketing strategy and tactic should support the brand and how they want to be perceived by the general public.

The target market is one of the most important aspects of creating any marketing strategy.

It is absolutely key to understand exactly what motivates people to purchase your products and services; what fears do they face that you help eliminate, what pain are they in and how do you help them feel better?

What does “success” or “winning” look like to the target market, and how can you set up your products and services to perfectly guide them to that success?

Get the Marketing Strategy PDF

2. Set Your Goals

Once we have a crystal clear picture of the business and who they are targeting, we set goals.

What, specifically, does the business expect to have happen as a result of their marketing strategy?

3. Create a Plan Based on Reality

Then, it’s time to do some research.

We look into everything we can to learn about what the business has done in the past and how effective (or not effective) it has been.

We study their analytics and campaign reports to find out how their marketing is actually performing.

We also look at competitors and successful businesses marketing to the same audience.

What can we learn about what they do? What should we emulate? What should we refrain from?

We gather information about the target audience through surveys, reports, and accumulated data to understand them as best we can.

Then, finally, after all the groundwork is laid, we create a specific strategy outlining exactly what marketing activities need to take place over the next 6–12 months based on their goals.

That strategy is complete with key tracking metrics, a method for tracking those metrics, and suggested checkpoints to ensure their marketing is on track for success.

Our most successful clients either have a fabulous in-house team, or they hire us to implement the strategy for them.

A stellar strategy with no one to implement it won’t do anything to grow a business.

Ready to Give Your Marketing Problems a Kick in the Teeth?

If you’re sick of meh marketing and you’re ready to up your game, we can help.

Our Analyze Your Marketing ebook gives you the plan you need to stand out in your market, start generating the leads you need, smack down your marketing problems, and close sales faster.

Click the button to learn more about the ebook.

And give your marketing problems a kick in the teeth.

Get the Marketing Strategy PDF

Heather Steele

After almost a decade of marketing in a corporate setting, she tired of being a corporate cog and decided to go it alone, bootstrapping a business based on one simple principle:   Partnership.   Follow her on Twitter @heathersteele03, LinkedIn, or our blog to learn how to turn your business into a beast. And read her blog posts about marketing and small business here.

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