7 Costly Misconceptions About Marketing
April 27, 2015 | Joe DeMaria
7 brainwashing secrets that consultants and agencies are using to prey on small business owners just like you everyday!
7 Costly Misconceptions About Marketing 1. “My business is different” Without fail, whenever I first begin speaking you a business owner interested in marketing I hear the same phrase “That won’t work for me, because business is different!” Yes, it will. Business owners get stuck in the idea that, in order to become successful at what they are doing, they need to copy successful people in the same industry. Of course that is the furthest thing from the truth, because something can be taken from success in ANY industry. Your competitors are so busy copying each other, they miss amazing marketing techniques being used everywhere else! As a marketer, I have taken ideas from carpet cleaning companies, real estate, dentists, and greeting card companies and applied them to financial businesses, jewelry chains, sporting goods stores, and high tech companies. That is because every business has one thing in common – selling to people, and because of that the same triggers that motivate someone to buy a new car are the ones that have them buying guns, stocks and bonds, dental implants, and financial planning services. People are people. If you spend all your time copying competitors, more often than not you will be seen as an off-brand version of them, and in the best case scenario the best you can do is tie them! Who wants to merely be as successful as their competitors? You could have crushed them, but you were scared to lose. As Dan Gable says, “He was ripe for the beating, but you didn’t want to win”, and that is the case for most business owners today who are so focused on staying in the game that they forget to try and win it! Your business is not different and that is a beautiful thing that allows you access to twenty times the marketing information, techniques, and tips that will help you to bury the competition, but only if you decide to use them. 2. “My service is great, that’s enough” There is a common misconception out there that by merely providing a great product or service you are entitled to unlimited wealth, opportunity, and success. Of course, that’s wrong. In reality, there are A+ service providers that go out of business everyday, because they are competing with A+ marketers with C+ services. That may not seem fair to you, but that is the world we live in. Gone are the days when you could put out a sign and expect a steady flow of business. Being the best dentist in your area does not matter even a little bit if no one knows you exist, and that is the cold hard truth about marketing that pisses so many business owners off. You bust your hump everyday making sure you are providing your customers with the best, highest quality, experience their money can buy and you’re still behind on the mortgage and eating into the kid’s college funds to keep the lights on. It sucks. No one will begrudge you for throwing a fit, knocking some stuff off of your desk, or just plain feeling like giving up, but once you collect yourself you’ll realize something amazing… Becoming an A+ service provider with A+ marketing is not that tough even on a budget. In fact, there is nothing quite so satisfying as wiping your predatory unethical competitors off the face of the earth! So, cheer up, and realize that while this is not a perfect, fair, or easy world to own a business in it happens to be one where even a tiny amount of effort in the right direction and catapult you miles ahead of everyone else. 3. “I need to get my name out there” The classic “I would be super successful if I could just get my name out there” is like nails on a chalkboard to me, because the reality is you don’t need to be a household name to sell a service or product. Here’s what you need: In order to attain that level of success you are dreaming of, you need the ability to actually market and sell your product or service to the right audience. That has nothing to do with getting your name out there or building a brand. The right prospects don’t care they just want to buy what you are selling. It’s absolutely true that you can achieve some level of notoriety from brand advertising, but it has that terrible habit of never translating over to your bank account The other choice you have is to quit marketing yourself and start marketing the products and services you offer, and that can be really tough for some business owners because they have to choose: Wealth or Fame? You can spend a lot of money and become famous. Or you can make a lot of money and become wealthy. The nice thing about the latter option is with wealth tends to come fame, just like how brand building is a byproduct of good marketing. For me the choice is obvious as I would rather be wealthy and perhaps anonymous than famous and broke, and whatever you choose will shape your success as a business owner. 4. “I cant afford marketing” There is a widespread myth out there that marketing is an expensive habit, like gambling, and that any responsible business owner would not spend their hard-earned money on such a thing. Of course, baloney… Marketing done well is a math game, and so every singe dollar spent on growing your business needs to be meticulously accounted to make sure that you are really getting your money’s worth. So the question becomes, “For every dollar I spend, how much do I bring back in”. Anything less than one for one is a waste of money, which means it needs to be stopped and tweaked. It’s really easy to get caught in the trap that marketing is expensive, because most business owners have no idea how to actually account for the return on their investments. In fact, very often I encounter businesses that have a Marketing Mix that is all cobbled together and impossible to measure the effectiveness of each piece. It’s a pain. If you are at all interested in growing your business quickly, in attaining more freedom from your business, in working smarter instead of harder, or in spending more time with your spouse or kids, marketing is the easy button for you. Most small businesses neglect to measure their ROI every day, and then blame marketing for not working. If a plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean, we don’t go and question the laws of aerodynamics do we? In the same way, just because maybe your earlier attempts at marketing were fruitless, grueling, worthless, wastes of money, time, and energy does not mean that marketing HAS to be expensive or that it doesn’t work! Any small business owner on any budget can become a killer marketer with a little knowledge and work ethic, and that has nothing to do with silver bullet strategies, get rich quick schemes, or gimmicky methods. 5. “Keep it short, so they will read it” You know, many of us think of the past as the glory days before texting and other technology stole our ability to communicate and focus on anything for more than a sliver of a split-second. Of course, that’s not the case. Texting, Internet addictions, and social media are just new avenues for us to pull away from the real world, but it is no worse than yesteryear when we numbed out the personal traumas of daily life with radio dramas or variety shows. Supposedly, we are to adjust or marketing tactics by making everything as short and simple to digest as possible to ensure we are not losing people who’d rather be checking their Twitter accounts, or serial-emailing cat videos to their co-workers. That’s just plain dumb. You know who is starving for information on what you are doing or selling, to the point where it is keeping them up at two in the morning, tossing and turning, full of anxiety? Your perfect prospect that’s who, and your job is to reach them and soothe their pain. By shortening our copy to the bare minimum, we are losing our ability to filter out the bad prospects. The perfect prospect leaves without the info to make a confident buying decision, while the Lookie Lou’s are setting up appointments, wasting your time and energy, and moving onto whatever is next. 6. “I can’t take that kind of risk with my money” Small business owners are naturally protective of their money the way mama grizzlies are naturally protective of their cubs, but even the most frugal (Tight-assed) business owner can consistently multiply his or her money with little or no risk. I guarantee it. That’s because good marketing isn’t about expensive branding commercials, getting your name out there, or having a world class website to sell your product or service. All of those things are major expenses and make ZERO return on the investment. Smart small business owners like you can build an automatic lead vending machine on any budget. By harnessing the power of direct response marketing, you can consistently plug money into your automatic lead vending machine knowing exactly how many dollars each one will bring back. Direct response marketing tactics have the power to transform a business owner’s life, by relieving all the anxiety about making payroll, paying the bills at home, or sending the kids to a good college all while granting them for free time to do the things they love like golf or travel! 7. “I need a fancy website and social presence” I meet small business owners every week who are skeptical about marketing, because someone sold them a bill of goods with a fancy website or social media strategy that was promised to transform their business. They’re traumatized. The snake oil salesmen and con men of the old days still exist, but today they have the luxury of not needing to run from town to town after they have pilfered your pocketbook. Want to know why these Internet industries are so cluttered with consultants and agencies? Because the fees they collect are hugely inflated, and they are not accountable for results. You heard me correctly; none of these consultants, coaches, or agencies is very concerned with whether or not they are actually making you any cash. That’s because like the old con men, these people are in the transaction business (It’s really more like the hit-and-run business), and not the relationship business. What’s the difference? People in the transaction business are like locusts that devour everything in sight and moving onto the next thing, while the relationship business is all about nurturing clients to buy again and again. Their goal is to hit as many business owners like you as possible, cash their check, and move on. They have zero interest in your success, providing real value, or building a lasting relationship with you. Websites and social media accounts are see by many as “must haves” for their business, because of how much time the average person spends interacting online each day. Of course, it will never HURT you to have these things, as long as you are not spending hours and hours of your time on them, or you know how to apply direct response tactics to make them yield fruit. But most don’t. The biggest lie in marketing today is that by having a nicer website or loads of followers, customers will trust you more and want to give their money to you and not your competitors. That is just salesmanship baloney that puts a bow on a package that is overpriced and under-delivers. Having an expensive new toy is not going to change how people interact with you. A crappy $5 homemade website with great marketing tactics and sales copy will outsell a $50,000 gorgeous corporate site that was designed to make a business look “bigger and cooler”. If your current website doesn’t bring in any money for you, you cannot trust someone who says spending five, ten, twenty, or fifty thousand dollars is going to change that. I know from experience. Looking back, my first website was a total marketing and selling failure, and it is actually really embarrassing to think that I was telling small business owners that expensive corporate sites, slogans, and every other branding piece was all self-serving BS when I had one up for all to see. Here’s the thing: that website brought me exactly zero dollars in sales. Even today, I am tweaking it to create a better and better direct response machine. It’s cost me more time, energy, and money to fix my blown up, self-serving, corporate-looking site than it ever would have had I known to just avoid the trap all together. There are honest, ethical web guys out there (I’ve been friends with one for years now) and I know of exactly one person doing social media the right way, but they are definitely a rarity in their worlds. My advice? Until you understand direct response, and how to apply it to anything and everything you use to represent your business, do not break the bank with this stuff. Instead, focus on what you do have and optimize it to bring in real cash consistently. Take a short cut with someone who has no idea how to turn it all to cash, and you’ll end up pissed off and penniless.