If you’re not getting the amount of business you want, you may be feeling that it’s time to shake things up with new and improved marketing. But what’s the best way to proceed? Do you need evolution or a revolution?
Do you ever watch those TV shows where they transform a woman’s life just by giving her new clothes, a make-up lesson and a decent haircut? Or take a house from oh-my-goodness-how-could-anyone-live-like-that to organized, color-harmonized perfection?
If you are distressed by slumping sales – and you suspect the root cause is your lack of marketing, your business might benefit from taking this same revolutionary “makeover” approach. If you sell something that’s invisible – like software or services – the only thing people can judge you on is your marketing. When they see that your company’s website is completely outdated, they might infer that your products and services are outdated as well. It’s not fair, but it’s true – we all judge a book by its cover.
Taking a revolutionary approach is exciting, but it’s also expensive – especially when there’s no TV crew at your door with a $5000 check in hand. If your business is mostly working, perhaps you just need to evolve your marketing approach over time. Evolution keeps you moving forward, making slow but steady progress.
The only problem with evolution is that you might never reach your destination. In a personal example, let’s say you have clogged arteries, and are in imminent risk of having a heart attack. It’s too late to just stop eating potato chips and sitting on the couch. It’s too late for medication. You need medical intervention, a quadruple bypass even.
If your marketing challenges are so significant as to be business-threatening, you don’t have a choice – it’s “do or die!” Evolution will not be enough. You may not want to spend money on marketing (just like no one really wants to have surgery), but you have to do something. The truth is you might go bankrupt “saving money” by not spending on marketing, while your competitors clean house because they are known, liked and trusted in their chosen niche.
Both approaches have their place. Take this quiz to see which marketing move is right for you!
Take the quiz online here, or circle the letter that best fits your marketing style, and score yourself at the end.
1. Our ideal target market:
a) We know exactly which niches we are targeting, and the problems that are causing them the most pain. We’re deeply embedded into our target industries/geographies.
b) We have identified our target market(s), but we’re just getting started going after them.
c) We take most business that comes our way.
d) We don’t need no stinking customers. Customers are a pain.
2. Our core differentiation (unique selling proposition):
a) Is clearly articulated throughout our materials. People readily understand why we’re the best choice for them.
b) We know we’re different/better, but sometimes get out-sold.
c) We’re honest, dependable and provide value to our customers. Isn’t that enough?
d) Honestly, we’re just like everyone else. What are we supposed to say?
3. Our marketing plan:
a) Clearly maps out our strategy and communicates to our team what we need to do every day, every week and every year to be successful.
b) Is flexible, but has clear target markets and a differentiating strategy defined.
c) We do marketing from time-to-time.
d) We don’t need marketing.
4. Our logo and company name:
a) Are distinctive, memorable and accurately represent what we do.
b) Could use some improvement, but represent us pretty well.
c) Admittedly are caught in a time-warp.
d) We don’t have a logo. Our company name is just our owner’s name. People have no idea whether we’re a consulting company or an electrician.
5. Our website:
a) Is crisp, modern and appealing, with lead capture boxes and/or RSS feeds for people to join our nuture programs.
b) Could use some improvement, but represents us pretty well.
c) Our website needs major work – we know it, but just haven’t found the time.
d) We don’t have a website.
6. Our email newsletter lists:
a) Are sent out regularly, and generate leads for our business.
b) Are sent out once in a while, but don’t get much response.
c) Aren’t sent out using any formal email delivery program. We just use Outlook.
d) We’ve been meaning to start a newsletter list.
7. Our marketing materials:
a) When our marketing materials (website, sales sheets, business cards, proposals, etc.) are next to each other, you can tell they’re all from the same company. They are professional, educational and inviting.
b) Could use some improvement, but they represent us pretty well.
c) Were created at different times by different people – and it shows!
d) We don’t have any marketing materials.
8. Our offers are:
a) A variety of whitepapers, videos, webinars and reports that will appeal to people in various stages of the sales cycle.
b) We have a few offers to get people into our sales cycle.
c) We offer a FREE consultation (which is really just a sales call in disguise.)
d) We don’t make offers. If people want to buy from us, they’ll buy from us.
Score 0 points for every A choice.
Score 1 point for every B choice.
Score 2 points for every C choice.
Score 3 points for every D choice.
Score 0-4 Your marketing is in tip-top shape. Keep up the good work! Marketing is always changing, but I’m sure you’ll adapt right along with it.
Score 5-11 Evolution is the right choice for you. You’re on the right track. Keep making steady improvements that won’t break the bank, and soon you’ll be thriving.
Score 12-19 It’s time for you to take a stand, and declare a revolution! Your business could benefit from a serious marketing makeover. Get a pro in there to clean house. You’re probably costing yourself business with lame copycat marketing that doesn’t differentiate you at all.
Score 20 + Really? I hope you’re kidding, because I don’t think I have to tell you, “It just ain’t working!” It’s time to rally the troops or wave the white flag.
Through marketing training, consulting and copywriting, I help companies find their focus and harness their authentic power to create an extraordinary impact.