Did you know that marketing is cited as a key point of failure by over 70% of failed businesses? When I talk with entrepreneurs, most of them bemoan the lack of sales their marketing efforts produce. Marketing is a huge concern for small business.
Unfortunately, most of what is written, and worse, sold, about marketing addresses symptoms and leaves the root causes intact. You may sell more by implementing a few ideas or programs, but at the end of the day, you must address the causes effectively to feed your business new customers.
Marketing must produce a number of results in order to produce sales. It has to:
- build your brand
- engender trust in you and your company
- position you as an expert in your field
- provide multiple entry points into your company
- communicate in various formats to account for how people receive messages differently
- have a manner to track results and costs
- build relationships with your prospects over time
- create a coherent flow from stranger to prospect to lead to customer and maintain the relationship after a purchase
- communicate the problem that your prospects face
- reference implicitly or explicitly the circumstances your prospects are embedded within
- clearly convince prospects that your solution is the best one for their problems
- move prospects emotionally enough that they are moved to purchase, etc.
Marketing is Complex
But, how often do you see programs that purport to help you double your sales by following a process on a social media platform, write a book to become an expert, use video to triple your sales and so on? I’m not criticizing such programs and I’ve both created and consumed many of them. But, I find that most of them fail to address the root cause effectively and thus businesses find it hard to reap the benefits.
Fortunately, while marketing can be complex, the foundations of a successful program are much easier. After all, you should be an expert on what you are selling. You are, right? [Tweet “Put the proper foundation in place and much of the challenge of marketing fades away.”]
I view business in 5 stages: strategy, business models, goals, plan/prepare, and marketing. Note that marketing is the last stage. It is the machine that harvests the fields to feed your hungry business. But, before it can begin its work, there is some ground work to be conducted.
In particular, I am going to focus on how a business model impacts marketing and why I think the output of creating a business model will set the stage for a successful marketing act. If you want to learn more about business models, click this link for an article with a video.
I’m going to focus on three outcomes from creating your business model that will help your marketing become powerful and productive.
Three Business Model Elements That Feed Marketing
In defining your business model, you will become intimate with the features and benefits of your service or product, your ideal client and the circumstances that prompt your ideal clients to purchase from you.
Problem – Solution Fit. You will brainstorm, define and validate the problem that your service solves and become crystal clear about the value you provide, how it is provided and how that value is received by your customers.
Product / Market Fit. Once you are clear about the solution that your service provides, you will ensure that there is a market place. It’s tragic to see brilliant products and services that nobody wants to buy.
Circumstances. Your research, defining and testing of 1 and 2 will lead you to a deeper understanding of the circumstances your prospects find themselves in for which your service is the ideal solution.
Consider this graph, no groaning please, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!
The Customer Tipping Point
I call this the “customer tipping point” as it illustrates the move from prospect to customer as the decision to purchase becomes more and more compelling.
You may recognize the two axes as the Problem – Solution Fit and Circumstances. On the vertical axis, the Problem – Solution Fit is captured by how well your service solves the pain point or helps reach a compelling desire. On the bottom, the solution doesn’t address a significant problem, on the top it solves a problem considered large. In other words, you may have a great solution, but if your target market doesn’t consider the problem significant, you aren’t going to have much success in selling to them. That could mean you are selling to the wrong market or that your service needs to go back to the drawing board.
The Solution for Circumstance axis depicts the match between the circumstances your prospects find themselves in and how well your solution helps them move to where the want to go. If you are a poor fit (selling ice cream to eskimos), marketing becomes difficult. As you are better matched, selling becomes easier.
Once you have a combination of the Pain or Desire and Solution for Circumstance where the intersection of the two lines moves from red into green, your prospect will be near a decision point to purchase. Your marketing must ensure that not only does the intersection move into the green, but as far into the green as possible to position yourself as the likely business that is purchased from.
I’ve made a few more graphs to show different situations, which will also help you better understand the graph.
Great Solution Recognized (shaded area)
In this situation the prospect has recognized a perfect solution to a challenge they have.
Your lead is now aware of your solution and sees it as a perfect match for their problems. But, they aren’t yet convinced that the problem is significant for them or don’t yet realize that it is.
Your leads may purchase from you in this situation, but it will likely be a “shiny object” purchase. In other words, your service or offering will solve a nuisance or provide a desirable benefit, but it isn’t very important to them.
Significant Challenge Recognized (shaded area)
In this situation the prospect has or feels a strong pain point or desire and is ready to purchase a solution that looks like something even remotely like a solution.
Your lead recognizes that they have a significant problem after hearing your marketing message. They are in the market for a solution and ready to purchase. But, your marketing hasn’t convinced them that your solution is the ideal solution for them. Your prospect is just as likely to purchase from a competitor as they are from you in this case.
Problems and Solution Recognized (shaded area)
In this situation the prospect has recognized both a significant challenge and your perfect solution. Not only are they likely to purchase, but you are the ideal business for them.
Your lead encounters your marketing flow and recognizes that they are in the exact circumstances you describe and have the challenge that your offering solves.
Note the size of the “green” purchase area covered when you get your marketing correct compared to the smaller areas in the two previous graphs. In this case, not only are they ready to buy, but your offering is the one that they want.
Put First Things First
Going back to a business model, or for most entrepreneurs, creating a business model will do wonders for your marketing. It is a fairly quick process (less than a week working on it a few hours a day). The return can be huge. Your marketing will become more successful. It will also be less expensive and time consuming as it begins to become more effective.
You’ll gain peace of mind by knowing that your service has a market and you know how to craft messages that sell.
There are those who will look at this and just run through a quick marketing brainstorming session and push forward. I wouldn’t recommend that course of action. Creating a business model not only helps you get your marketing right, it helps you organize your business around delivering value to your customers by ensuring focus on the essential actions. Check out the article I mentioned earlier if you’d like a quick primer on business models (it also has a 15 minute video walk through on business models).
This process will help you eliminate any fear of marketing you may have had. Too often, people spend wasteful time trying to brute force their marketing. Hours a day are spent on social media, writer’s block is fought off to produce content for marketing, business cards are exchanged and so on. Now, you can take that time back because your marketing will be so much more productive!
Want to learn more? Click here and I’ll send you a 40+ page marketing handbook and a quick course on building marketing messages.
For more in-depth marketing ideas, click here.