This is a three-part series on what I call the Universal Marketing Message and how it helps to destroy any chance of success for 80 - 90% of all small businesses.
I'll cover the problem in Part 1, then we'll discuss some real world, immediately useable solutions in Parts 2 and 3.
I know I have to market my business to get it off the ground, but without any experience in marketing it can be frustrating to do.
I can't seem to get any good results from any of my marketing ads, flyers, etc. I spend a lot of time and money on them, and then nothing happens. No calls, no sales.
I'm beginning to wonder if this marketing or advertising stuff actually works. Or am I doing something wrong.
I know exactly where you are coming from. I have consulted with and helped so many business owners with the same frustration.
First the bad news. Statistics say that 80 - 90% of new businesses fail within their first five years.
I say that the number one reason for that is a lack of customers--duh!--due to a lack of marketing skill on the part of the business owner.
Aha! That's a small business revelation--because most small business owners don't realize that weakness is the cause of their frustration.
The Good News
The good news is that marketing and advertising really do work--if you know how to use them correctly.
It's like anything else in life, you need to learn how to do things correctly before you can succeed. Imagine how frustrating it would be trying to open a combination lock without knowing the combination.
But then think how simple and rewarding it would be if you simply knew the correct combination.
It's no different with marketing.
Guessing or Asking Friends for Marketing Advice
Is Not a Good Strategy
The problem is that too many business owners guess at their marketing, or they ask their friends or associates for advice.
Everyone has an opinion about how to grow a business. But that doesn't mean that everyone's opinion is correct.
It's an understandable situation.
We are all surrounded by ads, flyers, brochures, billboards, signs, etc. produced by other businesses. We see them everywhere we look, and because they are so common, many business owners 'assume' that the strategy and the approach that they all use must be the best way to market. Otherwise everyone else wouldn't be using it. Right?
I Couldn't See the Truth in 1973 - But now you can!
That's what I thought way back in 1973, right after I got out of the Air Force. I was a young 24-year-old with a wife and 2 children raring to make my mark on the world.
My first job in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at that time was illustrating sales training films for a 74-year-old entrepreneur named Jack Cormack.
That's where my advertising and marketing education began.
At one point Jack told me that the marketing approach that most small business owners used was absolutely 'wrong.'
I couldn't bring myself to believe him at the time. How could all those intelligent people be wrong? I thought he must be exaggerating.
It took a long time and a great deal of hands-on experience in the advertising and marketing field to finally see the light. Mr. Cormack was right.
Wow! If I only could have seen the world through his eyes earlier.
What is this approach that results in so many business failures?
I call it --
The Universal Marketing Message
The Universal Marketing Message is
'I sell X! Call me.'
'I sell homes! Call me.'
'I sell insurance! Call me.'
'I sell cars! Call me.'
'I sell Mary Kay Cosmetics! Call me.'
Etc. etc. etc.
Open any local newspaper or look at any local flyer or letter from a local small business and what is the message they are trying to get across?
'I sell X! Call me.'
While it may be true that you sell homes, or cars, or chocolate candies, or whatever, the problem is you are not the only one who is doing that.
Your Competitors Are Spreading the Same Message
You have many competitors who are trying to grab the same customers you are.
They're all yelling, 'I sell X, too!! So Call Me!!
That's called marketing noise. Nothing meaningful is being said, and it's being said by a lot of businesses.
So we simply block all of this meaningless marketing from our senses. It all becomes invisible to us.
Don't believe it? Ask someone who has just finished reading a newspaper to describe as many ads in the paper as they can. If they remember more than one or two, I'd be surprised.
If everyone is running ads, flyers etc. that all say the same exact thing--the obvious--then why should anyone choose you over your other competitors.
It's really obvious when you see a full page of real estate ads filled with 40 or 50 ads for different realtors, and every single one of them says, 'I sell homes! Call me.'
Now, I'm not saying that they use those exact words. They usually don't. But that is their overall message.
'The Leader in Home Sales -- Bob Smith. Call today.'
says, 'I sell homes! Call me.'
In a situation like that, usually the business owner who spends the most money ends up with the most customers.
But of course since his or her marketing costs are so high there is very little left to show for all those efforts at the end of the month.
The Universal Marketing Message is extremely weak and ineffective. If you're using it, you need to switch. But you can't switch until you learn a little more.
So what is the alternative?
Well, there are lots of easy alternatives once you understand some basic concepts about how people buy.
We'll talk about those and some powerful solutions in our next issue. You won't want to miss it.
by Joe Gracia
Copyright 2000-2016 by Joe Gracia - All Rights Reserved.