There’s a pandemic spreading through business and it’s not Covid… and I’ve got the cure.

Digital marketing. No doubt, you need it and should be embracing it.

But put it into perspective. It’s not your starting place in marketing. Marketing is so much more, in fact, it’s your whole business. Without marketing, you don’t have a business.

Marketing is creating a customer. And isn’t that why you’re in business, to create customers?

Marketing decisions are what you actually sell, who you sell it to, and the price you sell it for. You make those decisions based on your knowledge of your target market.

But marketing that works goes deeper than that.

Here’s what I mean, when I opened a pet shop a long time ago now, I knew that having a pet was like a new member of the family. And I knew from research in my area that it was the only family they had at home in many cases. So, it was a highly considered purchase, it was very emotional. Everyone wants the best for their family, right?

So, everything, from the colours I painted the shop, the logo, the language we used – both written and verbal. Even staff training. Everything was about that warm, comforting place like home, with a loving pet.

But I didn’t just guess at it. I had to get closer to customers to find out how they felt.

Once I had that market intelligence, I used that to shape my advertising messages. If we had a new idea for a service or product, it first had to run through that filter.

Digital Marketing or Digital Advertising?

I have a marketing strategy. I’ve got a website, social media pages we regularly post to. Plus, I run Google AdWords and social advertising. That’s what 95% of the small businesses say to me when we start talking marketing.

That is not digital marketing, that’s digital advertising. And you never start advertising till you know who, why and what you are advertising.

Digital marketers have hijacked the word marketing.

Yes, there are some good ones out there. But it’s so easy to set yourself up as a digital marketing expert. And given we’re all on tight budgets in small business land, we fall for their promises.

After spending all this money on a new site and all that advertising, it comes to nothing. It’s a stressful cycle.

The good ones will insist on a strategy before you start advertising. But in many cases, the strategy is based on guesswork. For example, they know you don’t have a big budget for market research, so they ask you to describe your target persona.

I’ve seen some reasonable systems for developing your persona’s. But all too often, they rely on your assumptions on what your audience is looking for.

That’s a big problem for small businesses. These strategies can be costly. One company I talked to recently said they engaged an agency to develop a strategy. Twenty thousand dollars later… all they got was a polished presentation and a tweak to their logo. I wish I could say that is rare, but the reality is that it’s happening way too often.

The other phrase I see bandied about is “Ready Fire Aim”. Their proponents will have you believe you just need to get it out. And while I agree procrastination can be a curse. Spending money that doesn’t engage your audience is, well, done right, crazy. I’m sure you could think of something else to do with that money.

The gap is in the market research. 

The understanding of the target audience. There is no shortcut to making your advertising work.

You must know the customers’ underlying needs for your product. The emotional drivers that motivate them to purchase. Think about the process of buying a car. If we were buying to just satisfy a need to get from point A to B, then we’d all drive the same car.

But instead, we are all motivated by different needs.

So, If your advertising isn’t working, then chances are you do not understand your audience. What motivates them? To quote the late, great Clayton Christensen - what are they hiring your product to do? For my pet shop, it was a hug, to be loved and give love.

We’ve compiled lots of free resources to get you started. But do your bank balance a favour, don’t spend anything on digital advertising till you have insights from your audience.

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Are you sick of throwing money down an advertising drain?

Then let’s have a casual chat to get your marketing back on track.

No pressure, I just want to see you succeed. Because I hate seeing people get ripped off.

Click here to reach out to me. Look forward to chatting soon, Judy

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