When the Best Marketing in the World Won’t Help You

There is a reality that is hard to swallow sometimes. It’s what happens when your product or service isn’t selling or taking off like you had hoped. You know that point? It’s when you feel frustrated that your efforts aren’t reaping the type of reward you want.

Maybe you’ve done a fair amount of marketing to promote it, maybe you’ve even had some short term success too but overall you’re not seeing the residual impact that you had hoped would result.

What do you do?

Your first inclination might be to blame the marketing since after all, had it been marketed better then you would have had success… right?

I mean you’re getting emails from your friends and a select few others saying how proud they are of you and how much they love the ____ you created. People really like it (so you think). You’re convinced that what you have is solid but it’s the marketing that stinks.

True in some cases but maybe not in many more.

You see, it’s easy to blame someone else when things don’t go well. We all do it. Finding a scape goat helps us avoid the sometimes painful truths that we need to face. If we step back and take a good, honest look… a subjective look… then we might see that the lack of success has nothing to do with them, but more to do with us.

And by “us” I mean what we’re offering. Sometimes what we think are great ideas need more time to mature or it could be that they just don’t resonate as well with others. They might with our friends or a select few but it’s something different for the masses to give up their money or their time for it and to share it, suggesting to others to do the same. It’s the other side of the coin we never want to face because we see we want to see and even though we’re getting encouragement from those around us, those outside our bubble may not be adopting it nearly as eagerly.

Marketing is more or less the wrapper that helps to sell what’s inside. One of my mentors once told me that marketing gets them to the door and often to step inside but what happens then is up to the owner of the house. Marketing creates the visibility, the awareness and the ability to help persuade someone to take action… to buy that ___ or go to that ___ or do the ____, etc.

But once that transaction happens and the customer dives down into your offering (your book, your event, your church service, etc) then it becomes a content issue (which is up to you).

If they like the content then it’s a win – win. They’ll enjoy it, tell others about it and it spreads. Good content combined with good marketing creates the perfect storm.

But bad content combined with even the best marketing in the world won’t help you. It might in the short term by giving you a temporary boost but if the content isn’t dynamic enough to keep the momentum moving then you’ll soon see your blip turn into a flat line.

So what do you do if you see this trend happening to you?

1. Get outside of yourself. This is the hardest thing for most of us to do. You must escape your own Curse of Knowledge and step back to take a subjective look at what’s going on. You’re content (offering) is yours so you will naturally be inclined to be blinded by your emotional response to it. That is what stops you from seeing the reality of what is. It’s only when you take a honest assessment that you can see the truth.

2. Determine the cause. Once you have stepped out beyond yourself and reflected on the situation then you need to draw a conclusion. Is it really the result of bad marketing or was the marketing good and the residual response just bad? And when I say “residual” I mean the ongoing response. Did momentum spread after the initial efforts or was it like a faucet? Did momentum die the moment the marketing slowed? That’s your indicator.

3. Act. Once you think you know the answer then you need to do something about it. Either reengage the marketing or retool the offering. Re-purpose the content in a different way, change things up, try some new ways to get others to interact with it. Ask question and ask others to be brutally honest with you. Consider doing anonymous surveys to get feedback (when there is autonomy people will tell you what they really think… but don’t be temped to dismiss anything negative, use it to learn and grow).

There’s no doubt that what you are offering matters to you and if it does then you owe it to yourself to be realistic and honest. It’s the way you can find the right mix to help whatever it is excel.

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