Marketing BS at its best!
If you have an eye on growth for your business, you will have come across the plethora of marketing tools and probably wondered
“Which is the best option?”
“How do I prevent myself from falling for marketing BS?”
The past decade or so has created huge opportunities for businesses to grow but it has added major problems, starting with, what is the best direction to take.
This opportunity has allowed all sorts of interesting folk to enter business, some of them in marketing.
According to a survey of small business owners, the average company is offered some form of marketing service at least 10 times per week.
From the dodgy enquiry forms, mobile app opportunities to the local agency at a networking breakfast.
So, in this world of options how can you cut through the BS and find the best option for you?
How do you cut through the BS?
Well, marketing is the art of the buzz, it is about excitement, great visuals and great imagery BUT it is a whole lot more than that. There is science behind the sizzle.
With so much sizzle around, it’s smart to be able to get your own BS-o-meter.
BS Tip 1: “This is the one thing you need to be doing”
This is the biggest pile of bovine waste I have ever heard. What this really means is “we’re really excited about this, it’s our specialism, so we want to push this on you”
There are lots of things you can do to build your business. There isn’t just one. Some will be more effective than others, but there are always a couple of different options, don’t focus just on one, that’s madness.
If I had one client, every business person on the planet would scream “you’ve got your eggs all in one basket”
Never believe someone saying this is “the only way for you”
Whether it is SEO, Facebook, LinkedIn, do not follow the silver bullet… it’s BS.
BS Tip 2: Building your brand will flood you with sales”
Ok, this is partially true. Brand building does work, but it is often sold or mis-sold as an easy exercise. It isn’t an easy exercise at all. It could take 2 or 3 years to build a brand for a small business.
Brand building is the process whereby your name or identity is rememberable, your offer (what you do) is known to your target audience.
Brand awareness is not a campaign, it is an ongoing process. In some senses it is difficult to measure the success of it. The real success can only be measured over time, not any single campaign, because the nature of brand building is that over the long term it establishes you as the company / product of choice.
Brand building / brand awareness sounds sexy, but it isn’t. It is a slow ongoing process.
Often brand awareness is measured by impressions, views and reach. But brand awareness doesn’t equal a brand.
A brand is what you are known for and includes your corporate identity. It’s amusing when you see start-ups and small businesses with massive brand packs, because they have spent £3k on a document they don’t know what to do with.
Sure, you have a great logo and great diagrams but what the hell do you do now?
If you are in your first couple of years, you’ll probably scrap it all in a few years anyway.
BS Tip 3: “We’ve noticed that…”
Even the best marketer will make mistakes. In fact, marketers are sitting targets because they will always be someone who says it could have been done better. That doesn’t mean they could have done it better.
It’s easy to poke holes in marketing. You can always find something wrong or something which another company could have done better. Don’t fall for it, because if you switch, they’ll miss things too.
I am sure you have had an email from a web company pointing out errors on your website. Their aim is not to be helpful, it’s a sales tactic to get your attention and your business.
Marketing in all its forms is competitive and despite what people say, there will always be more to improve, sales people will appeal to your itch and appeal to our human vulnerability for quick wins.
If we jump we could be making a terrible decision.
There will always be stuff to improve and your list should not be dictated by a salesperson, it should be dictated by the results.
BS Tip 4: “We want to host your site so as to keep it under control”
This is a big one. If your agency is hosting your site, they want it to prevent anyone else having it. When clients move, the golden rule… get the website moved fast!
In other words, get the client away from the previous provider as fast as possible so they don’t have any time to convince them not to change their minds.
Again, this is a tactic to get your onboarded quickly and the previous agency out of your world.
Websites are funny.
In the industry we discuss the issues with websites. Everyone says the same thing. Websites are a minefield because they are so difficult to get complete. They are also a great way to make money because a website will evolve through the process, meaning it’s easier to make additional charges.
Beware of the web company that has their own custom software. It sounds clever, but it locks you in to their system, it holds you hostage to their charges, you may struggle to move it and if you need additional work, you may pay the price of the full development.
Stick with the main content management systems like WordPress and the others, this gives you options if you need to move or get updates done.
BS Tip 5: “We believe in metrics and measuring success”
I have never met an agency or lead gen provider that will put their neck on the line and essentially guaranteeing success, but they do believe in metrics just not the metrics you want to measure.
Success is translated into metrics which are important but don’t make a difference to you. For most of us, we are interested in one thing sales and enquires.
I recently saw an advert on Facebook from an agency saying “We don’t get paid if we don’t deliver” quite an appetising offer, except, what they mean is, you will pay for the advertising, but we don’t get our fees until you reach success.
With this offer and any other offer, you need to be certain of what you want to achieve. In any relationship, demand your outcome, then ask an agency to help you achieve that.
Beware of mission creep or side-tracks…
“in order to reach X, we need to do Y and Z”
You may need Y and Z but remember X is the goal. Agencies love clients getting lost in the project, the billable hours go up!
Summing up…. There is a lot of BS, you need clarity.
In conclusion, let me say a couple of things…
I’ve working in this industry for 20 years. There are some great people. It’s quite bitchy industry and there is a lot of fluff (hot air and BS).
If you want to know how to not fall for the BS, you really need to have your own plan, your own strategy which sets a course which agencies and marketers can help you with, if you don’t have it you will find you will churn through different agencies, waste a ton of money and make no progress.
Working with agencies or embarking on marketing without a clear strategy can be destructive and leave you jaded about the whole concept. The only reason to market is to make more money, it is that simple.
You need your own plan, you need your roadmap to winning new customers that works for you without the BS.
If you’d like to talk through the ways to get the best from your marketing, I can share with you how our four-step process helps businesses clarify their objectives, reach new customers, develop a strategy and implement it.
If you’d like to book a time to chat, drop me a line or book your 30-minute call here