What’s Behind Your Marketing Frustration?

woman walking up steps with painting

Table of Contents

Marketing frustration is real; it’s normal and pervasive. Ultimately, when you’re frustrated by marketing that means you’ve somehow lost focus — even if you think you haven’t.

Overwhelm, means you’ve got too many balls in the air. Frustration means that some of those balls are falling down around you.

I get it; marketing can be expensive, the results can be hard to measure, and it takes a lot of iterations to get it right.

Think SLOW marketing

So, instead of constantly going from one marketing idea to the next, commit to focus; I like to call it SLOW marketing.

Give yourself the time to think, process, make choices and implement those choices, see the impacts and data for those choices, so that you can make appropriate changes when you want to.

Think of it this way.

If you try to catch everything – you’ll catch nothing

marketing frustration juggling too many balls

I was at a management workshop years ago and the exercise we did changed the way I understood focus forever.

The facilitator called for a volunteer and I was picked. I go to the front of the room and the facilitator said, I’m going to throw these balls in the air and I want you to catch them.

How many did I catch?

None of them.

Then he said, I’m going to throw these balls into the air, and I want you to catch the red one.

He threw the balls in the air.

I caught the red one.

That’s when I realized that overwhelm was having too many balls, ideas, projects, etc. that I was trying to work on at the same time.

That doesn’t work.

Stay in the step you’re in — and marketing is all about steps

climbing steps - how to deal with marketing frustration
Side view of young businesswoman climbing stairs to success on concrete wall background. Leadership and career development concept

One coach I worked with alway says “Stay in the step you’re in.” I absolutely love this phrase and have adopted it for myself in all aspects of life.

Every process has steps. And if you want to get the desired result, you have to complete each step, in order.

Marketing is much the same way. The key to successful marketing is choosing before doing.

Get ready to make choices and stick with them

choices - marketing frustration

No one tells you this. But the way these marketing millionaires got to where they are isn’t just because they were naturally good at something. They got to where they are because they decided to make choices. They committed to the choices they made and rode them out through several selling cycles so that they could optimize and improve.

This is all about FOCUS! Making a choice to commit to something. Then choosing the actions you will take and then taking those actions, learning from the data, making improvements, and moving on to the next step.

Use and follow the marketing process to keep you focused

marketing frustration

Marketing has a process. Follow it in order. Stay in the step you’re in. Make choices before you go on to the next step.

I’ve talked about the marketing process before, but today, you’re going to see exactly where to focus so that you know when you can move on to the next step.

Market Research – Focus on answers to these questions

make decisions
Young pensive businesswoman and ideas coming out of her head

The purpose of market research to provide you data, information, and insight so that you can make go-no-go decisions. Like:

  • Is there a market or an opportunity for this idea?
  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • Who struggles most with a problem that I solve?
  • Who hates doing what I do? Who sucks at doing what I do well? Who would value what I do the most?
  • What alternatives do my ideal customers have to choose from?
  • How much are those alternatives?
  • What is their unmet “want”?
  • What is their ideal outcome?
  • What’s missing that I can provide?
  • What challenge are they dealing with, how have they been solving this problem, what’s everyone telling them to do to solve the problem?
  • How long does it take to solve the problem
  • How much does it cost to solve the problem
  • What’s the current industry success rate in solving this problem?

Skipping this step, or assuming that YOU know the answers to these questions is the root cause of why businesses fail.

When you look at the research about why businesses fail, you’ll see something like “lack of market research” or “no demand” or “lack of capital (read, not enough money or sales or profit) — all of these issues stem from not having enough information to make good choices and then being overwhelmed by what actions to take.

Don’t stay here forever and get stuck with analysis paralysis — make choices, document why you chose what you chose and move on to the next step.

This is going to be an iterative process anyway, so keep moving.

Segment – Target – Position: Focus on an ideal customer and why they should choose you

segment, target, position is like a treasure map to your ideal customer
Old brass compass lying on a very old map showing the way to treasure

The market research step gives you the information that you need here. You will choose

  • A segment of people; women, local residents, retirees, etc.
  • Within that segment, you will choose a target; women going through divorce
  • Then choose a message to that target; I help women going through divorce plan their financial future.

DO NOT continue until you’ve made your choices. Reflect on your research, make your choices, and document why you chose who you chose.

This isn’t cast in stone, but you don’t want to change it just yet without any data.

Why choose a customer before developing an offer?

A lot of businesses start with a product or service first and then go looking for customers. But a product or service is NOT an offer – it’s just a product or service. It’s a commodity. It’s a WHAT, looking for a WHY.

So, even if you have a product or service, you must go through the process of developing an offer. Going through this process might give you some new ideas.

Develop an offer using the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Promotion, Place): Focus on the outcome and value equation

Now you’re going to develop an offer for your target market. Your offer is the unique combination of your product or service, how it’s priced, packaged, delivered and promoted.

You can’t make money without an offer that appeals to customers

shopping

Your offer and what you are selling are two different things.

Your customer is buying an outcome, and your offer is the vehicle, the path or the doorway that leads to the outcome.

  • If you sell shovels, your customer is buying holes
  • If you sell dishwashers, your customer is buying clean, done-for-you dishes
  • If you’re selling landscaping, your customer is buying a maintained, beautiful lawn.

To sell an offer, you have to provide value: Offer = Value

Value is a function of 4 elements:

  1. The desired outcome (wants)
  2. How likely they are to achieve their desired outcome (wants)
  3. How long it takes to achieve the desired outcome (obstacles/friction)
  4. How much effort it takes to achieve the desired outcome (obstacles/friction)

It’s a formula that looks like this

Desired outcome x likelihood of achieving it/length of time x effort

You want the numerator to be high and the denominator to be as close to zero as possible.

In an ideal world, the customer would give you money and achieve their outcome the instant they made the purchase and received the offer.

Let’s use water as an example:

desired outcome – not thirsty

likelihood of achieving the outcome – 100%

How long it takes – 0 minutes

How much effort it takes- 0 effort, just drink

This is why a bottle of water in the desert is worth just about any price you’re willing to pay, if you’re thirsty enough.

A great offer will can eliminate 80% of your current marketing effort and expense. If you’re looking for where to sharpen your marketing saw — look no further than creating a great offer.

Implementation: Focus on what works, what doesn’t work and what to change

success

Now you are ready to take action and start implementing your marketing plan. You will NOT get it right the first time. This is why it’s critical to start somewhere and optimize. Make a simple plan without too many moving parts.

Choose your marketing strategy

There are only three marketing strategies to choose from. Pick the one that matches your natural strengths.

  • Content marketing – ideal for experts and educators who recommend different products.
  • Direct marketing – ideal for people who have a specific audience, with a specific problem who can use a specific solution.
  • Advertising – ideal for people whose time is best spent working one-on-one with customers.

Your marketing strategy is the general way that you’re going to attract customers. You will use elements of all three of these, but one of these strategies will ultimately be your go-to.

Your strategy directs how you’re going to use your tactics.

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Pick some tactics

Tactics are the different communications channels that you’e going to use. Your strategy drives the techniques you will use inside these channels.

Think of it this way:

Think of your strategy as the architectural style of your house; Mid-Century Modern, Colonial, Shot-Gun, for example.

Every house has standard elements inside of it; appliances, rooms, sinks, etc. Those are your tactics — the channels or vehicles with which you do things in your house.

But these rooms and elements will be organized differently depending on what type of house they are in. They will look different, feel different, etc — even though an appliance is an appliance – it’s a vehicle for tasks that need to be done.

marketing strategy and tactics

In the world of your marketing strategy and communication channels it works very much the same way. The strategy will drive what you say, how you say it and where you deliver the communication so that you meet your audience where they are

Focus on integrating your strategy with your tactics

A lot of frustration comes from doing tactics without a supporting strategy. Here’s what that looks like — I’ve done this WAY TOO MANY TIMES. See if you did too:

  • Just sending email newsletters — as a newsletter, with no rhyme, reason, purpose or consistent call to action.
  • Doing webinars and not including a solid offer, not talking about the offer, etc.
  • Doing webinars and skipping the offer
  • Doing webinars and making it all about the offer
  • Writing blog posts — to write blog posts
  • Skipping from one program or idea to another

The list is endless, I’ve done them all until it hit me that these two go TOGETHER and this creates a level of focus that radically simplifies your life and your marketing,.

Measure and Tweak – Focus on small, iterative changes

measure

Honestly, I have always hated measuring and analytics. I avoided it because it felt like a grade, and when the results were below my expectations, I made it mean that I was bad. And, since I didn’t want to be confronted with how much I sucked at this — I didn’t measure.

Sound familiar — I get it.

Well, I’m working my way through this. Numbers are not people. Numbers can’t judge you. Your metrics are really nothing more than guideposts that tell you where to make changes.

I love to cook, so I’m going to compare metrics to tasting your food as you’re cooking.

Your metrics tell you whether you need more salt, or some other spice as you work your way through a recipe.

Keep adding, changing, and repeating until you’ve made your recipe ideal just for you.

Focus is the Forgotten Success Ingredient

focus

As you travel the web reading articles, and attending webinars and events, notice how everyone talks about ideas, strategies, and programs that are designed to make your marketing successful. All the programs and ideas are different, and yet they all share one ingredient — that no amount of money will pay for — FOCUS.

Focus is a VERB, it’s something that only you can do. Sure, you can pay someone thousands of dollars and maybe it will keep you on task. But, if new years’ resolutions and gym memberships have taught us anything, it’s that focus is an individual sport.

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