Many small businesses don’t have a reason to exist.
Take away their name and logo from their website or other marketing material and you’d never know who they were. They could be any of the other businesses in their category.
Their reason for existence is to survive and pay the bills of the owner who is usually only just getting by or possibly not even.
From a customer’s perspective there is no compelling reason to buy from them and any sales they do make is just because they happen to be there.
You see a lot of these businesses in retail. The only sales they get is through random walk-in traffic.
No one is seeking them out. No one is actively desiring what they have to offer and if they weren’t there no one would miss them.
Harsh but true.
The problem is that these businesses are just another “me too” business.
How did they decide on price? How did they decide on product? How did they decide on marketing? Usually the answer is they just had a look at what their nearest competitor was doing and did the same thing or slightly changed something.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong in modeling something that’s already working. In fact that’s a very smart thing to do.
However likely the competitors they are modeling are in the same boat they are in – struggling to win business with no compelling reason why you should buy from them.
They based their most important business decisions on guesses and on what their mediocre competitors are doing.
It’s the blind leading the blind.
Marketing Is Not The Saviour
After some time of torturing themselves to death – making just enough money to survive but not enough money to do well, many of these businesses finally decide to “try marketing”.
So they start marketing their “me too” business with an equally boring “me too” message. As expected it doesn’t work and any extra sales it does bring in often doesn’t even cover the marketing costs.
Here’s the thing – the chance of you getting your marketing perfectly right – message to market and media match on the first go is impossibly small. Even the most experienced marketer will tell you they hardly ever hit a home run on their first go. It takes several iterations. It takes testing and measuring to finally get your message to market and media match right.
Yet these guys can’t afford the time, money and effort needed to get it right. Worse still with a “me too” style of offer they don’t have a hope.
Think of marketing as an amplifier.
Here’s an example. You tell one person about what you do and they don’t get excited. You then try telling 10 people about what you do and they don’t get excited either.
If you amplify this message through marketing and tell 10,000 people, what makes you think that the result will be any different?
Hey, I’m not trying to be a downer or discourage you. I’m trying to make you think.
Marketing is an uphill battle if you haven’t clearly clarified first in your mind why your business exists and why people should buy from you rather than your nearest competitor.
Start With Why
What is your cause? What is the reason your business exists? Why should a customer buy from you rather than your nearest competitor?
Clarifying these questions is the first step towards effective marketing and will put you far ahead of all your competitors.
The following video from Simon Sinek illustrates this well in the video below:
Only after clarifying these questions should you even think of amplifying your message by adding marketing.
Causes and beliefs are powerful. They draw a passionate crowd – the early adopters, the ones who will spread your message because it aligns with what they believe in.
Rather than saying, “this is what I sell and this is how much it is”, you have a much more powerful and unique message – “this is what I believe in and why I do what I do, this is the unique way I do it and this is the product that will deliver this result for you.”. Much more powerful.
Now the correct prospect will be excited by this message, so now when you amplify this through marketing you’ll experience a very high return on investment.
Starting with why is the beginning of re-inventing your business and hence setting yourself up for marketing success.