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Articles filed in: Strategy

Simple Questions To Ask When Your Marketing Isn’t Working


My marketing isn’t working.

This sweeping declaration leads us to draw (sometimes incorrect), conclusions that influence our future marketing plans and business strategy. We can’t fix our marketing when we don’t know why it’s broken. But where do we start?
Here are seven questions to ask when your marketing isn’t working as well as you’d like.

7 Questions To Ask And Answer When Your Marketing Isn’t Working

1. Why isn’t this marketing working?
Not necessarily why, in fact, but why do you think—what’s your best guess as to the reasons you’re not achieving the results you want?

2. Did we reach enough of the right people?
How many people do you need to resonate with to achieve the numbers of sales or attract the clients you want?

3. How clear is the message?
Does your message clarify how exactly you solve your prospective customer’s problems, unmet needs or unspoken desires?

4. How well does the message resonate?
Do you know enough about your ideal customers to craft a message that resonates with them and calls them to act?

5. Are you meeting our prospective customers where they are?
Did you use the right medium, in the right place at the right time?

6. Did you give it enough time?
Is the marketing broken, or are you impatient to see results?

7. What would you change given your response to the first six questions?
What one thing can you do today to improve your marketing?

All marketing is testing. Rinse and repeat.

Image by Tim Mossholder

Why Should They Care?


The ‘For Lease’ sign attached to the first-floor window of the shopfront is one of half a dozen along Gertrude Street. And the sales copy on each of them does nothing to differentiate one premises from the other.

The signs give us dimensions, details about the facilities and ‘good natural light’. They don’t for a second help a prospective tenant to translate those features into the benefits they care about.

It’s not enough to tell people what they get as part of the transaction today. We need to show them how those features will become benefits that matter to them in the long run.

Image by Garry Knight

Mass Awareness Vs. Minority Affinity


The ‘golden arches’ glow at me in the distance as I set out for the gym before sunrise. It’s impossible to miss the 24-hour McDonald’s at the junction no matter which direction you travel. The ‘golden arches’ don’t distinguish the right potential customer from the wrong one. And that’s the point. McDonald’s strategy is to target everyone, so they cast their net far and wide, creating mass awareness. Their ideal customer can be any peckish stranger who happens to be passing by. This strategy works for McDonald’s, but it’s unlikely to work for us.

No other restaurant or cafe along this same street has the luxury of the ‘golden arches’. Like most of us with something to say, serve or sell, they have to do a better job of speaking to only their right customers. They don’t depend on the footfall of mass awareness—they thrive on the loyalty of minority affinity, built one customer at a time, over time. They understand what their customers want, they make promises, then show up consistently, week in week out, without fail to keep them.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. The tactics we use must align with our goals and the goals of the people we want to serve. How are you creating affinity with the minority of people who enable you to do your best work?

Image by Joiarib Morales

Why This? Why You? Why Now?


Why This? Why You? Why Now?

Three simple questions we are often reluctant to answer.

When you sit with the discomfort of reflecting on them before you embark on a project, you’ll be clearer about what the world needs from you and why. You’ll also have the beginnings of the story your audience wants to hear.

Why do the people you want to serve need your product or service?

Why are you the person or the company to bring this project to life for this audience?

Why is now the ideal time to begin?

And the bonus question.

What’s the story only you can tell the people you want to matter to?

Image by Lilibeth Bustos Linares

Valuing Your Expertise And Effort


My dad had many manual jobs during his working life, but the one he loved most was being a painter and decorator. It was the only job he did, where he could stand back and find joy in his creative output at the end of the day. Painting was something he could say he was good at. His reputation preceded him.

His customers loved the end result—the pristine room, a freshly glossed front door. What they didn’t always see was the process that made the finished product great—the hours of preparing, sanding and undercoating the wood. The final coat was only as good as the effort that went into the layers of paint beneath it.

And so it goes for us and our work too.

Your clients aren’t just buying the result—they are investing in the value of your expertise and effort. You must remember to tell that story.

*Do you need help to reflect on the next right step for building your business or career? Then our group mentorship experience at the Right Company might be for you. We’re accepting applications for a handful of new members this week.

Image by Fernando Butcher

The Power Of Reflective Practice


My mother can practically bake a killer apple tart in her sleep. It’s a skill she’s learned over decades of trial and error. We hone any skill by doing. We get better by practising and observing, then reflecting and iterating.

The doctor perfects her bedside manner by reflecting on how a consultation went.

The salesperson gets better at closing deals by assessing what did or didn’t work on his last sales call.

The speaker improves by noticing how the audience reacts and thinking about how she could get more engagement during her next talk.

Practice alone won’t make us perfect. Progress happens when we make time for thinking as well as doing.

Image by Jessica Fiess Hill

In Praise Of Incrementalism

One of my favourite TV programs, when I was young, was Columbo—which followed the sometimes scruffy, seemingly absentminded, always polite, homicide detective, who solved murder cases in Los Angeles.

What struck me about Columbo was the stepwise way he made progress towards solving the case. He wasn’t necessarily looking for the big breakthrough, he was searching for the next smallest clue that would lead him to his goal.

It’s easy to seduced by the illusion of the big breakthrough. But what we see in all walks of life, not just in detective stories, is that it’s the commitment to patient, gradual progress that gets us to where we want to go.

Incrementalism is underrated.

*Do you need help to make stepwise progress in your business or career? Then our group mentorship experience at the Right Company might be for you. We’re accepting applications for a handful of new members this week.

Image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko

Giving Attention Vs. Getting Attention


The more people have to attend to, the harder it is to get their attention.
Attention is a precious resource. And as with any resource, scarcity creates value.
Our culture has taught us that those who can capture the most attention win—never more so than in the digital age. So, we devote a considerable amount of time and effort working out how to mine other people’s attention—often adding to the noise.

What if instead of showing up to get attention, we showed up to give it, without expectation? Imagine the resources we could build if we spent the majority of our time attending to how we could help instead of trying to be seen.

Image by Daniel Funes Fuentes

Empathy Creates Value

A restaurant host has one job to do—meet and greet diners and show them to their table.

It sounds easy enough, but the difference between a good host and a great host is underrated because where people are seated directly impacts their experience. Seating arrangements can influence how long diners spend at a venue, how much they spend, and whether they come back.

One Saturday, at a cafe near where I live, a woman arrives alone with a Moleskine notebook under her arm. She wants coffee and a small table in a quiet corner.

The young couple with two small children need a spot where they can spread out and relax over pancakes without feeling like they’re disturbing other diners.

Even though the cafe is empty, the host seats both parties at the same big communal table in the middle of the dining room. They smile politely and look disappointed, but don’t ask to be moved. Sadly neither group gets the experience they want that day. The young parents snap at their kids in an attempt to keep them quiet. The woman with the notebook puts it away within minutes, finishes her coffee and leaves.

In his quest for efficiency, the host forgot that the purpose of the cafe isn’t just to serve food and drinks—it’s also to have the empathy to discern how to treat different customers differently.

We create value and deliver joy when we make the people we serve feel like they matter. What better goal can we have for the work we have the privilege to do?

Image by Petr Sevcovic

Powering The Future


The tagline on the side of the red Australia Post van reads; ‘Powering online shopping.’

It stops me in my tracks. I think about the people who led this business twenty or even ten years ago. They would have had a hard time envisioning this as their new business strategy, never mind the world’s new reality.

While parcel revenues and online transactions are increasing, letter volumes keep dropping, which puts pressure on once thriving local post offices. Few people would have foreseen this two decades ago.

Like us, the leaders of this business must plan for the future without depending on it, by it’s getting closest to the people they want to serve.

Image by Ruby