Why is marketing so hard?

The Problem isn't Quality

I spend a lot of time with companies that have built amazing products, or that run incredible service offerings. The problem they have is rarely the quality of their work. Instead, the core issue they face is getting attention.

And let's be honest, getting anyone's attention is tough work these days. Every few minutes, sometimes seconds, we're hit with another message to look at something, tweet at something, snap or chat at something, or watch an incredible video of an animal doing something our own dog never does.

The noise around us makes it hard to stay focused, that's for sure. And that means that marketing anything, and getting our attention to that marketing message, is harder than ever.

You're letting fear get the best of you

One of the reasons marketing is so tough, if we're honest with each other, is our own fear. If you and I were sitting at a coffee table at Starbucks and I asked you who your product was for, you'd likely give me a straight answer.

  • But the comfort in that dynamic is that there's only one person in front of you. The moment we have to create something on our website that is seen by everyone, we lock up.
  • We don't want to boast that we're the best at anything.
  • We don't want to tell someone that they're not right for us.
  • We don't want to offend.
  • All because we all have the same fear.

It took a long time and a lot of work for me to say, “You're probably not the right kind of customer for me.” Mostly it was that I was worried to lose a client. But even deeper down, I was worried I would offend someone.

Here's the truth:

You are unique and your product is the result of who you are. Learning to tell your story the right way will include telling the world what you're good at and will likely require you to say who is and who isn't your perfect customer.

You're not paying attention

I don't want to offend you (see?!?), but I am guessing that if I asked you to name all your competitors, what they were up to, where they were struggling, and what they were causing their customers to do—you'd likely not know it.

Some people tell you not to worry about your competitors. They're right.

I'm not asking you to worry about them. But I am suggesting that you pay attention. Because it is a rich source of differentiation messages for you.

If a competitor has a ridiculously rich feature set but requires 3 or 4 days to configure to set it up, you're offering may be awesome because they can “Get going in 20 minutes.”

But you've not been paying attention, so you don't know what they're going thru.

Here's the truth:

Your product or service doesn't exist in a vacuum. Learning to tell your story the right way will include knowing how to distinguish yourself from the competitors around you. It's a great way to turn your “weakness” into a benefit for your customers.

Your perspective is off

I'll end with the third reason that may be obvious to you after I say it. Your perspective comes from within your business. And that translates to messages that highlight your own challenges you've overcome or your features that are favorites to your own team. All of that is insider messaging.

Customers coming to your site aren't part of your team. They're not “insiders” and don't have that perspective. And more often than not, they need the basic messaging that you've just skipped over because it's so obvious to you.

Here's the truth:

You are hip-deep in your own world and it makes messaging hard to someone who is approaching you and your space for the first time. Learning to tell your story requires that you look at your product or service offering with fresh outsider eyes. So test your messages with strangers, not your marketing team.

Here's how I can help you

I can't fix all your challenges—only you can do that. But one way I may be able to help is to send some traffic your way. I can send you some eyeballs that are prepared to hear your story.

But to do that, I need to know your story, in your own words, so I can craft my own version of that story in a way that compels people to check you out.

In essence, I can put a brief spotlight on you and tell an introductory story that helps you make the most of it.

Oh, and before I forget, I'm offering this for free. I normally charge companies thousands of dollars to help them tell their story. But if you fill out the form below, I'll pick a few that I really like and I'll turn them into articles here that will send people your way.

Are you interested? Then tell me your story.