We all want a fast and easy way to get our businesses noticed and to increase revenue. I get it. So, when we see another business leader that we know is getting great results, we are inclined to ask what they are doing that is working so well, and then try it ourselves. But is that really such a good idea? Does “One size fits all marketing” really work? Is it the key to marketing success?
The truth is that there are no easy answers in marketing. If there were, there would not be so many differing opinions on how to make your marketing work better. Someone would just come along, write a “How To” manual and publish it. There would be no need for analytics or metrics to gauge success. Terms like Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) could be retired forever. What works for one company does not work for every company, and not everything works as well as people will say it does.
We’ve all heard advice like “Sell the sizzle, not the steak,” and “The more you tell, the more you sell” but are those things really true? Following someone else’s marketing plan is a bad idea for any number of reasons. It may be costing them much more than you know. Their target demographic may not be looking in the same places as your prospects are. Their value proposition is most likely different than yours, as are their pricing strategy, margins, costs, and competition. The differences between your companies certainly outweigh the similarities.
If a strategy of “follow the leader” is such a bad idea, why do some companies seem to be able to adapt someone else’s strategy and succeed? The real question here is whether you truly know how that company defined success, or how their business and sales models are the same or different than your company’s. And, most importantly, whether they are really achieving the level of success you believe they are.
So, then, if imitating a success story isn’t the answer, what is? How do you succeed with marketing if you have a limited budget – because, let’s face it, budget is never limitless? Create a strategy and then develop a plan. Set your goals and create a way to measure progress towards those goals. Know your audience, and their pain points – and how you can stop their pain. Use clear messaging, and avoid jargon, so anyone can understand the value of your offerings. Measure your results, and adjust your approach whenever needed. And market from end-to-end in the customer lifecycle.
If you’re not in the position to hire a (Fractional) Chief Marketing Officer to lead and manage your marketing, then become the CMO. Here is a description of the roles and value of a CMO. Make sure someone in your organization fills each of the five roles of a Marketing Officer, or bring in a consultant who can. But whatever you do, avoid the allure of the “one size fits all” marketing approach. It will cause much more pain than it cures.