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Top 5 Reasons Your Marketing Stinks

Marketing StinksThere are a lot of reasons your marketing might not be smelling like a rose.  There’s a saying that when you live in the barn, you can’t smell the pigs.  I invite you to poke around your own pen to discover the source of that funky smell coming from your marketing by checking out these five reasons your marketing might stink:

  1. You don’t know who you are marketing to – One man’s stilton is another man’s stinky cheese.  Your marketing can only be as good as your understanding of the segments your are going after and why those segments love what you are selling.  The less defined those segments are, the more likely that your marketing isn’t going to really speak to them and get them to act.
  2. Your messages are incomprehensible – Are you messages are a jargon-filled buffet of meaningless trendy words and vague descriptors?  When people come to your website, how long does it take them to figure out what you do and whether or not it’s right for them?
  3. You keep doing stuff that doesn’t work – Maybe you’re not measuring the results of your tactics or maybe you’re just strangely attached to doing a particular tradeshow even though you know the ROI isn’t there.  Whatever the reason, not being able to show a decent ROI on your tactics is a great sign that your customers are running away holding their noses.
  4. Your marketing is boring – Does anyone share your content?  How much are folks talking about what you are doing? People won’t come right out and tell you your marketing stinks, they will simply ignore it.  In the age of social media, having boring marketing is almost as bad as not doing any at all.
  5. Your marketing is actually fine (it’s your product that stinks) – All the great marketing in the world isn’t going to make up for the fact that nobody really wants what you’ve got.  If you are unsure whether or not you have a product that a certain group of people love, then you need to stop wasting your marketing dollars until you are sure.

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  1. Dead on for a Friday morning, April.

    Saw this on someone’s profile on LinkedIn. Somebody who claims to be in marketing who is this clueless is probably not capable of doing an honest self-assessment of their output.

    “My marketing role supports the sales team in reaching out to businesses interested in [framus] and [hooziwats] for their [gobbledygook]. We are selling “software as a service” delivered in the Internet cloud.”

  2. # 4 is my favorite. There is definitely a line, but funny always gets my vote for consumer marketing. In tech – it is those really inspiring / thought provoking campaigns. We are bombarded by content 24×7. What is it you remember?

    I think my favorite might be… “Lucent – We make the things that make communications work.” Although, I did really like Nortel’s from the 1990s. Wasn’t it something like – “Nortel Networks – Your Internet.”? 🙂

    • Hi Jocelyn,
      Thanks for the comment.
      I will take this opportunity to point out that I was never responsible for any corporate marketing at Nortel (and it’s a darn good thing it wasn’t my internet afterall….) 😉

    • Thanks for the comment Brain. Some of it is just old thinking where brands were supposed to talk down to people and sound authoritative. I for one am happy we are moving away from that.

  3. April, I enjoyed your article, assuming that the criteria is met and close attention paid to the 5 areas mentioned above how would you determine if it is your content or the vehicle being used to deliver the content that stinks.

    • Hi Rick,
      Thanks for the comment. That’s a good question. This article mainly focuses on making sure that the content is good and if you’ve paid close attention to the 5 things, there’s a good chance it doesn’t stink. However, you’re right that if you take that content and push it though the wrong vehicle, you might not get the results you are looking for. The key to finding the right vehicles is to make sure you understand your market segments and then follow them to where they are. For example if your segment doesn’t hang out on Facebook, you shouldn’t worry about marketing there. If your market uses Twitter, so should you. If your market reads certain publications, you might want to try to get your content published there. You get the idea. Does that help?


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