Why You Should Forget Marketing Solutions

Well just for the moment. get more customers

If you have a problem, naturally you seek out how to solve it.

And today there is a growing amount of content.

Especially in the marketing arena that provides many solutions.

However jumping to possible solutions is not the simplest way to solve the problem your business is facing.

It is in many ways trying to find a needle in a haystack. To use simplicity to attract customers you need to clearly identify the cause of any problems so you can take the right actions.

What is the problem?

When this question is asked you may be able to answer along the line of I need to get more customers.  This is the top level and doesn’t delve deeply.

For example a neighbour has run a business for many years and his sales from repeat customers were down.

His company’s reputation was solid and products and services were excellent.

So what he was seeking was how he could get more customers to replace the others not buying. He had tried to get his regular customers to buy but they didn’t.

Jumping to solutions too quickly can be one of the easiest ways to add complexity to a business and this was initially what he was doing. He wanted marketing ideas now to get more customers now.

What Is the cause of the problem?

Looking at all factors relating to his market, competitors, business and customers the answer was quite what he expected.

The cause in his case was a market trend. He supplied services and products to those building units and homes.

The construction of new homes and units were declining. So it didn’t matter what he did, his business depended on other markets. His repeat customers were not getting business so they could not give him business.

Solutions to the cause of the problem

Instead of giving marketing ideas to get more customers the solutions was found in a small but growing part of the business. And this was targeting units that had been built using his products and service.

In other words instead of treating the building as a one off sale his opportunity was new customers who could become regular customers. The new customers were those responsible for maintenance. And they had an ongoing need because one of his products needed replacing throughout the year.

A completely new segment that he could tap into and is relevant when construction of new units picks up.

Marketing Solutions

Now he knew the cause of the problem, the overall solution was simple and so was selecting a marketing strategy and tactics to increase sales.

It is tempting to look at tactics first to solve a problem especially when others say they work for their business. However finding the cause of the problem keeps it simple to find the best solution. 

Over To You

How do you get to the heart of the matter for your business?

photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc

26 Responses to Why You Should Forget Marketing Solutions

  1. Susan, excellent article! Knee jerk reactions are (in my opinion) the leading reason why people repeatedly do not reach their goals or get past a sticking point. It’s almost like asking the why behind the why to find the right solution. Like you said, his numbers were down. Why – because previous customers stopped coming back. Why – because they didn’t have business themselves. Taking a step back to look at not only what the problem is, but more importantly, why it’s a problem, is the only way to come up with a viable solution! Thank you for sharing how a basic principle in coaching can be applied to marketing for a small business!

    • Thanks Jeremy. Using why is indeed a simple way to get to the real reasons and your comment shows easily how it can be done. As with coaching it can take the subjectivity out of the issue.

  2. Susan,
    This is a perfect example of why clients need to seek professional help. Your client was so close to their problem that (as you point out) the solution was not to fix what he perceived to be the problem but to delve deeper into what is actually going on.

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of implementing the latest tactic or follow the advice that worked for someone else. Your example is a real eye opener.

    • It is an easy trap Sherryl and I think most of us have fallen into it. You bring up a interesting point about being too close to the problem and which he was. He told me he was getting more overwhelmed every day he thought about it. This made him want a quick solution which would have been wrong.

  3. Susan – your post reminds me of a story I used to tell when teaching problem solving in a management development course. A company has a group of salesmen who come to work every day, but they don’t make any sales. Is it because they aren’t motivated? No, they work very hard. Is it because they lack training? No they have all the skills they need. Is it because their product is substandard? No, it’s excellent. Simple solution: they’re calling on the wrong people. You’ve got to get at the root cause of a problem, otherwise you will just keep banging your head against the wall.

  4. Susan,

    I agree, sometimes its not about getting new customers but selling more to current customers. This can apply to many professions, especially those of us in the service industry. I hope to soon start selling workbooks and such to add passive income.

    Great article,

  5. Hi Susan,
    This is the subtle difference between having more customers and having more business. Another point to be made here (and I’m certainly not the first to bring this up) is that it will always be harder to swing new customers who have never bought from you before than to sell to existing customers with whom you’ve already built a level of trust.

    • Agree with you about current versus new customers Heather. What is interesting is a survey done last year in Australia found that 77% of the respondents viewed and wanted to get more customers as a challenge. Most of the respondents have been in business over 5 years which suggests to me that there is a problem that hasn’t been solved.

  6. I agree with you. Marketing solutions are still very important for your business in order for this to grow. By the way thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

  7. I could write a book about this… but I will spare you. The fact is many fall in to looking for the magic bullet to fix all their problems. They either wait or go with what appears to be the issue on the surface. Taking the time and the effort to look below the surface can reveal what you really need to know. Then there is the “forest for the trees syndrome. We sometimes need to step away from it to get a better perspective, that’s me. 🙂

    • Another book to write Susan??

      I know what you are say, however don’t you think it can be difficult to identify the cause of problems unless you have experience doing it? I know when I started in marketing I just didn’t know where to start, how to do it and how one issue can impact another.

      • I agree that experience makes a huge difference. I sometimes forget that when I am thinking about what you written… LOL. If you know who to ask and what to ask it can make all the difference and save SOOOO much time. The key is knowing who is a good resource (you for example). 🙂

        • Ha, I have mailed the $50 for the last part of your comment Susan 🙂 You forget probably because you have so much experience and skills. I agree about knowing who is a good resource and in some areas it is hard to tell, especially I find in the tech area as I am not that techie.

  8. This reminds of the old quote – “To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. That can especially be true in business, because we always fall back on what we know and what we’ve done before. However, as you’ve pointed out, this isn’t always the best solution!