Magic Marketing: Setting Expectations
You're standing on platform 9 3/4 and full of confidence that you're about to jump on the magical train all the way to being rich beyond your wildest dreams. You are so filled with excitement and hope but there is nothing to do but wait. And wait. And wait some more. The fact is, that train is never coming and Harry Potter doesn't pick up hitchhikers.
This is the magical world of marketing. It's always surprising how many business owners request a consultation looking for the person who has "cracked the code" to getting more clients and customers. It's a common mindset that believes there is a certain algorithm or a magic button they can punch to launch their business up to Jeff Bezos status. I'm sorry to disappoint, but that's not how marketing works. There is no magic button or numbers game you can play that bypasses years of hard work.
Marketing is multilayered and complicated. Not even a degree in business management or marketing will guarantee success or increase of profits. If there was one right way to do things then the largest businesses in the world would not need huge teams of marketing strategists. Google, the leading way people search for services, employs over 500 people as sales representatives alone. Their marketing division is made up of event planners, designers, statisticians and analysts. No matter what the size of the company, a marketing team drives the business forward.
Facebook is one of many marketing tools that banks on telling you what you want to hear and not what you need to know. Their ad services offer target marketing to whoever you are trying to show your content to. You can specifically target small business owners, which sounds great for a b2b business model. What they won't tell you is that it depends on those business owners having a profile that lists their ownership. You could also being targeting business owners by demographics, but what does a business owner look like? Black, White, Asian, Mexican, Native American, Inuit, etc. They like golf, baseball, skiing, yoga, beer, champagne, throwing axes, eating contests, relaxing on a yacht, relaxing on a sofa, etc. The fact is, business owners are just as varied as all people.
Damn It, Jim. I'm a Psychologist, Not a Mathematician!
While we are breaking down myths, let's talk about the role of a marketing professional. In my personal experience, none of the hundreds of marketing and design courses I have been through have been as valuable as when I took one semester in social psychology. At the core of marketing is not math, it's psychology. Understanding people is what design and campaigns depend on. Colors, shapes, expressions, timing and so much more go into consideration with each piece of marketing because they all affect people differently. Creating a brand identity that has a positive attachment to communities is pivotal in your success. Even though we know what is at the core of marketing, we still can not predict what people are going to respond to in a positive way. People are unpredictable and their lives are
influenced by an incredible amount of factors: location, finances, relationships, political climate, actual climate, community, time of day, day of the year, etc. This is why it is important to stay consistent with your branding year round. Having someone who continually posts on your social media and keeps your website up to date is a huge help in the long run.
"Get results!" Beware of that phrase. If someone tries to pitch their marketing services and say they will get you results, do yourself a favor and run away as fast as you can. Results can be 1000 clients or 0. It's a slick Jedi mind trick to play to what you want to hear. There are also those who you can pay for immediate leads. You have no idea who these people are, if they actually need your services or if it's a good day to call. You're just as well off to save your money, open a phonebook (yes, they still publish them) and call a random number on the page. Don't pay someone else to randomly pick names for you to cold call. Your money is much better spent elsewhere like building a name for yourself so that when someone does need your services, they know exactly who to call. Don't fall for the rabbit in hat trick. That bunny was already in the hat.
In closing, it's great to know what you want. Your plan to get to those goals has to be realistic. Nobody reached a level of great success without working hard and being consistent. It takes discipline and dedication. There is no marketing cure-all tonic in the world that will bypass that. Marketing isn't magic in the process, but the rewards of all that work is where the real wonders are.