The Hard Truth About Why You’re Bad At Marketing

The hard truth is that the various marketing channels we see today (social media, push notifications, emails, traditional marketing, paid digital ads and so much more) are getting noisier and noisier.

As marketers, we are creating an intolerable environment where the consumer has a shorter attention span and is becoming more and more tone deaf to the messages we spend small fortunes on.

We have seen countless marketing tactics come and go over the years from scare tactics to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), to bandwagon marketing where 9 out of 10 marketers agree that no one buys into it, and many more that I don’t care to admit I’ve been a part of.

Many of you have taken a white glove service approach to set your company apart. Often times your target customer is not ready to be approached and we end up cramming information, offers, promotions and chat boxes down their throat until they suffocate and we want nothing to do with your company.

So how do we silence the noise? One word…Friction.

We have become masters of creating friction with our customers and inadvertently made the buying process a bit of a headache. This process needs to change and morph into a system where the goal is to reduce friction.

Friction point #1 is pricing. 

If you’ve ever worked in an industry that has a ‘quoted prices on the services’ relationship with customers, you can relate to what I’m about to say:

  • We have custom price packages and a la carte options.
  • We carefully tailor each package uniquely to the consumer’s needs.
  • We all think our company’s secret process or pricing is what our differentiator is.

The irony in the situation is that most companies with “custom pricing” give no reference to what a customer can expect to spend with their company.

When we ask clients what they charge for services they are not able to give us a direct answer. However, when we ask what their competitors charge, they are able to give us a ballpark figure. Why is it you can tell me what your competition charges but you can’t tell me what you charge?

This tactic is not making thing more difficult for your competition, it’s only creating more friction for the people you want buying your products and services. Without some level of transparency in your business, customers lack trust and will move on to the next company in hopes they will find an answer to their questions.

I’m realistic, I don’t expect you to have a full price sheet that covers every scenario on your website. But a general idea or range of what services cost supported by an example or two that give the customer a foundation to work from goes much further than you would think.

So the first step is easy. Stop making your customers guess what they can expect to spend with your company.

People are looking for solutions and you are offering barriers.

Industry Disruptors

You’ve heard the term but what does it mean and why should you care?

Innovators are people or companies that take a product and make it better than the previous version. Industry disruptors are different because they take the product and make it obsolete by offering a different way of thinking.

This shift in thinking allows for a low friction environment making it easier for and more convenient for people to do business with companies.

Think about it. Uber is a horrible idea.

I’m going to date myself here a bit, but growing up in the 1990s we were told not to get into cars with strangers. In the early 2000s, we were told not to meet random people from the internet. Then comes 2009. Uber comes along and says:

“Please pay us money to have a stranger from the internet come to your location and get in the car with them.” 

It sounds absurd. But they are disrupting the taxi industry and have been doing so for almost a decade now with no indication that they are slowing down. They thought differently and made a more convenient way for customers to catch a ride that contradicted everything we were taught growing up.

Gone are the days of standing on a New York sidewalk in the cold trying to wave down one of the thousands of yellow taxis driving down the street. Simply put, Uber found a way to reduce friction.

Chill…It’s just Netflix

Our family used to love going to Blockbuster Video every Friday night and picking up a couple VHS rentals and a pizza. The nostalgia of going into a movie rental store and picking up the box, flipping it over, and reading the synopsis on the back was something we looked forward to.

Netflix came into the market in 1997 with movies mailed to your front door. You never had to leave home. You simply log in to your account, queue up a list of movies and they would arrive in your mailbox a day or two later. Eventually, Netflix slowly abandoned this and went to a streaming service where you got all the movies and tv shows at the click of a button on your screen.

Blockbuster decided to take a firm position in the market and bank on the nostalgia factor. They believed Netflix would not last and people much preferred picking up the boxes in the store and reading the synopsis. As market share for Netflix grew, Blockbuster stores slowly began to shut their doors until 2013 when they shut down operations.

This is a prime case and example of how companies not only need to be aware of new players and ideas in the market but must adapt to them. Although I enjoyed going to the movie store, I hated the late fees, digging around for my member card, movies being out of stock, going out in bad weather, etc.

Netflix found a way to get customers an endless selection of movies for a very minimal fee. With more and more entertainment devices not having a DVD drive and streaming technology on the uprise, Netflix was able to take advantage of this and launch their company forward by providing a similar service in a completely different way. They made the movie renting experience obsolete by reducing friction and adapting to advances in technology.

We are seeing more and more industry disruptors across every market. For an industry disruptor to be successful, they have to have buy-in from their customers and continue to use their services. With the amount of friction we are creating for our customers, we are pushing them towards the disruptors and further away from us.

Begin the conversation with your team to identify how you can reduce friction in your process, or how you can disrupt the disruptors.

Join the conversation and share your ideas on how to reduce the noise at #MuteMarketing

And, if you’d like to learn more about social media marketing, download our Social Media Handbook for more great tips on how to contact your leads where they are (without intruding).