Marketing – Nothing Works for Everyone

Ok, I’m going to have to explain that before I get cries of outrage. With marketing, there are general guidelines, and rules about what good marketing is. But there are no “systems” that can be applied to every business that will work without alteration or adaptation. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant, or not being completely honest with you. And I expect I’ll still hear cries of outrage over having said THAT!

Those who sell systems want you to think that there is some magic formula. There isn’t. Marketing always takes thought, individualization, and a certain degree of experimentation. Experience can greatly reduce the amount of trial and error, but cannot completely eliminate it. A high budget can also reduce the degree of trial and error, but again, cannot eliminate it. Marketing is always an elegant dance that is half skill, half intuitive art.

Marketing is also not simple. It CAN be learned, and it CAN be broken down into understandable bites. But there are always nuances, and flair that can only be learned with practice.

What the systems cannot do, that they imply they can, is to give you a “do this, get this” roadmap. There is no system that always works. The claims that the seller makes are meaningless – because a marketing plan that works for one business will utterly fail for another, and may not even work for an identical business! A successful marketing plan has to consider many factors, each of which is highly individual for the business in question, and which, combined, equal a combination of factors that no other business shares. This means marketing can never be absolutely quantified.

You’ll need to take many things into consideration:

  • Your product or service
  • Your average target market
  • Your own strengths and weaknesses
  • Your skills and knowledge
  • Your own preferences and business style
  • Your branding (existing or not)
  • Your long term goals and expectations
  • Your overall business plan
  • Your profit and price breakpoints
  • Your financial budget
  • Your available time
  • Your existing sphere of influence
  • Your existing customer base
  • Previous efforts
  • Existing performance data
  • Your available support and resource personnel (who can you turn to for help)
  • Condition of existing marketing assets

You can see, by the time you go over all that, no two businesses will be identical. And the strengths and limitations you will be functioning under will be highly individualized, and sometimes very personal. Marketing counsel which does not take those factors into consideration just won’t be effective – it will fail from the outset because it was not designed to work within the reality of your business.

Can I hand you a system to market your business successfully? No. Can I teach you to market? Yes. IF you are able and willing to learn, and IF you are willing to practice and adapt. Even after you learn the basics, you have to go on learning, because marketing changes some over time, your business and variables change over time, and society around you changes. Even when you are good at it, you still have to constantly adapt and learn.

So instead of looking for a system, look for help in learning the rules so you can develop your own system that works for your business. Our next blog post will cover more about what systems REALLY are, and how you develop one.

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