Business owners are frustrated

In presentations I have done on “Better Marketing = Bigger Sales,” I find small and medium business owners, whether business to business (b-to-b), consumer services, retail or professional services are all flummoxed by today’s rapidly changing marketing channels.They’re frustrated and confused.

They want to know if they should still be advertising in the yellow pages (no!), or the newspaper (maybe). They have a website but it’s static, or very out of date. They have this feeling they should be doing something about social but they don’t know what. And darn it, now everything needs to be mobile!

Audiences expect more

In most businesses, the sales process has changed. Customers have more choices–whether they’re searching for a CPA or doctor, contractor or new car. There’s more information out there so they can research, compare and test before they ever talk to a real person. In fact, statistics show business to business buyers are already 60% towards a decision before they make contact.

So it’s up to you … as the business owner, manager or marketing manager, to figure out who your audience is and what they really want from you.

Better marketing is about people

Here are a few of the points I make in my presentation. The world has changed. In fact one recent statement I read offered,

“The amount we advance in two years nowadays is the equivalent of a decade of evolution in the 1990s. Evolve quickly or die.”  — Aaron Aders, digital relevance

Frightening. No wonder so many struggling large and small businesses are confused, stressed, overwhelmed and wishing they knew what to do next.

Here’s where to start

You know it’s always easier to sell to someone who’s already looking for what you’re offering. But the burning question is …

If someone is looking for what you offer, where are they looking?

This is the biggest change, the crux of the shift in audience expectations, communication channels, and where you should be focusing your marketing efforts and budget. When you do, you’ll have better marketing and bigger sales.

You do it too, don’t you? You start online.

Google, with 70% of search engine traffic, is now in charge of your website and your online brand. No, not you, Google.

What Google serves up to people who are searching is where you need to focus your efforts. Your optimized online brand is now the center of your marketing program … or it should be. But it’s not in a silo, it must be integrated into other contact points with your company or offerings. Which brings up the next question:

If they find you, will they understand why they should choose you?

This is where there’s usually a gap, and an opportunity to leverage who you are, what you offer and the customers and clients that adore you. Why do they love you? Why do your current clients do business with you?

It’s not because you offer “quality” or “outstanding service.” After all, who would say “our quality is dismal” or “our service sucks”? There’s something that distinguishes you, that sets you apart, from all of those other choices.

Too many choices makes it hard to choose

Your audiences are evaluating, comparing, researching, questioning, looking for feedback and reviews … just plain scoring what you offer and how you present your goods and services compared to others in your category. Decisions, decisions. Choices and more choices.

audience perceptions, what do they want from you?

What do they want?

To figure it out, learn who your best customers are and why they buy from you. Frame up what you have to offer from their point of view. It’s not about the “stuff” … how it works, how big the company is, what color the box is or the fact you’ve been around for a while.

Recognize, distinguish and articulate “What’s in it for me?” from their point of view, not your own.

Next post, Part 2, WIIFM “What’s in it for me?”

I’ll touch on key areas we have found to help people find, recognize and want to engage with your company, products and services.

  • Surprise me! Stand out, be different, make me smile, show me something I didn’t expect.
  • Make it clear and obvious. What you do, what you offer, what I need to do next, how to find you.
  • Speak in MY terms. Provide what I’m looking for, where I’m looking and how I want to use the information.
  • Keep it simple and clear. Don’t make me think. Tell me how, where, when at a glance.

Meanwhile, we’re introducing our e-book, 10 Steps to Optimize Your Brand. It will give you as a marketer or business owner a foundation for planning better marketing for today’s world and today’s potential customers and clients, so you can generate  bigger sales.


You can also subscribe to our blog via email or RSS feed, so you won’t miss the next post about what your audiences are looking for … really. And how you can be sure they choose you when they find you.

Here are a few more posts and links you might find valuable.

Interested in talking further about connecting your online and offline brand and putting more power behind your marketing? Drop me an email or give me a call toll-free, 866.363.4433.

About The Author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer founded Creative Company with two partners in 1978 in Salem, Oregon. Her training as a graphic designer has guided the company's focus on brand persona founded in design and message, generating the brand optimization methodology. Award winning design, on point messaging and strategic positioning have generated response for clients since 1978.

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