Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Time for a marketing expert? Or live with the symptoms?

Diagnosis needed?

Sometimes it’s easier to ignore a problem. Take a pill for a toothache instead of visit the dentist. Ice a swollen ankle—maybe it will improve—rather than see a doctor. But when we cope instead of cure, more damage can be done.

A few years ago I slipped on loose gravel and fell. It hurt, a lot. But when I stood up I could walk, so I figured it was okay. Besides, I had broken that foot earlier. How could I have done it again?

I then walked on a very swollen, painful, purple ankle for a week before finally getting it checked out. It turned out it was broken in two places! The doctor didn’t let me walk out after my visit, even though I walked in. I spent the next 8 weeks in a cast.

What would have happened if I had just continued to hope it would get better? I don’t want to think about it.

marketing expert neededIs your marketing limping? Maybe broken?

So much has changed in the last decade, it’s easy to stumble over new technologies and changing audience expectations.

What used to work fine just doesn’t get the results any more. Or perhaps you feel as if you just got a handle on getting visibility on social media, then Facebook or LinkedIn changes their format … or algorithm .. or suppresses page views.

There’s the disruption and challenge of constantly changing technologies. The confusion over social media–which channel, what works, or is it a waste of time? The latest Google search changes. Then just the overwhelm of trying to keep up while running your business.

Just one example: Each quarter I present workshops at the Small Business Development Center in Salem, Oregon on marketing and social media. And each time I have to refresh and update my presentation for the latest features, the newest audience numbers, the best practices for getting results based on all those new features and audiences. It’s sooooo frustrating!

Where are you in pain?

So how do you know when your marketing isn’t working as it should? Where do you feel the pain? Perhaps it’s time to bring in an expert (someone who keeps up with what’s new, what’s working, what’s not working any more) to offer a professional diagnosis.

Common symptoms of marketing malaise:
  • Shrinking sales numbers
  • Fewer inquiries
  • Low website traffic
  • Sales teams complaining about “tire kickers” at trade shows
  • A lack of qualified leads
  • Frequent questions about what you offer

Perhaps your target audiences are confused about the value you provide, or how to choose the right option. Do they default to comparing prices with your competition?

Are you medicating the problem with the latest “pill”—trying social media? Did you redesign the website to make it look better? Are you considering a new logo? Or introducing new products? The quick fix could make a difference. But more likely it’s a short-term BandAid, wasting time and precious resources instead of actually fixing what’s broken.

When I was limping around refusing to believe my ankle was broken, my friends asked me, “when did you get your medical degree?”

It’s time to talk to a marketing expert.

The challenge with today’s marketing is choosing which strategy to carry out, which audiences to reach and which communication channels will connect with your specific target audiences.

Your online brand is now the heart of your marketing. (Just ask any marketing expert.) Your digital footprint–website, social media presence, even emails all build visibility … where people are looking.

Yet if you’ ve been in business for a while, you may find analytics and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) mysterious. Or you’ve heard of “content marketing” but don’t know if it will work for you. (And what is content marketing, anyway?)

You don’t have the time, knowledge or experience to diagnose and treat your marketing malaise. Nor do you have time to do the research and learn the latest tactics and strategies, even if you have marketing training or experience from the past. Things are different. Very different.

And darn it, they will keep changing.

Start with listing your symptoms.

List the symptoms you see: what has changed in your market? New competition? Slow sales? Too many “tire kickers” just asking for information? Competition nipping at your heels?

Then get a diagnosis from a marketing expert, someone objective who is experienced with traditional and digital strategies. You know your industry and your offerings, but a marketing expert brings a broader viewpoint of audiences, communication channels, positioning, and today’s effective tactics to the checkup.

A marketing expert will want to know … 

  • What’s your position in the market? What are you known for? What do you want to be known for?
  • Who are your best target audiences? What other choices do they have? How do they choose?
  • What makes what you offer better than the other choices?
  • Have you defined “what’s in it for me?” from the target audiences’ point of view?
  • What marketing tools and strategies are you using? What’s working? Which aren’t?
  • Do your offline and online brand (traditional and digital technologies) line up and reinforce the same positioning, message and identity?
  • What are the goals for your organization? Are looking at new markets? Addressing younger audiences who communicate differently?

Perhaps an hour or two of consultation will diagnose critical areas which are hurting your results. Or choose a full physical for your program—a brand audit is a report on the health of your marketing strategies and brand.

We can offer consultation and review, or a full audit with a written report of recommendations. If you don’t have the answers to the list of questions above, use our resources below. We can also work with you to define your position in the market, profile your target audiences and choose the best strategies to reach them.

Download our worksheets or read more about our services:

When you’re ready to bring in a marketing expert, contact me. I’ll review the symptoms, diagnose your current program and then prescribe the most effective strategy for restoring the health of your brand.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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