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The Biggest Marketing Problem

by Stuart Ayling

Can you guess what it is?

- It's not having too much competition.
- It's not about money (or the lack thereof).
- And it's not about finding more clients.

No matter whether you're selling to small businesses or corporate clients, the biggest marketing problem is...not knowing what to say.

This isn't a matter of being shy. What I'm talking about are the vast numbers of businesses that aren't putting out the right message to attract more of the right sort of clients.

Even when we have a clear focus on who our audience is, too often we pay scant attention to the message we are giving them. We don't really understand what we should be saying, and thereby waste the opportunity to attract new clients.

How do we fix the problem?

Assuming we have selected the correct target audience (or market segment), we then need to consider the following. Ask, Listen, Verify.

Ask questions of our prospects (ideal clients) to discover:

* What their problems are.
* Where they feel the pain.
* The language they use to describe their situation.
* The places they look to seek solutions for their problems.

Listen to what they are saying. Take in the meaning of their words.

* Don't assume you know what they think.
* Don't put your own interpretation on what they say.
* Use empathy to understand their situation.

Verify what you have heard.

* Double-check meanings and terminology.
* Repeat your understanding of what they have said, just to make sure.
* Ask enough people so that you get an accurate cross-section of viewpoints.

You can do this by using:

- A specific survey (e.g. over the phone)
- Asking questions during personal sales calls
- Researching industry information
- Reviewing previous client comments/complaints, or
- Asking for feedback via your website or newsletter.

When you get the right message to the right audience, your prospects will understand the value you offer and raise their hand to say, "Tell me more!" That's the Holy Grail we seek.

Stuart Ayling runs Marketing Nous, an Australasian marketing consultancy that specialises in marketing for service businesses. He helps clients to improve their marketing tactics, attract more clients, and increase revenue. For additional marketing resources, including Stuart's popular monthly newsletter, visit his website at


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Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018 03:32 AM


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