Fear and Loathing of Marketing

When I talk to people about marketing, I hear a lot of people saying things like, they’re not good at it, it is overwhelming, they hate it. I get it. But then I dig a little deeper, and I’m told other reasons. People feel uncomfortable singing their own praises. There’s so much advice that it is confusing and overwhelming. What if my plan fails? Related to this if my plan fails, I just wasted my time and money. There’s so much to do that I don’t know where to start. Let’s look at these concerns:

  1. I feel uncomfortable tooting my own horn,
  2. So much advice,
  3. What if I fail?
  4. Don’t know where to start.

I feel uncomfortable tooting my own horn

A big one is that people don’t feel comfortable tooting their own horn. 

I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t either. 

I don’t have low self-esteem (I’m actually quite proud of my accomplishments). I have, though, absorbed some cultural values where I shouldn’t call attention to myself. I still do it. I’m doing it now. But my barriers are from culture. You may have similar cultural values, where your work should speak for itself or you’re bragging (and bragging is bad) if you call attention to your accomplishments and your skills.

You may have other reasons for not liking to sing your own praises. 

Maybe, you’re not confident about yourself. 

Perhaps, you haven’t thought a lot about it to know why you’re uncomfortable. 

The reason for your being uncomfortable may not be what’s important. For most people knowing the reason may not lead to their feeling more comfortable. 

What will help for most people is just practicing. The more that you can clearly articulate what you’re good at, what you offer, and what you’re all about, the more comfortable you will become in being able to do it.

So much advice

Yeah. There is a lot of advice in blogs, in books, on webinars, etc. Sometimes, it seems like if you don’t do all of it then you will fail. Worse yet, there is advice that is contradictory. I’m going to let you in on a secret. 

There are many ways to market your product or service. There are many tactics that you can use.

If you try one way and it’s not working, then you can try another way. What you should do is have a plan with a concrete goal that you can track, so that you know if your marketing efforts are working or not.

Those of us who are sole proprietors, creative entrepreneus, and freelancers – we don’t have the same kind of resources that big companies have. But in some ways we have more freedom than those companies. We can change our marketing campaigns more easily than they can. We can respond to customer feedback quicker and with more proximity to our customers than they can. We can afford to go into places that they can’t – like niche marketing. They’re too big. 

We aren’t small. We are nimble. Our flexibility is our strength.

Because we are more flexible, that means that we can think outside of the box for marketing. 

This leads me to my point about marketing advice:  

There is no ONE magical formula for success. 

There are many ways to market your product or service.

The key is having a foundation on the mechanics of marketing so that you can optimally take advantage of our flexibility. This is why I don’t just give advice. I also teach the mechanics of marketing to my clients and share those marketing mechanics with my readers.  

But what if my plan fails

Your marketing plan didn’t failIt just didn’t have the expected outcome.

Let’s unpack that.

Your marketing plan is made up of four parts. The strategy. The tactics. Implementing the tactics. The result.

The strategy is why you’re using the tactic you’re going to be using. 

For example, your goal is to get name recognition (aka brand awareness) because people can’t buy your products or service if they don’t know you exist. Your plan involves getting your name in front of potential customers. Let’s say that you are using social media for that. You’d measure your success based on reach, or how many people saw your post. You’d also look at engagement, of those people who saw your post, how many people responded to it. That will give you a feel for how you did on that post regarding name recognition.

If your marketing plan is to get traffic to your websites, then you would look at the post to see how many click-throughs you got if you’re on Facebook. You’d also look at your websites analytics to see from where your traffic was originating: social media platforms, search keywords, et cetera. 

For either case, you’d want to look at what the average is for a comparable business like you. The fewer followers you have the more engagement you can expect[1]. 

You also want to look at your metrics (the numbers for your engagement, traffic, click-throughs, etc) over time. When do you get the highest? Is it going up? Up and down?

From that you can get a feel for why certain posts and certain efforts get the intended attention. Getting more than a feel would require a full analysis. A how-to on this is worthy of a mini-ecourse.

If you’re not getting the results you want (not enough attention or reach), then look to posts of companies in your industry who do. What are they doing differently? How can you replicate it? When you try, what results do you get?

Not only can you track the success of your marketing efforts, you can use those marketing efforts for marketing research.

I just wasted time and money

This is closely related to the above. If you get unexpected results, call it market research. The postmortem will give you insight into your market and will give you the information to update your marketing plan.

Don’t know where to start

There’s no magical place to start. 

Really, there isn’t. 

You can start as soon as you get an idea that you to start a business and feel your way to creating your brand. You can have an established brand and want to rebrand it, because you and your business has evolved. You can also plan your marketing strategy before launching your business. Maybe, you have been in business for a while, have had no plan, and would like to have one to help with increased sales.  That’s a perfect place to start. 

No matter where you are, you can create marketing plan. 

Why do we fear and loath marketing?

Why do many of us fear and loath marketing?

It’s the anxiety and fear of thinking that you don’t know what you’re doing and that you can’t possibly ever know. 

The truth is, everyone can do this. No. Really. You can. How do I know this? Because I’ve helped people with their branding and marketing strategy. When I do consulting, I don’t just give you a plan, I also teach you about marketing. 

That’s why I write about marketing, teach in venues like webinars, and have clients. I want to help you create your own marketing strategy. I want to take the fear and loathing out of marketing. 

Even if you hire someone to create and implement your marketing plan, I think you should still understand what you’re paying for. I think that this is especially important for those of us who are entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, freelancers, and indie creatives. We don’t have the luxury of having an army of people dedicated to being our marketing team. We are the ones who sell our products and services, hand out fliers, talk to customers, and a million other ways that we market our business. It is a necessity that we understand our marketing plan, so that in our daily business activities we can execute that plan.

I love marketing. Let me help you love it too!

Originally Posted on michelleraabwrites.com on July 13, 2019.   

©2020 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved. 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

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Published by Michelle Raab

Branding&Marketing Strategist for the Quirky and Creative Entrepreneurs | Research Psychologist | Writer | Photographer | Dabbler in the Visual Arts

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