5 Steps to Fix Your Failing Marketing Strategy

Fix The Well, Not The Sink: Most business owners want to fix the tactical issue when it’s a strategy issue that is causing the problems. Please read this article carefully.

There’s a lot of change happening in the small business marketing world, and it’s not going to slow down. Ever.

I talk to many business owners who realize that single event lead generation and traditional tactics aren’t enough anymore. They know they have to be more effective, but they can’t pinpoint the issue. Usually, they’re focused on the small tactical things that are out-of-place to turn things around. Those would be easier to fix, but it’s never that easy. Instead, it’s a combination of strategy things that either don’t exist or don’t exist in the right way.

#1. Focus on and interview your ideal clients

The very first step in fixing a failing marketing strategy is to decide who matters. You must spend time narrowly defining what your ideal clients look like before proposing any more tactics aimed at lifting sales.


Begin by segmenting your client base between normal accounts and your most successful (profitable) accounts. Your best clients or most successful accounts have these two core characteristics: they are profitable and also talk about your business to others.

The secret here is to understand if there is a certain product, service, or even a problem they have that is the most profitable.

Here are the other characteristics you’re deep diving for once you have determined who those best clients are:

  • Demographics — Business2Business (B2B) demographics could be the type of industry, the job title of that individual, the years that a company has been in business, and/or revenue levels. Business2Consumer (B2C)the demographics could be age, sex, illness, income, and a particular area of town.
  • Psychographics — Understand where do they hang out, what do they read, what do they listen to, what do they search online, what makes them tick, what triggers them to go looking for a solution?
  • Behavior — What behavior do they exhibit that allows you to identify them? Do they belong to industry associations, tend to sponsor charitable events, read certain publications, attend educational events, care about their employees, hire professional services?


Now take a handful of those best customers, email or phone them asking for feedback on their experience with your organization, service or product. During this phase, you need to be “Oprah-like” and ask open-ended questions.

Some of the things you’re after is the PLACES your customers give their attention (eyes and ears) too, the LANGUAGE your customers use when describing why they buy from you, the WORDS and PHRASES your customers use when explaining what they value about what you do, and the DESCRIPTION of the perfect buying experience. You can’t get that by asking them to rate things from 1 to 10.

#2. Retarget your marketing message

The second step in fixing a failing marketing strategy is to speak to problems, before solutions. If you don’t take this step seriously, everything else you do in term of marketing will be far less effective.

When you’re taking the time to address the problems your ideal customers see and feel before offering your solution, there is little chance the marketing activities you’re implementing to attract and convert them won’t resonate.

Make a list of the problems you solve for ideal clients (See Step #1)

If you’re having a tough time thinking about your ideal client’s problems, think about the conversations you had leading up to your sales meeting, the things addressed in your client interview or hopefully, you’re a good note taker and can revisit those for some insight.

For example, a lot my firms prospective clients might say things like – I just want my phone to ring, I want to be on the first page of Google, I want more referrals, I want less marketing headaches, I want my website to generate leads, I feel like I’m wasting money on ineffective marketing, etc.

So my firm don’t sell strategic marketing consulting services or marketing plans or even consulting – all my ideal clients need to know about what we do is that:

  • We make the phone ring – end of story.
  • We get you on the first page of Google – end of story.
  • We make more referrals happen – end of story.
  • We make marketing headaches go away – end of story.
  • We make the website generate leads – end of story.
  • We make marketing dollars go to work – end of story.

Another example, a massage practice: They might have the best tables, oils, and most highly skilled therapist but all their customers seem to care about is that their pain and discomfort go away.

So that’s the promise they need to communicate, shout about and promote. The rest is an expectation – I mean doesn’t everyone in the massage business have highly skilled therapist.

That’s it – that’s how you retarget your massage so it’s no longer about you and your remarkable products and services and it’s all about your remarkable clients and the problems they want to be solved.

#3. Change how your ideal clients view your solution or business

Today your prospective clients conduct some form of research on products and services online, and that behavior shift decreases the need for you to simply provide information. Instead, they want someone who can now provide insight, shed light on problems (See Step #2), and in general be so resourceful that they can bring other world-class experts to the table.

In order to compete today, you must change the way in which you, your solution, and your organization are seen by prospective clients. To accomplish this, adopt the following one tip to be part of your strategy.

Publish Educational Content 

First and foremost you automatically change the context of how ideal clients view you, your organization and your solution when they find you as opposed the other way around. Today this is more about being found through educational content—and less about going out and hunting.

Start publishing and sharing useful content. You must find ways to get invited to speak in rooms filled with prospective clients, you must find ways to be found via search engines and you must find ways to be referred as an expert when people go searching for answers.

Your consistent participation on sites like Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook and industry specific sites can greatly aid in efforts to change the context of how ideal clients view what you do or what your solution does, and in effect render the competition irrelevant.

When you develop a reputation for being helpful, useful and relevant through publishing, and sharing information, then you get invited to places where you have the opportunity to sell.

#4. Work on your conversion

If you’ve taken to heart and over a period of time implemented step 1-3, you should no longer have to focus on leads, website traffic, followers, and likes. The highest priority at this point in your marketing strategy should be conversion.

When you can figure out how to get prospects to call you, visitors to your website and attendees to respond to your presentation, then your focus must be on converting that interest into business.

Map out a process approach for your sales. Literally write down the exact steps of what happens in a step 1, step 2, step 3 format, after your phone rings or your email bings.

#5. Stay strategically patient

One of the dirty little secrets of marketing is that more great marketing has fallen short due to impatience on the part of the marketer than for any other reason.

Every CEO, Business Owner, or marketer essentially wants to know the one thing they can do to get massive results, the magic pill they can take, the one bit of advice from an expert that will turn the ship around.

Truth is, marketing is mostly a bunch of hard work, done consistently.

However, there is one thing that you can do that works – want to know what that is?

Develop strategic patience

Every successful marketer has strategic patience. It takes a while for prospects to become aware of you and then trust you enough to buy, and if you change your marketing, media, and identity, you’re hard to trust. Success comes to those who begin with a plan, and have the strategic patience to move beyond the need for instant results.

The reason great marketing is so powerful in the first place is that it doesn’t manipulate, it persuades — it’s useful and educational information, presented in an accessible, interesting way.

Discovering that takes strategic patience.

Your resourceful website might not do the job. Your aggressive LinkedIn participation might not deliver as well. But your website and social media participation, combined with your telephone follow-up, email newsletter, speaking, advertising, publicity, and patience get the job done very nicely.

It’s your strategic patience that wins the award for the profits generated by your marketing