Marketing is simpler than many people like me will tell you it is. Fundamentally, there are only a few dials you can turn. They’re simpler than you think they ought to be. And harder to get right than simple things should be. But if the solution you’re considering isn’t focused on turning one or more of these dials, save your money-

Dial #1 Are you reaching the RIGHT people? When I ask a new client to think about their ideal customer they can generally give me a detailed description; size, pain points, title of decision-maker, even temperament. Yet these typically don’t line up well with their message and marketing methods. Because over the years they’ve broadened their marketing to attract this segment over here or appeal to that group over there. And pretty soon, they don’t appeal to anyone. Worry about the RIGHT people, not all people.

Dial #2 Are you reaching ENOUGH of the RIGHT people? At the DNA level of marketing, it’s a numbers game. If that new marketing campaign is only attracting 10 of the right people each month (out of the few hundred it’s bringing in), you’re a long way from your first sale. Do the math. Let’s say you convert 5% of visitors into prospects (pretty decent conversion rate) and 25% of prospects into a customer. That’s eight months before the 25% of your 5% of your 10 right people a month equal your first new customer. And probably long after you’ve given up.

Dial #3 Are you reaching them ENOUGH TIMES? You’ve heard this before, but probably without this twist. Things change in your prospects’ lives. What you sell may be perfect for me, but today I lost my national sales manager, so today I ignore you. But what about next month, maybe next month I’ll respond to your offer. Unless you don’t contact me next month, that is.

The twist is many media reps will tell you you need to advertise for X months before people start responding. Not true. It may take you, let’s say, 4 months, before your ad breaks even, but an ad that doesn’t produce anything for three months isn’t going to suddenly start producing in month four. You should see a trickle early. Improve your odds by contacting people often.

Dial #4 Is your message clear and consistent? When I ask a new client what makes them unique they can tell me. When I ask them to show me in their marketing they generally point to a list of bullet points. “See, it’s right there.” Unfortunately, it’s bullet #2 of seven. It should be at the beginning, middle, and end of everything. If you ask someone to glance through your website or a brochure it should strike them as a bit redundant. Redundant with what makes you unique.

Don’t get caught up in overly specific or technical marketing solutions. It’s simpler than you think it ought to be. And harder. So remember these four ways to adjust your marketing.