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Remember the first sentence in the book Good to Great?  “Good is the enemy of great.”  The idea was you had to push past good to get to great; getting past the old “if it ain’t broke. . .don’t fix it. . .”

In today’s economy it might be said this way: convenience is the enemy of getting results from your marketing.  Okay, not nearly as catchy, but true.

The convenient marketing methods, the strategies we know, the things that have worked for us in the past, aren’t the solution.  Today people are in a fundamentally different place emotionally and, in some cases, financially as well.  This certainly changes why they buy and in some cases how the buy.  Have your marketing methods and message fundamentally changed too?  It’s not convenient.  It’s not comfortable.  But it just may well be necessary for you to move forward.

As a marketing consultant for small business I see companies  in this quandary: “We’ve tried what we know, so now what?!”  Actually, it’s rare when I’m invited in in any other circumstance.  I know, lucky me.

The first thing I do is talk to my clients customers.  I find out what’s going on in their world, how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking.  The first thing I have the client do is answer the following question: If you were starting your business today, fresh, what would that look like, what would you sell, who would you sell to and how would you sell?  Unencumbered by everything that you are literally and figuratively invested in, what type of company would you start?

Those things inform how the message ought to fundamentally change, how the  marketing methods ought to fundamentally change and if a client’s value proposition ought to fundamentally change.

My experience:

Most of the time the message needs to change.  After all, the reasons why people buy today have changed, so should your message.

Some of the time the marketing methods need to change.  Usually, methods need to be added.  It’s rare when I find a company maximizing its website traffic or conversion, and even rarer when they have a presence in the social media space.

Occasionally a client’s basic value proposition needs to change.  This is potentially the most painful since it requires you change, to some degree, who you are.

You can do this (talking to customers, answering the “what if you were starting your business today” question) or you can have someone like me lead you through it.  But you need to do it.  Convenient?  No.  Critical to your moving forward?  Yes.