Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.

Hey friends! I am here to talk about what I like to call “bandaid marketing,”, which is something that I am hoping, by the time this episode is over, I convince you all not to do. So, because I work in marketing, I get to see a lot of the inner workings of businesses. I get to see from start to finish how their products are created, how their services are delivered, et cetera, et cetera.

And then we get to see how marketing can help increase the sales of their products and services. Here’s the problem though. Sometimes, as business owners, we have underlying situations that are a problematic piece of our product, business, service, et cetera. But that problem is festering and it’s keeping us and our marketing from being successful.

And so this is what happens. People will approach us and say, “Hey, we need some marketing,” thinking that their marketing is going to fix that problem. When in reality, they need to tackle the problem before they get to the marketing stage. 

So some examples: sometimes our services or products are not profitable and we need to figure out how to make them profitable. Sometimes, we can’t deliver them in the right way or on time, and that can create bad reviews or customer dissatisfaction. Sometimes, it just is simply that they’re not selling because we haven’t positioned things correctly. 

And marketing can fix some of these things. Like we can help create messaging around products or services, but sometimes, we can’t tell you how to price your item. We can’t tell you how to make it sell necessarily. If you haven’t identified the problem that your product or service is solving…if you haven’t identified that, we can help you. But if it doesn’t solve a problem, we’re not going to be able to help you. 

And so I know this is kind of a downer. I don’t want to be a downer, but I want to give you some solutions as to how you can make sure that you are not trying to use marketing as a band-aid. Because when you do use marketing as a band-aid, all you’re going to be doing is you’re going to be wasting your money. You’re going to be wasting your time and you’re going to be wasting your energy. You’re going to become super discouraged because your products aren’t selling more, even if you’re spending more money on your marketing. 

So I kind of separate my solutions into two categories: feedback and research. They kind of work hand in hand. So we’ll talk about all of them.

When it comes to feedback, you need to be able to have a continuous feedback loop on your product or service. If you don’t. There could be small changes that you could have made that you didn’t even know about because you’re too close to your product and your service. One of my favorite ways to get feedback is through a business coach.

Sometimes we’ll have prospects come to us and I actually will tell them, “Hey, it sounds like you need to go to a business coach first, iron out these problems, and then come back to us and we’ll help make you successful.” Because if you haven’t figured out profitability, if you haven’t figured out pricing, things like that, you’re not going to be able to be successful. Because we can market your product day and night, but if you’re not making money on it, you’re going to have a hard time staying afloat. Oftentimes a business coach can give you that outside perspective and help you think through the questions that you need to answer. 

The second type of feedback that I love is getting client feedback. If you already have a great product and service and you have had people who have bought it, ask those people what they liked about it, what they didn’t like about it, and how they have wanted it to be better. 

This can be hard to stomach sometimes, depending on the feedback that you get. But this is literally the best feedback that you can get because these people have bought your product and service. They have tried it out first. They’ve tried it out, they’ve tried it on for size, and then they will tell you how you can improve it for the next round of sales.

The third type of feedback that you could get is from testers. So if you have not launched your product or service, I would encourage you to find testers who can tell you what they like about it, what they don’t like about it, and even ask them if they would pay for it.

You may not like the answers that you get, and I’m sorry. But better to get answers that you don’t like during a testing phase so you can improve something, rather than creating a product and launching it and then finding out later that there were some defects. 

There’s a few caveats that I have for this testing. One, you need to make sure that the people are in your audience. And we’ll talk a little bit about audiences later, but make sure that they match the people who you want to sell this to. 

Also, make sure that you can get unbiased testers. Friends and family love us, and they want us to be successful. And so oftentimes, without even realizing it, they might sugarcoat their answers. For this testing phase, you want real raw answers so that you can make your product and services as best as possible. 

The second thing. So we talked about feedback and the need for feedback, but the other thing that you want to do is some research. Research your competition, figure out what they’re doing, what is working, and what is not working.

The other thing that I would recommend is take their marketing and show it to your testers, show it to your clients. Ask them what they like about it, what they don’t like about it. Obviously, you don’t want them to go shop the competition, but if they can tell you, “Hey, this resonates with me or this doesn’t resonate with me,” that’ll give you really creative ideas so that you can create your own marketing that works.

It’ll also tell you, hey, is this a price point that people will pay? Because if it is, then you kind of have an idea of where your pricing should be. Obviously, you also want to make sure that you’re differentiating yourself. What do YOU do differently? What makes YOU a better product? And that is also going to help you create a better product. It’ll help you create a better product and a better business. Obviously, we’re not going to copy our competitors at all, but it can be a launching point for inspiration of knowing what is working, what is not working, and how you can make it better. 

And then the second thing that you need to research, and I already mentioned this, is your audience. You need to know everything you can know about your audience. What are their demographics? What are their ages? What do they like to do in their free time?. What problem does your product solve for them? You need to know your audience in and out. One, because that should inform your testing group. But two, because then you’ll know who you’re marketing to.

If you can give your marketing agency this kind of information, one they’ll thank you forever. Two, they might help you expand it and kind of figure out even more idiosyncrasies about your audience, but that is going to help them know where to pour the energy and where to pour the time and money of your marketing to make sure that you are as successful as possible.

And by doing that, you’re also going to know, hey, this is the problem that I solve. This is how I can guide my audience to success. And then by doing so, you will be able to position yourself the right way. You’ll be able to do that naturally and then your marketing agency will also be able to help you.

So, like I mentioned, don’t do band-aid marketing. Figure out your problems before you pour your money, energy, and time into marketing. And once you do figure them out, your marketing is going to work so, so, so much better. I can promise and almost guarantee you that. 

I realized that this may have brought up some questions for you about your own business and perhaps even about your own product. If you need help sorting those things out, We know a lot of really great business coaches that I’d be happy to recommend you to. I might be able to help you with some preliminary conversations, but this isn’t our area of expertise. We can usually see the problems, but we don’t necessarily always know how to fix them. 

And that’s why I hire a business coach because I want to make sure that I have that outside perspective as well. So feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or need a business coach recommendation. But above all things, commit yourself to getting feedback on your product and commit yourself to doing research that will help support you and your efforts.