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The 2 Foundational Marketing Mistakes Blocking Your Growth

blogpost marketing sales value proposition May 13, 2021

Few things create more urgency (or frustration) than fighting to grow your business...and not seeing the results you want. And for most owners who find themselves in this situation, the general strategy they first try is this: doubling down on their sales and marketing.

And yet, despite many well-intentioned hours and a well-reasoned budget, they’re left with disappointing results. Why? Because underneath all of that sales and marketing activity is a hidden “achilles heel” that undermines their success...

Want to know what it is?

It’s that they build their whole marketing and sales strategy on a faulty foundation. One that focuses more on their competition than their customers, and on brute force rather than meaningful differentiation.

That’s what we’re here to help you begin to fix today so you can reignite the revenue growth your business needs.

Marketing Mistake 1: Building Your Marketing Ideas Around Your Competition

Let’s start by addressing a common fumble. When building your marketing strategy, especially in highly competitive markets, do not start by looking at your competitors.

It’s understandable—especially if you feel like you’re falling behind. You want to know what other people are doing to figure out where you really stand! And yes, it is important to learn from what others are doing, what’s working and what’s not, etc.

But looking at your competitors is the wrong place to start. Because marketing isn’t about your competitors—it’s about connecting with your customers.

An effective marketing strategy always begins with knowing your customer and how you can best serve them. At the end of the day, it doesn’t do you much good to be “just like your competitors”, especially when your competitors may be missing important opportunities.

It’s like cheating off your neighbor’s homework without being sure they’ve even got the right answers.

The starting point for your success is alignment with your customer. If you can lock in on a crystal clear understanding of your ideal customer and how you can best serve them, your marketing strategy is most of the way there already.

Creating Unique Connection with Your Customers

Maybe the name of my business gave it away, but I’m particularly passionate about value props. In my years of coaching business owners, I’ve found the best value props to be built on two simple questions:

  • What do we do that’s actually unique?
  • Who does that uniqueness matter to?

I’ve written about this before so I won’t hash it out all over again, but you need a differentiated value proposition to drive your marketing and sales. You can’t build your value prop on claims that any of your competitors could make.

I like to call this the “equally credible claim”. Something that makes you genuinely memorable in a way that matters to your ideal customer.

About that ideal customer… Your unique value prop has to matter to your ideal customer. All the unique ideas in the world don’t matter if they don’t resonate with the person you most want to buy from you.

How do you know if you’re missing the mark? You’re constantly fielding inquiries from the wrong kind of customer—the one who isn’t interested in what you really do best.

Lock in on that ideal customer, and craft a unique value proposition that matters to them, and them only.

Marketing Mistake 2: Competing Harder, Not Smarter

Now that we’ve got your head on your shoulders regarding your own alignment with your customers, we can take a look at your competition.

There’s a principle behind the most successful businesses - they find the opportunity that their competitors are missing. They’re not out to simply imitate their competitors. They’re out to surpass them.

It’s like the Golden State Warriors maximizing the 3-point shot when dunks filled the highlights. Or Amazon seeing the convenience of the early internet when the world’s assumption was retail.

Now, you might not be Jeff Bezos, but you can apply the same principles to beat your competition too. It’s all about finding even the smallest ways to create daylight between you and your competitors.

Find Your Edge, Don’t Break Your Budget

Let me acknowledge one principle first - it takes money to make money. I’m NOT suggesting you should be stingy with your growth plan. Don’t be afraid to invest in your future - it’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life!

That being said, more money in itself is not really a good answer. Differentiation is.

The problem? Most business owners seem to don’t quite understand how to discover and heavily leverage their differentiation. Some of us think we need an idea that puts us miles ahead of the competition (we don’t), and because we never really find it, we never actually pull ahead.

You don’t need to wait on an industry-altering, paradigm-shifting revelation to set your business apart. Just like an Olympic sprinter, you don’t have to win the race by a mile - just by a second. And you still win 100% of the gold.

Focus Heavily On Your Clients’ Wants & Needs

Now, how can you “find” your differentiation? Sometimes you need to create it, but I generally recommend that you start with what you’re already doing—because chances are you’re already sitting on something that can give you a competitive edge.

So whether it’s dusting off something you already do well and shining the spotlight on it—or developing an opportunity you see in your space to show off—it’s all about doing something that matters to your customer, and doing it uniquely well.

Start your exploration with a few questions like:

  • Demonstrate Value: Does our service or product produce uniquely valuable, verifiable results? Especially if you are in B2B, can you demonstrate tangible ROI?
  • Overcome Industry Pain Points: Are there any pain points that have a reputation in your industry? How can you fix them for your prospects?
  • Exceeding Delivery Expectations: Are there any creative ways that you can deliver a surprising experience in how you deliver your offer? Unique packaging? Meaningful personalization? Over-delivering on timeline? Resources to support successful usage?

When You Are Tired of the Revenue Plateau…

At Value Prop, we work with B2B business owners who are tired of their revenue plateau and are ready to find out what's wrong, get it right, and jump start their revenue growth. If that’s you, let’s sit down and take a look at your marketing and sales.

We’ll help you clearly diagnose places your business is missing out on revenue growth with our proprietary Revenue Throughput System. In a world full of empty-promise consultants, you’ve probably never seen something as clear, confident, and successful as our system.

Want to see it for yourself? Check it out here and join an upcoming demo to see it in action.