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When Marketing is Burning Cash

blog blogpost marketing messaging roi strategy Apr 24, 2024

There’s a term in healthcare called “referred pain.” It’s what you experience when you have an injury in one area of your body but feel pain elsewhere. In short, the symptom and the cause exist separately.

This might be the best description I’ve come across for most business owners’ marketing problems.

We’re not a marketing agency, yet many of our clients come to us because their marketing seems to be stalled–or worse, burning cash.

You might be spending on employees, agencies, or campaigns, but nothing yields any ROI.

If that’s what you’re experiencing, I think you’re experiencing a case of referred pain. Your stuck marketing is just a symptom. The root cause is one layer deeper, likely in your value proposition or how you’re really perceived by your market. Today, we’re digging into how to diagnose the cause of your marketing pain so you can cure it once and for all.

Understanding the Core Issue: Marketing Misfires

After enough strikeouts, you feel like your marketing efforts are akin to shooting arrows blindfolded. You've tried various tactics—online ads, direct mail, billboards, SEO—yet the bullseye remains elusive. This isn't just frustrating; it's costly. 

As someone who helps owners fix this problem, I’ve found this rule helpful: If everything you’ve tried doesn’t work, it might not be about the direct actions you’re taking.

Don’t fall prey to believing individual tactics hold the key. When you prioritize tactics over strategy, you throw money at the latest marketing buzzwords and trends without much to show for it. It feels like you might as well set your hard-earned cash ablaze. 

So, if you feel like…

  • You’re thoroughly disappointed with a lack of results
  • You’re unsure what you could even try next
  • You’re constantly frustrated with your marketing agency

It’s time to look at your value proposition. That’s where the diagnosis starts. Everything else is just a symptom. 

Where to Diagnose Your Marketing Problems

When everything marketing has stalled out, we need to return to your business's heartbeat: your value proposition. You need to revisit questions like

  • Who is our best customer? (not just your biggest)
  • What are their biggest problems?
  • What ROI can we generate (and demonstrate) for them by fixing it?
  • Is our offer correctly packaged for their need and their resources?
  • Is our messaging laser-focused on their experience?
  • Are we showing value in an effective, realistic way?

I’ve met countless owners who lose sight of their ideal client as the main character in their marketing. It’s too easy to focus so much on marketing that we lose sight of being marketable. You have to have something people want for marketing to work.

This takes work, but getting your value prop right is a critical investment of time and resources.

Aligning Your Messaging

Once you thoroughly understand your audience, the next step is to craft messages that speak directly to their needs. Sharpen, sharpen, sharpen. 

Great messaging aims to hold up a mirror in which your ideal client sees themselves. It’s not just that you serve people like them; it’s that you understand them. You can grasp their experience, and you’ve built something they really, really want.

This also means your messaging has to focus on outcomes rather than features. It’s tempting to talk about what you sell, but that’s a mirror for you, not them. 

Focus on the ROI Story, we like to say. When they buy from you, what changes in their world? 

  • How do you affect their financial ROI? 
  • Or maybe it’s an ROI of time (which is also money). 
  • Or you could save them a lot of hassle.

Great messaging is 100% focused on the transformation your offer makes and the problems it solves.

Aligning Message, Target, and Channel

Armed with a razor-sharp view of your ideal customer and messaging that resonates with them, we now focus on marketing channels–or “tactics."

It starts with simple questions, like:

  • Where does your ideal customer research their challenges?
  • Where do they make purchasing decisions?
  • Does a tactic or platform allow you to target your ideal audience directly?
  • What kind of content performs best on a platform? Can we create it?
  • How do we give clear calls to action that nurture lead interest?

As you can see, this is where we get to build a strategy based on your best value proposition truly. We’ve come full circle, but you’re fully aligned with a brand your ideal customer cares about. 

Marketing will still require continuous optimization, but an aligned strategy will also result in much faster traction and ROI.

Getting Off the Revenue Plateau

If marketing has been a cost center and not a growth driver, Value Prop exists to help you intentionally and predictably grow your business. We specialize in helping owner led B2Bs with annual revenue between $2M and $20M who feel stuck in their growth.

So, before you fire and hire another marketing agency, schedule a 30-minute call with our team.

Our proprietary diagnostic tool will help you quickly identify what part of your business is clogging up your growth. Then, we’ll give you a plan to fix it and get new revenue flowing again.

There will be no lingering consultants taking six months to make a suggestion. This is for the owner who wants to get back to growing as soon as possible but knows another “tactic” isn’t the solution.

When you schedule a call, you’ll see precisely how our diagnostic process works, and you’ll be able to determine if it fits what you need to get unstuck.