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Avoid The Marketing Two-Step

Small business marketing seems to go one of a couple of ways. Here are two basic definitions of marketing. You can decide for yourself which one you’re using to try and market and grow your business.

  1. Marketing is the coordinated and systematic use of strategies and tactics to generate a consistent supply of high-quality leads for your small business.
  2. Marketing is a two-step process.

It’s a good bet that you’re using definition number two to try and take your own business to the next level. Sorry, you may like the first definition better. But, experience tells me that most small businesses are subscribing to definition number two.
If you are one of those businesses, I can almost guarantee that your results are not what you’d like them to be. They can’t be because the two-step marketing approach just doesn’t work.
Are You Doing The Marketing Two-Step?
Let’s back up for a minute. Just what the heck do I mean by saying “marketing is a two-step process” anyway?
You might remember back in the early 1990′s (early in my own work career) that country music was very popular. Names like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black were topping the charts. If these names don’t sound familiar to you, that’s ok, you’ll still get the point.
This popularity of country music introduced a whole generation of people to country dancing. One very well known type of country dancing is the Texas Two-Step. The Texas Two-Step is pretty easy to learn because… well there are really only two steps. God bless Texas for naming the dance so we’d all know what we’re doing.
Unfortunately, way too many small businesses are using a two-step process. It’s the most common approach to marketing across all industries. But incredibly, it’s the most ineffective, time-wasting, energy-wasting, and money-wasting approach available.
How Does The Two-Step Work (I mean NOT work)?
Pick a marketing tool, any marketing tool- an advertisement, a brochure, a direct mail piece, a web site, promotional email, etc. It doesn’t really matter the tool so much as it does the way most small businesses try to use it.
In the two-step process, the marketing tool simply announces the product or service being offered, list a few features (maybe even some benefits), sometimes makes a special introductory or discount offer, and then list the company contact information (usually phone number and/or web site). That’s step one.
Step two is that your prospects or existing clients get so out-of-their-mind excited that they contact your right away to either buy, or they at least ask for more information about it.
Have you ever seen an ad, brochure, direct mail piece, web site, or promotional email like this? Sure you have because everybody is doing it – and there in lies part of the problem.
Back in the early nineties, it seemed like everyone was doing the Texas Two-Step. So if you weren’t learning it, you were out of step. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.
Why Does Everyone Do It If It Does Not Work?
Most small business owners feel comfortable and safe doing what everyone else is doing. Part of the reasoning seems to be that ‘it must work or everybody else would not be doing it.’ But it doesn’t work. Everyone else is doing it because they’re simply looking to see what everyone else is doing.
It becomes a real vicious cycle of copying ineffective marketing ideas from everyone else. Don’t believe me? Try this little test.
Grab a handful of newspapers, business journals, chamber newsletters, and/or trade publications and scan the ads. Open up the yellow pages and scan the ads. Collect the direct mail pieces or brochures you come across in the next week. Visit a handful of your competitors’ web sites.
I’d be willing to bet that a majority of your research will reveal the company name used as the headline, a list of four or five service offerings, maybe a couple of benefit type statements or a special offer, and number to call for more information.
That’s following the ‘marketing is a two-step process’ definition. And chances are you’re following it as well. If you are, I feel confident in saying that you’re not happy with your marketing results. You simply can’t be because the two-step doesn’t work in marketing.
Make Your Marketing More Than A Two-Step Process.
What you need is a consistent, systematic approach to marketing. That means incorporating and combining the various pieces of your marketing strategies and tactics together for greater impact.
Focus on providing valuable, useful information and resources to your prospective clients that actually help them solve problems and achieve desired outcomes. Yes, I realize that is what you typically expect your clients to pay for. But, what you may not realize is that it is also the best way to attract new clients consistently.
Now realize that this is not simply offering to give away a portion of your products or services for fr~ee. That rarely works.
Allow me to illustrate with an example. Consider the difference between a two-step networking approach and a coordinated, systematic approach to networking. In a two-step approach, you go to an event and give out your card to as many people as you can meet urging them to call to “go to lunch” or “have coffee” sometime.
In a coordinated, systematic approach you go to an event and focus on making a few great connections. You ask other’s for their card and tell them that you have a recent article you’ve written that you’d love to send them. When you send the article, you let them know that if they like the information, they can download another special report off your web site when they subscribe to your fr~ee monthly ezine… I could go on, but I hope you’re beginning to see the difference.
Better Marketing Approach – Better Results.
If you’re not getting the results you crave from your current marketing approach, then it’s time to change your approach. Isn’t a popular definition of insanity ‘doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results?’ Keep doing the marketing two-step and you’ll keep getting the same disappointing results you’ve always gotten.
Don’t be fooled if one of your competitors or some other company you admire appears to be successful despite using the marketing two-step. There is most likely additional coordinated marketing activity going on that you’re simply not aware of.
Also, don’t be fooled by anyone trying to tell you that you just need to keep running your ads again and again so that you build up name recognition and brand awareness. The thought is that the repetitive exposure and awareness will build up so that eventually your target market will know you’re out there and business will start to happen. It’s a myth.
Trust me, it’s more than being persistent and putting your two-step message out there again and again that is keeping anyone from calling. You may get lucky from time to time and strike just when someone is looking for exactly what you offer, but your results won’t be consistent.
By having a coordinated, systematic approach to marketing you’re placing value on obtaining prospects. You’ll be able to generate a constant supply of high-quality leads that you can work on building up interest, credibility, and trust with until they’re ready to say ‘yes’ and begin a conversation about how you might be able to help.
That’s what an effective marketing approach can do for your business. Leave the two-step to dancing at country bars.

About the Author:
Kevin Dervin is the owner of KPD Marketing and creator of the ABCD Growth System. If you find this article useful, you’d probably enjoy Kevin’s FREE monthly eZine called ABCD Grow. To subscribe, just go to and follow one of the links to the FREE Stuff page!
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