Why Your Marketing Sucks and What to do About It

Traditional marketing no longer works because people have stopped paying attention. They have better things to do than listening to you.

The old paradigm said, “Create safe products and combine them with great marketing.”

The new paradigm says, “Create remarkable products that the right people seek out.”

It’s understandable that mature companies become scared to innovate; to be daring and therefore, remarkable. But the only way to reach new customers in today’s connection economy is to be just that. Remarkable.

It ultimately comes down to creating things worth talking about. It means doing things that may not work and being OK with that.


The thing you make isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s for almost no one.

“If we could only have one percent of the XYZ market, we’d be set!”

I’ve heard this kind of phrase a hundred times. It’s an easy thing to say; much like, “If we won the lottery, we’d be set.”

The trouble is, it misses the point and it’s part of the reason your marketing sucks. The thing that you do; the stuff you make – it’s only for a tiny percentage of the market. Even if you think it’s for the mass market, you still won’t get far with that approach. You might reach the broader market later, but first, you must serve a particular type of person in a specific niche – an ‘ideal client’ avatar.

Effective marketing understands its audience – its tribe. It says, “People like us, behave like this. People like us, think this way.”

It engages them at an emotional level, and it leads them towards something that’s remarkable.

It never appeals to everyone because then it would appeal to no one.

It takes risks; it operates on a different frequency to the noise out there because it knows it’s safer to be risky than it is to be invisible.

Ultimately, you win business by being different, by being remarkable.


Attention is the New Currency.

In today’s connection economy, every business – EVERY business – is first and foremost, a media company. Everything else falls in line behind that.

  • Prospects don’t want to be sold.
  • They don’t read your ads (unless they speak to them at an emotional level or solve a real and pressing problem).
  • They don’t care about your mission statement.
  • They’re not interested in your goals.

No one cares what you have to say unless it benefits them NOW.

People want value well before they’ll consider talking to you. They want social proof that you’re even worth talking to. They want evidence that you’re worthy of their time.

When you understand this, you get in front of your audience, where they are. It might be LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. It might be a trade event or an industry group. The point is, you show up and offer value instead of yelling at them from afar.

SEO and marketing were very different beasts for years. Today, the lines have become blurred to the point where both are now effectively, Content Marketing.

Content Marketing is the practice of behaving like a media company – producing high-quality content on a regular cycle that’s targeted at your particular niche. It’s about getting the attention of a growing list of followers. When you have enough attention, it becomes a whole lot easier to say to them, “Look what we made just for you.”

Trade in people’s attention first, and products/services second. Then back it up with products and services that amaze and delight.

Here’s what matters:

  1. People don’t trust sellers. They want social proof FIRST.
  2. Everyone expects value BEFORE they’ll talk to you.
  3. A business that knows its tribe will be actively sought out.
  4. Invisible (or vanilla) is risky. Most people’s version of ‘risky’ is actually safer (because it has a better chance of cutting through the noise).
  5. People don’t care about your business. They care about their own business, their own problems, and their own goals.

What social media and social proof have done is bring back traditional business values and stick a Saturn 5 rocket under them. Traditional marketing in the B2B space is gasping its last breath. Smoke and mirrors and hollow platitudes don’t work anymore. People can see through the bullsh*t with a few taps on their phone.

The world has come full circle, where businesses who understand their ‘tribe’; who serve them effectively and deliver value before and during the relationship – are the ones who win.

If you don’t understand the gravity of this shift or you think it doesn’t apply to your business, you will lose.

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