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Blind Faith: Marketing Failures | Business

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Blind Faith: Marketing Failures
Blind Faith: Marketing Failures

If you can...learn from my mistakes.

At what point do you call a marketing effort a mistake and move on? What measurements do you use? My lesson is to be aware of becoming too emotionally attached to a marketing effort to the point you are blinded to the reality of poor results.

In my case, I joined an organization that I really felt a connection with. The people and mission of supporting and growing business were great. I attended 95% of the monthly events including special educational sessions. Since I have no problem networking, I was able to meet virtually every member, staff, and all the directors. It is safe to say that within the membership, if people did not know me by sight, they knew my name. In addition to regular meetings, I volunteered for committees and helped out at any event when asked.

From my point of view, it is not enough to just show up; you have to be active and support the other businesses. Whenever possible I would purchase goods and services from my fellow members. These purchases totaled over $3500 in the last year. Even when I was not totally satisfied with the quality or product purchased, I just moved on and continued to support the organization.

My marketing goal, with respect to my involvement, was not to necessarily sell my insurance products to fellow members. My goal was to be known as a trustworthy fellow that the members would be comfortable referring their friends and business associates to. While I believe I met the trust factor, no leads or referrals were forth coming. From start to finish, not one of the members purchased anything from me or offered any referrals.

For better or worse, I am not a ‘hard sell’ type of guy. I always wear a name badge that gives my profession as a Health and Life Insurance agent. People can read what I do and if they want to ask questions or engage in the insurance topic, great. But I never lead an introduction with an elevator speech. Folks recoil from the phrase ‘insurance salesman’ and I don’t want to add to their angst while having a pleasant evening networking.

When my membership renewal came due I had to give serious pause to my involvement. I had developed a deep connection to the organization and had made many good friends. It was really tearing me apart that I had to leave the organization so I could invest my marketing money and time where I found the return to be more favorable. At its core, the organization is about supporting and growing businesses in the region. I certainly had contributed to some the businesses with my purchases and helped bring new members and volunteers into the group. Perhaps I could just renew my membership and become one of the many passive members. Unfortunately, that is not my style.

When I looked at the return on investment for my time and money, the marketing effort just did not make sense. You have to move your limited marketing resources into the ‘highest and best use’ category to realize a return. Since I track where my leads come from and the cost of those leads from the specific marketing effort, how could I have gone so long dumping time and money into a marketing dead-end?

My only explanation is that I was blinded by faith and passion for the organization. I insisted that eventually my efforts would pay off. When you are struggling for survival in your small business, you can’t become emotionally attached to a particular marketing program or path. That was my failure.

I don’t regret my involvement in the organization. There are no sour grapes and I would never disparage the group or its mission. You, just like I did, have to face reality that just because you love something, it does not necessarily make good business sense.


Rancho Cordova / Rosemont / Gold River Deals