How to lose your arse, and maybe an eye, in marketing

Let’s talk about one of my favorite marketing world cat fights.

I’ve seen people lose an eye over this one (metaphorically, of course — I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that means).

And like many marketing world arguments, this one only seems to get dumber and dumber over time, with soft brain social media types continually tossing in their ludicrous and often totally unqualified opinions based on assumption and hearsay with the air of someone tossing a thousand dollar bill in front of a stripper.

I’m talking about the value of branding.

My stance on branding is as stark as can be: branding exercises can be great for large corporations (who often struggle with getting everyone to communicate in the same way)…

…but are well nigh useless for anyone running a small business — much less a solo provider.

For solo proprietors and biz owners with only a handful of employees, your brand is nothing more than the sum total of your interactions with your market.

It’s not the frickin’ colors on your website, or your logo, or your dorky mission statement.

It’s the actual experience of interacting with your business.

In other words, branding is the result of your marketing, not the origin.

Lawd help ye if ye gets this backwards.

And Satan help ye if ye engages in anything that resembles “brand advertising.”

So what do small business owners need to do instead?

Simple: old timey direct response marketing.

Not sexy enough? Too bad.

Nothing beats going straight to your market and finding out what they actually care about and respond to — as opposed to sitting down and going through some self-indulgent branding exercise that’s totally based on your feelings and assumptions about your market.

I know not everyone wants to hear this, but that’s not my problem.

Your humble instigator will never shy away from telling you the truth, even if it elicits a chorus of howls from the peanut gal-ry.

Anyway, enough pontificating.

If you want a steady stream of great leads that convert into great clients who pay premium rates and respect your time and expertise instead of treating you like the hired help, branding ain’t gonna deliver that.

But direct response marketing is only part of the solution — though an undeniably important one.

If you’re interested in the whole solution, maybe we should talk. That’s exactly what I help small biz owners and solo entrepreneurs with.

Jeff Vece