Several experts define marketing as a “set of techniques, strategies, and studies that aim to improve a product or service by finding the best way to present and sell it.
But basically, marketing is all that helps you to sell more products. Well, it’s more than that; It is about how your potential customers will see your brand and the products or services that you are offering. We can see that marketing is about the way your employees approach your customers or the email you send them for Christmas.
Large corporations know that, as they apply these techniques very well in their marketing and sales departments.
But what happens with most small businesses, entrepreneurs and autonomous?
The vast majority of companies don’t have a marketing department because in many cases they were created by freelancers who have decided to create their own business and never studied marketing, nor do they know how to apply it correctly in their sales strategy.
This is why I want to analyze the 10 challenges or problems that many companies will face when working with marketing.
10 Common Marketing Challenges or Problems That Many Businesses Will face
These are some of them and if you work or manage your own business, you will surely feel identified with most of these issues:
1.- Not knowing how to explain the product or service you want to sell
Often, being an expert on a product doesn’t make you the best person to sell it.
You know the features of your product, the manufacturing steps, the materials used, the best applications, but you don’t know how to explain your product to the possible buyer, for whom all these hundreds of product features matter little because he is just looking for one of them.
Any item or service should be explained from the customer’s perspective. What is the customer looking for when evaluating this service or product?
Price, quality, reliability, for something that will solve a problem, that will make his life more comfortable, or elevate his social status.
The business owner, a freelancer, a merchant, a liberal professional, someone in charge of selling your products or services; or vendors and clerks, waiters at bars and restaurants, all of them should receive training to learn how to sell your products, with instructions on how the product can help potential customers.
“Your product or service is not good because it’s yours, it’s good because your customers want to buy it.
This brings us to the next problem, especially at the beginning of any business:
2.- Not finding your market segment
Opening a business and think that all the inhabitants of the planet will love it is a very common mistake many entrepreneurs make.
But if this entrepreneur has a little idea about social networks or simply has many friends on his personal Facebook.
Let’s see some examples:
- A single person will not be interested in becoming a customer of a lawyer dedicated to Family Law (divorces).
- If a seller goes to a nursing home to sell articles for mountaineering, he will not be able to find potential customers.
- Distributing pamphlets in a high school with the Rolls Royce’s latest model is not a good strategy as it will not generate any sale.
Do you understand what I mean?
We all sell something to someone. The problem of small businesses and, above all, of the entrepreneurs who are starting, is that they don’t have much data to determine who is the ideal buyer for their product?
It is vital to pre-define your ideal buyer and your market segment.
By doing this, you will have a much clearer idea of the potential of your new business. If you find that there are only a few customers interested in your articles or services, you will know that you will have to create a targeted sales strategy to attract more customers. Perhaps you could think and act as a local business, or if your product has a larger audience, you could create an international sales strategy.
Also, you’ll know why your potential customers are looking for your product or service.
They may be attracted to the novelty (especially in technological products), they may be interested in price, quality, social status, in a temporary solution, etc.
Once you know what your ideal clients are looking for, you can explain better your product, and you will have more sales and more advantages.
3.- Lack of commercial department
The commercial department is one of the most relevant parts of any successful business. In times of financial crisis, a good commercial department can save your company.
So imagine what you can do during the good times. The problem is that we believe that only the commercial department can sell and that other departments don’t have to worry about it.
If you have a restaurant, all waiters should be good salespeople; your store employees should be good salespeople, if you are a lawyer, you must learn to become a successful seller.
Organize your small or medium business so that everyone can learn how to sell your products or services.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t work hard enough to train all the collaborators to become vendors, people able to offer their products or services for potential customers.
If you have a sales section and you have created a sales department, let them do their work.
If someone stands out for his accomplishments, reward him, encourage other collaborators to learn from him. You should be the first to learn from him and try to improve.
A good salesperson can quickly identify what he will need to do to sell (he will work with his boss asked him to sell). A good seller knows how to approach potential customers, building customer loyalty, how to generate cross-selling (increasing revenue per customer and the company’s profits)
4.- Invisibility of your business
Promoting your business should be one of your main tasks if you want to become a businessperson. The problem arises when choosing the medium and the resources that will be used.
Advertising a company is very simple and can be very cheap.
But if you use a medium that is not appropriate and you address people who are not interested in your product or service, you will only have lost time and money.
Some of the platforms you can use to advertise your business are:
– Press releases, radio, and television (locally, regionally, nationally, internationally) or ads on different platforms on the Internet.
- Leaflets on car windshields, in mailboxes, in the hands of people passing by your store. Does it sound like “vintage”? But why not?
- Create a corporate blog, position it for your professional sector and start showing the advantages of your company and all the solutions you offer to improve the lives of your potential customers.
- Profiles and pages on social networks. Also, you can create paid ads on these social networks, as the latest changes on many algorithms don’t allow you to reach many people.
- Organize an event that also helps the community, so that the media will spread the word about the event and therefore help spread the word about your business.
- Even messages in WhatsApp can be a great way to publicize your business and more since the arrival of the new “WhatsApp Business. “
But each of these forms of advertising is more efficient for a type of business than to another.
Paying for an advertisement on a regional television channel if you run a small local business will not help you much.
If you have a blog, but don’t update it, to talk directly to your readers about the advantages of your business by posting articles, talking about your services, you are missing an incredible opportunity to create engagement with your visitors.
Instagram is a platform used mostly by women, most of them use this social network regularly. A priori, announce articles for men’s hygiene wouldn’t be a good option.
But as you know that this ad will be seen mostly by women, you can modify your campaign to convince them to buy your products for their husbands, boyfriends, companions, brothers. “
When it comes to advertising, the first thing to keep in mind is what you want to achieve. Once you determine your goal, you should investigate the market to find out which media or platforms are the best channels for your campaign.
●For example, posting an ad for men’s products in a magazine for girls and teenagers. MISTAKE
● Publishing the same ad in a magazine dedicated to football, cars, etc. GOOD STRATEGY
Local social networks and the online world are becoming vital for any marketing strategy. We all carry a smartphone in our pocket and when we need to get something, we can find it online:
“Where is the nearest open pharmacy to me, where to find a locksmith, Best places to have lunch.”
5.- Problems with the price of your product
You may think that the price of what you are selling is not essential for your marketing strategy. If that’s what you think, you are mistaken.
The price of the product is essential to the success of the company and should be perceived as “fair” by your customers.
Would you be willing to pay $ 1,000 for a can of Coke? Never.
You will have to determine the price of your product taking into account, first, your professional circumstances, and then try to find out how much your competitors are charging for the same products.
Perhaps your competitors may not have the mortgages you have to pay; they may not need to pay the staff you have to pay, or they are on business for a long time, which means they can have some advantages or agreements with manufacturers or distributors and can offer more competitive prices that would make your business impractical.
This is why you must first determine how much you will need to charge for the product.
You will need to find out what the minimum amount you can charge is, so you don’t win or lose, the limit by which, if you charge less, you would lose money no matter the number of items you sell.
Once you know the price, the next step will be to “decorate” the product so your potential customers will buy from you and not from your competitors.
A coffee usually costs about the same in any bar, the quality of the service, the decoration, the environment, the professionalism of the waiters are what will make the difference.
Competing for prices is a dangerous strategy that, in the long term, usually will not work well. A few years ago, a baker dropped the price of bread.
For a while, he was very successful. He made very little money, but he was selling a lot of bread.
A few months ago, he announced he would have to close his bakeries, as he didn’t have money to pay his large debt. Along the way, dozens of bakeries that sold their products at higher prices also closed, as they couldn’t afford to offer the same prices.
Now a whole region of Spain doesn’t have any bakery; people have to buy bread at supermarkets and gas stations. They can’t buy bread near their home.
6.- Lack of coordination between marketing and sales departments
Not all companies have seasonal sales, but all of them have peak sales and months with fewer sales.
Marketing actions should be coordinated with what should be sold in every period, but this doesn’t always happen.
You shouldn’t pay for an ad when your company doesn’t have the best products to offer. You may think this should be obvious, but many managers spend a lot of money on campaigns that will never bring good results for their marketing strategy.
If you access the social networks of several restaurants, you’ll see a clear example of what I’m saying. If you look for restaurants on Facebook, you will probably find many of them posting at 7 pm pictures of the food that was served for lunch.
What they should do at 7 o’clock in the afternoon is to talk about what their customers will find when they leave work, or the menu they will have for dinner.
What you need is for the marketing department to know what to sell and when to sell each product.
Following with the example of the restaurant. What is the benefit of posting photos of soup that is very popular during the winter, but we are not offering today because it is very hot? Who, in his right mind, will want to get soup in the middle of summer?
A store should not create a promotion for selling fans during the winter. A fashion store should not invest in ads to sell coats during the summer. We could give you many more examples, but I think you already understood what we are trying to say.
And that brings us to the next common marketing problem:
7.- Not having a marketing plan
Every company, large, small or medium has an established schedule, they know when they will allow their staff to go on vacation, they know when to pay their taxes, when to buy new products.
But very few companies, small and medium, have a marketing plan. It is vital to know which products or services should be advertised to encourage the sales, or when they should do it.
To create an effective marketing plan, you’ll need to know when it’s best to sell something or another.
For example, the number of divorces increases considerably in late summer, when couples return to their daily routine after the vacation. Lawyers will get more clients advertising their services in the late summer than during the holidays.
In early summer, many people start looking for gyms because they want to lose a few pounds. If you are preparing a marketing plan for a gym, this is the best time to start spreading your activities and attract some of these customers who are looking for a gym.
Planning means doing things at the right time, not just because you think you should try something different.
8.- Lack of Brand Image, Professional Reputation, Personal Branding
Every business has a certain reputation, whether negative, neutral or positive. Without this reputation, you can’t exist as a company.
The reputation will change and possibly improve over time. You should have a recognizable, differentiable brand image of your competitors.
The style you impose on your business, your decor, your professionalism, your products, your after-sales service. Many factors will help create a good brand image. A good professional reputation will be key to getting new customers and doing new business.
This reputation can make all the difference to customers who will have to decide, often unconsciously, if they will trust one brand or another. The example we can use here are the lawyers. A lawyer with a good reputation can get more money. If many people say this lawyer can win all the legal petitions, he will be the first choice of people who want to win their legal actions. The same thing happens with doctors, mechanics, dentists, etc.
If you can’t be recognized for your professionalism, you can try to create a positive reputation based on the decoration of your store, or how you help your customers, in a warm environment, or on other factors that are relevant to you and your customers.
Every company has to be clearly recognized and have a unique brand identity. Ideally, professionalism should be the main differential, but this is not absolutely necessary.
I’m thinking about the bad reputation of a well-known multinational store dedicated to fashion that always offer low prices.
Customers who enter their stores don’t receive help or good treatment from sellers (who usually just fold shirts), but many people continue to buy from them, due to a fundamental factor: quality and low price.
9.- Not having a good online presence
As we pointed out above, today everyone has a smartphone in their pocket connected to the internet. At any time, anyone can be looking for our items or products and if we are not online, we will lose those sales.
Having a good online presence is not having an outdated website,a blog in which you don’t publish anything, a page in a social network where you just advertise your articles, just a few photos.
A good online presence means that your website must be active and be functional. You need to offer several contact options, with an active support staff to help your customers to solve their problems and doubts so that they can trust you.
The same goes for emails.
Ricardo Llop, a reference in electronic commerce in Spain stated that the first thing he does when he enters his office is to respond to his emails.
And the last task he does before going home to rest is to answer the emails in his inbox. The difference between responding to an email now or leaving a customer waiting for 8 hours is that you will sell more if you provide fast support.
With social networks, you need to be just as careful. They should not be your primary sales channel. Think about your social networks as a thematic television channel about your business. You should create a channel where visitors can find information about decoration, travel (on the theme of your sector and the products you are selling). You can use this channel to talk about your products, but not just about them.
It is obvious that if you own a restaurant, you should advertise your menu on your social networks.
But if you really want to attract followers, you need to talk about more than that, for example on the products used in the meals, with general tips about how to improve eating habits, etc.
Also, all social networks have options for sending and receiving private messages. It is a perfect sales and after-sales channel. You should also always respond to all comments from your customers and followers.
Responding to these comments is fundamental to show to your customers that you are listening to them.
10.- To think that marketing is not necessary.
Believing that we are the best, that we know everything we have to do to sell our product is a very common mistake that many entrepreneurs make, especially in the beginning, when they are still full of ideas for their new business.
Believing that people will run to your store just because you say you have the best product at the best price is a mistake that will end up costing you a lot of money.
Marketing, as we have seen throughout this article (and in the definition you read in the beginning) is a set of actions created for selling your products.
No business survives without marketing; it doesn’t matter what you do, you will have to work with some of the marketing actions we described in this post.
The problem is something that we have already explained. A good strategy means applying the appropriate actions at the right time, using the best channel for each campaign, so that we can have the expected results: We all want to sell more products and attract new customers.
How Many Entrepreneurs Create Untimely Marketing Strategies That Don’t bring the desired results? When they spend money and don’t get new customers, they end up believing that marketing will not work for them.
Conclusion: Marketing Challenges for Businesses
Throughout this article, we talked about the main problems small companies face when working with marketing.
As you have read, many of these problems are not due to the lack of financial resources, but for lack of planning, knowledge, in many cases of interest in learning new things.
Today, with the online world at your fingertips, you have no excuse for ignoring marketing as a key strategy for selling more.
It is true that a good professional will get better results than an amateur, but there are thousands of articles on the Internet that explain how to do things correctly, how to manage your social networks, how to manage your company, how to set the right price, how to work with discounts, and much more than that.
Nowadays, things are often not done correctly due to negligence. Unfortunately, we tend to think we already know enough, and this is the worst mistake you can make.
I hope now that you have finished reading this article, you will be ready to start working to improve the marketing strategy for your project.
We’d love for you to tell us how things are going for you. Would you leave us a comment?