What is surrender marketing?
Surrender marketing is when small business owners:
- …burn precious money doing traditional advertising – knowing in their hearts it will never produce any sales
- …succumb to their old marketing habits rather than learn how to do effective marketing in today’s marketplace.
- …turn over the future of their business to self-serving strangers rather than use their common sense to make more intelligent marketing decisions.
Let me share a story with you. Recently a client, who shall remain nameless, asked me to evaluate a media program that was being pitched by a very charming media representative. I reviewed the package and this is what I discovered.
a. the target audience was all wrong
b. the proposed positioning of the ad was extremely expensive and the rep couldn’t provide any readership or eyeball numbers to justify the cost.
c. a high percentage of the advertising media would sit in unoccupied hotel rooms and die in information racks and never see the light of day because the distribution channel was through hotels, travel information centers, doctor and dental offices.
There were other reasons, but these were the three most obvious reasons why no one with any marketing moxie would seriously consider this media for this client’s business. Purchasing this media package would be like burning a significant pile of money in the parking lot. I shared my concerns with the client and strongly recommended against buying this package.
How do you think this story ends?
Before you answer that question it may help to know that this small business owner is a very bright, resourceful and confident woman and I genuinely like her. Unfortunately, just when the market was going down, she decided to open a second outlet in a less then desirable location. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort to keep this location producing and these efforts have paid off. But it has been a struggle because money has been tight. So, all of our efforts have been through ‘free online media’ and ‘no out-of-pocket programs’.
This client is always raving about my work and my good counsel. She knows I will always give her the straight scoop and I can be trusted not to flimflam her into expensive programs that won’t work. She also recognizes my goal is to stretch her resources as far as possible. If she has to pay for any media, it had better well deliver.
So, what do you think this client decided to do?
Do you think she wiped her worried brow and said ‘thank you for saving me from the jaws of charming media reps and a ton of money’?
Based on the headline of this post, you probably already know the answer.
She went ahead and purchased the program. I was floored. My jaw dropped. I re-read the email where she informed me that she had purchased the package because I couldn’t believe she would go ahead with such a costly and ridiculous media buy.
When my blood started flowing into my fingers, I emailed her asking “why waste your money on non-targeted advertising”?
Her response was another jaw-dropping moment. She said…
Only you can tell it like it is…..I think it tempted me only because its what I understand and what pulls me in ….I’m just too old fashioned!!!
She thinks purchasing media that won’t work as Old Fashioned?
Old fashioned is someone who still says ‘please and thank you’!
Old fashioned is a lady who wears aprons in her kitchen!
Old fashioned is a business owner who still uses paper to write out receipts instead of a computer!
Old fashioned is NOT a small business owner who wastes precious dollars advertising in media vehicles they know won’t deliver!
My client was not being old fashioned. She committed surrender marketing. She gave in to a media rep full of charm and no substance and wasted her hard earned cash on media that won’t produce a bloody dime of revenue for her.
Why? Because traditional media is all that she understands. This is how she has marketed her businesses in the past. Yet, she resists any and all efforts to move her marketing online where it is FREE or, at a minimum, one-tenth of the expense of traditional media. Excuses run the gamut from I’m too busy, don’t want to waste time online, don’t understand it, blah, blah, blah. Or, her new favorite, I’m too old fashioned.
This one bad media decision isn’t the end of the world. My client remains in business. She and I will continue to work together because we basically do like and respect one another.
But the bottom line is that if one strings enough of these surrender decisions together, it could be the end of their business . At a minimum, such surrender marketing decisions ultimately limit one’s ability to grow and achieve the level of success desired.
Stop surrendering the future of your business to charming, self-serving media reps, self-professed media gurus and other small business vultures whose only goal is to get you to buy from them. They couldn’t care less about the future of your business. They only care about the future of their business.
If you think you do surrender marketing, do yourself a favor and ask for help. Use the comment section below and tell what your marketing challenges are and I’ll try to point you in the right direction and give you some serious options to consider. Just knowing your options can help you be more confident in moving forward. I’m happy to help in whatever way I can.
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