Marketing doesn’t work!

Darlene Ziebell

Darlene Ziebell President Center for Women Business Owners

Many of my Elite3 private clients make this statement to me almost word for word: “Marketing doesn’t work!” And I agree with them under certain conditions.  Unfortunately most of the women business owners I coach privately, have this condition.  I call it, lack of customer value. In my opinion customer value is the most important measure in any business plan.  Yet, just about every small business I work with, ignores this metric.   If you are not sure what the value is to your customer for your product or service, please ask them!   If you are starting a new business, begin your own market research by asking those who could be potential customers.

Small business owners typically do not have the capital to spend on extensive market research.  So the next question I get is “How do I handle my own market research?  Where do I go?” I suggest you do not begin with your friends or family unless they will be totally honest with you.  You can ask them for referrals, any groups where you are a member, associations, attending trade shows, community forums,  are just a few suggestions.  But also beware… just don’t ask people who may not be the profile of your customer.

Once you understand the customer value you provide, it will be much easier to create an affordable effective marketing campaign.  BUT BEWARE… This exercise can be a very painful process. Many of my private women business owner clients struggle with this exercise for weeks…sometimes months.  But it is a difficult process that will make managing your business so much easier.

Once you have your customer value you can begin creating your:

  • Elevator message
  • Graphics that depict this value
  • Provide your customer with a better understanding of your differentiators related to this value

But once you have your value message, never stop asking yourself: “What value am I providing my customers today?”

The next question I typically get is “But I sell a commodity. Now what do I do for value?”   Whether you are in a multi-level marketing business, selling insurance, hair stylist, dry cleaner, etc., etc.  , you must begin to think creatively on how you can ADD MORE VALUE to your customer.

Adding more value is the most cost effective way a small business owner can create market differentiation and hence… a more effective marketing plan.  This question is a hot topic that also comes up quite often in my “Ask Darlene” open interactive coaching webcasts.   I believe it is the most challenging condition women business owners must face.

Begin the process and return to test your value message.  I host the “Ask Darlene” open forums where women business owners can join in from the convenience of their home to not only test their business ideas, but also learn from those who did it before.  Not a Center for Women Business Owner member? Click here for more information on Center for Women Business Owners.

Written by

Darlene Ziebell


Center for Women Business Owners


  1. Great point! As a self taught social media network marketer potential clients frequently approach me for “get clients quick” solutions.

    It’s important to understand marketing is all about building relationships/trust and bringing value to your customers and there’s no ” quick” solutions.

    Great article, happy I found your site on Twitter.

    TWOLLOW @atlantabizwomen (cookie willingham)

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