Focus – Not Hocus-Pocus by Rich

There are a lot of very clever people trying to sell you marketing services. After all, they are marketers and marketers market. First and foremost, they market themselves.

Why do people so often purchase great-sounding marketing services only to be severely disappointed?

A good portion of this is hocus-pocus. They don’t really know what they are doing, but they know how to sound good and don’t care about the truth of what they are saying.  Well, that’s why it’s “Let The Buyer Beware.”

But good intentions aren’t enough. Many failures are due to a lack of focus. It is still “Let The Buyer Beware,” but what you have to be wary of is doing something that sounds good, might even be great, sometimes, but is not what needs doing right now. Call it FOCUS.


There are a gazillion marketing companies promoting piles of different routes to grand success. You can already see that picking one, because it sounds good, is not a good plan. When I say FOCUS, I mean concentration of effort in the exact right place.

Let’s over-dramatize this. You are selling peanuts. What kind of success would you have at a convention of people with peanut allergies? You’re more likely to get arrested for attempted murder than to have great sales.

Every marketing opportunity is a potential version of this, perhaps not so dramatic, but real as rain. Let’s list key ways this could happen:

  • Wrong prospects
  • Wrong product or service
  • Wrong pitch
  • Wrong pricing
  • Wrong marketing channel
  • Wrong marketing volume

We’ve talked about a lot of these in the past, but I think this is a useful way to analyze any potential marketing offer.


Many marketing efforts fail because they aren’t reaching your real prospects. More accurately, your real prospects are too thin among those your communications are going to. The net result is most of your marketing dollar is being wasted.

Let’s say you are doing postcards at 50 cents apiece, to get people to rent your jet skis. Of course, you could be sending them to people in nursing homes. But the more likely problem is only a small fraction of the recipients would ever consider renting a jet ski. If 99.99.9% – 999 out of 1000 – fall in that category – it is costing you $500 to get a postcard to someone who might actually buy.

Doesn’t sound like such a good deal, right?

This is why the right mailing list is the most important thing in a direct mail campaign.  But it also shows up big in Google Ads campaigns.  You can end up spending a LOT of money for little results if you are using the wrong keywords, such as too general.

I saw someone with beachfront rental property running ads on the keyword “vacations.”

Seriously? His click-through rate (CTR) was 0.21% (2 out of every 1000). You know to have that low a CTR, almost everyone seeing the ad was not a prospect, and nearly everyone who actually clicked was looking for something else or it was just an accident. What a complete waste.

You can get similar problems with other types of marketing as well.


I won’t spend much time on this as I’ve covered it in some detail recently. A key point is this: Presumably, you are looking for new customers. So what is the first or introductory service or product that people will go for? It’s probably not your premier product, but a low-priced or even free offer. Think about this one.


I’ve spent a lot of time on this too. The key thing here is to really find out what people want. As I told you in my last blog, Salesmen can supply a lot of useful information. For the rest? There is no substitute for testing and no better way to test than with Google Ads.


This is the saddest mistake of all because sometimes you can’t do anything about it. If you can’t afford to profitably deliver at a price people will pay, you need to be selling something else.

But how do you know? How do you know the difference between a bad pitch and unworkable pricing?  Seeing what your competitors are charging, then go lower, is the most common (and often successful) formula.

By the way, there is no known way to accurately survey for pricing. You just have to experiment to find the ideal price point.


This is a cousin of our first item. The wrong marketing channel is probably going to reach the wrong people. But it can be just plain uneconomical.  TV and billboards are like this. If you don’t have a big marketing budget, you’re wasting your time. Which leads me to the next point.


Your volume can be too high or too low.  If, as in the above examples, you don’t have a big enough marketing budget, you don’t even get noticed. Like whispering at a loud concert, no one even notices you are trying to talk to them.

You can also spend too much. I see this a lot in Google Ads campaigns where someone is bidding to get the #1 position. Sure, they get more clicks, but they also spend a LOT more per click. The sweet spot -where you get the best profit – may have you spending a lot less per click. Your ads don’t appear at the top all the time, but they make you the most money.

It may not be as MUCH money as you need or would hope, but it is going to take changing other factors to get more profitable.

This is all very interactive, and you never stop testing and refining. If you can get a better, more effective ad, you can spend more per click, and get to a point where maximum profit is at a higher volume.

And that’s what you want, right?

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