Is Marketing The Problem, or Do You Need a Better Business Model?

Everyone wants more marketing ideas. But more often than not, when I sit down with clients, promotion is not the problem.

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Everyone wants more marketing ideas.

But more often than not, when I sit down with clients, promotion is not the problem. They are doing all the “right” things, but it’s making little impact on their bottom line. And more importantly, their marketing efforts are not impacting the people they want to serve. That’s a lot of effort to pour into something that’s not putting anything back in your financial or emotional bank accounts.

Instead of focusing on promotional techniques, we check into their business model to assess if it’s:

  • Set up to harness strengths and the way the organization works best?
  • Compatible with the way clients want to be served?
  • Addressing the whole customer and the way he or she naturally evolves?
  • Accounting for the ebb and flow of the conversation the business & its customers participate in?

So, stop for a moment and check in with me here: Is promotion the problem? Or do you need a better business model?


Social Business Models and Value Creation

Your business model is the way your business creates value (solutions for customers’ needs or desires), delivers value (how those solutions get into the hands of your customers), and exchange value (how your business receives value in return for the value your business provides).

But I’d like to take this idea to another level and talk about “social business models.” As I see it, a social business model is one that not only demonstrates how your business creates, delivers, and exchanges value, but does so in a way that is tailor-made to the strengths of you (or your organization) and your customer. It leverages the way you naturally relate to each other to facilitate co-creation.

It’s not enough to build a model that “works” in terms of numbers. If your business model isn’t built in a way that works for you and your customer, you’ll expend an enormous amount of energy trying to achieve ill-conceived goals.

As entrepreneur, Jonathan Fields suggests, “Does the product, business and mode of delivery that customers are telling you they value enough to pay you to create align with the fiber of your being, your sense of meaning, fulfillment, your maker’s modus operandi and ideal life?

Essentially, there is a better way.

When your business model works–when it’s social, you’ll be able to count on your own personal strengths and less on your ability to “power through.” You’ll spend less time spastically promoting your business and more time attracting the right people.

But perhaps the best part is that when you develop a business model that is social, you gain an incredibly powerful new team member for your business: your customer. Instead of making decisions in a vacuum, you can weigh each decision against the point-of-view of your customer. You’ll know what products you need to develop and when, you’ll know better how to price them, and you’ll have a more holistic, integrated approach to the way you serve your customers.


The Power of Social Business Models

Let’s all take a collective sigh of relief because now you can stop searching for thenext killer promotional technique. You can stop worrying if you’re doing “marketing” right.

Instead, you can make your model work for you.

When your business model is social, it:

  • Grows from the understanding of your customer as a living, breathing, evolving human being.
  • Understands your market as a conversation in which you participate but don’t control.
  • Puts the function of what you offer first, well before format or price-point.
  • Allows you to work in a way that makes you feel most masterful and puts your customer at ease.
  • Involves your customer, whether directly or indirectly, in all decisions.

Customers are evolving human beings. Customers’ questions change. Their needs change. Their desires change. Some businesses solve this by providing high-end, bespoke services. Others develop broad product suites of specialized solutions. Still others develop a single product that incorporates feature add-ons until the cows come home.

Which speaks to your strengths? How do your customers like to be served?

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