We’re quickly coming to the end of another year and it got me thinking. What’s been the ‘must do’ marketing tactic of 2017?

Two years ago I’d say it was ‘must focus on traffic.’ This year’s must do has been ‘funnels and conversions.’ What’s next though … Must do ai or Messenger bots?

Most of us humans love anything new. It peeks our interest and there’s also an urge to keep up with those ‘Joneses’.

We hope these new things could be the silver bullet answers to our problems. And some things are truly useful, like battery storage for instance. But sometimes we grab at a solution because our propensity is to look for the easy way out.

A company comes along with expert advice, promising to fix a problem we didn’t know we had and BOOM! … we’re on the next gravy train.

An analogy in the marketing space could be:

A marketing expert describes a generic symptom, say, ‘poor sales’. They assert the cause is the fact you don’t have a sophisticated marketing & sales funnel.

It’s a no brainer right?

You relate to the symptom and instantly feel you need the cure for ‘poor sales’. Soon enough funnel experts are popping out of the woodwork (there are great ones, don’t get me wrong – Russell Brunson case in point).

Your choices go from ‘cheap’, ‘DIY’, ‘done for you’ and more. You join the exclusive funnel Facebook group and in no time, everyone is on the funnel bandwagon…

But, is it truly the silver bullet solution for the original symptom of poor sales?

Let me tell you, buyers don’t give two hoots about your funnel. They care about getting a solution that’s valuable to them.

  • What do I gain?
  • Can I get it better elsewhere?
  • Is this right for me?

These questions and more determine if they buy from you. Your answers are delivered in your marketing & sales funnel. So if you get the answer or ‘message’ right, there’s no doubt by improving your funnel you improve your results…

But until you know what your message is i.e. why your brand exists, what your brand stands for, how you engage your customer… marketing of any kind is a time and money waster.

There are two reasons that stop you from getting down to the nitty gritty of working on your core message first:

  1. Many marketing professionals focus on tactics like funnels, because they sell these services. They tell you this is the most important thing to do. And yes, of course tactics like these are important, but not if you don’t know what to say in them.
  2. You already think you know what to say to make buyers understand the value of your product. But the value that is obvious to you, and the customers experiencing it, is more often than not unclear to prospective buyers. There is a mismatch you can’t quite see.

Knowing exactly what are the most effective things to say takes some work. It means thinking strategically about your buyers needs and wants, defining the value you offer, whilst also being aware of what your competitors are saying.

One of the steps to get clarity around your value is to do a customer Value Proposition (CVP) exercise. From this internally clear statement you (or your marketing people) can start to create compelling messages.

A quick Google and you’ll find plenty of Value Proposition resources. Below is a simple formula Geoff Moore popularized in his book, Crossing the Chasm. His template helps answer the five questions a good value proposition should answer.

  1. Who is it for
  2. What do they need
  3. What is your product or service 
  4. What is the value

Why not give it a go to get clarity around your products/services value.

By completing the sentences you will have a fair bit of brainstorming content. To create a great value proposition statement you will need to condense your information into a brief statement without losing intended meaning and impact. Try to keep it to a sentence or two.

Customer Value Proposition examples:

The formula does not necessarily need to be in that order. I’ve colour coded the following examples from Google and Unbounce to pinpoint content and show you how it all comes together.

Who is it for?
What do they need?
What is it?
What is the value?


Google is the world’s largest search engine that automatically provides advertisers with potential customers tailored to the ad content, increasing click through rates and conversion rates.

Google advertising




Who is it for?
What do they need?
What is it?
What is the value?

For non-technical marketers who need to create winning marketing campaigns, Unbounce delivers online landing page building software that’s easy to use, flexible and highly converting.

From this CVP, Unbounce simplified it into this message on their website:

Unbounce Value Proposition


For more inspiration SumoMe recently wrote a great post: 26 Value Proposition Examples That Convert Visitors.

So to recap, utilizing the next band wagon of marketing tactics is only going to work if you know what your differentiating message is. If things aren’t working, go back to looking at your brand strategy and take the time to nail it good and proper. There is no such thing as a silver bullet.