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Overcoming Dread: Essential Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Marketing

For many entrepreneurs, the mysterious world of marketing seems like a dark forest, teeming with threats, potential problems, and all too often, results in an enormous sense of fear and overwhelm.

This fear of marketing can be so damaging that it stifles innovation, hampers outreach, and leads to failure. But acknowledging this fear is the first step to overcoming it.

In this article, I’m going to discuss these fears, and their roots, and give you strategies to confront them and win.

1. What is ‘Fear of Marketing’ and How Common is It?

The fear of marketing, sometimes called marketing phobia, is common in businesses but often goes undiscussed and can affect both professionals and entrepreneurs alike.

Over the years, I’ve found it’s often a fear of rejection and the potential for criticism or uncertainty around the ROI of a campaign. Sometimes, this overwhelms so much people refuse to do any kind of marketing campaigns at all.

As anxiety in any form can be detrimental to the sufferer, in this case, it can stunt business growth and limit a company’s market share and potential. Those feeling this way may avoid implementing promos, miss opportunities to connect with their audience, and struggle to build their brand. For those businesses hoping to grow and thrive, they must find ways of overcoming this fear of marketing.

To tackle this challenge, it’s important to recognise the symptoms of this marketing anxiety and then work to reduce these fears. In my experience, this fear stems from a lack of understanding on some level. This could be with your audience, your business model, your direction, or your approach, or you could just have a lack of understanding of marketing itself.

And, it’s this I want to tackle with the PEONY marketing system. One of the main things I want to do is help business owners understand marketing so they can not only build successful campaigns but also stop the situation where business owners have a serious lack of understanding of how to make campaigns work, which ends up in things not working and, wasted time and money.

However, while we work on changing the world, here are a few tips on overcoming the fear of marketing:

1 — Fear of Being Boring

Marketing is sometimes intimidating for small businesses. It’s often a huge time-suck and takes a lot of resources.

However, the fear of being boring is very understandable; nobody wants to put time and effort into something that dies a death the moment it’s finished. But, by understanding your audience and their interests, you can create appealing and informative content.

What I’ve discovered about this fear of being boring is some underlying fears that equate to this and if we look at these, we can understand where they are coming from and how we can tackle them.

Hand-in-hand with the fear of being boring is often that of not being creative enough. This fear is often the result of comparing your marketing efforts to those of larger businesses. However, creativity comes in all shapes and sizes; you don’t need to have a large budget to come up with unique and effective campaigns.

Another reason for this fear of being boring is that of wasting time and resources on ineffective campaigns. This is a legitimate fear, as there is no guarantee that a campaign will be successful. However, by researching your target audience and understanding their habits, you can create campaigns that are more likely to be successful.

And, finally, the fear of not being able to compete with larger companies is part of this fear of being boring and is very common, but it’s important to remember that size doesn’t always equate to success. By creating campaigns that are tailored to your target market, your campaigns will be as effective as those of larger businesses.

2 — Fear of Not Doing Enough and being Unmotivated

Many struggle with this fear of marketing because of the level and volume of work and effort needed to create successful plans.

This fear can stop people from starting any kind of marketing activity because of worry that their motivation will disappear and they won’t/can’t keep up with the effort needed. However, it’s important to note that marketing doesn’t need to be daunting and overwhelming and can be more than manageable if broken down into smaller tasks.

With marketing, planning is key. By creating a plan of action that fits with your other commitments, you can keep yourself motivated and track your progress. Setting both long and short-term goals can keep your focus and help you feel accomplished when you achieve them. It will also highlight any areas that need improvement and give you a clear picture of what adjustments you can make.

One thing that often comes up is that business owners feel they need to find the one thing that will work, the one magic step that will guarantee a result. And, it’s this mindset that causes them issues, because marketing is an ever-developing and fluid process. Things that work today may not work tomorrow, so it’s really important to stay up-to-date and stay open to learning new ways of doing things to help make the process smooth.

With marketing, data is your friend and will help show you how to change or improve things.

3 — Fear of Marketing Uncertainty

Uncertainty can be a major cause of the fear of marketing and it’s understandable why. It’s difficult to predict how a campaign will perform and how people will react to your offer.

This often leads to business owners trying to find the one certainty that will guarantee success in their marketing, but never being able to find it. This leads to constant searching and constantly trying new tactics that promise the earth without substance behind them, which inevitably leads to more failure and more searching. What we need here is a basic understanding that this is not how marketing works.

Doing things this way will not lead to success.

It comes from a lack of knowledge of the industry, uncertainty about how to move forward, and a fear of failure. Marketing itself is much more of an experimental process and there aren’t any blueprints to success that will work for you, because your business is unique, so it needs a unique approach to marketing. With the right research, planning and delivery, you can overcome this uncertainty, but you need to stop looking for the cure-all.

It starts with a deep understanding of your industry and target market to create effective campaigns that are tailored to your direct audience.

Alongside this, researching your competition and understanding their strategies can help you identify what is and isn’t working in your industry right now. And, when you add a specific budget and define the areas that you will spend the budget on, you can plan and execute a strategy successfully.

4 — Fear of Giving Away Your Secret Sauce Recipe

Many businesses have a serious fear that they’ll give away their secret sauce recipe and others will steal it. They worry they’ll get the balance between giving enough information and giving too much and will leave themselves exposed, which leads to a great number of missed opportunities to build brand loyalty.

Marketing is essential if you want to run a successful business, so it’s worth learning as fast as possible. Marketing is more than just a way to attract new customers. It’s also a way to build relationships, create excellent customer experiences and ultimately build brand loyalty and identity.

I’m one for giving away the secret recipe anyway as most people don’t want to do the implementation themselves, so you’re not losing customers, despite giving them the secret sauce, as they’ll usually want help anyway, but not everyone can be as open as this and, there are a few things you can do to market your business without giving away the secret recipe – things like SEO and social media.

If you take these steps and work on giving away the information you need without giving away the secret recipe, you can still get some significant results. But, I will always be an advocate for giving away everything as this builds trust, loyalty and likability so people will be more likely to buy from you than the competitor who doesn’t give away their secret recipe.

5 — Fear of Over Sharing or Under-Sharing

There’s a great worry of sharing too much or not sharing enough, and this can lead to paralysis and not sharing anything at all.

When you under-share, your audience can feel disconnected and unaware of your value, or worse, not know you exist, but when you over-share, they can feel overwhelmed by too much information. And, both leave people feeling confused and they may misunderstand the message you’re delivering.

But how do you get the right balance?

It all starts with your audience and having a fundamental understanding of who they are and what they want. If you understand the motivations of your audience and the information they’re searching for and work on delivering this to them in your messaging, you’ll be off to a fantastic start.

6 — Fear of Messaging That Appears Too Old or Too Young

Marketing can be daunting, particularly when the fear of appearing too young in messaging and not being taken seriously, or appearing too old and not being seen as relevant, is causing anxiety.

These are all genuine fears that can prevent businesses from making the most of marketing opportunities. Yet, there are ways to overcome these fears and make a success of your marketing.

With your messaging, again, it’s your audience that’s the key. You need to tailor your messaging to fit with the demographics of your audience and the language and style they use themselves. This way, your messaging will always be appropriate for your market. It’s no good just writing about any old thing. You’ve got to tailor the style and content to your market.

First, research the target audience and consider their age range and interests. This will help to create a message and style that resonates. Second, stay up to date with the latest technology and marketing trends. Subscribing to newsletters and attending webinars and seminars can help you. Finally, feedback from customers and colleagues can help to refine campaigns and make sure that they reach the right people in the right way.

7 — Fear of Aiming For the Stars

Fear of success can be as much of a struggle as a fear of failure and can be just as scary, overwhelming and difficult to deal with. Many entrepreneurs find they’re just too scared to put themselves out there and the reasons for this can be anything from worry of looking a fool through to worry they won’t be able to cope if things get too successful.

What happens is they avoid any kind of risk or any kind of exposure and then struggle to get their business off the ground at all. But, it’s important to remember that fear of success and fear of looking a fool in front of people will hold you back. And, honestly, if you love your product or service and you believe it can help others, you must find the people who will benefit from it and let them know it exists.

Sometimes this kind of fear comes from a place of misunderstanding and confusing marketing with sales. Don’t worry if this is you. Many business owners think it’s the same thing – it’s not. Your sales team is there to convert a lead into a customer. They’re effectively selling your products directly to people. Marketing is about getting the word out that you exist and helping people find the info they’re looking for. It’s not about persuading people who don’t want something to buy something they don’t need – this is one of the sleazy sales tactics and has nothing to do with marketing.

However, many people think that to market something you have to be a bit of a bully boy and make people buy. This is the opposite of what marketing is supposed to do and is not what we practice.

Instead, it’s about being kind and offering useful information and fun stuff for people to engage and enjoy in cool ways. It’s the creative, fun side of your business and is about making friends and getting to know people. If you can switch your brain around and disregard this mistaken belief of what marketing is, you might not fear success so much. With dedication and perseverance, you can achieve your goals and reach the success you’ve been dreaming of.

8 — Fear of Missing Deadlines

Believe me, this fear affects even professional marketers, so if this is you, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

It’s one of the most common fears with marketing – missing deadlines, and missing opportunities, and these have a long-term impact on your business success. At its worst, it can lead to procrastination and anxiety, which makes it difficult to stay focused on where you’re going.

The only thing you can do here is to make sure you’re only taking on activities that you can comfortably fit into your deadline and if that’s not enough to satisfy the marketing beast, it might be time to look at outsourcing a couple of hours a month to a freelancer.

But, it’s important to note that the key here is to only do the activities relevant to your industry and audience. Don’t try everything at once, instead do one or two things well first. Then add things as you go. Alongside this, set realistic goals you can achieve and make sure they’re completed on time. And of course, when things go wrong, examine what you did and adjust for next time.

9 — Fear of Judgement

This one results in many being scared to present new ideas. It can come from a feeling of being under-prepared or ill-equipped, but often stems from being worried about being judged negatively, which results in starvation of creative ideas and being unwilling to share them. This can make it difficult for any marketing campaign to stand out from the crowd or find a unique voice to make yourself heard.

This fear of looking foolish in front of others often means that worry, fear and anxiety stop any kind of creative thought process and even if it doesn’t will almost certainly result in an unwillingness to share any creativity for fear of others disagreeing and judging harshly.

By fostering a culture of creative experimentation and where every failure is a learning curve rather than as a failure of that person, creative individuals and even your creativity will have more freedom to come up with new and exciting ways to engage your audience and this fear of judgement will dissipate.

10 — Fear of Missing New Industry Trends

Because marketing and new tech developments have gone hand-in-hand in recent years, often business owners get scared of there being too much to learn and then worry they’ll miss out on important trends.

It is important to stay up to date with new developments and new techniques, however, I’d argue that with an effective plan that represents your business to your audience through the research and work you’ve put into developing your audience, competitor and positioning data, you can deliver your marketing in an evergreen way.

Keeping up with new trends is always a good idea, but they won’t always be relevant. Just because someone found success on one new platform, does not mean you will do the same as it may not be right for your business, so beware of being sucked into fools’ gold marketing.

Don’t Look Back At Your Marketing Fears

The key to overcoming your fear of marketing is to focus on the positives and understand how to use them to your advantage. Break everything down into smaller bite-sized chunks and take it slowly.

Identify the root cause of your fears and understand why you feel afraid before taking steps to address these fundamental issues. It’s only by identifying the cause of your fear that you’ll be able to fix it and move forward.

Always set realistic goals. Perhaps you’d love to be a proficient blogger by the end of the month, but it’ll probably take time, start slowly and work up. You’re better off starting with one marketing tactic and getting good at it before adding another.

Data is your friend in marketing. It will tell you everything you need to know.
So your campaigns have all failed – look at the data. It will tell you what’s wrong. If you follow the data, you can see where you can make adjustments.

Get up. Try again.

Keep doing this.

Marketing is an experiment. It’s about trying things, adjusting them, checking, adjusting and going again. Many things will fail at first – until you’ve refined it.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from those of us who’ve been around for a few years.

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