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The Trouble with Marketing

by Linda Carlberg | Founder/CEO | SpotSyt Inc. 

At some point, all pendulums begin to swing back. For the past two decades, an epic amount of shiny new marketing apps, programs, and platforms have become available. Now that the novelty is wearing off, sorting out their true value is in play. The swing has swung.

Here are two of the biggest factors that affect marketing for today’s new Founders and Small Business Owners: 

  1. Oversaturation: Captive Audiences are Getting Off the Couch

With our fast-fix, everything-everywhere-on-demand culture, we’ve gotten used to free. But free always has a price. For example, the first wave of social media platforms were free and quickly went vertical in popularity. However, it didn’t take long for a trickle of inexpensive ads to become a river and flood over the actual content. It’s the same reason the ad volume on a TV show can make it unwatchable – unless you record it so you can fast forward through the commercials. The scale has tipped.

People are tired of both and are now canceling online subscriptions and leaving platforms because of ad overload, sensory bombardment, and mindless repetition of “junk food” information. Plus, the recent pandemic was open season for binge watching, playing video games, and listening to anything and everything people thought they were missing by going into work every day – only to find the experience much like eating all the candy you wanted to as a kid. There is a point where you don’t want any more.

  1. The DIY Mirage: Everyone With a Piano Can Write Music

I’ve been a lifelong singer and in the biz we call notes “spots on the page.” It’s one thing to plunk out the notes (learn a program) vs. having the additional skills and talent it takes to create artistry, or an experience that moves people, or conduct an entire symphony of different instruments. 

No one talks about that when you sign up for a free software trial, then find out you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to use the features you really need, then be unable to take your ball and go home when you want to leave because the ball actually belongs to them. Plus, you’ll discover the software is only a shell without content and content isn’t your thing. So you grab a template, some free photos, and try to write copy for maybe the first time. We all can see where this is heading.

The fact is, the vast majority of Founders and Owners aren’t writers, designers, or strategists with BOTH the technical chops and talents to do all that marketing their business and getting customers requires. Added to that, it also requires the “x-factor” of experience. Over the past 25+ years of owning a marketing/advertising agency, I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses. Many times we’ve had to fix what didn’t work and repair the damage done by owners and/or their “affordable help.” Both time and money are wasted, sadly by those who often had the least to lose.

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

If the saturation point is almost at capacity in an overcrowded marketplace, what’s next for businesses that need to reach customers anyway?

If time and money are limited, what’s the alternative to DIY tools and low cost freelancers?

The trouble with marketing today is partially because of the easy availability of technology. Yes, we have benefits that prior generations couldn’t conceive of, but we’re losing the fact that some things remain the same:

  • Every consumer still has the power of the off switch. They can swipe right, scroll past, change the channel, or pull the plug faster than ever. Your products and services may first need a closer look to see if you have a true market fit and something people want to buy – more than once. Marketing can’t fix a product that misses its target.
  • The art of selling is still about people. Earning and keeping a customer isn’t a quick hit or a slick trick. Think about the brands YOU choose when you buy a car, food, or who you trust for the services you need. In each case, a connection has been made that you trust.
  • Proper marketing costs money. You probably have an attorney and an accountant for your business already, but the devaluation of professional marketing services caused by DIY and “free” apps/programs doesn’t change the fact that it’s the third essential component of your professional services team. The saying is true, “do it right or do it twice.”

This “trouble with marketing” actually creates opportunities for your business. You’ll stand out if you “think like a customer,” build relationships, and be known for better service in an impersonal marketplace. You’ll get attention with quality, original marketing and authentic messaging in a world of copy-cats. You’ll get results when you interview and choose a marketing team of pros with real-world, time-tested skills that can help you sell and grow. All three are wise investments that will return high dividends

Linda Carlberg is the CEO and and Founder of SpotSyt Inc., a Do-It-Together marketing company based in Southern California. SpotSyt helps new Founders and Business Owners connect to more prospects, convert more prospects to buying customers, and continue repeat business relationships. She can be reached via email at or visit