Your Marketing Isn’t Working Because It’s Not a One Way Street

Author : , Date : February 23, 2015



Next to making a sale of any kind, marketing is the most intimate and personal thing you will ever do in your business.

Your website, blog, social media, print advertising; it doesn’t exist for you, it exists for those who need what you have to offer.

So let me ask you; do you see your marketing as a one-way street where you simply tell people what you do or what you sell and just expect them to buy from you?

That’s the great dilemma isn’t it?

As I’m researching and writing my new book (I’ll share about that later in the article) I came across an extremely interesting article titled “The Future of Marketing” by Betsy Holden in which her main point is:



“The most important point I made during my time at the conference was that marketing in many people’s minds is little more than communications and advertising. It’s viewed as a tactical communications function rather than a strategic growth driver.

We have to re-position marketing as a strategic role that drives above-market growth based on a deep knowledge of the customer.”



She will go on to say:


“The digitization of the customer decision journey has made it so much easier for people to research and buy different products. At the same time, that trend has unlocked an unprecedented degree of insight into what people really want.”



For those of you who read my blog often you’ll discover a few noticeable themes. It’s our job to discover and communicate to what people really want, not what we want to sell them.

In order to do that, we have to learn the shift in marketing from the old one-way mass marketing model to one that is a two-street and is taking place collaboratively.


What Does Marketing Really Do?


In a real sense, marketing allows us to share how we make a difference in the world and it helps us discover our purpose and mission in life and business.

Your business does not revolve around products and services, it revolves around helping people. Otherwise, there would be no need for your business.

Yet, we market online as if it’s all about us.

In essence our websites, blogs and social media say nothing, mean nothing and help no one.

The majority of them are still basically static mass marketing tools that are trying to appeal to the masses instead of to those who are specifically and intentionally looking for your product or service.

As I will share in my ebook, 300+ years of mass marketing is a one-way communication tool that has programmed our minds to think in terms of features / benefits / price.

This is designed to appeal to a broad audience but does not necessarily incentivize anyone to buy from us, it’s merely attempting to make the audience aware that we exist.

But I ask the question; “So what?

The internet is transforming the way we interact and engage with prospects and customers and has truly transformed it a two-way street.

Your business is just one part of the whole. It’s not just products or services; marketing is really about countless relationships that work with you in collaboration to make a difference for someone who is in need of what you have to offer them.

You may not have considered this, but you ought to  always be in collaboration with:


  • Vendors
  • Employees
  • Prospects
  • Customers
  • Marketers
  • Bloggers
  • Social media


You are always working with these different set of people to solve a problem and make a difference in their lives or business. What might collaboration look like with each one of these groups:


  • Vendors –supplying a stream of business to them so that they can help you.
  • Employees –paying them to help you achieve your mission and purpose as you help your customers solve their problems or live their dreams.
  • Prospects –engaging with them and showing them competently how you can solve their problems or make their lives better.
  • Customers –already solved their problems, earned their trust and started building a relationship with them that creates friendships and loyalty and gives them a reason to buy again and tell everyone they know about how great you are!
  • Marketers – Connecting together and promoting one another and sharing how new strategies are helping to grow your businesses
  • Bloggers – Networking with influencers and sharing audiences with one another by commenting, sharing on social media and including them in your blog articles.
  • Social media – engaging with people in various conversations that enrich and make their lives better and giving them a reason to share your business with their friends.


When marketing is a two-way street you join with others to help them flourish. When you’re a hoarder you grow slower, cash flow comes in slower and your business is on the path the closing. This is the essence of what it means to have a great economy where people benefit one another and in the end help each other grow in order to fulfill our purpose and mission in life and business.

Collaboration in marketing is changing the way we see and do business with one another and the internet is full of people in your specific target audiences that are looking to do business with you if only they could find you and then be convinced that you are competent enough to help them and earn the right to do business with them.


What Makes Collaborative Marketing Really Work?


Well, just that… being intentional about being collaborative. Where does intentionality start?

It starts with purposefully laying a foundation for your business that enables you to communicate to anyone of the audiences above at any time in a way that helps them feel you understand and care about them.

That requires you to:


  1. Consider what business you’re “really” in. You have to start thinking like your prospects and customers and communicate directly to and with them about their needs, not your own.
  2. To know what the tangibles values are that you bring to the table. In other words how do people feel after they’ve experienced you and your products or services and how did you make a difference for them?
  3. What problems does each tangible value solve? You must know specifically and be able to communicate it in first person as if you’re in their shoes.
  4. Who do you specifically solve each problem for? This is the process of creating the image of who needs your help. You must be very precise and very specific.
  5. How are your products or services “a” part of a solution?


Until you know your real foundation as a business, you cannot isolate who or how to collaborate with an audience in a way that is meaningful and full of relevance and inspiration while also being compelling and interesting.

The internet is a face paced, ever changing and unforgiving place. If you miss the mark with any given audience you will almost never get them back and if you do you will have to fight hard for them. It only takes a second for someone to make up their minds about you based on their first observation of your message.


So let me ask you;


Isn’t it better to walk into a collaborative atmosphere already knowing how to communicate about and with your audience instead of exclusively about yourself?


Businesses have learned how to communicate in mass marketing channels about features and benefits but the world around you cares less and less and instead wants to know how you will work with them in order to solve their problems and make their lives better.

No matter what business you’re in or who you serve, you can create policies and procedures that create collaboration in your marketing, not tear it down.


What is the Biggest Killer of Collaboration?




The biggest killer of collaboration is your ego. It believes that no one knows as much as you do or that your way is the only way.

Your ego is nothing more than a destructive force that keeps you from seeing all the possibilities that can make your life and business explode.

Ego and confidence are not the same thing and they should never be confused. Confidence is belief in yourself but it’s not rigid or defensive and it’s always open to ideas and suggestions and making the hard decisions when it’s required.

Being closed minded and negative or convincing yourself that you’re somewhere you are not will keep the right people who can help you from ever getting near you.

The truly great entrepreneurs understand there is a place and time to be firm in your belief about what you are doing and stand firm on what is right for you. But they also understand that there are those who can see things they do not and have great ideas.

But if you are standing firm on all of the wrong things and are unwilling to consider other points of view because you are the “expert”; collaboration will never happen at a level that will allow you or your business to fulfill the potential that you both have to make a difference in the world.

We must never see our businesses as simply a way to “gain.” Instead when we collaborate, give, and network with the right people who are attracted to us and us to them we create the catalyst for true growth.

We gain nothing if our customers and partners feel that we are in it for ourselves.

The old days of mass marketing are dying and they are dying fast.

As proof, an article just the other day in Financial Times discussed the way people are consuming TV content and how the effect is creating incredible tension in the entertainment world as advertising revenues plummet.



“Mr. Juenger at Bernstein Research argues that television is undergoing a “structural” migration from ad-supported networks to streaming video services. “We don’t think those viewers are coming back,” he warns.”



It’s not just TV that is being affected. It’s newspapers, magazines, and various print formats that were once tycoons in one-way mass marketing tools that are all being pushed, squeezed and in some cases media businesses are closing their doors.

What this means for you Mr. or Ms. Business owner or entrepreneur is that the channels to connecting with those who are ready and willing to buy you are becoming more personal and collaborative.

The internet is changing and that’s why I wrote the following articles to emphasize the massive shift that is happening in marketing and the changes you must consider making if your marketing is going to thrive:


Are You Marketing in the Year We Actually Live In? 3 Reasons Your Struggling to Earn New Business – Even if You Don’t Know It

The Decline of Content Blogging in a Context Age

Transformational Changes in Online Engagement: Part 1 – Google

Transformational Changes in Online Engagement: Part 2 – Is Facebook In Decline?


The old world of a one-way street of mass marketing is changing rapidly. Fewer and fewer of us are reading newspapers, watching TV commercials, or consuming other forms of mass marketing tools.

Are you ready to make the shift to a two-way street of collaborative marketing between you and those who can help you meet your audience that is ready and willing to buy from you?

The-Shift-The-Fast-Paced-Transition-from-Mass-Marketing-to-Context-MarketingIf you want to learn more about the shift that is happening to every business in America I’m writing a new book titled “The Shift – The Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing.

In it we will explore the 300+ years of mass marketing, the mindset that still exists as a result of mass marketing, how to learn collaborative marketing in the shifting landscape, and how to answer the questions about “what business I’m really in” to begin learning how to build a solid collaborative foundation that will help your business through the shift and beyond.


The eBook will be released in the next two weeks. If you would like to know when and where you can get a copy of it when it’s released, please consider joining my email list by clicking on the box below. There may also be promotional pricing when it’s first released so be sure to get that information because it will only be released through my email.



Do you have an idea or comment, I would love to interact with you and get the conversation started below in the comments section.


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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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29 thoughts on “Your Marketing Isn’t Working Because It’s Not a One Way Street

  1. Hi Don.

    Great work, as always.

    You were spot on when you said: “When marketing is a two-way street you join with others to help them flourish.” Even if they don’t buy from us, if they feel we’re helping them, then it’s likely that at least they’ll remember us and share our content. Or, perhaps, even recommend us by word of mouth.

    All the best with your book! I’m sure you’ve done a great job.


  2. Bravo Don!

    You know as I’m following your totally excellent post, it almost seems brain dead obvious, exactly what you’re explaining.

    But clearly are habitual profit repelling habit of one way communication, is certainly not so obvious!

    and as you so wisely pointed out, if we’re partly being driven by ego, then it’s certainly no wonder that we can’t and don’t see the writing on the wall.

    We’re certainly doing our share of advertising, but a really poor job of marketing, in the sense that we’re not effectively communicating, just how products and services help enhance and improve the quality of both our customers and clients lives!

    Thanks so much for the much needed re-education! It’s so easy to get caught up in the “let me tell you about me” syndrome form of advertising and marketing!

  3. Don,

    Your article is right on. Too many people are still operating with the old paradigm. They post about their business or coaching. They even tag people to listen to their special event or attend it for a fee. But they have not discovered whether those they tagged have any interest in attending their event. We are all so busy with so many possible things to do, so many webinars we can watch, ebooks we can download, etc. The last thing I want is for someone to tag me to attend their event. You can share about the event and then I can decide if it interests me. I also don’t like people asking for support when they have not been supporting me.

    So your term collaboration is key. People think that if you are my friend and we have shared a bit, then you are anxious to support me in whatever my latest activity is. Instead, we need to create a free gift, invite people to our site and let those who are interested willingly opt in. And then we can offer our wares to those who have chosen to hear from us – not our social media friends.

    Online etiquette continues to change. Thanks for making the effort to educate people.


    Dr. Erica

    1. Hi Dr. Erica,

      It makes sense they operate in the old paradigm, doesn’t it? In my new ebook being released in the next few days I actually go into sharing how 300+ years of mass marketing has molded and shaped our worldview and thoughts around how we reach our audiences today.

      It’s hard to untangle that web and even though we ourselves don’t like to be marketed to in a certain way we still do it to others.


      It feels comfortable and it’s what we know. Learning a new way to think is work and who has time for that.

      You bring up an excellent point about social media and tagging. When people do that and what you are tagging people over has nothing to do with them, that is rude and will ultimately lose you business and friends.

      Great comment Dr. Erica. Thank you for extending the conversation so thoughtfully!!!

      ~ Don

  4. Hi, Don,

    Boy, what an excellent topic you’ve opened up for discussion because this is the crux of building relationships and marketing. Thinking of the other person, and what they need (not necessarily want) is essential for success.

    Awesome post. My favorite take away is your statement regarding the biggest killer of collaboration being our own ego. I couldn’t agree more! 🙂 It is a destructive force. You’re absolutely right.

    Investing time to know about our audience and what it will take to move them emotionally is a key ingredient in the process, I believe. I’m in alignment with what you’re sharing because from the get-go, I’ve tried to put the other person first.

    It’s amazing to me that the principle holds true: “You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.” ― Zig Ziglar

    For me, it’s always been about that one person I’m talking to, making them feel like they’re the only person in the world.

    Have you ever been talking to someone face to face who diverts their eyes to see what’s going on in the room, and doesn’t focus on you when you’re talking?

    I have, and it makes me feel much less valued. I never want to be that person! So I do my best to never break eye contact when someone is speaking to me, and also try to bring this to online relationships.

    Thanks for this very thought-provoking article, Don – sharing with everyone…

    Have a lovely day.

    1. Hi Carol,

      It amazes me that marketers of all types and people talk about the need to build relationships and that the key to success to for any business is to enhance the level of relationships they have with their customers; yet there marketing rarely says that they really want a relationship. It just screams “buy me.”

      Zig… what an amazing man he was. I got to know his son Tom while I was living in Dallas and he is as equally impressive. The truth is that statement is eternally true and there is no escaping it or it’s principles.

      You really do a great job of making people feel important Carol!

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the article and for being a part of the conversation.

      I hope you are having a great week?

      ~ Don

      1. Agreed! Awesome you were able to meet Tom, that’s great to know that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 🙂

        Yes, having a great week – enjoying my granddaughter in Texas.

        Have a wonderful day.


  5. Hi Don,

    As a marketing professional myself
    I cannot agree more with you. Like any other communication process,
    advertising also have to be a two way process to be successful.

    Your point on ego and collaboration is absolutely correct. There can be nothing worse than ego for creativity and innovation.

    Thanks a ton for sharing the insight with us. Enjoy your day!

    1. Hi Nisha,

      It’s great to see you! I’m so glad you stopped by to share your thoughts. I value your opinion.

      Ego and collaboration just doesn’t go well together. If people are going to work their marketing then they are going to have to drop the self destructive thoughts and tendencies of self and start thinking about what’s be for others.

      Only then can we create an environment of trust and collaboration that will enable us to propel to new heights.

      Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation.

      I hope you’re having a great week!

      ~ Don

  6. Can’t go wrong with that advice.

    Working together, helping each other out is a general rule in life. It’s just the way it is and it will always result in better things.

    Wonderful topic again Don! 🙂

  7. I agree that Marketing is an ever changing machine that always has new trends, techniques and ways. We leave in digital age and almost everything change very fast. In marketing, you have to consider several ways to prosper because it is not a one way street. There are many options to choose from even though you are working on a different set of people.

    “You have to start thinking like your prospects and customers and communicate directly to and with them about their needs, not your own.” A takeaway that is important to mull over and I want it to put forward.

    1. Hi Metz,

      Nice to see you here on my blog. You bring up a great point that many different strategies ought to be employed to reach any given audience.

      Online that might mean blogging, podcasting, video… etc. How to create an environment where it’s a two way street? Hum… I may address that in a future ebook.

      Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation and giving a thoughtful perspective.

      ~ Don

  8. Hey Don,

    I agree with you that Collaborative Marketing is the way to go.

    I have noticed the paradigm shift in marketing with the advent of the internet. More so within the past 5 years.

    With these changes, we must change if we want to get something out of it. It’s the mindset of making this arena a win/win for everyone. You and the people you market to.

    I believe with many people, including myself, that whenever the average person starts a business, they go into it with a ‘survival’ mentality, which is more or less a ‘every man for himself’ mentality where there’s a race to be on top of our competitors.

    With that said, you become more self absorbed and the ego get’s in the way. It’s as if you become your own Mafia and if anyone get’s in your way, you becoming more willing to use them and take them out. Well that may be to an extreme, but this is the path you take with this mentality I believe!

    I definitely look forward to reading the ebook! I will get on your list!

    Thanks for the share Don! Have a great rest of the week!

    1. HI Sherman,

      It’s interesting, I spell out in my new book that will be available in the next few weeks how marketing has changed in ten and five year increments and your observation is really important.

      That shift has been brought about because of social media and the need for business bloggers to up their game in terms of quality of content and engagement as well.

      You definitely risk a lot of different things negatively when you allow your ego to take control. You bring up a very interesting perspective and you’re right that many will unfortunately take that path and ultimately it may cost them their business… and maybe more.

      Thanks for contributing greatly to the conversation Sherman!

      ~ Don

  9. Hey Don,

    Great post here.

    Key line that everyone needs to pay attention to, “Your business does not revolve around products and services, it revolves around helping people.”

    As long as you remember that, your customers will forever be loyal.

    Collaboration is key as well .. but you’re right about the major killer of it. When one person has a huge ego, it’s not destined to work out. But then I’ll also add another thing to that, when one person doesn’t pull their weight, it won’t work out either.

    That’s why, as good as it is to colloberate, you still have to do your due diligence and make sure you’re working with a person with a similar work ethic as you – with no ego.

    Thanks for sharing this key information, Don.

    – Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      You bring up a really great point and you’re so right. I have definitely felt in the past that I did my part and the other party didn’t do nearly as much as I did but they wanted the same reward.

      That can definitely be an issue if the relationship is deep enough.

      Your solution is very well stated… we each have to do our due diligence.

      Thanks for a great contribution to the article Andrew!

      ~ Don

  10. Marketing is an ever changing machine that always has new trends, techniques and ways. Keeping on top of it can be a very difficult task to do but very lucrative if done so. Cross-promotion with other marketers is a great way to gain exposure to other individuals that are targets and great for your niche.

    1. Hi Kyle,

      That it is; but the most important technique and principle that lasts forever is make it easy for people to understand who we are and what business we are “really” in on a consistent basis.

      Clarity is our friend and it keeps the two-lane road flowing smoothly and allows people to not only understand us, but also communicate to others how they can learn to quickly and easily communicate us.

      When we can do that for one another, the opportunities are endless but I have to know how you message yourself so that I in turn can message you.

      That is just good fundamental marketing!

      I hope you have a great week!

      ~ Don

  11. It has been said that 2 heads are better than 1. This is so true and is very important with marketing. We have to work together and let other people’s talents help boost our business. Great post!

    1. Hi Heather,

      Absolutely! We can accomplish more together than we can apart. However, we have to have our message straight and consistent in order to for that two lane road to function well.

      Too many of us can’t tell someone what business we are “really” in conscisley or quickly and on a consistent basis. That leaves people unsure of who we are and how we help people and can turn a two-way road into a one-way road really quick.

      Thanks for commenting and I hope you have a great week!

      ~ Don

  12. Hi Don,

    Wow, if we give, we get. This message is dead on, and beyond powerful, you discuss here.

    If we open 2 way streets, we prosper. It IS that simple but many miss this basic law of life. I figure, work with a ton of folks, help them, promote them, form bonds, give freely, and we’ll all prosper. A rising tide lifts all ships and your generosity rises that tide.

    As for marketing, I dig the note about being genuine in your collaborations.

    No better way to form strong bonds and to expand your presence, than by being authentic.

    Thanks Don for sharing your business wisdom.

    Have a fab week!


    1. Hi Ryan,

      It really is a simple principle that if we are thinking of others we are giving them a reason to think about us.

      And, as I said to Adrienne in my reply to her comment, collaboration is made possible when our message is consistent and our business and blogging partners really understand what we do.

      Believe it or not, there are some bloggers put out great content every week that I’ve been reading since July but I still don’t really know what they do or what their message is.

      Authenticity, it’s one of my favorite words!

      Have a great week in sunny and warm Bali Ryan!!! It’s nice and frigid for another week here but moderating starting next week they are saying. YEA!

      ~ Don

  13. Hi Don,

    I believe it was in some training I did last year by a very successful millionairess that said we are our marketing. What we say and do is basically marketing. It’s the same as saying we are our brands. So although I know your post is diving a little deeper into marketing as a whole I believe this to be true.

    What we should always be concentrating on is helping our readers, commenters, subscribers, customers and clients with whatever issue it is that they may have. I know that for some people their egos do get in the way because they think that this is all about them. How great they are, what a fabulous service they provide or how their product is the best above all the rest.

    I know I was lead to believe coming into this that it was all about the sale. Granted, you don’t have a business without customers which of course are the ones buying from you but when you are the one out there preaching how great you are then they’re going to run to your competition because they’re providing better information without all the hype and pressure.

    It’s making those connections that will help us move forward. So as you mentioned about collaborating with different sets of people to help each other out well that’s what it should be about right! No one can do this alone, we all need help in some area so why not go that extra mile.

    That’s why I’m so big on helping other bloggers because I don’t know it all, I can’t do it all and I don’t want to. I want to help people so if I can’t help them I want to send them to someone who can. When the time is right they’ll do the same for me and that’s how this all works.

    I’m excited for you with your eBook and I have no doubt it will be a good one. With your knowledge, how can it not be a success right!

    Thanks for sharing this Don and keep up the great work. You’re rocking it my friend.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Absolutely, we are our marketing because we are our business and our business is us. Because we are one and the same so is our brand. That just ups the game doesn’t it Adrienne?

      I learned a long time ago in military leadership training and through experience that any organization will take on the persona of its leader. That means everyone in the organization will reflect the values, the message and the brand given enough time. Within 18 months, people will even begin thinking and acting like the leader.

      All the more reason why we have to know what business we are “really” in!!!

      But the messaging goes even deeper than that. Until we get that right how are we supposed to network well and help others help us?

      It all works together. If I can teach someone quickly through consistency of message how I make a difference for someone it makes it a lot easier for a fellow business owner or blogger to refer me.

      Great points Adrienne!

      I hope you have a spectacular week.

      ~ Don

  14. Hi Don,

    Indeed, marketing has changed and if we don’t go with the flow, we will be standing all alone. There are so many ways we can lend a hand to others without flaunting what we do. Instead, they ask us what we do when we give an answer to the problem they are having. Offline, online, wherever we go.

    I am so glad you brought up that difference between confidence and ego.

    I see many on the social media platforms even asking a question. I’ll answer them..give them a little of my time and then they are appreciative. They remember who I am. I don’t do it with an ulterior motive, and that is the difference between ego and confidence.

    We can have the confidence to help another and that is all well and good. Ego, will turn people off. We have a funny intuitive way of knowing how an egotistical person is coming from. …At least I do lol.

    In Marketing, we are all in it together. If someone just helped me out, I will acknowledge that on a social media platform…in fact I just did lol.

    I cannot wait until your wonderful book comes out.

    Counting down the days……….


    1. Hi Donna,

      I just love your attitude and the way you do things Donna. I so appreciated the conversation on the phone the other day with you and David after we recorded the podcast. I just feel like I know you so much better now!!!!

      It’s all about a little giving. If someone is going to buy you, they are going to buy and if I have to convince them to buy I probably don’t want that business or all that come with it.

      Like you said, we all work together to make a difference in the world. That is really EXCITING!!!

      I can’t wait till the book is ready. I’m working hard on it!!!

      ~ Don

  15. Hi Don,

    I completely agree with that. Good marketing is not one way street. At least not any more. We need to be open to new ways – smarter ways – to promote ourselves and our business.

    For example, networking is a must nowadays, but it works best when we really know what business we’re really in as you always say.

    Indeed, that darn ego can get in the way. It a killer. And it’s also usually a bad adviser. I feel that more business owners and bosses should study about the ego more, as they don’t seem to understand it at all.

    Congratulations on your upcoming eBook. I’m sure you’ve done a great job with it.

    1. Hi Sylviane,

      I don’t know about you, but I’m still shocked at how many people think they get it but their actions say something completely opposite.

      I’m very excited for you and it’s been so fun getting to know you and watching the changes that are happening inside your life and business. There is no ego in you my friend but I can definitely see the confidence growing every week.

      Thanks for the congrats, I’m looking forward to getting it launched soon. There is still a lot of work to do!!!

      Have a great week Sylviane.

      ~ Don

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