Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The five deadliest marketing mistakes - Deadly Mistake # 1

To err is human, but some mistakes are bigger than others. Here are the five most painful, most horrific, most DEADLY marketing mistakes you could inflict on your company …

I switched my job from a more advertising oriented function which included more of dealing with Media, Publications, PR and event based stuff. Now I have more hardcore Marketing job functions, which include product based research (rather than client based), strategy development and product management. Recently I have been working on the marketing plan for a new product which will be launched in the near future. This provided me a learning curve and I am very excited about it.

I want to avoid the mistakes that many marketers make and try the best practices. Therefore I've decided to put up a series of posts in which I'll highlight the deadly mistake that marketers makes.

Deadly Mistake Number 1: Not having a strategy

I was having lunch with a friend the other day. He opened an innovative retail business last year and has spent tens of thousands on advertising. He's tried everything -- print, radio, TV, Internet, billboards. He's had sales, promotions, and PR events but can't seem to move sales.

So I asked him, "Who's your customer?" He said at first he predicted it would be middle-aged women, but then he noticed mostly couples entering the store. He said senior citizens need his product but he doesn't know how to target them. He tried ads in the local college student newspaper to appeal to young people but it got him nothing. And he thought locals would frequently visit the store but has seen people drive in from neighboring areas, too.

You can see that it's impossible to have an effective advertising campaign without clearly defining who you're selling to; the customer needs you're meeting, competition, pricing, and your points of differentiation. In fact, if you don't KNOW these things, you are probably going to fail while burning through huge amounts of cash.
My friend is firing "buckshot advertising" ... just shooting here and there, hoping he will get lucky and hit a customer. What he needs is a guided MISSILE ... and that's where strategy comes in.

So What makes a good strategy?

Some of the key elements are:
  • Target demographic and market segmentation
  • Market positioning and points of differentiation
  • Product and service attributes - finding under-served needs
  • Competition and external influences, threats and opportunities
  • Marketing channels
  • Pricing
  • Communications and branding - differentiation and value proposition
  • Distribution
Going through a methodical process to research and identify your marketing approach is the most important thing you can do for your business. And it's so LIBERATING! You don't have to guess any more. You don't have to play advertising roulette. You can sell with confidence and it will work because you have data, insight and a PLAN!

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