Clients today often want a “quick fix” to business challenges, and marketing is one of them.  Importantly, many are afraid of making a mistake.  Marketing is one of those sciences many think they don’t know much about, but in fact, a lot of it is just common sense.  While we tend to not like these types of  lists (quick fixes!), a client asked, so we are obliging, of course. (When the client says “Jump!”, we jump…) Here it is, with some repeats of previous posts…

1.  LACK OF A PLAN.  Many companies treat marketing activities as a “do-it-as-it-comes-along” proposition, resulting in efforts that don’t meet  goals, not to mention spending more than you have.  You have to have an annual plan, and then to WORK that plan. 

2.  NO (OR BAD) POSITIONING.  This is a complex concept to explain here, so we urge you to read the older but still excellent marketer’s “bible”:  Positioning:  The Battle for Your Mind (Al Reis & Jack Trout.)  Recognize that your widget may be competing with myriad  other widgets, and unless you give it proper branding  in a competitive marketplace, chances are you won’t sell one.  Or, maybe worse,  you’ll sell it for a lot less than you’d like. 

3.  CONFUSING STRATEGIES VS. TACTICS.  This one is easy to confuse but it’s very important to know the difference.  A proper marketing plan starts with an objective, such as:  “Create awareness and demand for Best Widgets with target customers.”  The  strategy follows, i.e.   “Reach women aged 25-45.”  Then your tactic is what you are going to do: the activity to meet the strategy and objective,  i.e.  “Advertise monthly in O magazine.”  Never start with tactics, as we have seen so many do.  This is the correct order of planning to ensure you are always “working your plan.”

4.  THE ONE-AD CAMPAIGN.   Unless you are advertising during half-time in the Super Bowl…and even then (assuming you can afford that, and then you are probably not reading this) the key to advertising success is in the formula:  frequency + reach = impact.  Tests have shown that three consecutive print insertions, for example, provide the minimum frequency to even be noticed.  And this is assuming your ad is compelling, well-written etc.  Reach would then be  circulation, or how many people will see your message.  Always try for the most of both.  If you  have the budget for only one ad, unless you are doing charity, don’t spend it.  (BTW, an oft-quoted mininum expenditure to be successful in consumer mass media is $3 million.  With the right targeting and social networking you will never spend that)

5. A “ONE-HORSE SHOW”.  This is the common mistakes clients make where they think that ONE thing they do will work.  Successful marketing is the integration of several tactics (see above) that, working together over time, achieve results.

6.  MISUNDERSTANDING SALES VS. MARKETING.  We see this a lot.  Please refer to previous post about TERMINOLOGY.  If you follow your marketing plan properly, your sales should improve.

7.  NO MARKET RESEARCH.  This should be at the top of your list.  You cannot have a proper marketing plan without research.  If you are doing B2B (business-to-business marketing) you need to understand the companies that will buy your product:  where they are,their motivation, the competition, the marketplace, etc.  If you are doing consumer marketing, you have to understand your target:  the demographics (where they live), psychographics (how they think) etc. 

8.  LACK OF CONSISTENCY.  This is when your marketing message is confusing:  you say one thing on your brochure, another on your web site, and the overall “look” is different on each sales brochure and customer communications.   Refer to #2:  all your communications should reflect your market positioning and be consistent.

9.  INABILITY TO MEASURE RESULTS.  A common ad industry adage says:  ” 50% of what we spend on advertising is wasted:  the key is to know which 50%.”   Set up specific but measurable goals to ensure your plan is workable.  Goal such as “increase sales by 10%” may or may not be doable, thus the importance of market research, above.  Test concepts and markets.  Remember:  test twice, roll out once.

10.  LACK OF PATIENCE.  Maybe this should have been #1.  Marketers are typically impatient, anxious for quick results.   If your plan is sound, you should see measurable results in one year.  Give your plan at least that amount of time to succeed.



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