Running a business without marketing is like winking at a pretty girl in the dark – you know what you’re doing but nobody else does. Marketing is the lifeblood of any business and the engine that drives demand, turnover and cash flow.
Marketing is not about boring your customers to death. When you have a personality and a story that is all your own, you can create marketing thats a tough act to follow.
Why is it then that marketing is a bit of a hit and miss affair for so many businesses? We sat down with ThinkTank’s Marketing Director, Jonathan Amm to get the inside track on the 5 reasons why companies get it wrong when it comes to marketing right.
1. It’s not planned
If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t know how to get there. Sounds obvious enough but it’s amazing how few companies sit down and invest time in thinking about and planning their marketing in a strategic and structured way.
Many companies also confuse strategy and tactics which means their marketing is reactionary and focused on short term gains. Unfortunately, if the strategic direction is wrong no amount of creative ideas will ever put it right.
So start by defining your objectives, setting goals and working out measurable action plans within a defined budget. By mapping out a plan you’ll become a lot more results focused and will generate a better return on your marketing investment.
2 It’s not a brand
Its really not about what you think – but rather about what your customers think. Brands exist in the minds of your customers and translate into how they feel about your products, service and company. Your brand is far more than a logo, design or print ad. Its how people emotionally connect with your business using a spectrum of senses including sight, sound, touch, taste, smell or action.
So stop thinking about your products, your company your web site. Start thinking about real customer problems, their challenges and how your brand adds value and creates an experience built around their needs.
3. It’s not targeted
A lot of money is wasted in marketing because clients don’t know who their most profitable customers are or whats the best way to reach them. So start by understanding and segmenting your customers based on needs, usage patterns and purchase behavior.
Step into their shoes and get inside their heads. Find out whats going on in their lives. Look at age, gender, education, location, income, life stage and interests to get a true 3-dimensional perspective.
This will help you zero in on the people who are most important to you and eliminate wastage on those who aren’t. It also means you can map out a really smart media plan to reach them in the most relevant and cost effective way.
4. It’s not different
Businesses are often good at getting better but poor at being different. The first job of marketing is to distinguish yourself from the competition. That means not just doing something different, but doing something r-a-d-i-c-a-l-l-y different.
Research indicates that 80% of CEOs think their brands are differentiated, but only 8% of customers agree. Lack of differentiation is cited as the number one cause of brand failure. Branding is not just about being different. It’s about being different for the right reasons. Brands need to be based on a strong defining idea that inspires both consumers and employees with a shared sense of meaning and purpose.
5. You don’t deliver on your promise
A brand is an experience living at the intersection of promise & expectation. Make sure your people know what your brand stands for, embed it thoroughly and manifest it consistently through brilliant service that delights your customers.
Always remember that your customers know what value is and more importantly what it isn’t. Lastly don’t over promise. Your customers want to trust you, so don’t give them a reason not to.