While there are many marketing debates around what constitutes marketing success, there is very little debate around why marketing fails. Lets take a brief look at five things that are guaranteed to cripple your marketing efforts, and budget.
1) Don’t Define what you want Marketing to Achieve.
This is the number one pitfall of nearly all marketing campaigns. You are guaranteed to fail if you don’t decide up front what you want the campaign to do for you. You’ll get side-tracked, pulled off course by the creative team and/or achieve something completely unintended (positive or negative). Without formulating your critical success factors for the marketing initiative you will never be able to measure success/failure or degrees thereof – everything will be outside your control as you constantly grapple for straws.
2) Try to Please Everyone.
By trying to be all things to all people you are fairly likely to appeal to no-one. This is the one area of marketing where less is definitely more. Focus small and own that market, rather than trying to attract every one and having your campaigns so broad and generic that they lose their message and appeal in the process.
3) Communicate too Little or too Much.
There is definitely constant conflict over how much to say and when. In a nutshell, short copy is great if you have a lot of products and/or services you need communicated in one message. Long copy is best if you have one product/service and you want to communicate your unique brand offering in a way that takes the reader through a sales process. Even in long copy though, you need to determine no more than three key benefits of your product/service and reinforce these over and over again so that the message comes through clearly. By saying too little you won’t have grabbed, by sending too many messages you’ll confuse. The key is to say little and reinforce often.
4) Not Understanding the Target Market.
Market research is one of those highly specialized areas that often confuse the practical marketer, but this area is ignored at your peril. Investing time and resources in getting into the minds of your selected target market will be repaid ten-fold. The research does not have to be complicated or outsourced. In house data mining, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data analysis, discussions with your sales force or focus groups with some of your customers are all cost effective options that will provide valuable insight. If you haven’t done something to better understand your customers in the last 3 months then it’s time to block off an afternoon to invest in your future.
5) No time to think – just do!
This is one area that is becoming a chronic sickness in all marketing efforts. Marketing personnel are spending less time with their feet up on the desk thinking (if they ever did it to start with) and more and more time running around doing, un-doing and re-doing. We need to find a way to do less but do it better. By working on fewer campaigns but investing focused time and energy towards their effectiveness, we will achieve more and do so with less stress and more fun!
If you can avoid just one of these five pitfalls this year, you will have done well.