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Five Classic Marketing Mistakes that May not go away

16 Apr, 2007 By: Paul Christ, PhD imageSource

Five Classic Marketing Mistakes that May not go away

With so much time and energy directed to improving marketing decision making,
one might think that past mistakes attributed to lack of marketing knowledge
would now be all but eliminated.  In reality, there are many mistakes that are
bound to be repeated no matter how much attention is directed to understanding
marketing.  Here are a few:

Who Needs to Plan

Marketing executives within fast moving industries often feel planning
beyond the short-term is useless since the market changes so rapidly.  Yet
failing to lay out a plan may lead to some big surprises, like running out of
money!  In a business environment, where decisions are made quickly, it is easy
to lose track of where the money is going.  A marketing plan can help the
company insert controls on marketing expenditures.  It also has the added
benefit of having marketers take a step back to see where the company has been
and may uncover important information that was not apparent earlier. 
Additionally, a marketing plan may help ensure that everyone within the company
is on the same page with regard to the basic direction of the firm’s marketing
efforts.  This may prevent finger pointing down the road.

All We Need to do is Pump More into Promotion

Wouldn’t it be great if marketing was this easy?  Just spend more on
advertising and other promotions and we will quickly see our sales increase. 
More likely what you’ll see is your profits decrease!  The argument for more
promotion as the medicine needed to fix lackluster sales is heard in nearly all
organizations.  But to view marketing problems in terms of promotional
deficiencies is extremely shortsighted.  Marketing is much more than
advertising.  Sales problems could be the result of numerous other marketing
problems. Before deciding to spend more on promotion, review marketing decisions
to be sure problems aren’t elsewhere.

We Have the Best Product on the Market

Says who?  The marketer might think it’s the best product, but remember the
marketer is not buying the product.  The marketer’s target market is supposed to
buy it.  If a marketer can’t understand why customers are buying a competitor’s
product when the marketer thinks the competitor’s product is inferior then the
marketer does not know the market well enough.  More than likely how the product
is positioned in customers’ minds is different than how the marketer sees
things.  This situation calls for extensive customer research to find out why
the product is not performing as expected.

Our Customers Only Care About Getting the Lowest Price

No they don’t.  They care about the best value for their money.  Customers
first and foremost want to feel comfortable with their purchase and know they
got their money’s worth from their decision.  It is a miscalculation for
marketers to believe customers reduce purchase decisions to selecting the
product with the lowest price.  Yet, if a marketer undertakes a little research
they will invariably find many other issues affect the purchase.  Companies that
feel they are losing out to lower priced competitors are really losing out to
higher value competitors.  Clearly to fight this requires marketing efforts that
increase the value of the firm’s products in the minds of its target market.

We Know Who Our Competitors Are

Most marketers, when asked to name their competitors, can easily rattle off
a list.  While the length of this list shows strong knowledge of the market,
what is more important is who is not on the list.  Companies not viewed as
competitors are potentially the biggest threat to a company, especially for
companies operating in a rapidly evolving market.  At the very least, the
marketer should have two lists – current competitors and potential competitors. 
The list for potential competitors should be heavily weighted with companies
that are outside the current industry.  In this way the marketer broadens the
universe of potential influencers in their market and becomes aware of potential
competitors.  Investigating firms in outside industries may also provide insight
and ideas for product innovation, new markets and new channels.

Writer Paul Christ is a credible source for fundamental marketing strategies,
planning and research, as well as a variety of business topics for today’s

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