Marketing has never been a laidback, trouble-free game anyone can play. Today, it’s far more perilous than ever, particularly since prospective customers are moving targets.
Just when you think you have them figured out, they’ve moved on. If you don’t know what they want and the way they want to get it, they’re gone. If you disappoint them by betraying their trust, they’ll strike back. Bank on it.
(Related: If You Don’t Fix It, You Can’t Succeed)
Today’s customers are touchy and unforgiving. They’re in charge and they know it. While marketing can play a key role in a company’s success, it’s a fragile function; its efforts can easily be undermined and rendered ineffective.
Here are nine common mistakes that will doom a company’s marketing:
1. The boss as Marketer-in-Chief
While there may be a marketing director or even a CMO, in many companies it’s the boss who calls the shots as to what works and what doesn’t. Although the boss may be knowledgeable in many areas, more often than not marketing isn’t one of them. Those working in marketing get the message: either go along or go.
2. Lack of budget responsibility
“Just let us know what you need and we’ll do it.” Even though the words sound helpful and supportive, control of the budget controls marketing. It makes a consistent and integrated marketing plan irrelevant, along with turning marketers into beggars. Marketing initiatives are designed so they get approved rather than meet verifiable objectives.
3. Always doing the same thing
This is the “well-oiled” approach to marketing. Since everything is working smoothly, why make changes? It’s not only an appealing mistake, it’s also dangerous. Since conditions are always changing marketing should be responding with more appropriate customer-centric responses.
Like others, marketers do their best work when they challenge their own performance, identify missed opportunities, make data-driven decisions, and get feedback from others in the company.
4. Failing to deal with unrealistic expectations
It’s common for marketers to be faced with unworkable expectations, particularly when it comes to time and cost considerations for marketing initiatives. It’s the old champagne taste on a beer budget.
Without a clear agreement of expectations, marketers find themselves in the unenviable position of having to say, “But, I thought you meant….” or “We don’t have the budget to do that.”
5. Not exploiting brand value
Countless marketing messages shout self-serving messages in the hope that something will stick: “We’re the oldest…,” “You can’t do better anywhere else,” “We love our customers…,” and more.