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Marketing is too important to be left to the marketers. --David Packard
Yes, that’s right. Marketing is way too important to be left to just anyone. You don’t necessarily have to be a professional marketer, but you have to take marketing very seriously. Actually, the worst thing that can happen is people who think they are marketing people get involved in marketing, especially the people who feel that they know all the answers.
One of the biggest challenges I face when working with a company is when their key people tell me that they have tried everything and nothing has worked, so that whatever I suggest, they say with no small conviction, if not out-and-out satisfaction, “Oh, we tried that five years ago and it did not work.” Or, “We did that a couple of months ago and got no results at all.”
Back when I got started helping companies, I used to read my clients a list called Fifty Reasons why it Won’t Work. It was chock full of reasons I had heard over the years about why companies’ sales and marketing did not work, or would never work even if they deemed to try it.
Have you ever noticed that when you try out an idea, the other people in the room will fall all over themselves to be the first one to give an example of why it just might not work? What is that all about? Do they feel that they are being incredibly clever, out-thinking everyone in the room by coming up with something that everyone overlooked?
Or, they finally do try something and they send out a great offer to 50,000 people, but one guy out of the 50,000 gives negative feedback about the offer. One guy, mind you, does not like the offer and it makes them dump that offer, even if the other 49,999 people loved it! Look, no matter what you send out there will always be two or three sourpusses who don’t like it, because they don’t like anything anyway. Don’t let these idiots control your marketing efforts and sales offers.
One of my favorite rules of brainstorming is, if you come up with some reason why this idea will not work, you also have to come up with one reason why it will work. Now that takes creativity and good thinking.
Let me give you some very simple rules about marketing. These rules will change the way you look at marketing or anything else you try to improve your company, for that matter.
- Marketing takes time and patience. You have to try things for a good while before you will have enough results to know whether they are working. Take advertising, for example. People will call me and tell me they are going to put an ad in a trade magazine—one ad, one time. I tell them not to bother. One ad, one time is not going to work. Advertising, like all marketing, is really made effective by the steady drumbeat of a message repeated over and over again. You develop an ad campaign; you do not place one ad. It will not work.
- Marketing is customer-focused. You have to fully understand your customers, their needs, what they like, what appeals to them and what will get them to pay attention to your company. It has nothing to do with what you like, or what your spouse likes, or what the guy in plating likes. It I all about what the customer likes. Anything else is a waste of time.
- You have to keep adjusting your marketing message, your ads, your newsletters, and whatever you are doing to get your message out to the marketplace. What worked last year will probably not work this year. You have to stay ahead of your customers when developing a message that will appeal to them.
- Your ads have to say something, and they have to ask the customer to do something. They can’t just lay there saying “We are here.” That’s just a big “So what?” Your ads have to say who you are and why people should want to know you and buy from you. They should let your customers know what you can do for them. Tell potential customers what you are good at, what your specialty is and how you can apply it to their needs. If you don’t do that, you are wasting your time.
- And please have some guts. Take a risk. Try something that no one has ever tried before. Send a message that is going to get people talking, buzzing and even laughing. Get away from what everyone else is doing and make your company truly outstanding in the marketplace.
- Just one more: Focus on your marketing. It’s important, and actually, it is more important than anything else your company does, because it is the only thing you do that will bring in customers and business. Without customers and business, you have nothing.
Customers are the lifeblood of every company and if you do not take the business of getting new customers through marketing seriously, you will not grow your business. If you do not spend the time on marketing that you need, you will not gain customers, and you will run out of business and you will fail.
It’s that simple, and it’s only common sense.