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Customer Interaction Solutions
November 2006 - Volume 25 / Number 6

On Marketing Blunders... THE 20 HABITS OF LOUSY MARKETERS

 

Nadji Tehrani
Executive Group Publisher, Editor-in-Chief


 
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If you are wondering what triggered this editorial, I would have to answer that there comes a time when I have observed so many marketing problems that if I don’t write about them, I will probably explode!

Figure 1

Figure 1

Before I proceed with this column, I would like to make it abundantly clear that the objective of this particular Publisher’s Outlook is not to be overly critical or hurt anyone’s feelings, but to point out some of the major, costly problems that continue to exist in Corporate America when it comes to marketing.

I would like to quickly review some of the marketing imperatives that I have covered in previous editorials, as follows:

1. The Old Fact: If you don’t market, you don’t exist;

2. The New Fact: If you are not on the first page of Google (News - Alert) or Yahoo, you don’t exist;

3. In marketing, timing is everything;

Many years of marketing experience have taught me a great lesson: that market share leaders in any industry are those who have an outstanding marketing strategy first and then a good product behind it.

4. As a Professor of Harvard once said, “Companies exist for two reasons: marketing and innovation”;

5. Integrated marketing is the only effective way to market today;

6. To stand out from the competition, you must think out of the box; and

7. Marketing is not a part-time job!

Having said that, I would now like to focus on some of the major problems that exist in Corporate America’s marketing departments, as follows:

1. Having a full marketing staff without a marketing budget! Believe it or not, there are many companies that have a full staff of marketing people without a dime to spend on marketing! In light of this, you have to wonder how long it will take before these companies go out of business or go nowhere.

2. Spend millions of dollars to develop great new products or services and have no money or budget for marketing!
In previous editorials, I have pointed out that it is not about how good your product is. In today’s marketplace, it is how great your marketing is. Even if you have a mediocre product, you can command a great market share if you have powerful marketing.

3. Hire marketing staff that cannot pass a simple marketing test! As I have indicated in previous editorials, better than 98 percent of people who apply for marketing jobs at TMC fail to pass our simple marketing test. On that test, the first question is “define marketing.” You would be amazed by how many people with degrees in marketing and years of experience cannot even define marketing!

4. Place a lousy ad in magazines or online and run it over and over again, only to find there are no inquiries or sales leads for that ad. As I have stated many times before, in advertising, like many other parts of business today, the rule is “garbage in, garbage out.” When I look through many publications, I rarely find an ad that makes me stop and notice and remember the ad years later. Great ads that remain in the reader’s mind permanently are those that produce significant sales results.

5. Ignore the first law of positioning! There are many companies that do not even know what the first law of positioning is! These companies will flounder for a few years with no plans to go anywhere. My favorite expression in this case is from Yogi Berra, the great player for the New York Yankees, who said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else!!” Having said that, the first law of positioning reads as follows, “It is better to be first than to be better.” Please read this law again. “It is better to be first than to be better.” For reasoning behind this comment, I invite you to read past editorials on differentiation and positioning. Before I get away from this first law of positioning, it is important to notice that to be first in anything is like being on the first page of Google, simply because few, if any, people will go beyond the first page when they conduct a search online.

6. Ignore the all-important differentiation. It is vitally important to note that any and all marketing pieces, including all advertisements, must clearly differentiate the advertiser from its competition. In other words, without clearly articulated differentiation, the customer has no reason whatsoever to buy from such advertisers.

7. Ignore Positioning. Once again, it is of paramount importance to define the position of your product or service so that readers and/or customers can understand the nature of your product offering.

8. Ignore Outsourcing. It has been clearly pointed out not only in this editorial, but also in the national business press, that companies would be wise to focus on their core-competency simply because outsourcers such as teleservices companies have a much higher degree of expertise in both sales, customer service, lead generation, collection, fund-raising, etc.

9. Ignore thinking out of the box. Given that each person is exposed every week to thousands of commercials, marketing pieces and advertisements, unless you think out of the box and make sure that your product offering stands above the crowd, you will not be noticed and, therefore, you cannot expect proper lead generation.

10. Make sure the marketing manager understands not only your business but also your competitors. No marketing person can survive without industry knowledge and competitive knowledge.

11. Companies that do not believe in marketing and look for a cheap solution such as PR only or e-mail only and totally ignore integrated marketing will only run down the business while going nowhere!

12. They change the company name several times and keep it a secret. As ill-advised as this may seem, there have been many companies in the call center/CRM and teleservices industries that have acquired other companies and changed the name yet didn’t tell anyone about it. Many of these customers have lost considerable market share and/or have gone out of business because no one knew who they were, and no one buys anything from a company they have never heard of. Nevertheless, this kind of stupidity continues.

13. Lousy marketers think that the market exists because of their product whereas in fact, it is the other way around. Their product can exist if and only if the marketplace has a need for it.

14. Lousy marketers ignore brand recognition. As that famous McGraw-Hill advertisement so eloquently stated:

• “I don’t know you;
• I don’t know your product;
• I don’t know your company;
• Now what is it that you wanted to sell me?”

In plain English, if you don’t have brand recognition, don’t waste your time trying to sell a lot of products. You will always have an uphill battle.

15. Senior management of lousy marketing companies considers marketing a necessary evil. Obviously, those companies have no future.

16. Ignore online, trade show and print advertising altogether. There is no way a company that ignores these three vital components of integrated marketing will survive.

17. Lousy marketers cut the marketing budget to the bone in a recession and/or when the sales are down! This is the opposite of what they should be doing. In fact, this is the best time for competition to increase their market share at the expense of the lousy marketer!

18. Lousy marketers ignore timing. As stated above, in marketing, timing is everything. For example, if you are conducting a trade show on January 15th, you don’t want your marketing piece to arrive on your prospects’ desks on January 20th. If this is what your company has been doing, you might as well use the following headline on your next brochures: “Here is what you missed last week!!” Believe it or not, I have observed this several times!!

19. Lousy marketers place a poorly prepared and designed ad two to three times a year in a magazine and they call that marketing. When such a feeble attempt at marketing fails to produce results, the marketer commits three more mistakes as, follows:

a. Mistake #1: He or she blames the publication or Web site where the lousy ad appeared!

The fact is that a poorly prepared ad will not produce anything, no matter where you place it.

b. Mistake #2: He or she tries to cover up the problem by saying, “Advertising does not work!” In other words, the lousy marketer is barking up the wrong tree!!

c. Mistake #3: The lousy marketer thinks that placing an ad two or three times a year is enough to give him or her proper results. The fact is that in advertising, frequency is everything. Indeed, many studies have shown that a frequency of 12 to 15 times placement is necessary to produce the desired results provided that the ad is professionally conceived and prepared by a reputable advertising agency with adequate input from the marketer.

20. Lousy marketers have either no relationship with the media or they have broken the relationship with the leading media! Warren Buffet, arguably the world’s #1 financial wizard with a net worth of $42 billion, introduced five secrets of his success in a recent interview.

One of the keys to his success is, “Make friends with the media.” It is mind-boggling that so many companies either have no relationship with the leading media in their field and, even worse, at least one company went out of its way to break relations with the leading media in our industry and that company, based on very reliable information, has lost considerable market share and is about to go out of business!

The Billionaires And Multimillionaires In The Contact Center, CRM And Teleservices Industries Have One Thing In Common...
Gary and Mary West were MASTER MARKETERS and did not make the above mistakes! In fact, in the October 9, 2006 issue of FORBES magazine, with the cover story titled, “The 400 Richest People in America” on page 180, we were happy to find Gary and Mary West, each with $1.1 billion net worth!

Gary and Mary were the founders and owners of the world-famous West Corporation, a symbol of quality and integrity in the contact center, CRM and teleservices industries. They were my mentors, and they have been the loyal advertisers of this publication (on cover two and page one) for the last 19 consecutive years.

In Summary
Many years of marketing experience have taught me a great lesson: that market share leaders in any industry are those who have an outstanding marketing strategy first and then a good product behind it. In today’s marketplace, to become THE global market leader in any industry, you must follow what I call the golden triangle (see Figure 1).

1. You must dominate the Web. Not only do you need to be on the first page of the leading search engines, but you need to be #1 on the first page and use a powerful SEO technology to make sure that you will remain #1 forever on the first page. Anything less than that will not convey the message that you are the industry leader and that you deserve maximum market share.

2. You must dominate your trade show participation. Once again, in any given trade show, you will be competing for attendee or delegate attention with nearly 200, 300 or 500 other exhibitors. The only way to get the maximum qualified sales leads is to stand above the crowd and think out of the box. In plain English, you must own the trade show through sponsorships, banners and other unusual marketing techniques so that anyone who attends the show knows that your company is a major player in your industry. There is no shortcut for that.

3. Equally, you must dominate print media. Not only do you need to prepare outstanding, benefit-driven brochures and marketing collaterals and advertising but, once again, you need to think out of the box. For example, you must consider a unique methodology by which you will be marketing through education. In today’s marketplace, high technology products are sold in one and only one powerful way and that is marketing through education. CIS

As always, I value your comments. Please e-mail them to me at ntehrani@tmcnet.com. Good luck and best wishes.

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