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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

Five Game-Changing Marketing Strategies
for Non-Marketers

Your manager has put you in charge of marketing for a new product or service. You are an engineer or a provider of professional services, and marketing is not your forté. Here are some obstacles to avoid, plus some tips for achieving marketing success.

Identifying Marketing Pitfalls

Companies often make marketing mistakes, such as:

  • Not listening to customers. The message, "We incorporate manufacturing efficiencies to lower our production costs" will not resonate with prospective customers who say they are primarily concerned about safety.
  • Failing to test long-held assumptions. Everyone assumed that people would always use cameras to take photos. Last month I saw hikers of all ages and from all over the world carrying bulky iPads to photograph the stunning mountains and lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Companies should test assumptions and be ready to change direction.
  • Over-emphasizing product features. Product developers are proud of design features and clever uses of new technology. However, customers want results and value. They want to know whether products or services will solve problems for companies like theirs. They often don't need additional bells and whistles.
  • Developing marketing programs in a vacuum. Buying costly Super Bowl ads to reach an audience that is not interested in football is a waste of money.

Strategies for Success

Companies should:

  • Hire an experienced marketing vice president. When young companies do not have a vice president of marketing with a mission and a budget, employees and customers conclude that the products and services are more important than the customers. A common result is that no one develops a comprehensive marketing strategy that is integrated with product development initiatives.
  • Give all employees opportunities to interact in a positive way with prospects or customers so that the employees understand customers' needs and wants. This will also signal that your business is about customers. A hostile janitor who greets visiting customers with a scowl creates a poor impression about the entire company.
  • Conduct market studies before, during, and after product development. Your view of what the customers want and need could differ greatly from customers' actual wants and needs. And, these wants and needs could change!
  • Study the marketing programs of competitors and other companies in your industry. How do they position themselves? Whom do they target? What are their most successful strategies for promoting their offerings? What can you learn from them?
  • Identify the best ways to reach your customers. What print or online trade publications do they read, and what trade shows do they attend? Where do they blog, and what are they saying?

Throughout the life cycle of your company, you should make decisions from a marketing perspective, as well as from a financial or product development perspective. We can provide you with marketing insights that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls described above.

We provide growing companies with actionable marketing insights.

Market Intelligence for Growing Companies © September, 2013

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