7 Deadly Sins of Marketing.
By Bette Daoust, Ph.D.
Thursday, 22nd February 2007
When I started my first marketing job I was asked to prepare a flyer and have it delivered to all the homes and businesses in the area. The company would then track the response rate and see if this number matched the norm for this type of marketing campaign.

However, they measured the success by the number of sales from the campaign rather than the number of responses. In fact, they had no idea how many people responded but they did know how many people bought. When they dropped the campaign, the reasons were all wrong. They did not have a problem with response, they had a problem with converting responses to actual sales. The measurement tool they used did not fit the situation. They measured based on what the sales department did with the responses and not how effective their marketing tactics actually were working. Sound familiar?

I have had many marketing experiences since that time but it seems that most companies I worked for are all doing the same thing and I mean the exact same thing! The results tend to fall into the same patterns just like using a cookie cutter to create each campaign. If the results are good, there is no real reason to change it but what if you could improve the odds and improve on the results at the same time? This is only possible if you do not commit the 7 deadly sins of marketing.

SIN #1 - Relying on what works for others .

By thinking what works for your competition will also work for you may have some truth in it but you are setting a trap for your company. By relying on someone else's successful campaigns you are not doing a thorough enough job. It may work in the short term but in the long term you will not be able to make quick changes because of the lack of knowledge. The knowledge you will be lacking is what was actually tested to make the campaign successful, you may not know the demographics in enough detail even though your product may be very similar.

SIN #2 - Assuming your product will be in demand and needed by your audience.

Never make assumption about what your audience will want. They are not exactly like you and they have difference needs and interests. Yes, you can create a new market but that takes time and a lot of effort. You need to gather proof that there is a need for your product. This can be accomplished through surveys, doing test samples, interviews, and such. Don't waste your money on developing a marketing campaign if you are not sure if there is really a market for your product.

SIN #3 - Not defining the target audience in enough detail.

Audiences should be narrowly defined to maximize the spending for marketing. Audience details would ideally include (but not limited to) demographics (age, gender, income, number of children, etc.), psychographics (lifestyles, spending habits, sports interests, hobbies, etc.), and geographics (location details such as neighborhood, city, county, state, etc.). If you can pinpoint your audience, you will likely see an increase in the results for your campaign.

SIN #4 - Creating a market for your product after the product has been developed.

You may think of this as not the function of the marketing department, nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing needs to be the first line of defense before a product is developed. Marketing needs to do the research to make sure there is a market for the product long before it comes off the drawing board and into production. Spend dollars on feeling out the marketplace as to needs and wants and then develop only those products that people will buy.

SIN #5 - Spending the entire marketing budget on one or two tactics.

If you spend all of your marketing dollars on developing a brochure to mail out, you will only get the response rate from a direct mail campaign. You should always test several tactics to find which ones work and then choose the ones where the response rate is the greatest. Often companies simply develop one type of marketing collateral and so with it without thinking about other tactics that may outperform the current one. You should be constantly testing tactics and if the budget permits, using more than one tactic at a time.

SIN #6 - Not paying attention to seasons or holidays.

Too often organizations do not appropriate plan their campaigns for seasons or holidays. I have seen very expensive campaigns fail because it was executed over a long weekend. People were busy spending elsewhere and did not pay attention to the campaign (which was dated for that weekend). The marketing department (which may just be you) should have a calendar marked with special occasions, holidays, and anything that will have an effect on response rates. You absolutely must know in advance so you are not wasting your marketing dollars.

SIN #7 - Thinking you know everything about marketing.

Be careful not to fall into the trap that you everything you need to know about how certain marketing campaigns are put together. Yes, you may know a great deal, but times, methods, response rates, and people change over time. You need to spend time keeping abreast of the latest developments in marketing and product development. There are plenty of free publications through organizations such as tradepub.com to help you be on top of your game.

Now where did sales fit into this discussion? It actually fits into the planning process. If sales is not on board with what is happening in marketing, they will sell the same old way and not buy into how you are setting up your campaigns (and for that matter - why you are doing it). Get them involved at the start and then once the campaign is underway, they will be able to increase the conversion rate from response to customer.

About the Author :
Bette Daoust, Ph.D. is a speaker, author (over 170 books, articles, and publications), and consultant. You may contact Dr. Daoust at www.BizMechanix.com You may also view her latest publications at www.BlueprintBooks.com
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