which strategy

The “product or service” is the most important thing

Some engineers, scientists and techies eventually go on to establish businesses. Many members of my family who, like me, were schooled in engineering themselves and went on to do start businesses. They’ve seen the worst of marketing from two perspectives. The first is that marketing failed to represent what they were so passionate about creating in the first place or that marketing placed a strangle hold on their creative ideas and killed the birth of a truly appealing product. Exit stage left, a new business is born.

Sometimes they escape these experiences and still find themselves going into business and trying out marketing for themselves. Its not long before they find things just aren’t working out like they planned and marketing seems like a waste of time and money.

You’d think that with their analytical minds, these bods would be open to our kind of marketing, but the bad taste that’s been left in their mouths by what’s gone before puts up high barriers to what appears to be a confusing and pointless world.

What they’ve failed to realise is that their reliance on logic has caused them to disconnect from the real power and motivational influence of marketing. And so once again we’ve got a leadership problem that leaves marketing behind.

You’ve got to manage costs like a “clinical treatment”

Financial wizards can also find themselves at the helm of a company. These individuals have been tasked with looking after the businesses financial well being and have done a good job thus far. They seem like sensible candidates for a leadership role, but they’ve probably seen huge expenditure on marketing and no business case to back it up, apart from “we know it works” or “everybody else is doing it”. It lacks a clear ROI, so as each year goes by a small piece is taken out of the marketing budget until marketing is a skeleton operation that nobody knows why it still exists and customers no longer remember that business. This company now find itself in troubled waters and is struggling to find direction and gain traction. Cost cutting continues until the business is sold or the board are fired.

The things is though, these financial whizzes are right. We need an ROI to justify the spend, and modern marketing is all about helping businesses understand what marketing activity is responsible for generates real leads, sales and loyalty so this is no longer an excuse. Yet its been neglected, even destroyed by leadership once again.

The “it wasn’t invented here” so therefore we can’t use it

Some businesses will ignore an idea just because its not how things are done in their market. Reasons include “our industry’s different so it just won’t work here” or “were doing it this way because that’s what everybody else is doing” or “its always been done like this”, all of which are the very reasons why things aren’t working anymore. If everybody’s doing exactly the same thing then it isn’t any wonder that your business is getting lost in a fog of “me too” confusion causing buyer apnea.

If the retail industry sold the same things in the same way as everybody else, then few would survive. Yet it covers everything from high-street to mail order and from chain store to boutique. They appeal to different people in different ways.

They’ve bothered to understand who their customer really is and what they want. For Harrods its exclusivity and being better than the rest, for Aldi its no frills uncomplicated value.