Marketing a business has gotten more complicated than ever before because of the plethora of options available to a business. Layered over this is the fact that many business owners are at the mercy of an army of tactical technicians who are over-zealous, and often times effective, at convincing business owners to head in a specific direction that is not in their business' or customers' best interests.
Have you gotten caught in any of these tactical faux pas?
1. Smart App Ignorance: iPhones, iPads and other smart devices have caused a craze of tactical influence upon business owners to jump onboard with total revamps of their Internet presence. A recent website revamp designed around how it would be viewed on an iPad or smart device with touch screen dependency, totally ignored the fact that 78 percent of the business' ideal target customers were still using desktops and laptops as their primary means of Internet access. While it is prudent to consider view-ability on smart devices, going to the extreme of ignoring the importance of maintaining a user-friendly interface on computing devices may result in frustrated customers and lost prospects.
2. Email Dependency: Email is a convenient and inexpensive means of communicating with customers and qualified prospects. To save money, a consulting firm decided to eliminate their hard copy mailed version of the newsletter and only send it via email. In a poll of a clients, it was revealed that while the emailed version was understandably more convenient for the company, it was more overlooked and lost its shelf value to its customers. Many clients admitted that they would carry around the hard copy to read at a more convenient time.
3. Misguided Mass Appeal: A business owner was investing thousands of dollars and a majority of its marketing budget into a specific advertising medium under the notion that their cost per thousand was giving them a real bang for their buck. When more objective due diligence was conducted, based on the manner in which the advertising was being placed, the mass appeal was giving the business a very small likelihood that their most ideal target market segment was being effectively reached.
4. Social Media Madness: Whether you are a B2B or B2C entity, the pressure to add social media to your marketing mix can be overwhelming. An international B2B services firm had contracted a social media company to enhance its social media presence and appeal. While the social media provider was doing an impressive job with regular and relevant posts of Facebook and Twitter, the LinkedIn activity was stagnant, in spite of the fact that LinkedIn was the preferred social media of the company’s target markets.
5. Discouraging Q&A: While shopping over the holidays, I was approached by a kiosk attendant asking me if I would like to try this latest, greatest product sample. My response, like several people walking in front of me was, "No." What kind of odds for success is this sales strategy based upon? One of the basic rules of sales when in discovery with a new prospect is not to ask a "yes" or "no" question, but a question that requires a thoughtful answer instead of a reactive answer. A sales training program dictated the conduct of this associate. Imagine how discouraging this must be to continuously hear the answer "no."
When it comes to marketing your business, knowing what is in the best interest of your business, team members, and most important of all, your customers, will enable you to make more strategic tactical decisions. This begins with understanding and knowing what is important to your customers in tandem with what you are trying to achieve in your business. Then, you are better prepared to ask more pertinent questions of tactical technicians to drill down to whether they are merely "selling" to you or truly interested in serving you and your customers needs.
Sherré DeMao is author of the nationally acclaimed books, 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times, www.50marketingsecrets.com, and Me, Myself & Inc., www.memyselfandinc.com, Her column seeks to help business owners build and grow sustainable enterprises and businesses with economic value and preference in the marketplace.