Written By: Qamar Ali Khan (@qamar333)
In my previous post, I examined ways that marketing plans can be doomed for failure. Today, I am going to dive even deeper into marketing strategy and point out six additional pitfalls that we see startups making with their marketing efforts. These errors are common across industries, company size, geographic location, etc. Our hopes in providing this content is that you will make the proper adjustments in your strategy if you are making any of these blunders, or take the steps now so that you don’t fall into these traps down the road.
- Market Dynamics of the Target Market Are Undefined
Here, market refers to the points, and ways and means, that are used by your target customers to acquire the product and your adopted methods to provide them what and when they want it. If you are not aware about the dynamics of the market and fail to consider them while developing your objectives and devising your strategies, your marketing plan will fail. You must know all the buying market, how the product reaches the customers, the nature and behavior of selling/purchase points, current and expected trends, and so many other things.
- Social Marketing is Missing or Misused:
If I would have writen this exact post 10 years ago, social marketing wouldn’t have even been mentioned. However, marketing has changed, and you and I both have to realize and embrace the change. Social media has casted its deep roots in our society and in our ways of living and thinking. It has a great impact on our customer’s mind and their emotional attachment to a brand. Social media is playing the role of an opinion maker. Your social strategy needs to ensure that you have done the proper market research to identify the sites that your target market is the most active on.
Do you recognize the importance of social marketing in your marketing plan? If you’re taking it lightly or ignoring its role, then there is a greater than fair chance that your marketing plan will fall short of objectives.
- Sales and Marketing Are NOT on the Same Page:
The sales team MUST be consulted when developing a marketing strategy. Many companies see sales and marketing as separate. They are housed in different locations, are rarely in the same meetings, and often do not consult with each other. This is an absolute blunder! The sales team talks to customers about their needs every day. Sales plays the crucial part to make your plan a success or otherwise. If the sales have objections to the strategies and are reluctant to follow the plan, what will happen then? If sales outright rejects the plan, then it is doomed for failure. Sales are marketing need to collaborate on their efforts so that the plans that are developed are aimed at solving the problems that exist for customers in the marketplace.
- Your Employees are Out of Your Marketing Focus:
Whatever your marketing objectives and strategies are, each and every employee ‘must’ know what your marketing plan is communicating to your target market. He/she should be discharging his/her duties in a way that helps the message move forward. For example, if your marketing objective is to re-enforce the brand image, then every employee must clearly understand that. While on duty, and even off duty, he/she has to treat every relevant contact in a way to communicate the message positively. Your every employee is your primary marketer and biggest brand advocates. If you do not include him/her as an integral part of your marketing strategy, then you are not properly utilizing your biggest asset. Your internal marketing is just as vital than your external marketing.
5. Lack of Analytical Tools and Relevant Data:
Your marketing plan sounds wonderful, and you have implemented it effectively. But, do you know how is it doing? Are unable to effectively measure the performance of your plan? If you don’t know whether the specific objectives are being met it hard to gauge the effectiveness and make the proper adjustments. There are a number of specific marketing performance metrics, or KPIs, to effectively measure the effectiveness of your strategic moves to meet a specific objective. There are also a number of tools out there available to help you acquire relevant data
- Market Conditions are Ignored:
If you are unaware about the nature and intensity of external environmental factors to your business, your marketing plan will surely meet its fate sooner or later. For example, you have insufficient knowledge, or not interested to keep yourself updated, about the technological developments affecting your business and market, possible tax implications on your products or resources, possible legislation to affect the exports/imports of the resources you use, or any possible and expected entry of a new competitor or product in your market; and a number of such factors that have a direct or indirect impact on your marketing plan. Any one of these can be a game changer within your marketplace. The proper adjustments must be made to stay in touch with ever changing market conditions.
Do you want to add something to my list above? Do you agree with it? How do you plan your marketing program? What factors do you consider most important to plan a magnificent marketing strategy? Please share your opinion and a few of your tips!
About the Author: Qamar Ali Khan is a Management Consultant, LinkedIn writer, and contributor to the Social Marketing blog. You may follow him via @qamar333 or connect on LinkedIn here Qamar’s profile page. Need a blogger to help tell your company’s brand story or support for your company’s social media marketing? Email me us firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct at 970.692.3270.