Ask Mr. Marketing: Been there. Done that.

By Rob Weinberg

Talked to a client recently about doing a sales promotion campaign. His response still rankles me: “I tried a promotion once and it didn’t work.”

I recalled Gateway trying to network computers, stereos and televisions back in 2001. Since the marketplace wasn’t ready for this innovative concept, it largely fell on deaf ears. Today the same idea is HOT!

However, Gateway became inflexible. They turned from their innovation because nobody listened, rather than changing their message or their way of telling it. They didn’t reconsider every communications vehicle every time they reached out to prospective customers. Now they’re just a brand name.

Over 30 years I’ve witnessed lots of marketing disconnects, including:

•Right message, wrong audience. Selling great hairbrushes at reasonable prices, but targeting bald men.

•Right audience, wrong message. Hustling zucchini plants, rather than drought-tolerant grasses, to North County homeowners reinvigorating their gardens.

•Bad pricing. Raising prices when everyone else charged half as much.

•Bad timing. Gateway’s great idea only appealed to early adopters in 2001.

William Shakespeare’s Antonio noted: “What’s past is prologue,” meaning you can’t let your business become paralyzed because something didn’t work once before.

Audience demographics, needs and desires all change over time. Deciding which tool is appropriate demands constantly reviewing that audience. Don’t just reject an idea out-of-hand because it failed the last time around.

Besides, tools like Facebook, texting, etc. didn’t even exist a decade ago.

Consider this — 10 years ago seniors lived at my address. Today a teenager resides here. Targeting my neighborhood without considering changes to the consumer’s profile would be a mistake. Your marketing results, mediocre before, might excel now by changing your way of thinking.

The difference between marketing success and disaster: Mapping out your strategy, messaging, audiences, budgets and communications tools in advance.

Marketing directors ignore this truism at their own peril.

After all, your goal — increasing sales and customers — remains constant regardless of what communications vehicles you’re working with.

Examine every tool for reaching your audience, and use the most appropriate ones regardless of any previous results. The tool probably isn’t the problem, and what happened years ago — while providing a 30,000 foot perspective — shouldn’t freeze your actions today.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Thirty years of practical applications have taught Mr. Marketing to never take anything for granted. Reach him at www.askmrmarketing.com.

Related posts:

  1. Ask Mr. Marketing: Making video marketing work for you
  2. Ask Mr. Marketing: An ode to marketing
  3. Ask Mr. Marketing: Mapping your own opportunity
  4. Marketing by handshake
  5. Now I’ve Heard EVERYTHING!

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Sep 2 2011. Filed under Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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