18 June 2008

More Marketing Miscues for Small Biz

A few days ago I counted off a few of the top mistakes I see in small business marketing. I'm rounding out my list here, and as always, welcome your additions and comments!

#5. Not having a clear objective.
This one may seem obvious. But scatter-shot marketing rarely achieves the results that you need or want, and your customers may even be left totally confused.

To atone if you're aimless: Before you launch any marketing initiative, you need to spell out your goal in 10 words or less. If you can't do that, you're aiming too broadly and your risking dilution. Spend time using the 5 Whys method or something to force you to really get at the heart of what you're trying to accomplish and who you're trying to reach. You might even find that you change your approach or come up with a new, clever one when you're super focused.

#4. Censorship
The introduction of so many mechanisms of communication - both personal and professional - has shown us that sometimes the most amazing advocates for a brand are it's customers, or someone among its ranks that would never before have been given leave to speak about the company "officially". News flash: Your "official" position isn't the one anyone is paying attention to, anyway! It's what's being said about you in all the other conversations. And they ARE happening.

To atone if you're doling out gag orders: Stop and listen. There are people speaking among your own ranks that don't necessarily have titles in communications, PR, or marketing. (The origins of Moleskine's Moleskinerie blog have been well documented in lots of great books. Where would they be if they hadn't been listening?). Hear what they're saying and let their passion for their work help you fine tune your messages, and even be a new voice.

#3. Resting on your laurels.
One great campaign does not a brand make. Nor even one great product. You have to be constantly riding the tide and willing to bend, groove, and shake yourself into new and interesting places. Nothing lasts forever. Ever.

To atone if you're in the easy chair: Get up. Go now, get pen and paper and gather your people and get brainstorming about what's next for you. And for some help, get these nifty cool cards from IDEO. They're masters of breaking down barriers and I love these exercises for fostering new ideas. No, they don't pay me. They're just awesome.

#2. Marketing to yourself.
Don't make the mistake of always vetting things inside your own walls. You drink your own Kool-Aid and you've got your own ideas about how your product/service/idea "should" be talked about. But the people interested in your stuff might be speaking a different language altogether, so it's best to be sure that you're not stuck in a rut by getting some outside perspective. The brilliant Brian Clark talks about Narcissistic Marketing here.

How to atone if you're being narcissistic: Talk to your customers first. That doesn't have to mean fancy focus groups and surveys. It can be as simple as getting a bunch of them together for coffee and talking about your newest adventures to get their perspective. They might point out advantages, exciting benefits, and other cool stuff you never thought of.

#1. Forgetting what you're in business for.
I'm going to admit to already making this mistake. I got so wrapped around the axle trying to get my website perfect and my blog posts scheduled and and and...that I forgot to unleash some of the passion that brought me here to begin with to connect with the people that needed me most. It's easy to get mired in the day to day and forget to tap into the creativity, expertise, and even fun that put you in business in the first place.

To atone if you've lost your way: Go back and read your materials. Do they speak to why you ventured out into the world as a small business, and what keeps you working 70 hour weeks and weekends and putting your all into what you do? If they don't, change them. Passion is contagious.

Non-profit organizations aren't the only ones to have missions. We all have one. To help small businesses communicate better. To deliver an amazing vacation experience. To build the home where someone will raise a family. To achieve what no one thought we could.

Marketing isn't a task you do, it's a living, breathing thing. It's your business' reason for being, but wrapped up in lots of pieces. Remember what you're doing and why, and your marketing will follow.


Zemanta Pixie

2 comments:

Dr. Wright said...

I love that you share what people need to do and HOW to do it!

Joe Reis said...

Points #1 through #3 remind me of somebody I know who started out as a good, renegade marketer, and ended up calling himself the "World's greatest Marketing Genius!" It's so easy to get caught up in your own BS that you forget who keeps you in business - the customer.

Good article.

18 June 2008

More Marketing Miscues for Small Biz

A few days ago I counted off a few of the top mistakes I see in small business marketing. I'm rounding out my list here, and as always, welcome your additions and comments!

#5. Not having a clear objective.
This one may seem obvious. But scatter-shot marketing rarely achieves the results that you need or want, and your customers may even be left totally confused.

To atone if you're aimless: Before you launch any marketing initiative, you need to spell out your goal in 10 words or less. If you can't do that, you're aiming too broadly and your risking dilution. Spend time using the 5 Whys method or something to force you to really get at the heart of what you're trying to accomplish and who you're trying to reach. You might even find that you change your approach or come up with a new, clever one when you're super focused.

#4. Censorship
The introduction of so many mechanisms of communication - both personal and professional - has shown us that sometimes the most amazing advocates for a brand are it's customers, or someone among its ranks that would never before have been given leave to speak about the company "officially". News flash: Your "official" position isn't the one anyone is paying attention to, anyway! It's what's being said about you in all the other conversations. And they ARE happening.

To atone if you're doling out gag orders: Stop and listen. There are people speaking among your own ranks that don't necessarily have titles in communications, PR, or marketing. (The origins of Moleskine's Moleskinerie blog have been well documented in lots of great books. Where would they be if they hadn't been listening?). Hear what they're saying and let their passion for their work help you fine tune your messages, and even be a new voice.

#3. Resting on your laurels.
One great campaign does not a brand make. Nor even one great product. You have to be constantly riding the tide and willing to bend, groove, and shake yourself into new and interesting places. Nothing lasts forever. Ever.

To atone if you're in the easy chair: Get up. Go now, get pen and paper and gather your people and get brainstorming about what's next for you. And for some help, get these nifty cool cards from IDEO. They're masters of breaking down barriers and I love these exercises for fostering new ideas. No, they don't pay me. They're just awesome.

#2. Marketing to yourself.
Don't make the mistake of always vetting things inside your own walls. You drink your own Kool-Aid and you've got your own ideas about how your product/service/idea "should" be talked about. But the people interested in your stuff might be speaking a different language altogether, so it's best to be sure that you're not stuck in a rut by getting some outside perspective. The brilliant Brian Clark talks about Narcissistic Marketing here.

How to atone if you're being narcissistic: Talk to your customers first. That doesn't have to mean fancy focus groups and surveys. It can be as simple as getting a bunch of them together for coffee and talking about your newest adventures to get their perspective. They might point out advantages, exciting benefits, and other cool stuff you never thought of.

#1. Forgetting what you're in business for.
I'm going to admit to already making this mistake. I got so wrapped around the axle trying to get my website perfect and my blog posts scheduled and and and...that I forgot to unleash some of the passion that brought me here to begin with to connect with the people that needed me most. It's easy to get mired in the day to day and forget to tap into the creativity, expertise, and even fun that put you in business in the first place.

To atone if you've lost your way: Go back and read your materials. Do they speak to why you ventured out into the world as a small business, and what keeps you working 70 hour weeks and weekends and putting your all into what you do? If they don't, change them. Passion is contagious.

Non-profit organizations aren't the only ones to have missions. We all have one. To help small businesses communicate better. To deliver an amazing vacation experience. To build the home where someone will raise a family. To achieve what no one thought we could.

Marketing isn't a task you do, it's a living, breathing thing. It's your business' reason for being, but wrapped up in lots of pieces. Remember what you're doing and why, and your marketing will follow.


Zemanta Pixie

2 comments:

Dr. Wright said...

I love that you share what people need to do and HOW to do it!

Joe Reis said...

Points #1 through #3 remind me of somebody I know who started out as a good, renegade marketer, and ended up calling himself the "World's greatest Marketing Genius!" It's so easy to get caught up in your own BS that you forget who keeps you in business - the customer.

Good article.

18 June 2008

More Marketing Miscues for Small Biz

A few days ago I counted off a few of the top mistakes I see in small business marketing. I'm rounding out my list here, and as always, welcome your additions and comments!

#5. Not having a clear objective.
This one may seem obvious. But scatter-shot marketing rarely achieves the results that you need or want, and your customers may even be left totally confused.

To atone if you're aimless: Before you launch any marketing initiative, you need to spell out your goal in 10 words or less. If you can't do that, you're aiming too broadly and your risking dilution. Spend time using the 5 Whys method or something to force you to really get at the heart of what you're trying to accomplish and who you're trying to reach. You might even find that you change your approach or come up with a new, clever one when you're super focused.

#4. Censorship
The introduction of so many mechanisms of communication - both personal and professional - has shown us that sometimes the most amazing advocates for a brand are it's customers, or someone among its ranks that would never before have been given leave to speak about the company "officially". News flash: Your "official" position isn't the one anyone is paying attention to, anyway! It's what's being said about you in all the other conversations. And they ARE happening.

To atone if you're doling out gag orders: Stop and listen. There are people speaking among your own ranks that don't necessarily have titles in communications, PR, or marketing. (The origins of Moleskine's Moleskinerie blog have been well documented in lots of great books. Where would they be if they hadn't been listening?). Hear what they're saying and let their passion for their work help you fine tune your messages, and even be a new voice.

#3. Resting on your laurels.
One great campaign does not a brand make. Nor even one great product. You have to be constantly riding the tide and willing to bend, groove, and shake yourself into new and interesting places. Nothing lasts forever. Ever.

To atone if you're in the easy chair: Get up. Go now, get pen and paper and gather your people and get brainstorming about what's next for you. And for some help, get these nifty cool cards from IDEO. They're masters of breaking down barriers and I love these exercises for fostering new ideas. No, they don't pay me. They're just awesome.

#2. Marketing to yourself.
Don't make the mistake of always vetting things inside your own walls. You drink your own Kool-Aid and you've got your own ideas about how your product/service/idea "should" be talked about. But the people interested in your stuff might be speaking a different language altogether, so it's best to be sure that you're not stuck in a rut by getting some outside perspective. The brilliant Brian Clark talks about Narcissistic Marketing here.

How to atone if you're being narcissistic: Talk to your customers first. That doesn't have to mean fancy focus groups and surveys. It can be as simple as getting a bunch of them together for coffee and talking about your newest adventures to get their perspective. They might point out advantages, exciting benefits, and other cool stuff you never thought of.

#1. Forgetting what you're in business for.
I'm going to admit to already making this mistake. I got so wrapped around the axle trying to get my website perfect and my blog posts scheduled and and and...that I forgot to unleash some of the passion that brought me here to begin with to connect with the people that needed me most. It's easy to get mired in the day to day and forget to tap into the creativity, expertise, and even fun that put you in business in the first place.

To atone if you've lost your way: Go back and read your materials. Do they speak to why you ventured out into the world as a small business, and what keeps you working 70 hour weeks and weekends and putting your all into what you do? If they don't, change them. Passion is contagious.

Non-profit organizations aren't the only ones to have missions. We all have one. To help small businesses communicate better. To deliver an amazing vacation experience. To build the home where someone will raise a family. To achieve what no one thought we could.

Marketing isn't a task you do, it's a living, breathing thing. It's your business' reason for being, but wrapped up in lots of pieces. Remember what you're doing and why, and your marketing will follow.


Zemanta Pixie

2 comments:

Dr. Wright said...

I love that you share what people need to do and HOW to do it!

Joe Reis said...

Points #1 through #3 remind me of somebody I know who started out as a good, renegade marketer, and ended up calling himself the "World's greatest Marketing Genius!" It's so easy to get caught up in your own BS that you forget who keeps you in business - the customer.

Good article.