In a world where DIY is encouraged, and everyone claims they are an expert (do your due diligence before you hire someone!), the internet is a key component of research and knowledge.
When considering marketing strategy development, if you rely solely on this information, it is more than likely that you will run into some bad advice. No one knows who you are as a brand better than you do, but it’s never a bad idea to bring in an outside consultant to help you take your marketing strategy to the next level (see how to find the best client-agency fit).
There is a lot out there so I have broken this into two parts. Here are 7 pieces of bad advice to keep an eye out for. Check in next week to find out the other 7, including my BIGGEST pet peeve when it comes to marketing advice.
#1: If your marketing plan is out of date, you should just start over from scratch
Before you toss aside a plan you had created before (which most likely took time and thought), why not use it as the starting point. This gives you a chance to evaluate what you did, what didn’t work, what was a huge success, and it will point you in the right direction for a perfectly integrated strategy that includes both traditional and non-traditional methods.
#2: If you have a business plan, you don’t need a separate marketing strategy
Your business plan is the roadmap for your entire business operations. Yes, a discussion of the marketing strategy should be a part of it because it should always tie back in with your overall strategy, but once you are ready to delve into your marketing, you need to create a separate plan that goes into detail.
#3: You don’t need to bring on experts/specialists until you are at the launch phase
You may think you have a winning strategy on your hands, but sometimes, when you bring someone else on to help you implement it, it can totally flop. Financial resources may be an issue for you, but when it comes to bringing on experts/specialists, they can add value to the strategy development process. Negotiate a few strategy sessions into your contract to make sure you have the best strategy possible.
#4: You just need to get your brand name out there
If only life were that simple. It is the same thing as saying, “if you build it, they will come…” When all is said and done, it may look like that, but chances are there was a lot of work put in behind the scenes talking to influencers, getting endorsements, creating content, pushing content through all channels, etc. Marketing takes work. Even if you manage to hit on something that goes viral, what happens next? You don’t want to be a one hit wonder!
#5: If it worked for someone else, it will work for you
Business is not a series of cookie-cutter strategies that you can implement on a dime. I have a beef with consultants and agencies who use plug and play strategies for multiple clients because what someone else did may not work for you. Also, if you are trying to stand out from the crowd, why do what someone else already did? Keep in mind that you may decide to use a similar strategy as a jumping off point, just be sure that you make it your own.
#6: Focus all attention on your product
You may have heard something about the 80/20 rule, only focus 20% of the time on your product and the rest on building your brand personality and establishing yourself in the industry. Regardless of whether you measure the numbers or not, the reality is that you can’t just constantly sell to your audience. They will get bored and it really doesn’t allow them to get to know you as a brand to become loyal. Focus on what makes you unique and memorable beyond your product/service offering.
#7: Give your product away for free to attract customers
Sure, people love free stuff. It has been proven time and time again. However, if you start out by charging nothing, and you deliver a great product, then your customers will continue to expect free. The flip side is that if you continually discount your product, then people think that it is in some way cheapened. There are ways to execute sampling and knowledge sharing without giving away your time and expertise.