HOW TO AVOID MESSING UP YOUR MARKETING
By John Graham
2. Make sure to get the message right. Most of the time, companies don’t. So preoccupied with themselves, they preen before their customers. Their taglines are a good example: “We care about our customers” or “No one does it better,” they tell us proudly.
Once a company uses “we,” it’s over. From then on, it’s “all about us.” Whether they know it or not (it’s safe to conclude they don’t), there’s nothing there for customers. The financial services arena is filled with similar examples. One company claims “There’s wealth in our approachTM,” leaving one asking, “Wealth for whom?”
Honda, on the other hand, moves in the right direction by focusing on the customer: “It starts with you. The all-new Accord.” The only correct message is the one that connects with customers.
3. Make planning primary. It seems that planning is out of style in most businesses and is replaced with an endless stream of meaningless meetings that are often little more than personal opinion sessions. Planning is work. It’s disciplined and demands accountability. Most of all, it’s not fun and it’s not exciting. The heart of good planning is taking care of the details – and where most planning goes wrong. “What haven’t we thought about?” should be the most important question.
The value of Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho’s Coca-Cola sponsorship deal went from $750,000 a year to zero after he drank a Pepsi at a Coke press conference. Should he have known better? Of course. But those who planned and managed the event didn’t take care of that critical detail. When so little attention is given to serious planning, allowing a can of Pepsi to be front-and-center at a Coke press conference is no accident.
4. Stay focused on strategy. Newspapers have been falling faster than fall leaves in New England. But some are fighting back, including USA Today. It’s new layout has an Internet look, feel and flow. A recent New York Times article quoted USA Today’s president and publisher, “We are really trying to reinvent a news business . . . We are trying to think of USA Today not as a newspaper, but as a news company.”
When the strategy is correct, tactics will be as well. Too many companies start with the goal of selling more product, but have no idea how they are going to reach the finish line. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Oreo cookie, Kraft Foods’ team planned a year-long celebration. The marketing director makes it clear that, as reported by AdAge, the brand’s mission is to “help everyone around the world celebrate the kid inside.”
Any and all proposed activities must pass the “mission” test. It’s the only way to make sure that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
About the Author: John R. Graham of GrahamComm is a marketing and sales consultant and business writer. He publishes a monthly eNewsletter, “No Nonsense Marketing & Sales.” He can be contacted at 617-774-9759, by email at email@example.com or at johnrgraham.com.