For more than 25 years now, I’ve seen marketers come and go. Some are professionally trained and experienced. Some are not. Many are business owners or practitioners who handle their own marketing and advertising for their company. Still others are placed into the role because there’s nobody else to do it. There’s no law or regulation that says you can or can’t be the Marketing Director, VP of Marketing, Advertising or Brand Manager of a company. If that’s your job, then I’m sure you want to do it well.
Books have been written about what to do, but little has been said about what NOT to do. Here are my top 5 things NOT to do in your role as a marketer:
Don’t assume you know your audience. Your company has been selling this product for years and you know your audience and how they think, right? Tell that to Kodak. When digital cameras came around, they didn’t react quickly enough. When was the last time you bought anything with the Kodak brand? We should always be searching to update our best customer profile—with qualitative and quantitative information. Changes in technology, population, interests, culture, and economics all influence what people want and need and the way they want and need it. Keep up.
Don’t produce just what you like. Produce what they like. Too many marketers fall into the trap of working to satisfy their own likes and beliefs. I have said many times to a client “I respect your opinion, and I want to know more about why you feel that way. However, let’s keep in mind that you are not your best customer.”
Don’t look over your shoulder so much. Olympic sprinters and competitive cyclists will tell you that it’s tough to keep from looking right or left to see where the competition is. Just remember this: if you’re out front, you won’t see the competition. Stop comparing yourself to them. You be you. Looking right and left will only slow you down. Stay on target.
Don’t wing it. Every good marketing campaign begins with a strategy. (Although some things that pass as a “strategy” today are almost laughable—even from “professional” firms). Going from the gut is fine with split-second decision-making, but building a marketing campaign around what you think might work is irresponsible. Develop a strategy, break it into tactical parts, and distribute them into actionable points you can measure. How else will you know if you’ve succeeded?
Don’t try to do everything yourself. If you’ve got professionals around you—designers, producers, writers—like a good ad agency or team of creative pros—trust them. If you can’t trust them, fire them, but don’t overrule everything just to make a statement. Great leaders make others successful. You don’t have to agree with everything, but give them parameters and boundaries and turn them loose. You’ll be amazed at what they can do for you.