Watch Out For These Four Common Myths of Marketing Strategy
So you know you need a marketing strategy — and that’s good! But once you realize you need one, there are stumbling blocks toward having it work FOR you. There is no use putting in the amount of effort that a marketing strategy requires, only to look back and say to yourself, “Well, those were some dumb ideas.”
I’ve listed here what I have observed to be the four most common myths about creating a marketing strategy, and how you can avoid the associated pitfalls by doing things right, right from the start.
Myth #1: You should do it all at once.
Sometimes, people think they can sit down for four hours with a notebook or their laptop, or go away for a weekend and hole away, and come back with an entire marketing strategy. The main problem with this way of thinking is that there are a number of major decisions involved in creating a marketing strategy — budgets, advertising methods and venues, the marketing calendar, key players — and each of these big decisions should be given some time for reflection. If you aim to create the entire marketing plan in one go, you have no time to reflect on each decision and decide how it will affect the next.
Myth #2: You can do it all yourself.
Sure, we know you know your business best, but it’s always good to have outside input. The fresh perspective of a trusted colleague, the input of a contemporary who works in your industry in a different location, and/or the feedback of your clients could all add valuable insight on the direction your business should be headed.
Myth #3: It should be similar to last year.
It’s tempting to go with the methods you feel are already working, but by doing the same thing year after year, you could be missing great opportunities to expand your reach. If you do the research, as you should, you might just find a completely different direction to take your marketing this year. For instance, maybe you have been spending money on direct mail advertising but realize that it’s losing effectiveness. Now might be the time to try something new like trade shows, a blog, or online advertising. It’s a good idea to try one completely new and different form of marketing each year and see what more you can learn.
Myth #4: You only need to look at “competitors.”
Some businesses are under the assumption that they don’t have competitors, because their offerings or niche are so unique. There is always a business out there with enough overlap on yours that you should be keeping track of what they’re offering and how. Even if you are looking at direct competitors, don’t make the mistake of looking only within your area or within your exact industry. There is wisdom to be found in the strategy of businesses within your industry operating in other locales; or of businesses in other industries whose practices you look up to.
Maybe there is a business like yours in Houston that is doing the job really well — it doesn’t hurt to take ideas from them on how to expand your service offering.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing any of these common myths about how to build a marketing strategy. It might seem to save time or money taking short cuts, but in the long run, you might find yourself blindsided in the marketplace.