I wish I could say that these problems were rare, but they are not. I run into these problems quite frequently. Admittedly, it is usually when a person who is not trained in marketing is at the marketing helm of his or her organization. Apparently, people responsible for choosing a marketing head (in some organizations) think that little skill or experience is required to do the job well. But that is a topic for another blog post.
Here are the most common problems I have witnessed:
- There is no brand positioning.
- There is no brand architecture.
- There are no brand identity guidelines.
- The logo is not functional for all uses.
- No one has established a hierarchy of target customers.
- There is no communications plan or media plan. The marketer responds to the most compelling media pitches, often resulting in a completely ineffective and inefficient mix of publications and media vehicles.
- Organizations only target and interact with their current customers, not new ones.
- Organizations rely exclusively on social media for their marketing efforts.
- Organizations forget to solicit email addresses and other contact information at trade shows and other outreach efforts.
- Organizations assume that a good website with good SEO efforts is all they need to build brand awareness.
- Advertising focuses exclusively on functional (versus emotional) messages.
- They load marketing communication up with multiple complex messages of brand benefits thinking that will make the communication stronger.
- They conduct deeply flawed marketing research. Maybe they solicit the wrong people for their responses. Maybe the survey instrument is designed in such a way that there is significant biasing. Maybe the sample size is not large enough to conclude anything definitively. Sometimes the analysis (and its underlying logic) is flawed.
- The marketing program consists primarily of price discounts and other price promotions because it results in a (temporary) sales lift.
- They have little to no marketing budget because they don't believe in the power of marketing or because they believe the product should sell itself.
- They never stop to think about the customer's beliefs, attitudes, values, hopes, fears, shopping behaviors, product usage behaviors or anything else that would help them design successful marketing programs.
- There is no "integrated" marketing. It is all conducted ad hoc as opportunities arise. Nothing is designed to work together.
I hope you do not have these problems. And I hope this makes you feel good about your marketing abilities. I wish you great success with your marketing efforts.