Don’t Make An Ass Of Yourself With Marketing

No matter how advanced or innovative your offer, your dreams of growth may go unrealized by way of assumption.

Why? As entrepreneurs we’re often so eager to start selling our innovations, we jump right to promotion and advertising with a set of killer assumptions. Our marketing often flounders or fails as a result.

We Assume Consumer Relevance

We make the mistake that potential clients understand the value we represent and how they will benefit from our products and services. As a result, we start our marketing conversations with descriptions and explanations rather than with stories that show benefits. The result is irrelevance, disinterest and financial loss.

We Assume Profitable Sales

We make the mistake of assuming profits when we default to using forms of marketing that have little hope of ever generating a profit, even in a best case scenario. The results are unprofitable sales at best and more likely we experience mounting losses.

We Assume Blue Skies

We make the mistake of assuming that fortune will favor the bold. We believe our untested creative concepts, messaging and design will engage and inspire people on its debut performance. The results are unnecessary risk taking and unrealistic expectations.

We Assume Staff / Supplier Leadership

We make the mistake that marketing leadership can be delegated to others without any meaningful terms of reference. We simply hope our suppliers know what they are doing and then we pay the penalty in poor performance. We end up redoing our marketing over and over as we move closer to our undocumented objectives.

The Sad Truth About Marketing

The results of our assumptions are flashy designs and flowery product descriptions held together with hopes, prayers and our discretionary income. What’s missing are the fundamentals that shape and give meaning and direction to our writing, design and sales forecasts. Missing is our customers’ perspectives and the stories that engage and enroll hearts, minds and wallets.

Why Do We Assume, When Our Risks Are So High?

Impatience and inexperience are the usual culprits, but there is also a gap in the marketing knowledge base at work. The majority of books and articles on sales and marketing offer only bits of insights, out of context with an overall process. Most books seem to assume you are a consumer products marketer, as well. If you’re not (like many of us), what you learn may be inappropriate.

The Bottom Line

If you want your marketing done right, you need to direct the process yourself. This does not mean “do it yourself”.

Directing means:

defining your core values and value proposition
defining your audience and building personas
establishing your core purpose and competitive positioning
detailing constraints and setting targets
committing to a strategic direction and plan
defining reporting requirements
creating budgets and timelines
These are the foundation stones that you build on and grow into.

Where Can Entrepreneurs Learn Marketing Leadership?

The leading institution appears to be The School Of Hard Knocks. However, if you look hard enough you can find mentors, a marketing coach or a Fractional Director of Marketing, ideally with a program to follow. Otherwise your options are limited to market accelerators that typically focus on high-tech consumer product companies. If you don’t fit the consumer products mold, your options are limited.

Ready To Step Up And Lead?

Don’t get caught in the assumption trap with most of your peers. Don’t assume your consultants and staff took care of everything for you; they can’t do it without your leadership. Now is the time, to step up and lead your own charge. It’s time to build your “platform for earnings growth” instead of just designing cool graphics and websites.