Today I want to talk about five marketing myths. There are lots of things I’ve heard and picked up over the last 20 years that indicate to me that people have certain beliefs and preconceptions about marketing. And this isn’t just outside of marketing, this is people in marketing as well, business leaders who are trying to run the marketing for their business.
There are five things that I think we have fallen into the trap of, and I want to try and dispel them now.
1 – Stop caring about what people think
The first is marketing tells us to really care about the customer and to pay attention to and listen to the customer. Actually I often advise clients to stop caring about what people think. It’s an incredible admission, stop caring about what people think, and the reason why we say that is because in so many examples companies have been totally stymied by an inability to identify what the market will think and how it will react to something the business is going to do from a marketing perspective.
The problem is you can’t care about what people think, you have to care about what your targets are gonna think. What I mean by that is if you don’t have a specific understanding of who your target is, if you’re not fully completely conversing with your avatar or Target, if you don’t understand that, then all you’re going to do is care about what people think. The problem with people is they’re undefined, they could think anything, and so as a result businesses never get to a conclusion.
‘I’m still not sure how the markets gonna react’ if I had a pound for everytime I’ve heard that ‘I’m still not sure how the markets gonna react’ It’s crazy, if you don’t know your market, you’ll never know how they’re gonna react.
If you know your market, if you know your target, you will know how they’re gonna react. So when you hear ‘I really don’t know how the markets going to react’ that’s a really great indicator to us that you don’t know your targets, you don’t know who you’re speaking to, because we know that if you did know that, it wouldn’t be an issue.
So stop caring about what people think, care about all your targets think.
2 – Avoid the paralysis of perfection
The second marketing myth is around perfection. It’s not possible to be perfect, the Pareto principle tells us that the 80/20 rule holds true, that 80% of the effort will come from 20% of the work and then you’ll spend 80% of the work after that trying to nail that final 20%.
The reality is, someone said and I can’t remember who it was, but ‘good enough or good is the enemy of great’.
Ultimately what do we mean here?
We mean that most organizations and business leaders are paralyzed by perfection.
‘The blog is not ready yet, I’m not happy with it, it doesn’t read right.’
‘That image there’s something wrong with it, I didn’t have a spec for that image, I didn’t know what I wanted but it’s not that.’
‘We want to build a new website, yeah but I don’t know what we want, well I don’t want that.’
‘How do you know you don’t want that?’
‘Well I don’t know I just don’t want that.’
‘But what do you want?’
The problem with business people is we try and control, because we’re business people. We want to own things. When it comes to marketing and design, you have to rely on external voices, you have to rely on people who are there to guide you.
And if you’re a business leader in charge you’re marketing you have to absolutely, 100% pay attention to what your agency is advising you, and absolutely without any question without don’t let the paralysis of perfection slow you down and stop your progress.
It’s better to put out four blogs that you don’t think are perfect, than do nothing. It’s better to launch your website, even though there might be a few things that concern you, because to be honest your old website was built seven years ago and isn’t even mobile enabled.
The paralysis of perfection is one of the biggest profit eaters I believe in business.
3 – Don’t give them what they want, give them what they need
The third myth of marketing is you’ve got to give them what they want. This is fascinating because a few people have said this over the years in other formats.
Henry Ford once famously said;
‘If I gave my customers what they want, I’d have to invent a faster horses.’
Steve Jobs brilliantly said;
‘If I gave my customers what they want it wouldn’t be an iphone, it would just be a phone with some other buttons.’
Steve Jobs understood that it wasn’t his job to give people what they wanted, because people didn’t know what they wanted, because it didn’t exist yet. Steve Jobs had to invent it. You have to give people what they need, more than what they want.
People in the era of the car with Henry Ford wanted faster horses, but one would argue they needed the motorcar. And yes it was disruptive and yes it put certain other people out of work that’s a different discussion.
The reality is you have to avoid giving customers what they want, give them what they need.
You can sell what they want and then give them what they need. If you truly believe and conserve them and that you know what’s good for them, absolutely, offer them what they want but make sure you pack in what they need as well.
4 – It’s not somebody else’s problem it’s yours
The fourth myth of marketing is it is absolutely, definitely, 100 percent not somebody else’s problem.
Marketing is your problem. If you’re in business if you are manager level and above, your relationship with your marketplace is everything. I don’t care what part of the business you’re in, it doesn’t matter whether you’re revenue facing or a cost center, it makes no difference.
You have a relationship with the marketplace, you have a conversation or a lack of conversation with the marketplace and as a result it’s your problem. It’s not somebody else’s problem.
You can pretend it’s not your problem, but then decisions will get made for you and you won’t be a part of this solution and that’s a bad place to be.
So myth number four is it’s not somebody else’s problem, it’s yours.
5 – Taking control doesn’t mean lots of work
And the fifth and final myth is that this big marketing thing sounds like a lot of effort, sounds like a lot of work. It isn’t a lot of work, it needn’t be a lot of work. Taking control of your marketing should mean less work.
You don’t have to do it all, but by owning the problem you at least understand what needs to get done, to ensure that your conversation with your market is optimal as it could possibly be.
So the five marketing myths;
Stop caring about what people think,
Avoid the paralysis of perfection,
Don’t give them what they want, give them what they need,
It’s not somebody else’s problem it’s yours, and
Taking control doesn’t mean lots of work.