4 Marketing Myths vs. Facts
Myth #1: A Conversation with Family and Friends is Market Research.
It’s natural to want to get feedback on your new products and services from friends and family, however, it doesn’t provide accurate market research results. Family, friends and basically anyone who knows us will most likely shy away from giving us constructive criticism, which is exactly what is needed prior to a new product launch. Even discussion among an internal product or marketing team at a larger company isn't enough. Getting both quantitative and qualitative input from customers and potential customers is critical to bringing a product to the market if you want to have a better than average shot at succeeding.
Myth #2: We'll Sell More with a Broader Target Market.
Many companies think they've clearly defined their target market with terms such as 'small businesses', people 20 - 40 in age, 'businesses in a specific state or regional area'. However, truly defining the ‘sweet spot’ of your market as narrowly as possibly will result in more sales in a shorter period of time. Naturally, as entrepreneurs, we don’t want to miss out on an opportunity. However, really honing in on a niche market doesn't exclude anyone from buying your product or service - it simply allows you to focus your marketing budget on reaching those 'most likely to do business with you' and 'those who are the most profitable customers'. With limited marketing budgets, the more clearly and specifically we can define a target market - the more results from each marketing dollar spent.
I worked with a client who targeting 'small businesses in Ohio' with technology services. Through several strategic planning sessions and customer and market research, we were able to more clearly define their target market as "serving as an IT Department to medical practices". This was a market they excelled in. Now clients feel like they are dealing with the 'expert' in their industry.
Myth # 3: Customers Don't Know What They Need, But We Do.
A technology business owner made this claim and asked me to come up with a marketing plan to convince customers they needed their product. Much easier to take time to do a little market research, to determine customer's 'pain points' and make sure your product offers a desirable solution. We worked with a promotional apparel firm on their strategic marketing plan, branding, PR and marketing initiatives. They were certain that what set them apart from the competition was the fact that they had 'the 'largest showroom in the Midwest'. At the time, they were centering their branding and messaging around the showroom. However, when surveyed, their customers ranked ‘having the largest showroom’ as number eight on a list of ten attributes they were looking for in this category. Number one was 'receiving updates on the status of their order'. Who knew? With research, we were able to help them market what is relevant to potential customers. We worked with the firm to develop new branding and messaging - that would resonate with their potential customers. They went on to win many business awards and were on the Inc. 500 list, and were recognized by the magazine Fast Company.
Myth # 4: Keeping Information “Secret” Protects Us from the Competition.
Working with a technology and software firm on B2B marketing, I had recommended a strategy for the firm to position as ‘thought leaders’ in their software space. Tactics included providing rich content through case studies and white papers. However, the software firm wasn’t comfortable sharing successful case study details for fear their competition would read them and benefit. The result is their competitor has much more online content for potential buyers researching software.