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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tammara Combs

Top 5 Marketing Fails

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Dr. Tammara Combs | Eve Enslow

The world is changing.

The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace, fueled by technological advances across industries. An organization's relationship with its customers is fundamentally different today. No longer passive consumers of goods and services, today's customers are vocal participants in product development and feedback. Organizations increasingly depend on their network of customers to market on their behalf through the likes of social media and other means.

Capitalizing on this phenomenon is the key to innovation and growth. But whether due to lack of expertise or lack of resources, many businesses aren't making the shift.

What do Starbucks, Best Buy, and eBay all have in common?

Each of these very successful Fortune 500s experienced a big failure expanding into a new market because they missed the mark on important customer preferences and cultural norms. Best Buy failed in China because they did not realize shoppers preferred smaller retailers over 'big box' stores, eBay struggled in Japan because they were relying on credit card transaction processes that were just not popular in Japan at the time, and Starbucks failed with the Aussies who were passionate about their local homespun stores.

Unfortunately, in our work with clients, lack of market research is all too common. In one case, a large US chain retailer was sitting on over $500k in original first-party market research but had failed to analyze and share it across organizational silos to drive a connected online and brick and mortar customer experience strategy.

We call this 'total customer experience'. Many of our clients have a great product, but a less than brilliant marketing strategy. But for some, it gets worse! Without collecting and deeply understanding the implications of market insights, companies are going out with the wrong products and services.

Forbes reports that 42% of startups fail because there is no market for their product and 14% fail due to poor marketing (the founders believe a great product will sell itself).

Making the shift: The Top 5 Marketing Fails for a Marketing Leader.

In our decades of work with clients of all sizes, we see the following top 5 most common mistakes. Don't let this be you! The cost of not making the shift at best is poor conversion and marketing ROI; at worst competitive disruption and product failure.

Getting it done.

A lot of marketing leaders know what they "should" be doing - but they either don't currently have the expertise on staff, or they simply don't have the reserve - they are already tapped 110% executing the current marketing strategy, they simply can't stretch any further.

Consider Amith. Amith knows he needs to launch a new service offering in order to stay competitive. He's spent the last 19 days on the road with customers and knows exactly what needs to be done. In fact, he has all the pieces to drive a more compelling customer experience—in his head. He can't expand his full-time team stream until he can make an effective pitch for his new strategy.

Did we mention Amith traveled 19 days out of the last month? If He could only carve out some hours to develop and test his new strategy so he and his company can move forward. There are a few ways Amith and his team can approach this problem.

First, they could put a project on 'vacation' - literally make a concrete tough decision to put something else on hold for a temporary amount of time to free up someone to focus on new strategy building.

Another approach is to pair Amith with a senior-level marketing strategist on a retainer model. The retainer model enables the business to make a cost-effective investment in resourcing with maximum flexibility in how the strategist can apply his or her time to help Amith. Also, it enables startups and smaller organizations a way to access Fortune-500 grade consultants without the Fortune 500 fulltime strategist salary price tag.

In this blog, we covered a high level of the big 5 marketing strategy fails - insufficient market and/or customer insight. Connect with us if you want to know more and stay tuned for future blogs in this series.


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