The Worst Mistake a Marketer Can Make

Everyone knows that you have to brand yourself and your company in a way that brings out the unique you. That’s the biggest question I think a marketer can ask: “What makes me so unique in my marketplace that everyone in it will agree with me and tell others who may need to know?”

With that context, the biggest mistake marketers can make is to think their customers are somehow stupid…or undiscerning…or naïve about their products and services.

Now you might say, “We would never do that or think that.” And I would reply, “Are you sure?”

What about that product you sent out the door knowing it needed serious updates and improvements? Or the trade show you attended with last year’s products and services to show and nothing new to present? Or the specific services you presented that deep down yo had to admit you knew little to nothing about? Did you really think that your customers wouldn’t notice or care?

If you did, you were wrong. Brand valuation is mostly based upon a trust that the marketer has built up by consistently delivering on its brand’s promises.

These are tough questions to resolve, I know, and it may come across as a slap in the face. If it does, then make something good come from it. Do something about it. Let’s fix what’s broken or missing. And once that’s done, let’s get back to work with something new and innovative before someone starts talking about what’s not right, not true, not believable, not sustainable and, worse of all, not marketable.

When companies do nothing, they tend to go out of business. Just think about companies that used to be in your marketplace that are no longer there. In my experience, it’s because they ignored their customers and did what was financially profitable on a short-term basis—ignoring the long-term consequences.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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