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Hallmarks Of An Effective Marketer

Updated: February 19, 2011 11:27 am

This is a book about marketing, not about sales. And the goal of marketing, more often than not, is awareness and consideration. Highlighting this issue, this eight-chapter book tells the readers about the dumb things marketers do to bust their brands, as the writer, who is CEO of a US-based advertising company and has worked with many of the world’s leading companies in different fields, has done every one of them. Some of these mistakes the writer has made repeatedly. Early in his career, the writer unwittingly advised his clients to make them. But thankfully, because he worked with nice people, he kept his early clients in spite of his bad advice. For, they learned to be smarter together. In chapter 1, the book talks about one of the fatal errors committed by the marketers: talking “needs” instead of “wants”. Most technical marketers believe that their customers make purchase decisions based on rational “needs”, when nothing could be further from the truth. This condition leads marketers to lecture their customers as if they were unemotional robots instead of people. The second chapter addresses the biggest issue, i.e. falling in love with your product instead of your customer. Every new technology goes through an adoption life cycle in which certain audience segments adopt the product offering before others are willing to do so. This mistake is particularly insidious, because many technical scientific marketers labour under the false assumption that their market is somehow different and that their customers prefer being talked to in obfuscatory language. As a result, they fall prey to crowing about product features and forget their customers care. This goes hand-in-hand with the next brand buster: believing that marketing is a science or an art, the subject of the third chapter. Although there are many scientific aspects to effective advertising, treating advertising wholly as a science leads to analysis paralysis and can end up stifling your marketing efforts. The flip side of this common mistake is just as common. Sure, there is artistry involved in the creation of great, effective advertising. But treating advertising solely as an art often leads to allowing a very small tail to wag a very large dog—with predictably disastrous results.

The next chapter explores another double-edged mistake: trying to please everyone. This leads marketers in two equally misguided directions. On one hand, they may try to create plans that treat everyone the same and dilute their most powerful marketing messages. On the other hand, they may divide and subdivide their audience in a way that makes their efforts wildly, and needlessly, expensive. The fifth chapter underlines that advertising frequency is a great and powerful marketing tool. People buy what they prefer and people prefer what they’re aware of. The chapter sixth is important for any marketer who faces aggressive competition. It’s a mistake most marketers make at one time or another: believing your price is too high without proof. The next chapter deals with price cutting. And finally, the last chapter recaps and ties together all the common mistakes with a few basic, universal principals that transcend any given mistake. In a nutshell, the book clarifies many of the traps technical product marketers often fall into.

By Ashok Kumar

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