SALES

9 Silly Mistakes That Marketers Make

If you want your marketing to increase sales, don't make these all-too-common blunders.
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I'm a big fan of great marketing. When marketing is done well, it really can help a sales team make more revenue. However, many marketing groups do things that can cost a lot of money but aren't very helpful. Here are nine of them:

1. Insisting on a single message.

Some marketers have the weird idea that if everybody in the company repeats the exact same messages, customers will eventually become convinced those message are true. In fact, customers believe messages that are adapted to their individual circumstances.

2. Believing that customers read brochures.

Some marketers have an almost childlike faith in the ability of glossy brochures to generate demand for a company's offerings. In fact, customers almost never read brochures and (at best) use them to gauge how much money a vendor is willing to waste.

3. Talking to (or at) customers.

Some marketers insist that if customers "don't understand" a company's offering, it's because not enough people have talked to the customers. In fact, the only way to get a customer to "understand" an offering is to listen and adapt to what they want to buy.

4. Pretending that marketing is strategic.

Some marketers flatter themselves into thinking what their activities are so strategic that they needn't be measured. In fact, effective marketing consists entirely of tactical activities that increase sales revenue.

5. Telling salespeople how to sell.

Some marketers attempt to train salespeople to sell, based upon their experience in marketing. In fact, selling is like sex; you can't possibly explain how to do it well unless you've been doing it for a while.

6. Telling engineers how to design.

Some marketers believe their "market requirements" constitute a blueprint for future development. In fact, it's the engineers who both know what's possible to build and usually have the best idea of what your customers really want next.

7. Spending on brand to fix a product problem.

Some marketers believe that big investment in brand development can plaster over problems like poor quality or bad service. In fact, brand campaigns aimed at fixing product problems simply give those problems greater publicity.

8. Running ads that attack competitors.

Some marketers believe that you can position your product positively by positioning the competition negatively. In fact, attack ads merely emphasize the fact that the competitor you've attacked is the industry leader.

9. Blaming sales for ignoring sales leads.

Some marketers entertain the idea that the sales team would sell more if they followed up on the hot leads that marketing gave them. In fact, no sales team has ever ignored a truly hot lead; the problem is that the marketing-generated leads don't pan out.

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IMAGE: shiningstars11/Flickr
Last updated: Apr 3, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is "Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts that You Need to Know."

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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