Penelope Bettison  |  Tuesday January 31st 2012

1. Businesses don’t understand and leverage the true value of their brand

All too often I am surprised to discover hidden gems of amazing brand stories within organisations. Stories that the businesses overlook, take for granted and lose sight of due to being too close to their business which impedes their ability to be objective. They miss an opportunity to be inspired by the true authenticity of their brand.

Often the brand has never been defined, resulting in inconsistent activity and ineffective messaging.

SOLUTION: Align the team and create a culturally supported brand vision.

This can and should result in a significant forward progression throughout a business, not just in marketing but all departments from finance to operations to HR.

2. Measurement…let me say it again….MEASUREMENT

Measuring activities purely on the sales figures provides little insight on why and how it worked (or didn’t) and what can be improved. When planning for the year ahead, you need to know your marketing facts and figures.

Let me ask you a few questions about your marketing performance in 2011:
• What was your conversion rate?
• How many unique visitors did you get to your website and what was their average length of stay?
• What was your cost per lead?
• What were the top three sources of leads?
• How many of your clients/customers referred you business and what was this rate of conversion?

SOLUTION: To plan for the year ahead, take some time to reflect on the year that has been. What worked, what didn’t and why. What are the new opportunities? These insights are available to you and will help you plan a more productive approach. Ensure that you are set up to measure all of the above.

3. Forgetting internal marketing

External marketing may get the client/consumer to your door, but your team will make the sale, upsell and motivate the consumer to stick around. At all levels of the organisation, the team has insights that you can draw upon for innovation, but often this valued resource is ignored.

SOLUTION: Harness your team’s knowledge and spirit – motivate, empower and inspire your team to live the brand and be innovative in delivering your product/service. This will ensure that your marketing will be powered by the company, not just the marketing team.

4. Confusing marketing with advertising

I held a workshop only a couple of weeks ago where the participants/business team were confused about how we could help them, because traditional advertising had never worked for them in the past. They didn’t understand that marketing is about communicating your messages to your target market.

SOLUTION: Discover marketing as a tool for widening the reach of your business, not just advertising. People often forget:
• Internal engagement
• Client relationship management
• Referral programs
• Sponsorships
• Social media
• Networking
• Client events

This is just a few of many. The point is, marketing is not advertising. Creative, powerful marketing often doesn’t feel like marketing at all.

5. Inadequate implementation of great ideas

How often I hear the story of the direct mail campaigns that didn’t work. Perhaps this channel was inappropriate, but more often than not, the implementation was simply ineffective. More often than not, the idea of the subject matter was great, but it was coupled with no segmentation, call to action or inadequate sales team briefing.

The best example of inadequate implementation at the moment is with social media. To be honest, the problem is usually lack of strategy, but even when one has been set, the lack of strategic implementation results in poor engagement. It’s not always the channel, often it’s the implementation.

SOLUTION: Don’t give up on a channel because it hasn’t worked for you, consider the implementation, not simply the great idea itself.