ImageAs a consumer, advisor, user and evaluator of marketing I have reached the conclusion that we are going about it in all the wrong ways.  It can start as early as the formation of a company or the existence of a product that major marketing mistakes get made.

Our approach may be as haphazard as taking our business and its products to a new location saying “here I am… buy from me”.  Even those who have said “I want to sell to this region or this type of company” are unwittingly fallen prey to the abyss of failure prone marketing.   What I have learned is that marketing fails because we fail to understand the market itself.  In just about every single case the market is ready for something, but we extend an offering that is not appropriate.  Our minds believe that we know best, and it may very well be true that we do.   However, it makes little difference if we are unable to transition our target prospects.

By way of example let’s take you common consultancy service.  Most have an array of advisory services, possibly a methodology product and an array of supporting educational offerings.  Each of which smartly embracing the other for the purpose of selling added value over the course of time.  As we enter a market, usually outside of our region (whether domestically or internationally), we unfold our offerings like a merchants unfolds their crafted carpets.  This is our first step destine for failure.  Why?  We start failing because we have not ascertained market context, need, buying power and value.  But we have also failed to understand the domestic product capabilities which represents our competition.  A consumer in China is more apt to find a supply, at domestic pricing and easy of access to be a bit more comforting than one somewhere else in the world.  Even though you may be putting forth something far superior to what they have, the jump may be too daunting and in of itself a bit difficult to embrace.

Can these forces be overcome?  Everything is possible but the question is whether they make sound business sense.  In the context of the consultancy example market entry can be achieved through a partnership with a domestic supplier.  We must address the costs to train domestic staff, establish a firm placement where your products are sold and not used as a second option to pre-existing domestic solutions, and that there is a remaining market ready to accept them.  If the partner company is already doing well (and you will want to align yourself with strong and productive companies, not faltering ones) then why do they need you?  Well it could be that it will help to accelerate strategic goals or achieve growth ambitions.  Thus your relationship is a tool for them, but bear in mind that you want market presence, not just sales.  As is often the case,  you sit in the shadows as the servant without the value glory of being put front stage center.  The partner reserves this place and all that goes along with it.

Inside out / upside down marketing is applied after the fact.  It takes what you have and markets it, whether it be the company or a product.  Truly, if given the chance, marketing should be blended into the formation of the business or the product line.  It should view matters in stages of evolution.  Why launch on a completely global basis when rapid market establishment and penetration is a necessity, and growth becomes an outcrop from the firm base?

There have been loads of books that look at marketing as a science and not as an art form.  They look at market studies, consumer profiles, buying dynamics, and the thousands of other measures used to set sights on targets (when taken together become a market of focus).  This is pragmatic, requiring both vigilant attention to details and exhaustive “what if” analysis.  The art is how to put forth the framing of the business and the product/services.  Domestic success does not equate to international success.  Countries and consumers have views about the nature, origin and virtues of products and their sponsors.  There may be geopolitical, racial, religious, and ethical opinions that can jeopardize success.  So although you may be convinced that you can sell ice cream to Eskimos, to an Eskimos the suggestion of ingesting a cold food may be met with a totally different opinion.  There are other things ranging from birth control, written text and clothing that may work in some areas and are taboo in other places.

ImageThe word is to be positive in your marketing.  But positive in this context means not just achieving results but doing the right steps in order to make sure that you are promoting in a socially responsible and respectful fashion, to a market that is in fact the benefactors of your glorious services and products.