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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter


Idea Pool

“I’m going to tell you things you already know.”

Mary Schmidt

Sep 30, 2014

Liam Neeson just becauseI recenty attended a conference where one of the speakers (alas, not Liam Neeson) began by saying the above. How refreshing!  And, how true. When it comes to marketing, there really isn’t any earth-shattering news. Sure, we’ve got all kinds of technology these days and can reach out to people in about eleventy-billion ways…and they can (and do) ignore us in about twelve billion ways.  (More about Mr. Neeson at the end of this post.)

Of course, we humans are always looking for the ONE answer. The simple, no-fail way to live our lives, market our products or be happy all the time!  Guess what? (Here’s where I tell you what you already know.) There is no ONE answer. There is no simple, no-fail way to do anything. Nobody (sane, anyway) can be happy all the time.

Here are five more things you already know.

1. All the creative, glitzy marketing in the world won’t fix a crap product. And, if it’s crap, everyone will know, so no hiding behind social media spin.  (You can, however, have a mediocre product and be very successful—IF you have awesome customer support. However,  I would not recommend this as a strategy from the get-go.)

2. What your customers want, need and will pay for can be (and often are) three different things. You may be offering something they really desperately need...and they don’t agree. For example, here in Albuquerque we seemingly have enough dentists that every man, woman and child could have one for each individual tooth. And, yet, people walk around with absolutely terrible teeth (even very wealthy people. The teeth just aren’t a priority for them. They don’t want to spend the time and money…even though we “all know” bad teeth can lead to all kinds of really awful problems, not just bad smiles.) 

3. Technology isn’t magic. And the more tech you have, the more moving parts that can break and cause a really horrible, no-good, terrible day (or week).  Before you spend a chunk of your hard-earned budget dollars on some really cool CRM or some such…white board it. Get a yellow pad and a pencil. Work it out. Think it through. Then, and only then, make an investment in technology.

4. I don’t care about you. I care about me. (Well, I do care about you, but in the abstract. I don’t feel compelled to buy your product because you really need me to, in order to feed the kids and the dog.)  Your potential customers are focused on their kids, their dog (or cat), their happiness…not yours. It’s always WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) when we’re evaluating a purchase.

5. You can’t be different AND safe. People spend a zillion dollars a year on books and consultants to figure out how to develop “market differentiators.” And, then they fall back on the deadly boring (for all concerned) same ol’ same ol’ in marketing. “Innovative solutions.” Stock photos of happy people on the website. Corporate drone speech re commitment to quality (See #1), etc. etc.  If you’re really going to stand out, you can’t be afraid to stand up and speak UP (“Sing out, Louise! Sing out!”)  Nobody else is you. Wear the hat. Kick out the cowboy (cowgirl) boots (I’ve got two pair.) Say what you think (with—ahem—some discretion.)  Don’t be boring.

Mean what you say.  Be real. Be human. And if you put it out there, online, or in real live, 3-D life—own it. When you screw up (and we all do), be ready to apologize, fix it, learn from it.

Oh—and be relevant. Getting attention isn’t the same as getting business. (That photo of Liam Neeson? It may have gotten your attention but does it have anything to do with this post or my services? No. However, I do like looking at Mr. Neeson.) 

Related posts from the archives:
The One Sure-Fire, No Fail Success Method for Start-ups
The Boring Bits of Marketing 
Why Marketing May Never Get Respect
Old-Fashioned Technology—It Works!
Drinking from the Technology Fire Hose
“This will go on your permanent record.”
“I’ve got a great product. Now I need some marketing.”
Are You Really Developing a Product?
Here’s a Wild Idea: Make Products, Not Ads.
The BIG Marketing Secret!!!

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3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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