Some advanced companies have people watching market changes and competitors' actions. These are, of course, also marketing functions, but not the main ones. The main object of the marketer's attention is the consumer, and only from the deep consumer can a successful strategy repel. Those entrepreneurs who do not understand this risk making mistakes that will cost them several years each year. For my work in management consulting, we in our CPG marketing agency identified key mistakes that entrepreneurs have made for years.
They are confident that they know what the client needs by projecting it onto their personal experience. Despite the fact that sometimes they have never seen a client in person in their life.
One regional company opened three cafes for students. The development of the cafe format (menu, prices, size and number of tables, availability of Wi-Fi, etc.) was carried out by a working group of top managers, each of whom was over 35. They have absolutely no idea of the needs of modern students, and the project was closed after a year and a half, causing several million losses.
They offer new products or variations of old ones, relying only on their intuition and experience. Perhaps the management of Procter & Gamble, Nestle or Apple lacks intuition and experience, since they spend money on focus groups and hall tests. Neglect of knowledge about the consumer is expensive: the owner of a large regional catering network with a production facility, that people eating in his network of cheap fast food will appreciate that preservatives will disappear from the chain's products. He invested tens of millions of dollars in the necessary equipment; beautiful green leaves appeared on the packages of hamburgers and salads, symbolizing their purity. However, this did not sweep any influence on the sale. Our survey revealed that users not only did not pay attention to the leaflets, but considered the very existence of fast food impossible without possibility, and advertising of such fast food was a hoax. As a result, the "green" project was quietly curtailed - the equipment was either mothballed or used for other purposes, and the green leaves gradually disappeared from the packaging.
They set the price based on the market, not on the value of the product in the eyes of the consumer and lose profit
A small manufacturer of cosmetics from a low price segment copied a whole line of shampoos from a large company famous for the "naturalness" of its products. He came up with a similar name and packaging, used similar types of herbs. At this price, it set 15% lower than the original, but 40% higher than its regular brands. the poor, the price was still high. At first, dealers were happy to take the goods and put them on the shelf, but buyers from the shelf refused to take new products. The manufacturer curtailed the release of the new line without really understanding what the mistake was - in the price, in the packaging or in the lack of advertising support.
They often do not understand at all what the value of their product is. Manufacturers of vinyl siding (wall cladding material) traditionally compete in the color fastness of their product. Each plant promises in brochures that their products retain their color for 20, 30 and sometimes, unexpectedly, 50 years. The problem is that the color fastness of the siding is the last thing a potential client really cares about. More precisely, the client does not even suspect that the siding can burn out, and, in principle, does not think about it. I had a chance to somehow have a hand in a qualitative research of siding buyers - it turned out that they were interested in completely different things - the price, ease of installation, ease of maintenance of the wall tool. This means that the money invested in color fastness advertising (an average advertising campaign costs at least 3-5 million dollars a year) was wasted.
They advertise the product in the wrong place, and in the wrong way. For a number of markets, advertising and promotion of goods at points of sale is more effective than any other type of communication with the consumer. In turn, this applies to complex durable goods that are required when buying a consultation with a specialist: building materials, sports simulators and equipment, computers, complex banking and insurance programs, furniture.
For example, a company that sells materials for the construction of walls has invested a lot of effort and money in an online store for private traders who build country houses, and even achieved good attendance. The project was launched at the initiative of an enchanted Internet user - it seemed to him that "now everyone buys everything on the Internet."
A simple survey, carried out later, showed that even such a boring and utilitarian product as a brick or foam block, the buyer must look and touch. Finishing materials are already being sold on the Internet (according to various estimates, the market share is from 3 to 5%), but most often the buyers are professionals who know exactly what they want.
Studies show that the mass, inexperienced consumer has little understanding of the product and is completely insensitive to the brand. For example, few buyers can remember the brand of the flooring they bought three months ago, or the brand of their son's computer. The creation of brands for such products does not pay off - the consumer is interested in the name of the product only at the moment of purchase and then forgets about it forever. And even if you have convinced him with the help of advertising that your products are good, a consultant in a supermarket or in the market, where he will inevitably come for advice, will easily convince him if he wants to. Therefore, it makes no sense to advertise such goods in magazines or on the Internet, the same money can be spent much more efficiently on POS materials or motivating sales assistants at points of sale.
Such an amazing disregard for the main thing that any business has - clients - is still explained, alas, by a high level of managerial ignorance in our country. Finding out the needs of the buyer (even if there are thousands of these buyers and they are scattered throughout the country) is much easier and cheaper than it is commonly believed. Of course, large federal studies are expensive, but a simple survey in one city can be done for 50-100 thousand dollars, a hall test - for 200-300 thousand dollars, several focus groups will cost about the same money. Compared to the cost of a possible wrong decision, for example, to launch a new product, this can turn out to be pennies.
Marketing is not a shamanic dance, but a science, in which mathematics means much more than creative insight. But in the USA table of ranks, the marketer is drifting somewhere between secretaries and accounting. Lack of demand reduces supply - it is extremely difficult to find an experienced and educated marketer in USA, mostly catalog specialists are responding to vacancies. Such a widespread arrogant attitude of entrepreneurs in USA to marketers (whom they call parasites and creatives in the worst sense of the word) will soon end - in conditions of fierce competition, consumer neglect is like death, that is, bankruptcy.
In 10 years, there will be no more companies where there is no marketing at all or where marketers order business cards for their bosses. They will die out like the dinosaurs of the 90s. Whether your company will be one of them is up to you.