The evils of marketing-led enterprise…

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post about getting a marketing mind involved in business decisions, I’d like to


expand on the views I expressed.

How marketing could make you bland

If every business only made products that were easy to sell, we wouldn’t have Stinking Bishop cheese, or Robin Reliants, or Michael Buble. The influence of marketing also has a terrible effect on Hollywood – stripping the art out of film and replacing it with dull, beige blockbusters in which everyone survives.

If my previous employer had allowed the sales team to dominate product development, every product would have been shamelessly populist, hell bent on crowd-pleasing, never daring to step in new directions.

Be a maverick, and to hell with marketing

Don’t run your business via the marketing department. What the hell do they know, anyway? Let ideas run sideways through the corporate field. Innovate like crazy. Business is about more than money.

Mixed messages

If you’re starting to feel confused, let me clarify: it’s a great idea to ask someone of a marketing bent to review your plans. It’s a terrible idea to let said marketing person run the show. Having a say is one thing, taking control is something else.

(Picture courtesy of Alaskan Dude)

Why you should involve marketing in all your business decisions

I often get drafted in to write copy for projects that are nearing completion. Copy (supposedly) is the icing on many a corporate cake. I waltz in with a pen, release my prodigious vocabulary, then naff off. And often, that approach is just fine. But, to paraphrase NatWest adverts, there is a better way…

Everything in business should be run past a copywriter

I once worked for a company that designed and produced a large number of original products. The product development team was highly creative and highly effective, but on occasions the sales team would despair because unsellable products were produced.

The sales team knew, from their close relationships to their buyers, what would sell and what would not.

Eventually, the sales team were brought in to development meetings. From then on, product development was focused on products that would have a future.

It’s always a good idea to think about the details of selling a product before you make it. If a copywriter can write about your product, it has a better chance of success. Planning the marketing of a product or service will often suggest variations or alternatives to the original product.

SEO and product development

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) also plays an interesting role in modern product development. Performing a thorough keyword analysis often suggests under-exploited niches, which in turn may affect the products and services a company offers.

So if you know a friendly copywriter, give them a call now. (My number is 07790 748 243.) A copywriter or marketing professional may provide insights that open up profitable new markets.

Shame about the name

Product naming is another area that copywriters can help with. Copywriters will be thinking about products on shelves, words on websites, and what those things will mean to the public. Don’t name a product without carefully considering the details of selling it. Even better, ask someone from outside your company for a second opinion.

The future of online advertising?

The Future of AdvertisingWill McInnes and a commenter (Jonathan Hopkins) on his blog have got me thinking. Will’s post was about the future of advertising, and how advertising might best evolve in our digitised world. Jonathan suggests that businesses might do better to focus less on themselves and their products and instead try to help people.

Jonathan suggests that companies could use their advertising space to provide useful information that is still relevant to their products. So, for example, the Financial Times might offer statistics on shares. Tesco might provide recipes, or cleaning tips. Ikea might give free room-furnishing advice.

While it seems like a fine idea to be helpful, and build relationships with the people that may become customers, I’m not convinced that this kind of advertising will work. Obviously it will work to the extent that people will use the information provided and may recognise the organisation that provided it. But will they remember what the organisation does? Or what they’re selling?

Advertising doesn’t just exist to forcefully sell products – it often does a great job of informing people about new products and services. So advertising that forgets the product and focuses on providing useful information, may neglect to provide useful information about the product.

I suppose the obvious solution is a marketing strategy that cleverly combines useful content with product information and brand messages. And I think many brands already do this – perhaps the evolution will be into even less obvious advertising, with the useful content at the fore and the brand and products in the background (or perhaps blinking too fast to be visible to the naked eye, but having a rather powerful effect on your subconscious).

(Picture courtesy of Goribob)

Why CEOs Should Learn to Love the Blog

“If you want to be seen as a cool place to work, then you need to have a blog. And it’s not just about being cool; it shows that you believe in being open and transparent. Customers also prefer to deal with a company that is not just a faceless entity.”

– Debbie Weil, as quoted in the Guardian article “Why CEOs should learn to love the blog

Now this article is a couple of years old, but it’s still very relevant. I like the idea of smaller companies using blogs as a way to connect to customers in a cost-effective manner.

But, given the enormous number of blogs in existence, only quality blogs (regular, interesting and informative) will find an audience.

One point not mentioned in the article is the significant Search Engine Optimisation value of blogging. Take a look at my free white paper if you want more information: Free White Paper – Blogging for Business

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