The 2 major marketing sins companies commit

Don’t think research is important? Ignore marketing basics? It’s time to change your ways, or pay for your sins.


Elizabeth Sosnow, managing director of BlissPR, and I recently gave a presentation on the five sins of nonprofit marketing and the promise of social media to a law firm that represents nonprofit clients.

It struck me that for-profit firms commit these sins too—all the time. Do you agree?

Sin 1: You don’t ground your marketing planning/communications in research.

Symptomatic of this sin is the executive who says, “We don’t need to do any research. We know our audience/market/customer because we’ve been doing this for a long time.”

This is a very dangerous assumption in an age when things are constantly changing.

There’s another aspect of this sin that is particularly galling to people in the PR business. Clients never fail to grouse about their lack of measurement capabilities, yet few spring for benchmark research about their firm and their competitors.

It’s a pity because research doesn’t need to be expensive. Google Analytics has a host of website and social media measurement tools, while Survey Monkey has made online surveys affordable for all.

Sin 2: You ignore marketing basics.

While many marketers like to think what they do is magical, the truth is that good marketing requires you to answer some basic questions.

The first is “What differentiates your product, service or organization from the competition?” Your answer to this question will define the way you position your brand, which should guide all subsequent business and marketing decisions and communications.

My friend Mel Sokotch has a wonderful website and series of blog posts that I recommend to all who are interested in brand positioning.

Of course, positioning is not the only marketing basic that companies ignore. Companies also need to define their audiences, develop marketing strategies, craft messages, and develop marketing plans with measurable objectives tied to the organization’s business objectives.

Do you agree that both nonprofit and for-profit organizations commit these sins?

John Bliss is the founding principal of BlissPR. A version of this article originally ran on the BlissPR blog.

Topics: PR

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