Sales leads are the lifeblood of your sales pipeline, especially if your startup.
As you begin to roll out your product into the market test, experimentation, and develop your strategic marketing plan, it’s critical that the startup team understands potential problems with the product launch.
Because if you spent all this money on the product launch and you scaled it before testing your results may be good or it might be really bad. So be prepared.
Don’t let me scare you but there’s a lot to do and manage but the new product launch.
While often nothing that can be done to reverse the effects of a botched email campaign, and missed ad placement, or lack of coordination and sales follow through, most experienced CMOs will only make the same mistake once, Having learned the hard lesson of poor marketing execution.
It’s a hard lesson to learn. But you will learn it one way or another
From marketing managers, the key to solving marketing implementation problems are awareness, respect for the process, and leadership.
Let’s go through these now.
As a chief marketing officer, you must not only manage all marketing activities, you must be aware of the individual execution tasks involved in every marketing activity performed by your team.
The things that can go wrong as each of these tasks are executed, and tasks have passed from one member the team to the next in the process. Much of the material in this post (as well as our blog) is devoted to helping you understand the many steps involved in marketing implementation in these marketing activities.
Poor execution, missed deadlines, and lack of accountability is often the tangible end result of the marketing manager who doesn’t know (or care) about these marketing execution steps, is not engaged in the process of marketing execution, or doesn’t have respect for the work that must be done by the other members of his or her marketing team.
Your digital marketing agency, marketing consultant, printers, and endless providers are more likely to tighten up their execution once they “know that you know” what can go wrong, and what needs to be done to prevent a key step from going wrong in a marketing project.
Respect for the process
Another way to avoid marketing implementation errors is to have respect for the production process. An unnecessary delay in one step can cause you or another member of the marketing team, create problems down the line for others on your team who weren’t responsible for the delay.
If your printer is delayed for 3 days because you’ve been sitting on the final version of your brochure, your mailing may be delayed by a week because you missed a scheduled time slot for your mailing at your delivery shop.
Why should the delivery shop manager have to twist his schedule out of shape to accommodate a delay caused by you (or someone else)? How would you feel if you were in his or her position?
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Measurement matters now more than ever. Use this marketing scorecard toolkit to bring structure and meaning to your numbers.
Respect for the production process also means having respect for the people who perform the task for your company. The marketing project that becomes a fire drill for a vendor because of someone else’s poor time management, thoughtless, delay, not only shows a lack of personal respect for the vendor but is also often led to big startup execution mistakes (some fatal) in the marketing project.
The final cure for execution are is leadership. Once you found problems and execution, admit the mistake, be the first to take responsibility for them, and do what you must correct the problem.
Be a square shooter, and take the blame on behalf of your team, even if you, personally, we’re not to blame.
If someone else has responsibility for the execution are, and it’s clear to you that they are genuinely sorry about it and are making every effort to correct the problem, let the matter drop and get on with the program.
The other members of your marketing team will respect the bigness they see in you, and you will have taken a big step toward building a strong, cohesive marketing team.
Product-related issues and marketing implementation problems
When was the last time you launched a new product? Did you add every bell and whistle? Or not have enough features? Or explained your product benefits right?
These all leads to marketing implementation problems.
Many marketing activities generating poor sales response are caused by deficiencies in the products or services being marketed. These product related problems are not only related to poor market test results but also by the comments and feedback your company sales staff or a Shopify online product review plug-in receives about the product from prospects in the field, and as a result of the marketing activity.
Some product-related problems can be corrected by the application of marketing skill, but other problems in your product may not be correctable unless your product undergoes substantial modification.
Sometimes the product must be refined so that it is less expensive or different features or it must be improved in some other way to give your market what it wants.
You must be honest with yourself, and with your management, the discriminate between those product problems that can be solved by marketing skill and the problems that require a retooling of the product.
Marketing problems caused by product deficiencies are the most challenging problems for any company. It’s because product retooling efforts often mean a crash program for the product development team to make the necessary changes to the product. This also means you have to work just as hard to change your marketing program to reflect the newly modified products features, benefits, and capabilities.
More and better marketing skill never saved a bad product
Experienced marketers who have to sell real products in the real world already know that a different, or more intensive, marketing program will never save a deeply flawed product or a product that is wrong for its market.
If your market response reveals that your products poor marketability can only be reversed by improving the product, then the application of your skill to the current version of the product is no longer better than a band-aid approach.
You may be able to improve sales in the short run, but resorting to a price cut, or by buffing up the product in your sales copy and presentation, or by resorting to the other cheap tricks of marketing illusion in your next marketing effort.
These methods will only further erode market confidence, dampen your sales over time, it will make your company situation far worse than if your management had straightened out the product in the first place.
Product-related causes for poor market response require you to work closely with your company’s product development team to communicate the market response received on the product and the champion the product change is necessary to increase the product sales potential in your company’s target market.
Sometimes is just the positioning strategy needs to be tweaked.
How to get product feedback
Product efficiencies and improvements are usually revealed by the word-of-mouth comments you and your company’s sales or customer service staff received from conversations with prospects during your marketing program.
The marketing implementation problems can sometime be solved with good feedback. You can’t change sometime unless you know it’s a problem. Right?
As your company sales reps make their follow-up calls to prospect to receive your mailing, or they hear from prospects who call your company in response to your ad placement, or trade show, a picture often forms of the problems inherent your product. If these problems are sufficient, they will affect the sales response. The product flaws will kill sales tend to repeat themselves over and over again.
As your sales rep make their presentations and go for the close, they will root out the prospects objections to buying the product. Well, most skilled sales professionals can effectively encounter the most common sales objections raised by a prospect, objections related to major product deficiencies can’t be overcome by selling skilled.
And if the same objections keep getting raised over and over by the prospects, your sales reps will definitely take note. And you will know that your marketing effort is plagued by a major problem in your company’s product.
Wrap up on marketing implementation problems
For most startups, their cash burn rate is something that they look at monthly if not weekly. So if the start-up is to develop products and launched them into the market risks must be assessed and contingency plans created.
I often see startup management teams wanting to immediately launch their product within 30 days without any experimentation or testing. This is the quickest way to failure.
It takes time to develop the right marketing launch plan.
Even today’s micro-brands seem to pop up overnight without any warning. Have you ever heard of Hubble contacts, Dollar Shave Club, Uber Eats? These are all micro-brands that were launched and had success.
Have something to say about how to solve marketing implementation problems for startups?