Here are a few questions I’ve heard in past meetings. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

• The campaign looks great so why aren’t we seeing an increase in leads?
• Your marketing budget seems sufficient so why haven’t the sales/engagement/activity improved?
• Ad performance is poor…what is wrong with the ad?

Marketing cannot save the day if there is no awareness, a lack of differentiation or if the product or service is poorly designed. Throwing more money at a marketing campaign doesn’t always guarantee an increase in performance. For marketing to become the superhero that saves the day (increases sales), several basic elements are needed. And they precede launching any marketing support.

  1. Market and product research to understand opportunity, determine target audiences and collect insights for product development and pricing.
  2. Product design that delivers a solid/useful/relevant product and includes differentiation from others in marketplace. Use data to inform design, performance and product benefits.
  3. Branding and awareness efforts before lead generation is best. If the target doesn’t know you, why would they pay attention let alone buy from you?

So what do you do if you inherited a product that didn’t have any data or research and is not meeting revenue goals? What do you do if the company had successful products or services in past without any research? The market is always changing and what once worked isn’t a guarantee for future success.

In one instance I had multiple products in market, launched on perceived needs, that weren’t meeting revenue goals. There was a recommendation to launch similar products, also without any research, in hopes that a larger portfolio of products would help meet goals. I used the budget to do a market analysis and determine a plan. The leadership team knew that the plan could have included anything from altering the product, developing the brand, creating awareness campaigns to exiting the market. We ended up exiting one product and not launching any of the new ones because of the research. We also started an awareness campaign. And, thankfully research and analysis is now part of the product development process.

Photo by: Amy E Mikel. Changing of the Guard, Copenhagen. September 2019.