The prevalence of myopia or nearsightedness in the worldwide population ranges from a low of 20% in the U.S. to as high as 90% in parts of Asia. Marketing myopia, on the other hand, doesn’t confine itself to geography and companies anywhere can lose sight of their goal by becoming self-confident and comfortable by relying on what some would refer to as tunnel vision.
“If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”
This may have been wise advice in 1997 but business and technology are a lot more accelerated today than they were then. Businesses slow to adapt to these rapid changes are shuttering their doors or cutting their workforces. Small and medium-sized businesses are even more susceptible because they are less likely to survive and recover from a big hit.
As stressed in previous articles, staying in tune with your customers remains paramount ever more so today in anticipating and adapting to changes in the marketplace. Be particularly alert to customer changes in keyword preferences and shopping habits. Be sure to monitor changes in search engine and social media site algorithms as well. Simple changes can dramatically affect how high or low your company shows up in search results. Be alert to new search engine launches and social media platforms as well. Take advantage of every opportunity available. One never knows just how popular these new kids on the block will be.
And while you’re monitoring all of the above, also be sure to subscribe to relevant marketing blogs and journals. They’ll help keep you apprised of some of these changes.
But What About Our New Line?
Marketing myopia would cause you to market the same way you did five or ten years ago. Don’t lose sight of the goal. If you’re about to roll out a new product or line and the above data doesn’t convince you, consider this. Of some 30,000 new consumer products launched each year, 95% fail. Grocers do slightly better with a fail rate between 70% and 80%. Harvard Business Review suggested that one of the major reasons why new products fail is that manufacturers are too focused on design and don’t appropriate as much time on a marketing strategy. This is where your seat at the table is so critical and why you must persist on not only putting together a marketing plan, but also a reasonable budget to implement it.
Satisfy or Attract?
In formulating your strategy, one key question to ask is whether your new product fills a demand or if opens a new doorway and customers need to be educated and attracted to it. If it meets a demand, your marketing must aim to show why your product is improved. If it’s revolutionary or novel, there’s a challenge. Remember those battery-operated lights that you could clip onto just about anything? When marketers showed how it could be used to light areas inaccessible to electricity or awkward to get to, sales went up.
Unlike your favorite television weather forecaster, you don’t have the luxury of being right 50 or 60% of the time.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5WPR