Beware of bells & whistles, fancy gadgets, and cleverly named products and services!

Recently, I have ran into a plethora of “marketing experts” selling novel bells & whistles, fancy gadgets, and cleverly named products and services.  It is the bright shiny penny in the room that everyone thinks they must have and it will be the easy way to get new customers.

Before you buy these bells & whistles, fancy gadgets, or cleverly named products and services, ask what the ROI is.  If you get an answer something like, “Well, it depends.  It is hard to measure something like this.”  Then ask, if they have any kind of guarantee.  Most likely, you will be told, “Well, in marketing there are no guarantees”.

That is partially true – but in marketing, you should always do your research, plan, track and measure, and then adjust accordingly to get results.  If these products and services do not have these measurements in place, you could very well waste valuable marketing dollars on bells & whistles, fancy gadgets, and cleverly named products and services.

Small business owners are the prey for most of these “marketing experts”.  In many cases, the money they end up spending on a product or service being billed as the magic wand to getting new clients, is the only marketing budget they had.  And, when it does not get them a return on investment, their business is in a world of hurt.

Here are some of the bells & whistles, fancy gadgets and cleverly named products and services I have heard of (to protect the identity of those selling this ghastly products and services, I have excluded the clever names):

  • A branding report that will tell you exactly how to brand your company, for only $2,500.  When the client showed it to me, I was applauded that a fellow marketing person could sell this document that had no brand standards, brand promise, target market review, competitive review, SWOT analysis or different/better story.  It was basically a worthless document that did not even assist in branding the company.
  • A social media plan that will supposedly increase your client acquisition for only $3,000.  When I looked at this, I saw that what was done could have been done for probably only $1,000 if it was entirely outsourced and probably only $300 if a staff person had been trained how to do what this “expert” was doing.  When asked what the ROI was on this, I was told that the “Likes” on Facebook had increased.  “Likes” don’t add revenue to the bottom line.
  • Seminars and workshops selling tickets ranging from $30 to $300 to put butts in seats to confuse people about marketing so much that they think there is no way they can live without this person’s service.  Presenters make marketing and branding this mysterious thing that only special experts like themselves can master.

What has happened to marketing planning and good solid market research  These “experts” will tell you not to invest in worthless market research or a marketing plan that will only sit on the top shelf of your bookcase and collect dust.  No, they would rather have you buy their mysterious, unique bell & whistle, fancy gadget, or cleverly named product or service to possibly and hopefully grow your business.  There is no better chance of success to grow your business than doing your research and having a strategic and tactical marketing plan to get you to your goals.  

There is no ONE bell & whistle, fancy gadget, or cleverly named product or service that will grow your business to the extent you need.  Don't waste time and money on these things.  Marketing is about having goals, objectives, strategies and tactics to get you from point A to point B.  Start with a solid plan and determine what you should do to grow your business. Not every bell & whistle, fancy gadget, or cleverly named product or service is made for all businesses and target markets. 

Contact us today for a complimentary strategy session to start growing your business.

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