3 Ways Companies Cripple Their Own Product Marketing

Sometimes companies can be their own worst enemy when it comes to product marketing. Recognizing those major mistakes – and finding ways to correct them – is critical to long-term success. But the main thing is to learn to avoid these mistakes from the start.

Today I’m going to cover 3 common mistakes of product marketing, and what you can do prevent them.

Mistake #1: Targeting Market Segments for Specific Products of their Brands

Conventional wisdom of product managers states that you should carefully assess your product, find a segment of the market that finds your product interesting and target that segment. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it might cause you to target too small a segment.

Researchers have come up with a term known as “repertoire customers”. According to them, many business customers and consumers are repertoire customers because they buy several brands regularly. For example, there are cellphone consumers that started with Nokia, moved to Motorola for their 2nd phone and now own an LG. These customers have no problem purchasing another brand of cellphone if the price and features are appealing enough.

To solve such problem, product managers should take advantage of such behavior by offering different product variants and lots of brands within the same product category.

Mistake #2: The Best Customers are Your Present Loyal Customers

If you think of it at the surface, this kind of thinking makes sense. However, for repertoire customers such kind of thinking never applies. According to recent studies, it turns out that only a small percentage may be considered as loyal customers. The most are repertoire customers, and they make up about 90% of the total consumer market. Furthermore, as it turns out, loyal customers purchase your products less often compared to non-loyal customers. Conclusion: Targeting your marketing dollars to your local customers may not be the best course after all.

Mistake #3: Getting More Customers, Making Customers Loyal and Getting Customers to Buy Often are the Best Ways to Boost a Brand

This is not entirely wrong. As it turns out, getting more customers is only the best way to boost the sales of a brand. This means that you have two options. You can either enter new markets or acquire new people to purchase your product within the existing market.

If a product manager observes that an existing customer purchases a product from the competition, then product managers tend to worry. The seemingly logical step is to conjure different ways to discourage or stop such customers from purchasing the competition’s products. Furthermore, there is a tendency to start looking for strategies to encourage the existing customers to purchase more often; as a means to cover for such loss. However, slashing prices is not an easy thing to do, and this is one of the biggest motivators of repertoire customers.

According to studies, preventing your customers from purchasing the products of the competition and encouraging them in purchasing more is just a waste of time and money since repertoire customers will naturally purchase from your competition as time passes. Studies have also shown that preventing competition purchases rarely work, and in most cases, it will only hurt your brand images and sales.

To remedy this mistake, you just need to focus your product marketing efforts on a single idea, and that is aggressively acquiring new customers. Avoid wasting your time and money creating loyal customers or encouraging them to purchase often. You should rather focus energy and money on what to do once new customers come to your site. Platforms such as WalkMe make sure that when a potential customer lands on your site, they know just what to do, and will often become a longer-lasting and higher-value customer.

However, there is always an exception to the rule. Product marketing encompasses a huge spectrum and maybe your market has fewer repertoire customers. However, you can start asking the following questions just to be sure: Do my customers switch brands often? Did I try a customer loyalty program in the past, and did the marketing program work?

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James Mello
James is the Lead Author & Editor Product2Market of Blog. James writes for the Product2Market blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Marketing.
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