Most people believe that marketing is the same as advertising (and I will come back to that misconception at a later date!) For even more people advertising will be the solution to most problems. And people believe this means TV if it can be afforded!
What people seem to gloss over is that it should actually be the final thing on the list. Don't get me wrong, telling people about whatever it is you are selling is absolutely vital. However, you have to be telling them something they might be interested in hearing and thus buying.
Sir Allan Sugar said "at the end of the day packaging and marketing is all superficial if what’s in the box is a load of rubbish. And so the most important thing to make sure is, what you’ve got in the box offers value for money, and then all the glitz is added on afterwards." On the flip side, Barbra James said “you can have the best product in the world, but if you can't market it, it is not going to matter to anyone but yourself”. So we have to find the balance between too much sizzle, not enough steak and a delicious steak but not enough sizzle!
Ernest Rutherford once said 'We had no money, so we were forced to think'. This is the perfect place to start developing any marketing strategy. You must start with a core insight which should help you understand at the start and throughout a project, why you are developing the product / business / service. You need to understand the target customer and accept that whatever you are creating won't be suitable for everyone. Once the product has been developed and packaged, then and only then should you look to advertise.
At that point you should consider a whole variety of options from classic big budget TV (i.e. Cadbury's) to the more innovative use of the labels on jeans (Howie's Jeans give a manifesto on cotton which consumers can read prior to purchase). It is important to note that consumers are receiving more messages, have more choice but have less time. The key is to find the absolute best way to talk to your target customer and stay true to that belief.
The key is to stay focused. Steve Jobs is quoted as saying ‘I’m as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done’. He goes on to say that ‘People think focus means saying yes to the project or commitment that it has already been decided to focus against. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the 100 other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully…’