Marketing Strategies to Put Yourself Out of Business

20/12/2010 18:25

Want to learn how to lose a billion dollars?

Just follow the marketing strategies used by GM, Ford and Daimler Chrysler. Yes, some of the largest corporations in the world are missing some basic tenants of marketing and it's worth taking a look at what they're doing wrong so you don't make the same mistakes. You don't want the following headline written about your company.

"GM Hits Billion Dollar pot hole" - Miami Herald "GM shares fell to a 12 year low." - New York Times

What are some of the most glaring mistakes a handful of car companies are making?

1. Discount Pricing

GM and Ford offer free loans and rebates worth thousands of dollars to prompt people to buy their vehicles. Good idea?

When you need to resort to bribing people to buy your products or services, it's a sign that something is terribly wrong. The idea is to provide value, help your prospects understand the perceived value and charge enough to make a reasonable profit. When you start discounting your product as a means to get people to buy it you've entered an endless downward cycle.

The next time a prospect buys, they'll want an even larger discount and there will always be somebody who will undercut you on price. Eventually you'll end up like GM, losing lots, maybe not billions, but enough to threaten the life of your business.

2. Making Products People Don't Want

According to the New York Times, "General Motors and Ford have swerved off course for a far more basic reason: not enough people like their cars." Whoops!

The objective is to market a product or service people want.

3. Not Paying Attention to What People Want

If you want to make money you'd pay attention to what your prospects want? Right?

In the case of Daimler Chrysler you'd be wrong. At the Detroit Auto Show crowds loved the two-seat 8 foot long "Smart Car". So logically Daimler Chrysler decided not to sell it in the United States despite booming sales in Europe for years. Zap, a Santa Rosa CA firm, saw an opportunity especially with rising gas prices and went direct to the European Daimler dealers to buy the cars. Surprise! Ten thousand U.S. buyers put themselves on a list to order over $55 million worth of cars in just a few months.

Avoid discount pricing, provide products and services your prospects want and you can avoid losing a billion or instead make 55 million. I don't know about you but if I lose ten thousand dollars I get upset and when I make a million in a year I'm pretty happy.

The author, Charlie Cook, helps small business owners and marketing professionals attract more clients, whether you are marketing in print, in person or online. Sign up for the Free Marketing eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business', full of practical marketing strategies you can use to increase profits at

By Charlie Cook 

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