One of the potential problems for the new entrepreneur lies in the area of marketing and marketing communications. Most business disciplines lend themselves quite readily to formal training.
However, marketing seems to fall into one of two areas. Either it is something that everyone thinks is so easy that they can all do it or else it becomes a dark art of over-complication by marketing companies hell-bent on proving that it isn't easy!
In my working life I have come across examples of both attitudes. I well remember a musically highbrow CEO that wanted computer keyboards replaced by famous musical keyboards in advertisements for his IT company.
The keyboard in question was half way up a wall in the Swiss Alps and cost a fortune to photograph. However, none but his few highbrow friends had any idea what it was or its relevance!
Equally, I was promoting high end consultancy in a company when I started receiving emails from someone in IT that thought it would be a good idea to distribute low end metal badges with slogans to the masses. He even went so far as to send me hundreds of potential slogans. Needless to say he is still in IT!
But marketing companies themselves are not immune to errors. Older people may well remember a previous British Telecom logo.
This logo was initially seen by over 16 million people and no one got what it was. Ideas seemed largely to centre around some form of Greek god.
However, no one understood that it was two people, with the one on the left holding their hand to listen and the one on the right speaking through some device.
Another classic of the past involved a new brand of cigarettes called Strand. The marketing agency produced the first atmospheric and story type advertisement on British television, ensuring that it would always be remembered.
However, the advertisement was about a Humphrey Bogart type figure in coat and trilby hat, standing on a London bridge in the fog at night, smoking a Strand cigarette. The slogan with it was 'Your never alone with a Strand'.
Within a short period the product was withdrawn as, despite everyone remembering the advertisement, no one bought the product. Not surprising when the search for artistic brilliance had produced a product that implied that you smoked this cigarette because you were a lonely, suicidal person with no friends. Hardly the message you want to convey to your friendly tobacconist
What is needed is a clear simple message that gets the point across quickly and effectively. In the next blog I will attempt to upset the marketeers by giving you my four simple rules for KISS marketing.