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One of the biggest mistakes you can make: thinking that marketing is expendable

Many businesses see marketing as expendable fluff—it’s the last budget to be funded and the first to be cut. It’s probably one of the biggest mistakes you could make.

You might have the best product in the world, but if no one knows about it, they can’t buy it. And if you didn’t design that product by talking to real people…it’s actually not the best product in the world. I’m sure you’re doing great work, but if you can’t explain your unique value, how can you get funding? All of that is marketing, my friend.

Market and audience research should be the first step in developing your business strategy. If you don’t understand the landscape in which you’re operating and the motivations of your audience, how can you expect to reach them and stand out from your competitors?

By examining the existing landscape, you’ll be able to identify gaps your organization can fill and opportunities you can capitalize on. By developing a thorough understanding of your audience—what they need, what they want, what motivates them, what holds them back, their habits and behaviors—you’ll know how you can offer them unique value and fit into their lives.

All of this will help you understand not just how to talk about and position your organization, but what you should actually be doing, and how you should be doing it. You can’t market something that’s not real. Your talk needs to align with your walk.

You should be getting constant feedback about the goods and services you offer from customers and using that feedback to improve what you offer and how you market it. If marketing isn’t an essential and constant part of a feedback loop with your business and operations strategy, you’re doing it wrong.