7 Warning Signs That Your Marketing Plan Is Not Done

April 8, 2013

Entrepreneurs are wonderfully passionate. But sometimes that passion is not fully thought through, and the marketing plan (or lack thereof) is usually one of the first signs. Here are some warning signs from 6 Secrets to Startup Success. 

John Bradberry warns that entrepreneurs often fall into passion traps: self-reinforcing spiral of beliefs, choices, and actions that lead to critical miscalculations and missteps, mistakes such as significantly underestimating what is required to get a business off the ground; greatly over-assuming initial customer interest; making deep, irretrievable commitments to unproven concepts; and, in too many cases, rigidly adhering to a failing strategy until it’s too late to recover.

“One of the most dangerous aspects of the passion trap is the subtle, illusory way it takes hold,” says Bradberry. “On the surface, it masquerades as the kind of heroic determination that fuels every startup success story. However, when an entrepreneur becomes too emotionally attached to an idea, boldness can be transformed into arrogance. Commitment narrows into a kind of tunnel vision. Cognitive biases filter and bend incoming data to conform to the founder’s hopes and beliefs. Conversations are drained of objectivity. Even worse, these patterns are generally invisible to the founder, and their negative impact is usually delayed over time. Like a termite-infested home, the seemingly solid startup is eaten from within.”

Here are 7 Early Warning Signs That you haven’t thought through your marketing enough:

• Thinking or saying, “This is a sure thing!”

• Losing patience with people who point out risks or shortcomings in your plan.

• Believing your solution is better than anything on the market.

• Expecting most of your sales to come from word-of-mouth or “viral” marketing?

• Assuming that you are entering a space with little or no competition.

• Loving your product, with no idea who will buy it.

• Finding yourself saying (about your customers), “They don’t get it yet, but they will!”

Adapted from 6 SECRETS TO STARTUP SUCCESS: How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Passion into a Thriving Business by John Bradberry.

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About The Author

Christina Parisi is Director of Digital Content at the American Management Association. Previously she was an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies.

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