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DE-MARKETING: A BATTLE AXE OR MARKET LEADERSHIP TOOL?

By NBF News
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De- marketing, that ugly unhealthy marketing practice that caused ripples within the banking industry some years back may not be bad in the marketing cycle after all or Is it the case of an axe or a leadership mechanism?

In the marketing circle, professionals agree that de- marketing is synonymous to competition, but bearing in mind market cluster and consumer decision instability.  They also described it as a game of the smart, but caution should be applied so that industry players should not callously engage in marketing gimmick to achieve their long term business objective.

However, it is not uncommon to see market leaders, major industry players, decision makers, fight to sustain their positions. It is not a sin either to see leaders dropping from the ladder of success to become laggards. But it is unbecoming to engage in deadly acts (unprofessional tactics) in order to remain on the ladder.

The question that readily comes to mind is: should players in the same industry destroy one another? Is it worth it? If marketing strategies are rightly calved out from the onset, industries will rather focus on adding value rather than engaging in marketing gimmicks that are basically propelled by selfish interest.

Any number of strategies can be used to achieve a business goal. In fact, it often takes more than one strategy toachieve a lofty goal, and each strategy involves its own unique tactical plan. Unfortunately, a lot of industry players simply throw together a list of theunverifiable tactics they concoct to drive sales; impose products and put unnecessary pressure on their target audience, and they call it a strategy.

A great strategy does not depend on brilliant tactics for success. If the idea is strong enough, industry players can get by with mediocre tactical execution. However, even the best tactics can't compensate for a lousy strategy.

Steven Covey, in his highly-acclaimed book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People said: 'It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at efficiently climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy - very busy - without being very effective.'

This premise is especially true when it comes to marketing. Businesses often make the mistake of 'doing something, even if it's wrong', mistaking activity for effectiveness. It's easy to do in the real-time instant-gratification world we live in.

They get busy placing ads, buying lead lists, building a web presence, sending out mailers, massively throwing out promotional items, attending trade shows, creating brochures, andso forth. In other words, they get busy DOING something.

It's important to realize that the strategic side of the coin - what you say, how you say it, and who you say it to - is always more important than the marketing medium of where you say it. This is the basic difference between industry leaders that understand marketing strategy other than engaging in tactical marketing.

Strategic marketing embraces the thought process that occurs before your message is broadcast to the masses. Seth God in, business author and blogger once said, 'Marketing is not an emergency. It's a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn't end until you're done.'