16 Biggest Myths in Marketing
by: Jeffrey Dobkin
MYTH # 9
It's easy to make money with a catalog.
Sure, gather a few products together, have a few thousand catalogs printed
up, buy a list, and you're on your way to make millions. Don't bet the
ranch quite yet. I owned a catalog company once, and it was tough. Our
P & L was on the line with every single mailing we did. I got stuck
with products that didn't sell well, and weren't profitable enough to
put back in - yet I still had them in inventory (my friends and relatives
loved me that year!) . Pricing was always a big question mark: should
we be discount, or high end - or somewhere in between?* And I've had about
every trick imaginable pulled on me by list vendors. It's a tough road
to make a lot of money with a catalog, my hat's off to the ones that do.
It can be done, but it ain't easy.
*I settled my pricing: We were below market price on items easily shopped
and that invited price comparison shopping, and higher on unique and hard
to find goods.
MYTH # 10 I'll just get this one out into the marketplace,
I'll make money on the next one.
How many inventors have said this to me? Most of them, I think. Without
money and profits, there won't be a next one. At least, I've never seen
a 'next one' under this circumstance. By the time it's all said and done,
it's too much work and too many hours to bring a product to market and
not be profitable. Then to say you're going to do it all again, ugh, you've
got to be nuts. The myth? Without profits, you won't be doing it again.
You need to make a profit, and it's reasonable to expect to do so for
your investment of time and effort. You need two essentials for any business:
sales and profits. Anything else can wait.
MYTH # 11 I'll call back.
This is the big customer myth. If you didn't handle it right the first
time, don't hold your breath. They won't.
MYTH # 12 It's easy to sell this product - everyone will buy
that's easy to say until you try to sell it. Sure, you can sell anything,
but it may cost you $20 to sell a $10 product. Take out an ad for $500,
and you can sell 50 ten-dollar items to generate enough cash flow to pay
for the ad. But if it costs you $5 to fill each order, you suddenly need
to sell 100 units just to pay for the ad. Do the math up front. If it
doesn't look like it's going to work, you're probably right.
MYTH # 13 Everyone will buy it - when I showed them the sample
they loved it!
After you've asked your friends who said, "Sure, we'll take one!"
to actually write you a check, how many actually did? This is the "checkbook
test" - let me know how you make out! Showing a sample to a friend
and having a stranger actually give money to you for your product are
quite different. Try this: when asking friends about your product, don't
tell them it's your invention - just show it to them, tell them you have
an extra one you'd like to sell, and ask if they'll buy it. Then ask for
the money, as proof.
MYTH # 14 Every catalog house will carry it, right?
Perhaps. Everyone likes new products, but no one likes to take a chance,
especially catalogers. Catalog houses present a mixed bag - they like
to see a proven hot sales record, yet always want a first-time exclusive.
Go figure. that all comes into play IF you can get the buyer on the phone.
Take heart: there are over 10,000 catalog houses.
PRODUCT SUBMISSION MYTH
MYTH # 15 Just send it in, attention "Buyer," it'll
get looked at and we'll make a decision.
Truth: virtually nothing that comes in over the transom this way is selected
by a catalog house, marketing agency, or mass merchandiser. This presentation
is the kiss of death. If you can't get a name of someone to send it to,
forget it. When you reach this dead end conversation over the phone with
someone, it's best to hang up politely, and call back later. Without a
name, what are you going to do for follow-up? Call and say, "Well
yup, I sent it in a few weeks ago, don't know to whom, though, or where
it's at right now, but can you tell me how it's doing"? I've never
had a successful product submission without sending the item to a specific
name, and I'm pretty picky about sending it to the right person, too.
MYTH # 16 I'm finished with my work
Who are you kidding? As an entrepreneur you're never finished with your
work. And it's because -- your work is never done. Being an entrepreneur
means you know what you'll be doing - and have your work laid out for
you - for the next 6 months and up. What you actually need to do is to
prioritize what you need to do, so you can do it in the right order.
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Dobkin, author of How To Market A Product For Under $500!, Uncommon
Marketing Techniques, and Inside Secrets of Direct Marketing,
is a specialist in direct response copywriting. He writes powerful,
response-driven sales letters, TV commercials and scripts; persuasive
catalog copy; and exceptionally hard-hitting direct mail packages
that increase sales. He also analyzes direct marketing packages,
ads, catalogs, and campaigns. Mr. Dobkin is an acclaimed speaker
and a direct marketing consultant. Call him directly at 610-642-1000
for free samples of his work. You can visit his web site at: http://www.dobkin.com
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