Six Marketing Resolutions for 2012

Jerry Rackley

Editors note: we have invited some of our partners and members to share their wisdom in the form of New Year's resolutions for Marketers.  This first installment comes from Stephan Sorger, Partner at On Demand Advisors.  What would you share?  Join the conversation - enter your comments below.

To look forward, it helps to look back. Therefore, I will cite six great quotes from the past, and show how they inspire six great resolutions for the future.

1. Lord Kelvin: "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it."

Resolution: Establish metric-oriented management. Set values that specify performance (completion time, sales rate, cost per unit, and so on) so you can track performance, and take corrective action as necessary.

2. Mort Zuckerman: “Before you build a better mousetrap, it helps to know if there are any mice out there.”  

Resolution: Size the market before investing in it. In other words, look before you leap. I always recommend using multiple methods to determine market size. Don't just look it up in an analyst report. Do top-down and bottom-up sizing to be sure.

3. Coco Chanel: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” 

Resolution: Differentiation is essential. Too many companies are out there making me-too products and services, claiming they're "the next Facebook." Stake new ground. Be different, as the old Apple ads used to say.

4. Steve Jobs: “Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.”

Resolution: Just say NO to excess. Speaking of Apple, Steve Jobs showed restraint in the product road map (just a few products, but all great) and the feature set (elegant, not excessive). Find out what your customers crave, and make those features great.

5. Arnaud de Bourchgrave: "I've learned that any political forecasting has made astrology look respectable."

Resolution: Be wary of "Hockey-Stick" forecasts. I advise clients to show caution when they forecast rapid (or even exponential!) adoption, especially for radical new products and services. The Hockey-Stick forecast, which climbs unrealistically quickly, can set up false expectations and doom an otherwise promising strategy.

6. Scott Roeben:  “Sex is like art. Most of it is pretty bad, and the good stuff is out of your price range.”

Resolution: Show savvy in pricing strategy. Pricing is more important than most people think. It is tempting to just take the cost and add 20%, but you are doing yourself an injustice. Look at the price premium commanded by great brands such as Apple, Louis Vuitton, and Rolex. Pricing plays a pivotal role in their go-to-market strategy, and it should in your company, too.

Here's to a happy and prosperous 2012!

Stephan Sorger is a Certified Management Consultant and Partner at On Demand Advisors, a strategic consulting firm. He is also an instructor for UC Berkeley at their San Francisco extension, and author of the new book, "Marketing Planning: Where Strategy Meets Action." Learn more at


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