I had a great time at the most recent Friday Forum organized by the Retail Merchants Association. The featured speaker was Brand Federation’s Kelly O’Keefe and he focused his remarks on common marketing myths and mistakes. While his examples came from recognizable brands and large public companies, the concepts apply to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Here are three marketing myths that stuck with me the most as I left the Westin that Friday morning:

MYTH: Diversity leads to stability.

REALITY: Focus on your core specialty (i.e., your “bread and butter” product or service) and keep it simple. It is surprisingly easy to diversify your way into insolvency.

MYTH: Everyone is looking for the next NEW thing.

REALITY: Remember the disastrous “New” Coke? People crave familiarity more than they crave newness. If you are fortunate enough to develop a loyal customer base, don’t be too quick to innovate away from the product or service that attracted your customers to you in the first place.

MYTH: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

REALITY: Companies must evolve, stagnancy and complacency are not good attributes for a small business.

Thumbs up to the RMA team for orchestrating another great event. If you are a small business owner in the Richmond area and have not considered joining the organization or attending one of its events, consider putting that on your “to do” list for 2020!

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