Alan Hale is the founder and president of Consight Marketing Group. He can be reached at

I’ve spent many years in consulting and marketing research and have conducted over 275 B2B projects. I’ve seen many successes – and also numerous failures. This has allowed me to identify common marketing mistakes that I’ve seen repeated across a wide variety of companies and industries.

Most of these mistakes could have been addressed and resolved with robust marketing research. Research is most valuable when the insights it gathers drive actionable strategies and tactics. This use of research turns it from a line-item cost into an investment. Sadly, Bain Consulting has estimated only 22% of B2B companies identify and act on insight.

Use the following as a checklist to see what mistakes, if any, your organization is making.

Be unwilling to have your paradigm challenged. Are we sure there is not a better way to do something? Does senior management still believe the market acts as it did 15 to 20 years ago? Are accounts really leaving due to price, as your salespeople say? Do we really know what our customers want and value? How loyal are they to us? Are our customers raving fans and brand advocates or are they brand assassins?

We once had a construction equipment manufacturer client that said they knew their customers very well. They estimated the Net Promoter Score for their top customers at 35%. The research indicated a -47%. Issues of delivery, service and responsiveness badly hurt them. They were absolutely shocked they were so far off in their assessment. It was a complete disconnect.

Incorrectly identify your target market(s). We find there are too many companies who do not identify their target market or who do only demographic characteristics, which is not sufficient. When I hear, “The product (or solution) is right for everyone,” I cringe. There are few p...