Do you make these 7 common marketing mistakes?

Do you make these marketing mistakes?

Common marketing mistakes business owners make can cost valuable business opportunities and serious money.
7 Common Marketing Mistakes
Over the years, I’ve heard countless business owners voice regrets about spending marketing dollars for no return. As they say “hindsight is 20/20”. Most stories reflected common mistakes. This list highlights the top 7:

1) Jumping in before you do the research. This is the “ready, fire, aim” syndrome. Let’s face it: research is not the sexiest part of marketing. It often feels like math class. With the exception of people who love data diving, most of us want to get to the fun part: story boards, pictures, sound and video. “Let’s not waste time on research. It costs money (time) we should be using to getting product sold!”

Except: much like avoiding homework leads to poor grades in school, poor research can mean poor business results. Taking the time to understand market trends, competition, customer behavior and economic trends can pay off big, and give you a major competitive advantage.

2) Failing to plan. Plans mean having a calendar and deadlines, with every piece working together. It also means tracking results and correcting if necessary. Too many business owners simply go with what a good advertising sales person recommends, without considering how the ads work with everything else they are doing to promote their business. An integrated marketing plan focuses your dollars to return the maximum, and defines how all of the pieces work together.

3) Asking everyone except your customer what they want. We call this “mother-in-law marketing”. Now, unless your mother-in-law represents your target market, or qualifies as an expert in the industry, we recommend you double check with your customers before rushing head long into a new product launch.

4) Thinking “anyone can market stuff. Heck, my 3 year old can do better than that!” This includes “saving money” by having students do your work for you. Good idea as a start-up, but this can be very costly later in the game. A seasoned pro has already learned the pitfalls students do not yet know.

5) Falling for the sales pitch. This one is especially painful. Local TV/radio/newspaper advertising sales people do a great job, and often have some good ideas about presentation. However: they are not on your team, do not understand your day to day business, and work for the outlet they represent. Their job is to sell you ad space.

Think about how the ad fits into your overall marketing plan. Is it a place your customers come to? Here’s a story we heard. A retail store in the outdoor market invested in a 30 second trailer to show in a local cineplex. The excitement of creating a “mini movie” to show in the movie theatre overshadowed consideration of where hikers would go to get information about gear. The lightbulb moment occurred while sitting in a near empty theatre with popcorn, watching their beautiful trailer.

6) Letting someone design your ad for free (this is close to the high school kid designing your website). To this I ask: “Would you let a high school student call on your #1 customer?” Probably not, because as smart and creative as that kid is, they are not a professional, yet. Your website is your top salesperson, and will likely be in front of more potential customers than any of your staff. Don’t you think it deserves some thought and a professional’s touch?

7) Running after the latest BSO (bright, shiny object). Facebook! Twitter! Foursquare! So many wonderful technologies! Except: everything must work together, or you lose focus and momentum. BSO’s can do wonders for your visibility. Use them as part of an integrated plan.

By taking time to do your homework on the marketplace, working with seasoned professionals to craft an integrated plan, and spending money wisely, you can avoid these pitfalls.

-Published January 4th, 2012

Leave a Reply