Top five dumb marketing mistakes
By Christian Piatt
A business is only as good as its marketing plan. However, it’s often this critical part of our overall roadmap to success that gets the least attention and resources. Instead of being an afterthought, our marketing plan should be one of the most important, and regularly revisited, components of our business model.
In a nod to Letterman’s nightly Top Ten, here’s our list of top five dumbest blunders when it comes to marketing your business:
Mistake #5 – More is always better: There was a time when television, radio and print media were the triple crown of marketing, garnering big bucks for those few who could afford to break into the fraternity. However, today’s markets are much more diverse, and can be accessed more effectively and affordably with a highly-targeted marketing campaign. Many web-based ad tools even offer you statistical reports so you can tell exactly what works and what doesn’t, even on a daily basis. Whereas the old-school mantra was that you had to spend more to make more, today’s forward-thinking entrepreneurs know it’s all about spending smarter.
Mistake #4 – My product/service is so good, it sells itself: Today’s consumer is exposed to more marketing messages in two months than any other generation in the history of the world experienced during their entire lifetime. If you’re waiting around for the right people to stumble across your good idea and buy in, get comfortable, because it’s going to be a long wait.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be loud an obnoxious to be noticed, but it does mean you need to be reaching out to the right people. How long has it been since you did a test market for your product or service? Do you have testimonials from credible sources or other data to back up the claims you make about what you can offer? Knowing your market as specifically as possible and creating an airtight case for being the best in your field will get people to your doorstep; then you can let your amazing product do its magic.
Mistake #3 – I tried my marketing plan for a month, but it didn’t work: It takes an average of six impressions before consumers are moved to action. Just because someone sees your logo or name once or twice doesn’t mean they’re going to be inclined just yet to give you a try. If you are putting all of your faith in one or two pricey ads, you may be throwing your money away. Make a plan for how you will reach your coveted demographic consistently over a six- to twelve-month period. Allow people some time to learn who you are and what you’re about, and to get the sense that you’re going to be around tomorrow when they need you.
Mistake #2 – Money is tight this month, so we’re cutting marketing: Many businesses hack away at their advertising budgets when belt-tightening take places, but in reality, this should be one of the last things to get cut back. Think about it: your business is slow, so you rein in your plan to get your name in front of people. The result is fewer leads, which leads to less business and less income. Jettisoning your marketing plan just because you’re financially stressed is as good as raising the white flag.
Mistake #1 – I can do this marketing thing myself: While business managers should definitely be actively involved in their company’s marketing campaigns, there are a number of reasons why you should not rely on yourself exclusively to develop and execute your campaign. First of all, unless you are a seasoned veteran in the marketing field, you’re pitting yourself against a broad field of professionals who likely will eat your lunch. Second, if marketing was your passion, you should have opened a PR firm! Let the people who know and love this kind of work do what they do best so you can do what you do best. Finally, any time you spend doing the work that someone else could be doing risk compromising the vision and leadership of your business. Leaders should lead, always, but if you’re busy micro-managing every detail of your day-to-day operations, you’ll end up too burned out to be effective, plus you’ll annoy everyone else who would rather be left alone to do their jobs.
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