Most marketing plans totally suck! They are destined for failure simply due to the fact that they are based on facts and figures that simply don’t apply to a successful marketing campaign.

I subscribe to over forty newsletters on business, sales, marketing and such just so I can make some kind of feeble attempt to keep up with the “speed of light” changes that are happening in the marketplace. One of the biggest areas of change that is taking place is in marketing. I would guess that millions of marketing dollars are literally going down the toilet every day due to changes in marketing that cause mistakes to be made.

Advertising guru, David Ogilvy, once famously said, “50% of all advertising budgets are wasted. The problem is we don’t know which 50%.” The one thing that I do know is that something can be done about it to give you an edge. If you have read my posts at all you know that I am a firm believer that for any strategy to work, the foundational elements of success must be in place.

I recently came across an article by Mr. Geoffrey James who writes for Inc.com. And I had to laugh as it seems Geoffrey and I have faced many of the same issues. The article was his view of the common marketing mistakes that business people make. Like Mr. James, I too have viewed thousands of marketing plans and strategies and most of them smell worse than old tennis shoes.  Most of them are terrible.  And when you don’t have the basics down, what you end up with is an award winning and creative advertising campaign that doesn’t sell anything!  I recently had a client tell me that their problems with advertising were over, he just went out and spent a ton of money on a new, award laden copywriter and that will solve it all.  I just had to ask him a couple of questions about his business and when the deafening silence lifted…we fired the copywriter and went to work getting answers to some questions that are the key to avoiding the marketing issues. So with a nod to Mr. James article here is a version of what I believe is the 5 Most Common Marketing Mistakes.

  1. No Idea Who the Ideal Customer Is: I ask you this, how in the world can you create any kind of marketing plan or campaign; write any kind of selling copy for radio, TV, magazine or newspaper if you have no idea to whom it is targeted. Wake up and smell the cappuccino people, the days of mass, “shotgun” marketing are over. There are too many outlets and too many channels. If you continue to market your business the way you’ve always marketed your business, you may very well soon be out of business. Know who your customer is and don’t spend another dime on marketing until you do.
  2. No Idea What the Ideal Customer Wants: If you’re lucky enough to really understand who your customer or customers are the question is then, Do you really know what they want? That requires listening and asking and understanding. Basic demographic and market research does not get it. You need to look them in the eye and just ask them what they want and what you need to do to get them to come to your store versus buying the same product from fifty other businesses selling on-line. In other words, understand the customer’s needs from the customer’s point of view!
  3. No Idea as to What Business You’re Really In: In a classic, textbook example, when railroads around North America began to fail, the owners were asked what business they were in and they proudly stated that they were in the Railroad business. When in fact, due to changes in our world, they were really in the transportation business. This one paradigm change contributed to changing the entire business. Is a realtor someone who sells houses? Or, is a realtor someone who helps families make the best decision of the biggest financial decision they may ever make? This one adjustment, to know more clearly what business you are really in will improve the clarity of your marketing message instantly.
  4. No Idea Why Anyone Should Buy or What Sets You Apart from the Competition: It is imperative to sit down and clearly understand your UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION, or why a prospect should buy from you versus the competition. It’s just as important to understand precisely why a client should continue to buy from you. How do you expect your marketing to work without this information? The answer, it won’t.
  5. No Idea how to explain your business in :30 seconds or Less! Most of us have experienced the pain of going to a networking event where everyone gets a chance to tell their “story” and 99% of the room stumbles and stutters and rambles on and on and in the end you just go, “Huh?” A good succinct marketing message isn’t just helpful at networking meetings, it’s imperative for your marketing as well.  The key today is in a concise explanation of your “WHY”. Why do you do what you do?  For example; “I help people to truly love their homes!” is much more powerful than, “I’m a decorator!” Take some time and work on it and get some help if you need to. The key to marketing is to kick aside the standard and let people really know that you’re passionate about what you do and that you want their business.

If you might need some help with your marketing, give me a call or write today. That’s  what I do and I’m open for business.

As always, be GREAT!

Coach Dan

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