Ten Marketing Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Here are ten mistakes you don’t want to make if you want to succeed in your marketing efforts.

1. Resting on your laurels. Just because you have what you think is a good marketing plan in place today doesn’t mean it’ll be right tomorrow. The pace today is so accelerated, you must stay ahead of the game. Constantly research what your competition is doing. Surf the Internet to see what’s new out there.

2. Hype. Sooner or later hype will catch up with you. Being superficial and underestimating the consumer is first of all poor taste, and second of all, it’s bad business. Avoid the jargon and the pat phrases and give substance.

3. Not having an R&D Team, focus group or feedback source. Test your ideas on others. There are some absolutely wonderful ads out there that people remember, but they don’t remember the name of the product/company. For example, there was a great ad out awhile ago that talked about the Bank of the Northern Hemisphere. Very clever; everyone remembered it. The problem was, they didn’t remember the name of the bank you were supposed to use instead.

4. Not trusting your marketing person. If you hire someone to do your marketing, hire someone you trust and then let them do their job. With 20 years marketing experience, I had many interesting jobs and some interesting job interviews. One corporation asked me, “Can you stick with a plan once it’s in place?” Red flag. Any marketing campaign must be constantly monitored and you need to be able to switch on a dime. An experienced marketing person can titre what’s working and what isn’t. It becomes almost a sixth sense. Why would you throw good money after bad just because changing it is an inconvenience?

5. Not giving it time to work. It’s an adage in marketing that if you’re going to say it, say it at least 3 times. I’ve consulted with individuals, particularly, who send out a brochure, no one bites, they want to abandon it. Generally it takes 3 “hits.” People run through their emails rapidly and delete things they wish they hadn’t. Make their wish come true! Give them a second, third, fourth chance. The formula is–when you’re sick and tired of it, the public is just beginning to hear it.

6. Being timid. There really is no such thing as bad publicity, and things will happen. You have to have been through this to know. Several years ago I was marketing an apartment complex and the manager miscommunicated an “early bird special.” The whole unfortunate event made the front page of the local newspaper with stories about parents not being able to buy school clothes for their children, because …. 6 months later the apartment complex was filled to capacity. People remembered the name of the apartment and nothing else. Carry on!

7. Not being curious. If you have an ezine edition that had a large number of click-throughs, don’t just pat yourself on the back, ask yourself why. Figure out what was different about it — Was it on a special day? Was there something different–more graphics, no graphics? A catchy subject line? A new layout? Don’t forget, you can always ask someone who clicked-through!

8. Thinking you have to pay for marketing. Use the free options liberally. Establish yourself as an expert on a subject and let the press know you’re willing to be interviewed. When a national news event breaks, make it local. For instance, I’m a coach, and when 9/11 happened, I contacted the press to let them know what coaches had to offer at such a time.

9. Leaving it at home. Prosaic, but we all do it. Your business cards and brochures do absolutely no good sitting in the office. Take them with you!

10. Following the rules. Be as thorough as you need to be. The rule is ‘be brief,’ but say what you need to say. One of the most effective mailers USAA ever did was a 5-page letter. Know the rules. Then break them.

To thrive, you need to live and breathe marketing. Look around you all the time to see what’s out there that’s working and keep your own marketing strategy fresh and vibrant.

Susan Dunn is a professional development/marketing coach and the author of ebook “Marketing Secrets of the Pros“. Visit her on the web at www.susandunn.cc.

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