Ten Common Marketing Mistakes
by Mike Waite

According to Dunn and Bradstreet – 60,000 businesses failed last year in the United States. One of the common reasons for business failure is the following Ten Marketing Mistakes that most businesses make.

1) They Focus on the Business and Not the Prospect’s Needs.

Otherwise known as “Institutional Advertising”. This is the self-centered approach that most businesses take. They advertise how great their company is, how long they’ve been in business, etc. The problem with this approach - Nobody cares about your company. Your customers and prospects are all tuned in to the same radio station – WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). They only care about their problem and how your business can provide a solution to that problem.

2) They Have No Target Market or Niche.

There are three questions you must ask yourself when starting a business:

- What are you selling?
- What are people in your market buying?
- Do the answers to the two questions above match?

If you can match what you are selling to what people are buying, you will be light years ahead of your competition. Successful businesses market with sniper rifles, not with shotguns. Many businesses make the fatal mistake of believing everyone is their target market. You must know the WHO of your market before you can find out the WHY. You must know WHY your customers will buy before you can posture your business as their solution.

3) They Don’t Capture Contact Information

Repeat customers are the key to business success. Everything you do in your marketing plan should have one ultimate goal: get your customers to come back. It costs Five Times more money to get a new customer than to keep a current one.

People buy first from those they know. People buy second from those they trust. Successful businesses contact their customers at least once every 21 days. They provide enticing offers that generate repeat sales – special discounts, tips, newsletters, etc.

4) They Don’t Back-End or Up-Sell

Successful Businesses offer solutions to their customers with related products or services.

5) They Don’t Make Business Convenient, Easy, and Appealing

You need to be ready to sell when your customer is ready to buy. If you are not, they will go to someone else who is.

6) They are Not Persistent

60% of sales are made after six exposures to the product or service. When a person sees your name in print 5 times, they will think they know you – even if you’ve never met. Many businesses drop prospective customers too easily and too quickly. Successful businesses contact their prospects at least seven times in an 18 month time frame. Just because you don’t get a response from your prospects does not mean they are not interested – they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

7) They Have No WRITTEN Marketing Plan

The “Seat of the Pants” marketing that many businesses employ is simply not effective. You will not achieve large-scale success in your business without a Written Marketing Plan.

A Marketing Plan should have:

- Specific dollar objective for each product or service offered by a monthly and yearly forecast.
- Marketing Techniques / Methodologies and why they will work
- Contact Management and Follow-up System / Techniques
- System / Techniques to Back-end or Up-Sell

Don’t forget to evaluate and update your plan – weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.

8) They Have Poor Marketing Material.

A large majority of business owners have no idea how to write ad copy. If you have no idea about how a car works you can still know that you have a problem with it. But, you don’t just pop open the hood and start “fixing” it. Many business owners do exactly that with their marketing material and ad copy. Even worse, though, is someone who “knows” how to write ad copy, when they really have no clue.

Be wary of the “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” mentality. Why would you wait until something is broke before you attempt to fix it? How about the idea of preventive maintenance? A small amount of effort and attention periodically will cause significantly less frustration and money than waiting for a complete breakdown.

Here are the Common Marketing Material Mistakes:

- Seller Focused – not Focused on the Prospect. If you don’t what they’re looking for, then you will not know how to posture your business as a solution.
- Assumes the Prospect is Interested
- Boring
- Feature-Based: No BENEFITS
- Does Not Instill Desire in the Prospect
- Does Not Ask for a Specific Action
- Don’t tune in to WIIFM Radio Station
- Tries to be Clever or Funny. Clever DOES NOT sell - by itself. When you see a funny or clever commercial on TV, you may remember it. But people will not purchase something if it doesn’t fulfill a need they have or match their solution image. “Clever” techniques are very effective when used to posture your message, but are completely useless when they are the message.
- Tries to reflect a Professional Image. This is not enough by itself. Being a professional is simply a prerequisite, or foundation. You must offer a solution that matches what the prospect is looking for.

The sole marketing objective of successful businesses is to ALWAYS tune into the prospect’s radio station: WIIFM. Initially, you will have no idea what the frequency of that station is and it’s different for each prospect. However, once you’ve tuned into that frequency, the message goes through loud and clear. Otherwise, it’s nothing but static. Once you’ve tuned in, then you can deliver the message, but not before.

9) They Use “Me Too” Marketing

Many businesses that ultimately fail never developed a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). They never branded themselves. You must do something to differentiate yourself from the competition – in the prospect’s mind, not yours. You must do something bigger, better, or different.

Successful business owners realize that they are not sales people, they are solution providers. They don’t sell – they solve problems. They have found a specific and unique niche. Some examples: Lowest mark-up, great service, on-hand inventory (never out of stock), overhead, convenience, more of something.

Bottom Line: You must have a “More” or a “Better” than your competition. And don’t make the fatal mistake of believing you do not have competition – you will always have competition.

10) They Don’t Apply ALL of These Principles

A Marketing Plan is just like a puzzle. You have to consolidate all of the pieces and then figure out how they fit together. Without all of the pieces, the puzzle is not complete. Successful business owners constantly asses their marketing efforts and apply all of the above principles.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (German playwright)

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