Marketing might seem like an easy job, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea!
When you launch your product/services in the market, people don’t come running to buy your offerings by just putting the word out.
The theory of marketing might portray it as a simple task, but it’s much more complex and requires perfect balance in all activities. It is a process of managing the responsibilities for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer needs and wants profitably.
It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to attract more customers to their company by using the minimum amount of resources. You need to learn a little about the marketing techniques and hire required help. By showing a little creativity, you can market your company economically and effectively. This will generate some serious interest in your offerings and bring in more customers for your business. More customers mean an increase in customer base and revenue growth.
But, we humans are prone to making mistakes in every aspect of our lives. The field of marketing is no different, and we often tend to make silly mistakes that could have been avoided otherwise. There are uncountable articles and blogs available on the internet that talk about successful marketing practices. You can learn how to improve your visibility, get more likes, increase customer retention, and so on.
But the information on the things/techniques to avoid while devising your marketing strategy is limited, in comparison with success stories.
Fortunately for you, we have compiled a list of 18 mistakes you should definitely avoid at all costs during the formulation and implementation phase of your brand’s marketing strategy.
- Unaware of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Almost every day a new invention is coming to the market. And, at any given moment, billions of products are being sold by millions of people. So, just because you have a product or service to market, doesn’t mean you will be successful. You have to be fully aware of your uniqueness that sets you apart from the competition while doing your marketing.
Learn about your strengths, hone them, and use them to your advantage. So get out there, show them how and in what way your offerings are awesome. You need to have a clearly defined and well-articulated Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that is simple for everyone to understand.
- No specified target audience
Aiming your marketing efforts at everyone is very tempting, but that’s exactly what you have to avoid. There is nothing worse than not knowing about the demographics of your target customers. How can you market to someone if you don’t even know who they are and what they do?
Would you like to sell your premium luxury products to a poor person? Or would you sell the lowest quality gadgets to CEOs in the tech industry?
Identify your customers through proper segmentation and always keep them in mind while formulating your marketing plans and strategies. Keep track of your marketing activities through analytical tools and modify your strategies accordingly to your target audience preferences.
For example, Gap, which is known for providing everyday basics, in order to attract a more hipster crowd, they attempted to change its brand image. They changed their logo and lost most of their loyal customers with it. The company failed miserably in understanding their products target audience. And have to revert back to the old logo within just two days to prevent further damage to the brand.
- Avoiding self-promotion
This is usually the most common mistake we all make when devising our marketing strategies. The most common reason behind this is that we think we have a great product/service and people will learn about it eventually.
But that’s not going to be the case. No one will learn about your offerings no matter how great they are unless you tell them!
Other reasons might include the shyness of a company’s founder from coming in the limelight. That’s a shame, especially if the company has a great product/service. That’s why it is recommended that all startups should have more than one founder. So if one tends to shy away from self-promotion, the other one should do the needful.
- Focusing on acquisition only and not retention
Yes, you have to actively grow your customer base and capture maximum market share in order to survive in today’s competitive business environment. We are not undervaluing the sheer importance of bringing in new customers, but it’s only half of the battle. Turning your customers into lifetime customers is the other half!
You may wonder why go after customer retention when you gain a new one each time? Well, there are numerous advantages, like your current customers are more likely to buy from you than a potential customer in the future. Customer retention is far cheaper than new acquisition, its less time consuming, and it’s easier to generate higher revenues with less effort.
One way to retain your customers is to keep growing your company with the latest advancements in the market. Because if you are unable to provide your customers what they are looking for, you will eventually lose them.
Remember when Nokia used to be the leading mobile phone brand, but then smartphones took over the market. The company failed miserably as they ignored the innovation at the time when smartphones were becoming a necessity for people around the globe.
- Abusing the six codes of influence
There’s a possibility that you have heard of him, but you’re probably using, and even abusing his six codes of influence. We are talking about the author of the best-seller Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini. Following are his six codes of influence:
- Reciprocity – we’re hardwired to pay back debts and favors
- Commitment & Consistency – we follow through and stick on with something we’ve selected in some way
- Social Proof – we tend to trust things that are popular among the people we know and like
- Liking – we readily accept the requests from people we like
- Authority – we usually follow the people who look like they know about their work/stuff
- Scarcity – we want a product even more, especially if the product’s supply is low or is a limited edition
These principles should be a part of your marketing efforts, as it helps you out in persuading the customers to buy your offering. But make sure that they are used appropriately without abusing them as today’s customers are well aware of the false practices that companies employ.
- Having a belief that marketing ends with sales
We usually make the mistake of believing that marketing ends when a sale is completed. But that’s not the case. There’s a lot more to be done afterward to create lifetime customers. Customers evaluate their purchase decision, and if your offering exceeds their expectation, you might gain their trust for eternity.
The first step after the sales should be a follow-up within a couple of days to answer any queries they might have. Establish communication channels, like phone, email, or social media, and be quick to respond through them. Offering unique tricks and tips will enhance their user experience and might present you opportunities for reselling and upselling.
- Too many promotions and discounts
Attracting more customers by offering discounts and promos are a great way to increase your revenue. But too many of them will harm your business prospects in the long run. Usually, the startups often make the mistakes of offering high discounts at launch. Yes, they boost your sales but remember it’s only a short-term solution.
Offering too many discounts will devalue your brand, hurt your bottom line, will put the focus on price instead of value, and set a precedent. Moreover, people will always demand the same discounted price and would rather wait for your next promo to make the next purchase.
Take the example of Timothy’s coffee in order to increase its following on social media. They offered free samples and discount coupons to people who will follow them on different platforms. The result, they ran out of all the free samples within three days. And later have to alter their promotion on the first-come basis, but by then they have already damaged their brand reputation significantly.
- Ignoring your consumers’ need
Through segmentation, you can identify your customers and their needs. So, how could you make the silliest mistake of ignoring their needs? No matter how hard you try, no one will buy a product that doesn’t fulfill their requirements. Even worse, you might annoy them and lose potential customers by offering irrelevant products/service. Do proper research and offer them the products they desire rather than forcing them to buy the products you make.
For example, Coca Cola Inc. launched a sweeter version of their famous beverage coke in 1985. In order to compete with Pepsi cola and gain back the lost market share. That didn’t go as planned as the majority of their customers still prefer the classic version of coke. And instead of gaining more, they start to lose more customers. They have to revert to the classic version quickly to avoid further losses.
- Not utilizing social media effectively
Just because you don’t understand how twitter functions or you don’t like using Facebook, it doesn’t mean that you completely write off social media for your business. It is extremely important for modern day businesses to effectively use social media to promote their offerings. Don’t hesitate in seeking the help of peers or even hiring someone to offer you guidance in learning the ropes for effectively leveraging the social platforms.
Also, when building a social media-centric campaign, you need to have a check and balance to prevent an unexpected mishap because the online world is wild and full of pranks.
This can be learned from the failed campaign by Walkers, a US-based Snack Company. The brand started a campaign where customers submitted selfies for an opportunity to win tickets for a major game. However, the auditing of irrelevant pictures (criminals, serial killers, and dictators) proved to be a nightmare for the company.
- Straying from creating evergreen content
Don’t stray away from producing products that have a large life span. Your products should possess staying power. Ideally, your content should have a shelf life of more than a few months and usage life of more than a year or even more than five years down the road. This shows that your products can be recycled, and you’re committed to staying in the industry for a long period of time.
- Unable to reach the perfect balance in marketing
The most common mistake is either your market too much or doesn’t market enough. At the initial stage of a business, it is an essential step to establish yourself in the market. Thankfully, technological advances have made marketing less expensive in the current age. You have to achieve a perfect balance in marketing to be successful. You can’t afford to waste extra resources by throwing unnecessary discounts and promos. You also can’t afford to stay stagnant and do almost little to nothing to attract more customers. Too much of anything can cause negative effects. If you are having trouble, seek guidance from experts or hire someone who has expertise in striking a perfect balance.
- No website for your business
Even in the current digital age, many businesses still don’t own a website. Around 46% of small businesses in the US don’t have a website for their business. Reasons being that it’s costly to purchase and manage and also, it’s irrelevant to their particular industry. Well, they’re wrong, it’s relevant to every industry and the potential revenue benefits greatly outweigh the costs. As around 97% of customers do their research about a product/service online. If you have an online presence, it will increase your customer base and reach across different parts of the world.
- Overlooking email marketing
People have the wrong perception that email marketing is not effective anymore. If your past experiences didn’t bring in the desired success, then it’s time to re-evaluate your technique. Don’t ignore it, in fact, try to do it properly to receive the desired response. With the increase in smartphone ownership, make sure your emails are optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
- Ignoring SEO
Ignoring the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be detrimental for your business. As your website needs to be optimized for bringing in more user traffic through searches. You won’t be able to find new customers if your website doesn’t pop up on the first page of their search results.
The most effective way to increase your rankings on search engines is to make sure your websites contain phrases and keywords that people search for. But again, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
But you can always seek the assistance of experts and professionals to help you in this area. Companies like Setalks can help you increase your website rankings on search engines and increase the growth of your business.
- Not creating blogs
Don’t make this silly mistake and create a blog for your website. As blogs will increase the traffic on your website and bring in more potential customers. It also helps you build and cultivate relationships with your customers. It’s a great way to interact and receive feedback from your current and potential customers.
- Forgetting about mobile users
Today, a mobile phone serves many more purposes than just making calls. So don’t overlook this segment of customers while making your strategies. Just having a website is not enough; make sure it’s optimized for usage on mobile devices. As around 50% of people didn’t prefer purchasing from a company whose website is not mobile friendly. Having a mobile application will be a plus point, but it depends entirely upon the type of product/service and the industry.
- Poor personalization techniques
Don’t follow the mistake of being general in communication with your customers. Saying ‘hi everyone’ in a message or email is not a personalization technique. You have to be more personal with your customers, and use their first names in direct communications. Use your personal email account and sign off the message with your name at the end. Personalization helps you in connecting with your customers and create emotional connections.
- Trying to do everything all alone
Another common mistake is that we take the extra burden and try to do all the activities by ourselves. You need to take help; no one can do all the stuff all by him/herself. Not everyone is good in every field, and especially marketing is a very complex field. Hire people who specialize in the fields that you don’t and assign specific roles and responsibilities. Delegate tasks which will help in fulfilling the ultimate goal of the company and carefully monitor the process and provide feedback.
Striking a perfect balance among your marketing activities is a complex process, which requires many trials and errors. However, our list of 18 marketing mistakes to avoid will help you save a lot of time and hassle. And hopefully, you will achieve the perfect balance that will bring success to your business.