MindFire Communications, Inc.
Five marketing mistakes you can’t afford to make
February 24, 2009 | Lynn Manternach, Ph.D.

As budgets tighten, some businesses are looking at ways to cut back on marketing. A better idea is to look at how to make your marketing work better. If you can find a more efficient approach, you may be able to trim your marketing budget and increase the effectiveness of your marketing investment.

Marketing is critical to the success of every business. Effective marketing can be the fastest way to grow your business. On the other hand, poor marketing efforts can stall your growth even if you have a great product or service.

Here are five common marketing mistakes and ways to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Thinking that advertising is marketing.

Marketing is not advertising. Marketing is telling a story. It’s connecting with your target audience. It’s not just an ad. Advertising may be part of your marketing plan, but it shouldn’t be your entire marketing plan. Advertising without a marketing plan is usually a waste of money. A marketing plan is the foundation you need for success. It helps you focus on the most effective ways to reach your marketing goals, and helps you prioritize how you spend your marketing budget.

Mistake #2: It’s all about me.

As a business owner or decision-maker, you spend a lot of time thinking and talking about it what makes your business wonderful. And that’s what you put into your marketing communications. The problem is that your marketing is all about you. Unfortunately, the consumer doesn’t really care about you. The consumer cares about himself/herself. Effective marketing has to connect with the consumer. It has to be relevant to the consumer’s needs or wants. Think about how your company, product or service benefits the consumer. How it satisfies a consumer’s needs or wants. Make it easy for the consumer to see how what you have to offer is relevant. Connect to what people want, not just to what you do.

Mistake #3: Not developing a clear and simple marketing message.

There are so many important things you want to convey in your marketing. It’s hard to prioritize. So what not just buy a larger ad, add another panel to that brochure, or throw another page onto the Web site?

Because, if you don’t focus your message into something simple and clear, you won’t successfully communicate anything. Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages a day. Most people don’t wake up in the morning hoping to see an ad about your business. If your message has any chance of cutting through the clutter it has to be clear and simple.

Mistake #4: Ignoring the benefits of public relations.

Public relations is so much more than a press release. PR is often the most effective way to get the word out to your target market that you have a product or service they need and want. Uncovering newsworthy stories is what sets your PR efforts on fire. Have you reached any major milestones lately? Is there something going on in your industry that is significantly changing your business? Do you have a good "before and after” story to share? For more ideas, go to http://www.mindfirecomm.com/thoughtspark_detail.cfm?id=11.

Mistake #5: Change is good, right?

We’ve been running that ad for a month now. What’s next?

Frequency is an important part of marketing success. (How many people do you think bought a Snuggie the first time they saw the ad?) Just because you’re bored with your marketing campaign doesn’t mean your target consumers are. About the time you can’t stand to see it one more time, your target consumers are just starting to tune in. The best way to gauge whether it’s time to make a change is by the results. If results are leveling off, it may be time to look at making a change. Until then, stay as consistent as possible.

 This article originally appeared in the Corridor Business Journal.

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