A well informed marketing strategy can be pivotal in the overall success of a business.
Conversely, a flawed approach can be disastrous and unfortunately it can be deceptively easy to make mistakes within this area. Here are just five of the most common marketing mistakes that companies make and how you can avoid these pitfalls…
Planning (Or a lack thereof)
It may sound obvious but a thorough planning stage can make all the difference when it comes to long term marketing success. Many companies fall victim to this particular problem because they are eager to get the ball rolling and would rather make decisions as they go. This level of enthusiasm is commendable but a pragmatic approach is more likely to yield better results. Another reason why companies tend to skip the planning stage is due to them making impulsive decisions. Whether it’s a special offer that can’t be missed or a sudden popularity in viral marketing, many business owners feel the urge to act within the moment but without a proper plan this could prove damaging.
The only way to combat this particular problem is to invest time and effort into a comprehensive plan of your marketing strategy. This should include the overall direction in which you would like to go, your goals, the different tools you would like to utilise and details on the amount of funding you are willing to invest. This would also be the ideal time to look at your potential customer base and ascertain what type of consumer you are aiming your product at. Market research would be useful at this stage and could help you to narrow down your options and streamline your approach.
Failure to Future-proof
Keeping up with the times is essential when it comes to marketing and this applies to every aspect of the business. A failure to implement certain business necessities such as an active website, social media channels and online payment methods can deter customers. This type of problem tends to effect smaller businesses who are just starting out and who may not have the resources or the money to build an online infrastructure immediately. The type of marketing that is utilised is also important and should be relevant to the current climate. For example, in recent years we have seen a shift from traditional paper and TV advertising to methods which utilise smartphone applications and social networking sites.
In order to guarantee that their voices are being heard, businesses should make sure they are looking into every marketing option that is available. This includes traditional and modern methods. Furthermore, it is imperative that companies have a functioning website with a modern payment infrastructure in order to attract custom.
Not Knowing Your Customer
Understanding your customer base is paramount when it comes to marketing. This can include factors such as age range, gender, profession, hobbies and interests, just to name a few. Some companies use a blanket advertising technique that doesn’t focus in on a specific group but this is unlikely to yield substantial results. Another problem that businesses have with their customer base is that they target new customers more than they should. Statistically speaking, approximately 4/5ths of your revenue should come from existing customers. It is also worth noting that it’s actually much more expensive to market to new customers then to repeat customers.
There are many ways to combat this type of issue but it really all comes down to research. There are an array of marketing research techniques that allow companies to learn about their potential customer base in great detail. These techniques should be utilised prior to marketing and during the campaigns themselves, in order to make sure you remain on the right track.
With so much competition out there it can be difficult to hold on to existing customers. The only real way of guaranteeing repeat business is to show your customers that you care, whether through loyalty schemes, special offers or even just regular communication via newsletters or social media.
Not Knowing What Your Customer Wants
Once you have identified exactly who your customer is, the next big step is to find out what they want. This may sound overly simplistic but many companies fail to ascertain exactly what their consumer base wants, instead opting for what they think their customers want. This can be particularly damaging as the marketplace is extremely large and if you’re not delivering a specific product or service, it’s easy to find a company that is.
Gaining a better understanding of your customer’s requirements will involve listening to them. Many companies focus on statistics and quantitative data when it comes to marketing but qualitative data can be just, if not more important. This means communicating with customers as individuals and acquiring information through questionnaires, reviews, social media interaction and even complaints.
The majority of marketing strategies will take time to implement and facilitate before you see any rewards. This can be disheartening and many companies make the mistake of jumping from one campaign to another without giving any of them the time to succeed. Other areas of business which can fall victim to inconsistency include social media and company websites
Being consistent can be difficult, especially when results are few and far between but there are ways to combat this. For example, when planning your marketing campaign try to create a timeline of events, this will help you to appreciate the amount of time and effort that is going to be involved. When it comes to social media and the company website, updates should be informative, interesting and regular. Setting up a schedule that dictates which days that your social media channels are updated will help to create a routine that is easier to stick to.