Marketing is considered one of the most important aspects of running a business, and while good marketing can greatly increase brand recognition and client base, bad marketing can do the exact opposite for a company. Although making mistakes is a part of learning how to better succeed in business, avoiding them by learning from the mistakes of others help marketers get a leg up on the competition. Below are five of the biggest marketing mistakes that businesses make and how to avoid making them.
1. Not Writing Down Your Marketing Goals and Strategies
Writing down measureable and attainable goals is very helpful when creating a marketing strategy, and having a written copy of the strategies that you will implement to attain these goals is also beneficial. Not having clearly defined goals and strategies is a huge mistake that many businesses make. According to market research included in the 2015 Content Marketing Trends report, only 5% of businesses have an actual written copy of their goals and strategies. The report also found that companies with written copies were twice as likely to state that their company’s marketing strategy was effective. Planning out tactics, budgets, and timelines are crucial to the success of your business, and documenting all of these details can help keep your marketing team organized and efficient from the start.
2. Failing to Differentiate Your Brand From Your Competitors
This is a HUGE mistake that your marketing team should actively look to avoid. Failing to position your brand in a unique way can often result in potential customers overlooking your company and turning to a competitor for service. By conducting market research to identify your competition and what their marketing strategy is you can differentiate yourself from the competition in the eyes of your consumer. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both your company as well as your competitors is a great way to understand how to position your brand.
3. Targeting the Wrong Audience or Trying to Target Everyone
Marketers often make the mistake of looking for potential customers in anyone. However, targeting the right audience is extremely important to the success of a company’s marketing strategy. If marketing and advertising strategies aren’t aligned with your target market your efforts may be ineffective. Market research shows that different consumers appeal to various types of marketing and attempting to market to all those audiences is not an effective use of your marketing budget. For example, if your company wants to target a younger demographic, spending money on local newspaper ads would be ineffective since newspapers typically target an older demographic. On the
other hand, if your business strategy is to appeal to an older demographic, Internet marketing through social media may be less effective than more traditional marketing strategies.
It is also important to be specific. Do not try to appeal to everyone. Although your customer base may be relatively broad, it is important to target one specific group with a tailored message. Targeting a specific audience will increase your chances of catching their attention and hopefully gaining future business.
4. Using Social Media Too Much or Too Little
Many businesses market through social media, and having a social media presence is important to the success of most companies’ marketing strategy. In fact, some businesses are turning solely to social media to market their products and services on the Internet. However, if companies want to remain competitive in today’s market, social media shouldn’t be their only marketing strategy. It is still important to have an actual website rather than just a Facebook profile. While engaging with current and potential customers via social media is beneficial, your company’s social media presence should serve mainly as a vehicle to take potential customers to your website. Balancing your social media presence while still keeping your website up-to-date and clean will project a professional and detail-oriented image of your business.
5. Failing to Track Market Research Data and Not Listening to Feedback
Conducting market research is something that every business, big or small, needs to do in order to succeed. Gathering market research on factors such as the characteristics, spending habits, location, and needs of your target market will help you better understand how to market to them directly. Not tracking this data is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make while implementing business ideas to appeal to their target market. If your company isn’t tracking the success of its marketing strategies, how will your marketing team learn what needs to be changed to improve overall?
Similarly, many companies make the mistake of not listening to their customers’ feedback. Social media is an excellent forum for businesses and consumers alike. It provides an opportunity for consumers to engage with one another and for businesses to communicate directly with customers. Businesses that don’t respond or listen to customer feedback are making a big mistake, which could result in customers taking their business to a competitor in search of better service. One of the best business practices involves being responsive to customer wants and needs and being able to adapt to change when necessary.
Avoiding any of these mistakes will not only save your business time and money, but it will also help your brand thrive long-term. Although some mistakes are inevitable, learning how to avoid them and adjust when problems arise is vital to the overall success of your business.
What are other "lessons learned" would you add to this list? Please share your stories below.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).