It’s the start of a new year…it’s a great time to set good intentions and plan for the year ahead. Why not make 2016 a real marketing year? It will help you futureproof your business, reduce stress on sales and increase the value of your business. Setting up a marketing structure within in your business has a lot of similarities with entering into a health program for your body. You’ll need a long-term view, have a practical plan of attack that fits within your life (or your business) and is aligned with your desired outcome and of course you need to be completely committed. Having someone that holds you accountable and guides you along the journey also really helps.
To help you get on your way, I’ve collated the 5 most common marketing pitfalls that I see businesses make time after time and how to avoid them.
Marketing Mistake 1: Saying the wrong thing
The most fundamental challenge in marketing is to truly understand your target market and look at the world from their perspective. Unfortunately, too many businesses talk too much about THEIR view of the world. Just remember if someone can say ‘so what?’ after you’ve made a statement or said something, you are probably saying the wrong thing. No matter how often you say it, if it is the wrong thing it is still wrong.
Now, after a break, is a great time to re-look at your messaging through fresh eyes. Are you clearly communicating who you are, why and what you do for whom and how you stand out? If you are having trouble clearly and simply answering these questions, it might be time to get an external perspective on this. Also, listen more and talk less. Listen to your customers, the market and your staff, they can give you great insights.
Marketing Mistake 2: Not having a defined marketing budget
At the end of last year, I workshopped this topic with a group of business owners and when I asked the question how much a business should be investing in marketing, more than half of the participants chose the answer ‘it depends on the marketing activities we decide to do’. Now that is a very interesting answer and certainly not right. Picture this: If you are planning to build a house, will you tell the architect or builder that you’ll determine your budget depending what he/she designs? Of course not, we would never do that. So why would we do this then for the marketing budget of our business? Marketing is there to help you reach your business goals (read revenue or profit figures), so your marketing activities and your marketing budget need to be aligned with this.
The way you should determine your marketing budget is to take a percentage (between 5 and 15%, depending on how aggressive you want to be) of your future desired revenue (not the revenue you are producing at this moment). In this way, you know exactly how much you have in your wallet to invest in futureproofing your business. Your next challenge is to use this money as wisely as possible and get the highest return on investment. That’s where a practical results oriented marketing plan comes into play. Again, this is where external expertise can save you a lot of wasting of time and money.
Marketing Mistake 3: Falling into the trap of the yo-yo effect
The yo-yo effect is a horrible trap to fall into. Let’s lose weight, let’s go and train really hard and diet really hard and then after a month, or if we are lucky after 3 months, we are fed up with it, things get in the way, and we fall back into our old habits. This going up and down also happens when businesses attempt to do marketing. They go hard for a couple of months and when things get busy it falls off the plate again. What a shame, all the hard work you’ve been doing in those couple of months will go to waste rather quickly.
I always suggest to do rather 1 thing properly and consistently then starting off doing 10 things at once. The best way to have a proper start and stay committed is to have a practical and achievable marketing plan that will help you get to your outcome. Do the thinking before you start doing the doing and make sure that it is integrated into the rest of your business. Naturally, this is an area where an external marketing consultant can be of great value.
Marketing Mistake 4: Ignoring mobile and technology
Whether you are a lover or a hater of mobile devices and technology (and I must admit I personally am still in a love-hate relationship with technology), reality is that we can’t ignore it anymore. The way we communicate and the way we process information is drastically changing and from a marketing perspective we need to adapt to this. Google recently changed their logo for the first time in 11 years to be more mobile friendly and more easily readable on small screens. We don’t read full essays anymore, but rather skim information. Visuals and videos become more and more important and of course a mobile friendly website is a must have nowadays. If you are still not making the most of technology for the marketing of your business, now is the time to step up, as you can’t ignore it anymore. Once you start using it (and it is easier than you think, if you get the right advice), you’ll realise how many great advantages there are for your business.
Marketing Mistake 5: Not measuring and analyzing results
Another great benefit of technology is that it has given us the capability to track and measure results. I absolutely love how you can track anything that is happening online or digital. Yes, it is sometimes still a bit hard to measure traditional marketing (although not impossible), but the information we nowadays as marketers have at our disposal is phenomenal. We really need to use this information, as it will help you make the right decisions and adjust things if they are not going the way they should go. It is about testing, measuring and refining. A very simple and free tool to use is Google Analytics. It gives you info about all that is happening on your website, which is kind of free market research. Of course your email statistics, when you use an email system, and your social media statistics also give you great insights. It helps you keep a finger on the pulse on what is happening in the market and via these cost-effective channels you can trial new messages and/or new products or services and test the response.
I hope that by being aware of these marketing mistakes, you’ll be able to avoid them and you’ll be able to set yourself up for a great marketing year. Just remember, marketing is not just some magic that happens, it is a process and if executed properly will make magic happen. Clarify, plan, execute and analyse results. And most importantly, have fun with it.
If you need any help with any of the above, please feel free to get in touch with me, our highly experienced and passionate marketing consulting team in combination with our proven and tested processes will ensure you’ll get long-term sustainable marketing results.
Wishing you all a fantastic and successful 2016!Tags: marketing 2016, marketing mistakes, marketing mistakes to avoid, marketing pitfalls, marketing planning, marketing strategy