Have you noticed
a slump in your sales? Are you having trouble establishing your new
business in the marketplace? Or maybe you're established, but you just
can't seem to get the word out about your new product? If these situations
sound familiar, then your marketing may be to blame.
New businesses may not know how to market themselves properly to get
the results they want. But marketing challenges are actually quite common
among businesses of all sizes. In today's competitive business world,
many small and mid-sized companies lose sight of the marketing practices
that made them successful in the first place. And even the large, established
companies tend to let their good marketing practices slide sometimes.
So what can you do if you suspect your marketing efforts are less than
satisfactory? First, understand the ten biggest marketing mistakes businesses
make, and then learn how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not
Developing a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is a critical part of every successful business. It
helps you design your product and service to fill a market niche, identify
your target audience, and then see what you need to do to get your target
audience to buy your product or service. Also, when creating a marketing
plan, you design the objectives and tactics to further develop your
marketing efforts in the future.
Mistake #2: Not
Planning a Marketing Budget
You need to spend money to publicize, market, and advertise your business
to make it successful. As a general rule of thumb, you may spend at
least ten percent of your revenue on marketing efforts. Essentially,
these costs keep your company going and your products selling. No matter
what size your company, you need to have a marketing budget.
Mistake #3: Not
Targeting a Specific Target Audience
You need to understand that your market doesn't include everyone. No
matter what product you have, not everyone is going to want to buy it.
So decide your target demographic and use appropriate media outlets
to reach that audience. For example, if you have a diet product, you
may target women ages twenty-five to fifty-four, who are ten pounds
or more overweight. Then you need to advertise in women's magazines
or during women-oriented television and radio programs. Trying to appeal
to everyone doesn't work.
Mistake #4: Not
Developing a Clear and Consistent Marketing Message
All your marketing
materials, advertisements, and promotions need to convey a consistent
look and message. You want your target audience to know what you do
or sell no matter where they see your name; you want to be recognizable.
This helps you achieve more from your marketing budget because the message
is reinforced throughout all the media you advertise in.
Mistake #5: Believing
Your Product will Sell Itself
Many companies make the mistake of thinking that their product is so
great and so different that they don't need to market it at all. However,
no one will know how great your product is, or that it even exists,
if you don't tell them. Word of mouth and referrals can only take you
so far. No matter how great your product, you need to advertise and
market to get it sold.
Mistake #6: Not
Clearly Defining the Product Benefits
The highly competitive marketplace is constantly changing and offering
consumers more and more choices. For example, if you need laundry detergent,
you have a whole aisle of different brands to choose from. So how do
you base your decision? Something has to get your attention to make
you choose one brand over another. And you need to create this differentiation
in your product as well.
Defining the unique selling proposition for your product will help your
target audience differentiate it from your competitors. Then work this
uniqueness into your marketing plan and strategy to reach the specific
audience who will buy your product.
Mistake #7: Not
Diversifying Your Media Mix
At one time, you could advertise on the three big television networks
and reach eighty percent of the population. But now viewers have hundreds
of different networks and channels to choose from just on television.
Plus consumers can choose from satellite or cable television, print,
radio, satellite radio, and the internet. Media today is very fragmented,
so you need to reach your audience through more than one outlet.
Mistake #8: Not
Understanding the Lifetime Value of a Customer
If you can earn a customer and keep him or her for life, then the value
of that customer multiplies. For example, imagine you sell cars. If
you have a customer who spends $10,000 a year to drive one of your cars,
then over the lifetime of the relationship that customer will have given
you $200,000. So what is it worth to earn that customer's business?
If you spend ten percent, or $20,000, to get the customer's business,
you'll earn a ten to one return on your investment.
Mistake #9: Not
Having a Back End Revenue Program
A back end revenue program creates additional streams of income for
your business. For example, if you sell someone a cosmetic product on
television, a back end revenue would be to sign them up for a continuity
program where you send them more of the product on a regular schedule
and charge their credit card automatically. This type of program allows
you to bring in additional revenue and maintain your customer relationships.
Not Up-Selling the Customer
Up-selling means taking advantage of the sales opportunity and incremental
revenue by adding additional or related products to a customer's purchase.
For example, adding fries to an order at a fast food restaurant or adding
additional features, such as a sunroof on a car sale, are up-sells.
Mistakes in the Future
Marketing is critical to the success of every business. Unfortunately,
many businesses discount the effect it can have, and they forego their
marketing efforts for other activities. Or they make one or more of
these mistakes, and their marketing efforts become ineffective. Perhaps
this is why nine out of ten businesses end in failure.
But your business doesn't have to be one of the nine that doesn't succeed.
When you avoid the ten biggest mistakes, you can market your business
successfully and increase your bottom line as a result.