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 The Last Five of the 13 Costly Marketing Mistakes
    By Joe Gracia

To be successful and profitable, you must START using the most effective marketing strategies possible within your overall marketing plans. Less obvious, is the fact that you must also STOP using the most ineffective, money-wasting marketing strategies. While this list doesn't cover 'all' of the possible marketing mistakes, it does describe some of the most expensive, destructive and most 'common' made by many owners of traditional and home based businesses. Here are the last five costly mistakes:

9. WASTING MONEY ON IMAGE MARKETING

A major marketing mistake made by many small businesses is pouring their marketing dollars into 'image' marketing. Some of their marketing pieces may be clever, even humorous. That kind of marketing rarely asks prospects to take 'action.' The result? Wasted marketing dollars, vague ideas of who saw the marketing pieces and frustration.

Giant corporations like Pepsi or Nike are interested in 'name recognition' and a specific 'image' for their brands. Therefore, they spend 'millions' of dollars on creative, often fun marketing pieces designed to impress their target market with their 'image' rather than to generate a direct or immediate sale.

Obviously your image and name recognition are important to the success of your small business. But even 'more' important are immediate and steadily growing sales. How can you determine if your marketing is primarily focused on 'image' marketing? It is if each of your marketing pieces don't ask for 'immediate and specific' action from your prospects.

This money-wasting and sales destroying marketing mistake is much more common than you may think.

10. GIVING UP ON YOUR PROSPECTS AFTER JUST ONE OR TWO FOLLOW-UPS

Effective marketers know that persistence and repetition are vital for success. But too many business owners spend a great deal of time and money attracting prospects to their businesses and then either follow-up with them just once, or, as incredible as it may sound, never follow-up with them at all.

Successful people in sales know that most of the sales are made after the seventh or eighth call. Few are made after just one follow-up call. Your prospects have many reasons for not buying from you immediately.

They may not be ready to make a decision. They may have more pressing things on their minds. They may not feel comfortable enough with you, or trust you enough to buy right now. They may have more questions about your product/service, that haven't been answered. They may have information from you and 2-3 of your competitors and are trying to determine which company would be their best choice.

By following up repeatedly, you will have a dramatic advantage over your competitors, since few of them will follow up more than once. When your prospects are ready to buy, which could be one week from now, or six months from now, you will have a better chance of getting the sale if you are uppermost in their minds. You can only do that by consistently following up.

11. CHANGING YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY FREQUENTLY

Henry Ford once told an ad executive from his advertising agency, 'It's time for you to come up with a new ad campaign. We've been using this one for too long and I'm sure the public has to be bored to death with it.'

Ford was reportedly miffed to hear, 'But sir, we haven't even started running this campaign yet. The public has never seen it.' Having seen the campaign presentations dozens of times, 'he' was bored with it. He wanted to see something 'new and different.'

You should never, never stop using something that is still working, because you, your employees or your friends are 'bored' with it. In successful and profitable marketing you should only be listening to your 'customers' since they vote with dollars rather than opinions.

12. WAITING FOR REFERRALS TO MAGICALLY APPEAR

Word-of-mouth referrals are an extremely important element of any business's marketing success. But most small businesses are making a big marketing mistake by believing that those referrals will come automatically.

It's true that if you provide good service and your prices are competitive, you will probably get 'some' word-of-mouth referrals. But to generate an abundance and highly profitable level of referrals takes more initiative and effort.

Unless someone comes to us and specifically asks for our recommendation of a good dentist, doctor, veterinarian, insurance agent or auto alarm specialist we are probably not going to actively 'promote' these businesses to our friends and neighbors.

How often in any given year are 'you' asked to recommend a good dentist or auto alarm specialist? The chances are . . . not very often, if at all. That's why expecting referrals to come to you . . . just by chance (as most small business owners do), is a costly marketing mistake.

And now, the most 'Costly' mistake of all . . .

13. BASING YOUR MARKETING ON GUESSES AND ASSUMPTIONS

Basing your marketing strategy on 'guesses,' 'assumptions' or 'advice' from friends, relatives or business associates is a sure way to guarantee little or no results from your marketing.

'Guessing' at the elements of your marketing strategy is like trying to guess the specific sequence of numbers needed to open a combination lock. Since each consecutive step is linked to the success of the previous step, one wrong guess destroys your chances for success.

Most people, including many small business owners, mistakenly believe that marketing is more of an 'art' than a 'science.' Those of the 'marketing is art' point of view believe that anyone's opinion concerning marketing is just as valid as anyone else's.

In reality, marketing is very much a 'science' with specific principles, rules and 'quantifiable' results.
Because of this 'marketing is art' philosophy, most of what people believe about marketing is based on 'myths,' not 'facts.'

Show ten people two ads and ask them to select the one they think is the better ad. Nine out of ten will select the profit loser rather than the profit winner. Why? Because they are unaware of and don't recognize the marketing principles and strategies that make a powerful marketing piece a profit winner.

So they base their 'opinion' instead on such vague, subjective criteria as 'cleverness,' 'cuteness,' 'different and artistic look,' and the ads' 'fun/pun' appeal. These criteria rarely have anything to do with generating maximum response but they have everything to do with wasting your marketing investment and destroying your potential sales.

The best way to develop a successful and profitable marketing strategy is to use the knowledge, experience and skills of someone who has already discovered the marketing approaches that 'do work' as well as the approaches that 'don't work.'

These discoveries should always be based on measurable results from objective tests . . . never subjective opinions or assumptions.

- By Joe Gracia (c) Copyright 2000 - Give to Get Marketing
 
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