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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
In reality, marketing is very much a 'science' with
specific principles, rules and 'quantifiable'
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
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
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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