The Three Most Common Marketing Mistakes

Why isn't marketing more effective?

No question about it. Social media has changed the way companies do marketing. Interactive relationships with customers are now possible. Specific messages can be targeted to individuals. Costs are lower. So why aren’t more companies enjoying the fruits of these new marketing channels?

Social media is relatively new, and it takes time to figure out how to harness its advantages, especially for organizations accustomed to traditional ways of marketing. But it’s still only a tool, not a magic bullet. Companies who ignore marketing fundamentals will do no better with it than with more established forms.

Getting back to basics

So what does getting back to the basics mean? You must start with fully understanding your customers. Knowing who they are, where they live, what their preferences are, and why they make the purchasing decisions they do. Most successful companies have one thing in common—they know what their clients want, and they deliver it to them.

These companies avoid these three mistakes:

Three Mistakes

1. Not understanding who your best customers are. Not all customers are created equally. Every company should do a thorough analysis of their current customers so they know what a great customer is. Hard to target the perfect customer if you don’t know what one looks like.

Retail banks often make this mistake by luring customers in with low rates only to realize that many of them will leave the moment a better rate shows up. Spending money and effort to get these clients is a waste. They are marginal clients, and yet much of the marketing activity of retail banks is focused on advertising rates. To market effectively, dollars should be spent in finding and securing the best clients. Quality over quantity.

2. Assuming all customers are the same. Once upon a time, companies had no choice but to market to the general mass market, and advertising messages were broad and all encompassing. Today, that isn’t true. Segmenting your customers is essential, and targeting specific messages to these segments are an absolute. Not everyone buys your product or service for the same reason, not everyone is drawn to certain kinds of messages, and not everyone values the same incentives.

Social media allows you to do this kind of targeting, but first you have to use your customer data to segment your current and potential customers into reasonable segments. Then you have to craft the right marketing message for each of these segments. The more on-target your message is, the greater the results.

3. Not properly positioning your product or service. Many companies do competitive analyses based on pricing, product features, brand appeal and service. What they don’t do is understand what value the customer places on each of these when making a decision to purchase. As a result, development and marketing dollars are spent on product features the customer doesn’t care about.

Companies need to understand what the must-haves are. These are features and services that are required to be competitive, a kind of baseline. Then they need to figure out what features and services differentiate them from the competition. Marketing messages should focus on the differentiators—marketing must-haves are wasted marketing dollars.

Too often companies spend time and money touting perceived value or trashing competitors over must-haves (think about the cell-phone advertising war over who had the best network). Knowing what customers value and targeting your message to adress that will win the day.

Avoiding these pitfalls

How do you make sure you don't make these mistakes? By having effective and ongoing ways to capture and analyze data about the people who buy your products and are loyal to your brand.

And then knowing how to use that information.

Ask yourself the 10 questions listed below. If you can answer yes to most of them, you are well on your way to more effective marketing.

10 Questions

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tirelesstraveler 5 years ago from California

Holly, Explaining your 10 questions would make a hub I would find interesting.

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