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Classic Marketing Mistakes Vol.2

Last month we reviewed six common errors marketers make that hinder their efforts to boost company sales through increased awareness and heightened interest in what their company is selling. The discussion of marketing mistakes is crucial because the understanding of the common errors and the more remote ones too, can help us avoid making them, thereby further enhancing the chances that our marketing efforts will deliver the desired results - dedicated customers, more frequently buying, and increased revenues.
This article will discuss 6 additional mistakes to be understood and avoided. They are:

Mistake: Placing Implementation Ahead of Knowledge - the biggest temptation in every business is to get to it and begin marketing and selling even if they have not quite yet determined who exactly they should be selling to, what they should be saying to the market, who their competitors are, what reactions can be expected from those competitors, what the targeted (still undefined) thinks of the product, and how the market perceives the company's offer. Jumping straight into the marketing game is like playing the Milton Bradley game Life and skipping college to go straight to work. The rewards may be more immediate and initially higher, but in the long run they become comparatively less and less.

Solution: It may take a little more time to get to market and it may cost a little bit of money, but the more prepared you are to enter the market the better you will do once you're there. Your marketing will be far more effective if you know who you want to talk to, what you should be saying, and how you should be saying it.

Mistake: Waiting for Customers to Come to You - the old question "what if they gave a war and nobody came" is much more realistic when phrased "what if you put your product out there and nobody bought it". Thinking customers will find you is overestimating their interest in what you're selling. While in some rare cases customers will seek out specialty or urgently needed products, in most instances the onus of getting the word out is yours.

Solution: The only way consumers are going to buy what you're selling is if you sell it to them, meaning you take the actions necessary to make sure they (a) know about your product, (b) are encouraged to want your product, and (c) are given reasonable value proposition to justify buying the product.

Mistake: Following Your Competitors - it is difficult to watch a competitor get it right. In many cases your competitor has found a better way to say to the market what you have always been trying to say, or has come up with a promotion that, the minute you heard of it, you realized was a winner. But following the competitor not only damages your credibility and gets you positioned as a "me too" company, but it also changes your focus from innovation to follow the leader.

Solution: You need to keep your competition off balance by remaining innovative in your tactics. Your message should be stable, but the way you deliver the message and the promotions you hold around your message need to be sufficiently varied so that your competitors are playing catch up. If your competitor comes out with a killer campaign, do not copy them, counter them. Come out with
a killer response. This will allow you to maintain the respect of both your competitors and your customers.

Mistake: Making a Subjective Claim - it makes no sense to bring a claim to the market that is subjective, meaning that some people may agree and some may not. For example, if you are a restaurant there is a difference between saying "best burger in town" as opposed to "best tasting burger in town", Taste is a subjective element. People can taste it and decide whether it is the best tasting. Leaving your claim as simply the best burger in town is less subjective as it could mean best quality, best prepared, best garnished, and also best tasting.

Solution: You want to leave your claims as available to as broad a market as possible, and remove the possibility that your claim will be discredited with one bite.

Mistake: Mismatching Your Product to Your Market - marketing a high cost product to low income customers is, at best, limiting. There are many marketers who believe that urban shoppers are inclined to buy expensive products, but there is, by definition of their financial capacity, a limit to what they can spend. The reverse, while less disruptive, is also true - the selling of inexpensive products to high income customers. The ability of these customers to spend more makes them value shoppers, meaning they will pay more for better quality. Unless your low cost product is of high quality, marketing to high income markets is probably not the best use of your efforts.

Solution: You need to match you product to its most logical market. Keep in mind that while some people may buy a bit beyond their means, you will have no potential for growth if you try selling expensive goods to people with limited resources. Set your pricing strategy and then select your market accordingly.

Mistake: Confusion Over New Customers Versus Existing Customers - the classic dilemma is always whether to service existing customers or seek to acquire new customers. Existing customers form your foundation and you are dependent on them. New customers represent your growth. Favoring one over the other adversely affects the neglected objective.

Solution: There is no doubt that you need to grow your company by gaining new customers, and there is also no doubt that you need to make sure the customers you already have are satisfied and coming back for more. The answer to this a balanced approach, making sure that the infrastructure you have in place to handle existing customers is sufficient, while also making sure that you are engaged in a variety of tactics to draw new customers to your company.

The avoidance of marketing mistakes does not necessarily mean that the marketing you engage in will necessarily be good marketing. You can avoid these errors and still be ineffectual. The core competencies of good marketing - business intelligence, strategy, tactics, implementation, and follow up - need to be adhered to and applied diligently. If you do so, not only will you avoid mistakes, but you'll excel.

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