Marketers are fast discovering that many of the “time-tested” strategies no longer work.
Most mistakes are made by omission – the advertiser just didn’t know any better.
The following will help you decide if you’re traveling down the wrong road and what to do to get you back on the right path.
Mistake #1: Relying on referrals or word-of-mouth. When you depend on word-of-mouth, you allow middlemen to control your flow of prospective new customers. You may have delivered a superior product at a phenomenal price but if no is talking about it, the cash register quickly stops ringing.
The solution? Make sure you have a marketing program targeted at reaching your most desired customer. Then craft a message that is relevant and meaningful and deliver it consistently.
Mistake #2: Depending on shot-gun media exposure. This typically happens when the advertiser decides to “give it a try”. They buy the package of the week, crank out an ad without much thought only to execute their line of credit when the bill comes due.
The solution? Resist the urge to “test it out” and commit to a plan that will deliver your message day after day, week after week. Consumers and B2B buyers alike are distracted, bombarded with messages and will forget all about you unless you are consistent.
Mistake #3: Competing on low price. When you lower prices to attract new customers, you are attracting the bottom-feeders. You’ve heard this before – no one wants to overpay but few are exclusively price driven. To make matters worse, price-only consumers will drop you once you attempt to get a fair-market price.
The solution? Compete on your expertise and value.
Mistake #4: Delivering a meaningless message. Most ads fail to deliver a truly relevant message to the consumer. Advertisers like to extol their customer service, selection, low prices and the same stuff everyone else is saying. Consumers simply tune-out. And tuned-out consumers don’t become customers.
The Solution? Take time to create a competent marketing message. Something that is different and useful to the consumer. Without a powerful message, your marketing program is doomed.
Mistake #5: Not taking a position of leadership. When consumers perceive you as the leader, you have a substantial advantage over your competitors. People like to buy from leaders.
The solution? Dig deep and find what are you really good at. Make that your position and shout it from the rooftops. If your niche is already dominated by a competitor, create a new category for yourself. Then promote the category so prospects see you as first in that new area.
Mistake #6: Not making marketing a priority. For most advertisers, greeting customers and working with their staff is their highest priority. When things get busy, marketing efforts get shelved because they’re working on everything else. There’s a false hope that momentum will attract new business long into the future. But when they cut their marketing efforts, they shift into neutral, inertia takes over and things come to a standstill.
The solution? Make marketing a priority and resist the urge to shut it down when things are going good. Keep your program in gear so you always attract an ongoing flow of new customers.
Mistake #7: Developing an intricate marketing plan that becomes impossible to implement. Many marketing plans look like jigsaw puzzles with dozens — even hundreds — of pieces. And while the plans might work, most advertisers don’t have the hours needed to execute the plan.
The solution? Make sure your marketing plan is built on simple steps that can be implemented, measured and built on. A simple marketing plan that is up and running is infinitely more profitable than the “perfect plan” that never gets off your hard drive.
A successful campaign can be yours if you consistently deliver a message that is compelling, meaningful and relevant to consumers.
Ronald A. Heider is a 25+ year veteran of the advertising community and owner of HMA – Heider Marketing & Advertising, a Hampton Roads based agency that serves automotive marketers exclusively. Heider can be reached at www.hmaads.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.