Marketing is like art.  Not everyone can explain why it works, but they all know what they like.  They chuckle when they recall “Where’s the Beef?,” they can still singalong to “I’m a Pepper,” and point and yell out “Spuds MacKenzie!” when they see a bull terrier – even when it’s the Target dog.

Yes, I know, my 80s are showing and if you’re younger than 35, I’ve probably lost your attention to something on TikTok. But, for those of you still reading, my question is this:  When it comes to marketing, does clever, memorable or funny even matter if it doesn’t get results?

Marketing can be very tricky and full of hidden traps and opportunities to make a wrong turn.  So if you choose to venture into the marketing maelstrom without a trusted guide – good luck.  You’ll need it.  But if you avoid these marketing pitfalls, you’ll be off to a good start.

  1. Premature Advertising – Spending money getting the word out before deciding what the word should be.

    What is your competitive advantage?  How should it be communicated and delivered to your customer for optimum response?

  2. Door over Floor – Focusing your marketing efforts on getting people in the door without giving any thought into what to do with them once they’re on your sales floor.

    You can never recover from a mediocre first impression.  Have your people been adequately trained to present your products’ benefits over specs?  Can they upsell?  Cross sell?  What are your service standards?  What is expected of them?

  3. Myopic Selling – Focusing so much on products and services that you miss the opportunity to develop relationships.

    People buy from people they like and from where they’ve had a good experience.  They also tell their friends! Give customers an opportunity to provide customer feedback and mystery shop your team for a true customer experience.

  4. Dust Collecting – Creating a 40-page business plan, putting it on a shelf and forgetting about it.

    A true business plan should focus on maximizing your strengths, minimizing your weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and recognizing threats.  It should have specific action items and should be reviewed continuously.

  5. Marketing Misplacement – Treating marketing as a support function instead of a business strategy.

    Ever hear of guerilla marketing?  It’s a war out there.  Marketing is anything but passive.  Just ask yourself what ever happened to Saab, General Cinemas, or McCall’s Magazine?

  6. Penny foolishness – Having no clear budget to market your product to your audience.

    What good is a great product that no one knows about?  Don’t rely on luck to market your product or service.  People say “You have to spend it to make it” because it’s true.  But you should also expect a return on every dollar you spend so track results.

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