To say that marketing is important to the success of a business is an understatement. Spending a decent amount of money on your campaigns and reading every single article on marketing strategies there is on the internet doesn't guarantee your business' success.The effectiveness of a marketing strategy relies upon its implementation and the entrepreneur’s knowledge of consumer behavior.
Marketing is an especially harder task for startups since you are bound by limited budget and resources. There’s also the pressure to get the word out about your brand to the right audience. Especially in the startup phase, mistakes are inevitable. You are constantly performing a trial and error method to decide which strategies will work best for your business. However, you don’t have to go through all of these mistakes to learn.
There are marketing mistakes that you can avoid altogether, and here are some of them.
1. Targeting the wrong audience:
As the old marketing adage goes, if you target anyone, you will reach no one.If you’re a startup with a restricted budget and you’ve been marketing to just about anyone you can reach, you're doing it wrong. In order to optimize your marketing budget, it is important that your target market is narrowed down to only people who are interested in your products and services and can afford it as well. Conduct some marketing research and perform a market segment analysis in order to identify your target audience. Then, decide which segments represent the most potential sales for your business.
It is important to ask yourself,“Who am I doing this for? Who can benefit from my products and services?” Targeting specific groups of consumers is more cost-efficient than just advertising to anyone and everyone.
2. Lack of research and planning:
Most marketing mistakes stem from this main error. Though managing a business involves a lot of risk-taking, you can't keep throwing every idea you come up with into a wall and see which sticks. This is not a smart way to spend your marketing budget. In order to avoid wasted marketing efforts, you will need carefully researched data to back up the viability of your strategies. This will save you from making other marketing mistakes such as targeting the wrong audience and releasing a product that customers don't care about.
3. Failing to measure progress:
Next to planning and budgeting, measuring performance is a crucial part of marketing. It’s the only way to find out for sure whether you are receiving a return on investment, or if your marketing efforts are working. Did the customers find your product affordable? Were their needs satisfied? Failing to answer yes to these questions will be bad news for your business. That’s why it’s important that you constantly ask yourself these questions- to help you determine which areas of your marketing mix need modification. And in order to provide an answer to that, you will first need to measure your marketing performance.
Not only can measuring marketing performance help you adjust your strategies based on past results; it can also help you plan the future of your business. In order to measure your marketing performance, you’ll need to choose an appropriate type of measurement system.
If you’re just measuring a simple campaign and you’re aiming to find out whether it generated results, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with complicated graphs and data. However, if you’re trying to pinpoint specific issues in your marketing strategy that’s positively or negatively affecting your business, you will need a systematic way to interpret the data that you have.
In order to plan for the future of your business, you will need to use the data from your previous performances to help you determine whether your efforts are enough to sustain it. Creating a marketing dashboard will help you continuously monitor how well your business is performing in terms of marketing. It will allow you to stay in control and spot problems early on and immediately make changes before the costs add up.
4. Going too fast:
While you need to keep up with competitors and constantly find ways to do better than them, keep in mind that success doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t invest in an expensive marketing campaign or hire a full-time marketing staff in hopes of building immediate exposure for your brand.
It may work, but what are you going to do once you’ve spent a large part of your budget and you’re left to compromise other aspects of your business? It’s just not worth letting your business suffer. After all, today’s digital world offers numerous opportunities for businesses to engage with potential consumers for a low cost (sometimes free). All you need is a little creativity. Even just a simple post or tweet could get you the brand exposure that you need.
Just because your marketing worked once and gave you the results and conversions you wanted, doesn’t mean you should stop at that. You finally have enough customers and they will just keep coming back as long as you keep providing excellent service and quality products so you don’t need more, right? Wrong. Marketing is a continuous task that should be done during the entirety of managing a business.
The do not settle advice also applies to the marketing channels and platforms you’re using. Social media is free, and it’s effective because it gives you the audience you need, but it shouldn’t keep you from exploring other opportunities to market your business. There are still customersoutside of social media that you can target. You don’t need to worry about spending too muchbecause there are plenty of low-cost marketing ideas you can implement in order to reach a wider audience. You might also want to employ proximity marketing in your marketing strategies for a more targeted and location-based approach.
Marketing, when done right, can help build exposure for your business and increase its revenue. However, there are certain pitfalls that can put your marketing efforts to waste. While they won’t necessarily end your business, it can hinder its growth. That’s why it’s important that you watch out for the marketing mistakes described above to guide you in making your business successful. You don’t need to constantly live in fear of making a mistake. It’s a normal part of being an entrepreneur. What’s important is that you learn from them and keep finding ways to improve your business.
Lois Sapare is a former student journalist with a bachelor's degree in Information Technology. When she's not writing content on business, marketing, and technology, you can find her watching psych thriller films or keeping up with the latest buzz in the tech world. You can find her on Twitter.