3 Marketing Pitfalls You MUST Know
In the 20+ industries that I’ve coached people and the businesses I’ve grown in one capacity or another the common thread is that all businesses are created, developed, and run by human beings. Yes, it’s true! This makes many aspects of business absolutely predictable, because much of human behavior is predictable. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’re not unique and special and wonderful, but you are unique and special and wonderful and…somewhat predictable.
This is good news because as a result there are some “truths” in business, one of which is that to be successful in business you must be a marketer FIRST. Now I didn’t say a salesperson-there’s a difference. Marketing is all about creating relationships- ideally lasting relationships. Creating sales or registrations out of a relationship where a consumer feels like they know, like, and trust the company or person they’re working with is a natural result-it’s never forced. We must be marketers first to serve our clients, to be of high service to them. What if someone really needs your skills, talents, or product and can’t find you? What if what you have to offer is just the perfect asset to make someone’s life easier so they can go and make more of a difference in the world?
Take a look and see if you’ve dealt with, or are currently dealing with, any of the following in your marketing strategy. What marketing strategy, you say? Well….keep reading.
1. Using Marketing as a Band-Aid
When business owners get concerned about the well being of their business, they often turn to adding additional advertising, giving out special offers, or cutting rates/prices. Now while none of these things is inherently “bad,” when you come from a place of trying to stop the bleeding rather than growing your business intentionally you devalue your brand. Often businesses end up throwing money away and leaving themselves in a worse position than when they started. Sometimes you’ll get a “special offer” from the yellow pages or a company claiming they can help, but “you have to let me know right now or I can’t give you the offer!” Do NOT fall for this trick. It’s slimy and deceptive and just not true. Any company that won’t let you think over an offer carefully before accepting it is a lousy company to work with. When you have a strategic plan for your business and your marketing, you remove a lot of the panic and urgency and the sense of being un-grounded that comes when you’re constantly flying by the seat of your pants.
2. Hiring too Soon
Outsourcing marketing can be a wonderful thing, freeing you up to be more creative and concentrate on serving your clients. However, if you don’t have a clear idea what you want to accomplish and who your ideal client is before you go looking for marketing help you can be putting yourself at risk for a lot of frustration and wasted time. Ultimately the buck will always stop with you, not the marketing company. And, most marketing companies can’t be all things to all people-some specialize in social media, some in strategy and brand building, some can give you great copy writing but others may not. It’s worth the time and energy to go as far as you can to get clear on your goals and your target market before outsourcing, and doing the homework to make sure the folks you’re working with can deliver on what they say.
3. Failure to Launch
You want to be ready for your customers, right? You want to make sure that they know you’re qualified and producing a great product or service. That being said, do you really want to spend a ton of time, energy, effort, and money on developing a new product or service that you’re not sure your clientele wants? You don’t have to develop out your idea all the way before you begin to market it and see if there’s an interest in what you’re offering. Give yourself enough lead time to test market, get the word out, and see if there’s a response. As a rule of thumb, you want to develop out your idea about halfway—the benefits to the client and your marketing message, a plan for the logistics to deliver the new product or service, and a plan/schedule to market what you want to offer. Start getting the word out, and if you get a response put your logistics plan into action. You’ll make sure you’re ready for your customers, but also that you’ll HAVE customers.
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