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The Seven Greatest Mistakes of Marketing

How to avoid the pitfalls that will hold your company back
Dave Barton, MA
Cornerstone Communications

Marketing mistakes are expensive. Doing the wrong thing, or worse yet, not doing the right thing can cost your company untold profits, customers and market share. Free yourself of the snares of the seven most common mistakes listed below and you may soon find your business gaining in revenues and outpacing the competition.

1. No Homework. Forget to do your market research. Not too many years back Ford unveiled a newly designed model with hopes of bolstering their sales of medium priced cars. Unfortunately the market was changing, and Ford failed to follow the trends. It’s reported that the Edsel lost Ford some $250 million.

2. No Target. Fail to identify your market niche. These days Motel 6 is flourishing. Why? The lowpriced motel chain has identified their target customer and pursued them with a passion. Aim at something and at least your arrow is pointed in the right direction. Aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time.

3. No Slogan. Don’t develop a simple, memorable phrase describing your company or key benefit. To which companies do these phrases belong? “You Deserve a Break Today.” When You’re Number Two You Have to Try Harder.” “When It Absolutely, Positively Has to be There Overnight.” Memorable, well positioned phrases like these are the reason that businesses like McDonalds, Avis, and Federal Express continue to receive their unfair share of the market.

4. No Signature Item. Fail to establish a special product or service that sets you apart from the crowd. Burger King has the Whopper. Domino’s pioneered quick pizza delivery. Nordstroms is renowned for customer service and their no questions asked return policy. Disneyland has Mickey. What icon can you provide that will keep you distinguished from everyone else?

5. No Invitation. Don’t be proactive. Wait for customers to come to you. In the film, Field of Dreams we were told: “If you build it, they will come.” It’s a lie. However, if you build it, tell them it’s there, then tell them how they will benefit from it... they may show up.

6. No Fun. Don’t make it easy, appealing or fun to do business with your company. A young man named Steve Jobs knew that personal computers were the wave of the future. He also knew that computers were complicated and scary. He decided to make them fun and easy to use. The rest of the computer world has been trying to copy the Apple Macintosh ever since.

7. No Evaluation. Don’t bother to test or measure your advertising results. What once worked well may no longer get the job done. Use direct response advertising whenever possible. Experiment with different creative strategies. Try various headlines. Compare the results of one customer offer over another. And track, track, track.