Creating room in your company’s budget for a marketing plan is never easy. Once you find the money, you need to make sure it is being used as efficiently as possible. Avoiding mistakes that cost time and money is crucial to your business’s success. We want to share a few common mistakes we’ve helped our clients overcome.
Not Understanding Your Audience
The largest mistake we see in this business is when a company creates a marketing plan without fully understanding who they are trying to reach. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as saying “I want to reach people that will buy into what I am selling!” Before you can decide on the tactics used in your marketing plan, you need to know what makes your audience tick. You need to know what problems your audience has, how your product or service can help solve those problems and how you can most effectively reach them. Once you know this, you can craft a focused marketing plan around what you know will best appeal to your audience.
Advertising What You Want to Be and Not What You Are
Advertising is often seen as misleading or untruthful. Your audience won’t need any excuse to lump your marketing into their already-formed perception of advertising. Don’t give them any more reason to write you off. Not only should you understand exactly who your audience is, but you should also have a thorough understanding of your own business before beginning to plan your marketing strategy. Take into consideration the perceptions of current customers as well as your internal strengths and weaknesses. Once you feel confident in what your brand is, you can start constructing messaging that truly explains who you are and what you do.
Not Defining What Makes Your Company Different
More than likely, you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last to solve the problems of your customers. What makes your solution better? Is it customer support, a quality product, an innovative approach or a more personal connection? If you can’t explain what sets you apart, it will be hard to convince someone to choose you over any of the other options out there.
Having Too Many Decision Makers
It’s perfectly fine to include several people in the research phase of a marketing plan. However, after the general plan is created, it’s time to assign one or two people the responsibility of everyday decisions. Be wary of how much time is wasted when too many people are involved in making small decisions. Most marketing plans don’t fail because they are bad ideas, they fail because the plan can’t be fully implemented.
Not Understanding the Value of Marketing
Marketing—if done right—is one of the best ways to grow your business. However, doing marketing just to do marketing won’t bring results. Once you understand the real value of it, it will become much easier to devote your company’s resources to your marketing efforts.
Identifying the marketing value of your campaigns is not an easy task. To calculate marketing value, you need to know how well your customer’s business performed before you started marketing and the effects your campaigns have had over the business. Many times, finding accurate numbers is a challenge for your clients. But by nailing them down, you can present your marketing ROI and optimize it.
Not Nurturing Current Customers
Marketing has always been a way to attract new customers. We’ve found in recent years that marketing to those who have already interacted with a company can have a much larger impact on your ROI. A returning customer spends 20% more than a first-time customer. There is an abundance of great tools that allow you to understand your current customers better and make sure that they keep coming back for more. Take advantage of these to see even more growth.
Not Testing Different Avenues
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Don’t be insane—change things up. You’ll be surprised at the difference an image, or word order can make on Click-Through Rates. If you are sending out an email, trying out different subject lines can drastically change the results of your campaign. Be thoughtful about what you are changing and always compare your tests to prior efforts. Tracking the results of various tactics will demonstrate which efforts hurt or grow your business.
Making Changes Just to Make Changes
It may be hard to stick with a single plan and not feel like you are missing out on the latest and greatest marketing trends. Many marketing tactics take time and energy to see results—and those that don’t can almost always be refined and improved. Build a fund within your budget for testing different tactics to promote a marketing culture of innovation and optimization.
Just like any investment, the risks you take can pay off in a big way or take you back to square one. The key to getting the most out of your marketing plan is having a strong mix of testing and utilization of proven tactics. If you need help deciding which tactics are the best fit for your business, an experienced marketing agency is a great place to start.