Mistake 1 – Cutting back on marketing expenditures when revenues drop
Marketing expenses are always the easiest to cut back in a hurry. However, reduced levels of advertising and promotions inevitably mean further reductions to income levels, so before cutting back in a hurry think about the consequences.
When revenues drop it should stimulate any business owner to make a careful examination of all expenditures, including marketing, but don’t allow it to trigger off a complete halt in marketing spending. That’s a guarantee that things will only get worse.
Mistake 2 – Failing to do ongoing analysis of marketing results
If you’re spending money on marketing but don’t know which elements are working and which aren’t you’re probably wasting both money and opportunities.
Research, even on a modest scale, can tell you where your dollars work hardest and where they just aren’t working. Use this information to redirect your marketing budget so that you’re confident adequate support is being given to profit-generating sectors and funds aren’t being wasted elsewhere.
Mistake 3 – Having all your eggs in one basket
It’s called the ‘marketing mix’ for good reason. All marketing is best done with a mixture of components. If all your marketing funds go into just one channel – say sponsoring local sports teams, you’re missing out on returns you’d get from other channels.
Try for a balanced effort that doesn’t place too great a percentage of your marketing funds into just one area. Leave some of your marketing budget as a reserve for opportunities that arise during the year so you’re able to capitalize on them without overextending.
Mistake 4 – Being a D-I-Y marketing expert
Unless you’re incredibly gifted and have heaps of time to do everything you should use the services of marketing professionals to prepare your advertisements and other corporate material.
The same goes for your marketing strategy. Things change all the time in marketing and having a professional take a look at what you’re doing will give you a new and probably very useful perspective.
Mistake 5 – Going on ‘gut feel’
You might think your marketing campaign is the best in the world. You might be convinced your products, pricing and promotion are all perfect and couldn’t be bettered. And, you might be right, but how do you really know?
Basing your marketing on research, having professional assistance in creating your campaign, and monitoring results with ways to measure outcomes are the only way you can be sure you have a good chance of getting it all right. ‘Gut feel’ is no substitute for careful planning and evaluation.
Mistake 6 – Thinking you’ve had enough exposure
It’s easy for business owners to think their marketing communications have had enough exposure and decide to end a campaign, even a successful one.
Just be aware that the rest of the world doesn’t see as much of your marketing activities as you do, and it’s wise to keep using the same marketing tools until your research shows that response has dropped significantly
Mistake 7 – Doing what the competition’s doing
It’s smart to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to, but it can be fatal to see them succeed in something and blindly follow suit with your own firm.
For example, if a competitor decides to specialize in a certain area and it seems they’re doing well out of it you might want to redirect some of your own resources into the same field. Or perhaps they decide to cut their hourly rates for new clients and you feel you should do the same. The risks are simply too great.
People aren’t after a ‘me-too’ source of professional work. They want to enjoy developed expertise delivered with outstanding service. They want value – not cheaper rates.
Mistake 8 – Chasing new business at the expense of your client base
Your current and former clients represent your greatest source of income relative to expenditures. It takes five times as much effort to acquire a new client than it does to retain and existing one.
Spend some time developing a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) procedure for your firm and always give existing clients priority. After all, if you went to a potential supplier and were told: “Sure, I can get it for you today. My other customers will just have to wait”, would you be impressed?