16 Dec Airo AV Review: 10 Marketing Mistakes To Avoid in 2020
I’ve run advertising agencies and currently run an international digital marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur. I also teach the stuff at university so I’ve seen a fair bit of good and bad marketing. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to a meeting with a startup CEO and been asked what’s wrong with his marketing strategy. What marketing strategy?
Too often, the old adage, “build it and they will come,” seems to be an accepted practice. The CEO spends time and effort to build a strong product that he thinks will be the new mousetrap only to find sales are disappointing, that people are not flocking to buy his new product.
A good marketing program can identify your customers, tell people about you, why they should purchase your product and brand you so that future customers will find you by your reputation and carefully laid out strategies.
The marketing campaign, if done poorly or incorrectly, will be the death of your business and impact adversely everything you do from then on. So, in no particular order of importance—they’re ALL important—here are 10 mistakes you must avoid in 2020:
- Poor or No Planning
- Lack of Research and Testing
- The Wrong Focus or Positioning
- Weak or No Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Forgetting Your Current Customers
- Failure to Focus on Your Potential Customers’ Needs
- Poor Use of Social Media
- No Call to Action
- Poor or No Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Analytics
- Doing It All By Yourself
A road trip, a startup business or a marketing program requires planning and lots of it. You need goals in order to know your direction, you need the input from others in the organization as well as a time frame and budget. Without strategic planning you don’t have a starting or end point. You won’t know if you have reached targets or are going broke. Sometimes, like writing a business plan, the marketing planning can be as simple as just engaging in the process rather than trying to follow a point by point outline.
Research and testing are perhaps the toughest to get your head around. So, you’ve created a widget and know from your own experience that everyone in the world needs one. You need to conduct market research then test your observations. You need to do simple surveys to find out what people like, want or need. What colors do people want your widget to be? What size? What price? Primary research means you ask people directly via survey, email, interviews, observation or questionnaires. Secondary research captures the data from others, e.g., Google, papers, others research. Everyone uses this type of research but many fail to do direct observational research.
Research will save your butt. Honda came out with a new car named ‘Fit’ for the Asian market and ‘Fitta’ for the European market. Great company and a great car except that Fitta in Swedish refers to female genitalia. Oops! They changed the name before too much damage was done. I’ve written articles about similar bloopers so it is more common than one might expect. Research can’t be overstated. Testing your assumptions will take the guesswork out of what your customers expect from you.
The Wrong Focus or Positioning can be fatal. Your goal is to sell your product, but your customer needs to be identified from the beginning, and your brand must be a prominent focus in your mind as you engage with your customers. Do you sell your product as a luxury item or try to get larger volumes as an economy branded product? Are you looking to sell your costly product to a high end demographic or is your product made for the common person?
I saw a Shark Tank episode in which the pitchmen were selling very expensive spinning tops. Some of you may not even know what I am talking about and for good reason. They were popular, simple, inexpensive toys usually made of wood or tin for children many decades ago. They brought back nostalgia from a simpler time to many people I know. The thing is these new ones were made of chrome, brass, titanium, silver and gold that were made for people with money. The company took a simple product and reworked it to be a luxury item targeting a specific age and wealth demographic.
No Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is also a killer. You need a differentiator to distinguish your product from everyone else’s widget. Maybe your USP is price. It could be the material it’s made of or a unique feature, but it has to be something about your product that makes it more appealing to the customer to buy yours instead of the competition’s.
One of the pitfalls most people fall into who think they are pushing their USP is talking just about their product’s features without focusing on the specific benefits the product will make to the customer.
Don’t forget Your Current Customers. It’s like trying to get your social media following to 1,000 people. You spend so much time trying to find new people you don’t engage with the ones you have, and you end up losing people. Customers want to feel wanted and welcome reinforcement that their patronage is important to you. Eighty percent of everyone’s business comes from existing customers and 20% from new ones, so don’t forget your existing base.
A Vancouver cable company told me it spends $150 to get a new customer. Customer acquisition is expensive in a crowded market. Have you ever tried to cancel your cable service? You will be immediately transferred to the “customer retention” department whose sole goal is to convince you with rewards or deals to stay with the provider because it is cheaper for them to give you stuff than replace you.
Focus on Your Potential Customers’ Needs. This is like the USP except you identify the reason why people buy your product and you don’t take your eye off the ball. View the transaction from the customers’ point of view. Fill a need and make them happy.
Poor Use of Social Media will send prospective customers to others. People spend more time on social media…