With the online marketplace a truly global entity, it’s difficult for any company to achieve their marketing goals and stay ahead of the competition. That’s especially true for fledgling entrepreneurs and underfunded start-ups looking to get their foot in the door and increase their share of the market.
For that reason, a well-thought-out marketing strategy is absolutely crucial to ensuring that investment of scarce resources is successful in achieving a respectable return and allowing your business to grow naturally. Unfortunately, many companies often find that the best laid plans can easily come unstuck, leaving them with an advertising outlay that hasn’t attracted sufficient custom to pay for itself and no choice but to give up the ghost and fold. In fact, almost a third (30%) of small businesses go bankrupt within the first two year of operations, while half of them fail within five years and two-thirds call it quits within the first decade, according to the Small Business Association (SBA).
Why Your Marketing Doesn’t Work
How can you ensure such a fate doesn’t befall your company? By understanding and avoiding the most common pitfalls which afflict marketing campaigns to ensure you don’t slip up on the same banana skins. Here’s a quick rundown of those which most commonly scupper businesses of all sizes – but especially those just starting out on their path to success.
1) Misunderstanding target market
Too many companies launch a business strategy without fully understanding which segment of society they’re aiming their product at, and how those people like to live their lives. First and foremost, it’s crucial that you identify the key demographics of your target market, then gather as much information about them as possible. Where do they shop? When? How? Amassing as much data about them as possible will allow you to optimise your marketing efforts going forwards.
2) Lack of cohesion to your strategy
Aside from misunderstanding who it is you’re selling to, perhaps the most common reason a marketing strategy fails is that there really isn’t one in the first place. If your advertising efforts are managed by different entities with little to no communication between them, you can’t expect to see the same kind of results that could be achieved with an organised and concerted team pulling the strings. Appoint an overall marketing director to coordinate your efforts – or outsource the job to a professional company who know what they’re doing.
3) Lack of diversity to your strategy
Similarly, a successful marketing plan will be one that aims to reach its customers in as many ways as possible. In today’s digital age, this will obviously involve a lot of online ad space, whether that be through email newsletters, social media presence or pay-per-click banners, but more traditional methods shouldn’t be ignored altogether. TV, radio and print can be effective, while reaching out to a potential customer base through hosted events can be the most successful method of forging a human connection.
4) Failure to make a lasting impression
That human connection is all important when it comes to ensuring your company name sticks in the mind of the targeted individual. As well as face-to-face meetings and stalls at trade shows, one great shortcut to a lasting impression is through the distribution of corporate giveaways. Items such as stress balls, mugs and keyrings all serve a practical purpose and, with your company name emblazoned them, will serve as a lengthy reminder of its existence every time the item is used. You could even group several together into a promo bundle for additional impact.
5) Not interacting with customers
It might have the best products in the world, but a company which doesn’t listen to its customers is one that can never last the test of time. Social media is a great tool for inviting a conversation with those to whom you are selling and you should never neglect the opportunity to engage with them. If you show that you value their opinion and are promoting transparency in how your company is run, you’ll work wonders in building trust and loyalty among your existing clientele.
6) Going solo
Sometimes, a business is so focused on staying ahead of its competitors that it forgets some of them can also serve a useful purpose as partners, too. This is especially true in the world of social media, where becoming over-absorbed in your own company can reflect badly on its ethos. Instead, try to incorporate a healthy blend of other posts referencing like-minded enterprises; if you tag them to let them know you’re giving them a shout out, you can soon expect reciprocating support in return.
7) Not monitoring and tweaking techniques
Last but certainly not least, too many companies focus all of their energies into creating a marketing strategy and none into analysing how it is performing. If you don’t realise something is broken, how can you ever hope to fix it? Create logs of all of your marketing efforts and regularly assess how effective they are in attracting new business, then tailor your approach to favour those which are performing well and bolster those in need of assistance. Only through constant tweaking can you hope to achieve the success you deserve.