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I’ve seen a lot of businesses, and study the strategy of marketing all the time. The tricky thing is, companies often THINK they are implementing effective marketing strategies, but then fail to see their marketing investment translate into the success of their business. Without the proper marketing knowledge, these are the 3 most common marketing mistakes I see companies make when allocating their advertising and marketing dollars:  

1. Not Defining One Specific Target Market

Companies often believe they have 2 or 3 target markets, and they don’t want to leave any target out.  This is a huge mistake! Choose one, your BEST target, and create your promotion towards that one.  That doesn’t leave out other targets, it helps you speak better to your best client.  There’s a reason it’s called a TARGET – you want to find the center, not the outer circles.

If you do not define ONE specific target market that is your BEST client or customer, then your message gets muddled and you become nothing to no one. And you could even end up stunting your business growth.  It’s better to be able to define one target market and speak directly to them than define multiple and muddle the message to all.   

2. Not Explicitly Defining How You Can Solve Your Target’s Problem.   

One of the biggest, most common marketing mistakes I see is poor messages.  What should you say in your promotional material?  How you can help your clients solve their problem. If you are a plumber, do your clients care how many years you’ve been in business and how great you are?  Or do they care that you will fix their overflowing toilet NOW?

Let’s be clear, you are probably great, extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and have great testimonials, but when it comes right down to it, your clients want to know if you can help them, not how great you are!  Focus your message on how you can help THEM, NOT on your own company!! 

3. Wasting Money on Promotions That Do Not Reach Your Best Target Market  

I see this all the time.  Why would you spend money sponsoring the symphony if your target market is known for liking sporting events?  Or why would you spend money putting a booth in a home show if you are a financial planning company?  Will you see some great clients?  Yes.  But will they be looking for financial advice or advisors at a home show? No. Invest your dollars wisely, and ensure where you invest your marketing dollars matches where you find your best target market! 

These are 3 common marketing mistakes I see all the time, but there is more to creating a strategic marketing plan than this.  We take our clients who need a marketing plan through an 8-stage process that not only reaches their best target market with the best message, but also sets up measurements and structure so companies know without a doubt their marketing is working or not. And if something is not, there’s a process to tweak and reset.   

Do you have a strategic marketing plan that proactively maps out your marketing for the next year?  If not, let’s have a conversation. 

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Cindy Piva is Founder and President of Thrive Business Strategies.