Biggest Marketing Mistake A Business Can Make
DON'T DO THIS!
What is the biggest and most common mistake for marketing businesses? Easy, it is prioritising short term and expensive tactics like new websites, content, and ads before understanding the bigger strategy they need to make those deliverables successful.
And it makes sense. You see a competitor come out with a cool new flashy video campaign and have their ads appear on your social media and you think ‘Look what they’re doing! This must be giving them tons of new business. We want to do the same.”
A natural reaction. A fear of missing out is very real when it comes to business and attracting more customers and clients. Without understanding the bigger marketing picture how do we know their campaign is even successful? Better yet, is a campaign like that even right for our business and our customers? Does it align or are we just trying to copy, thinking that it is the reason for their success.
This is common as those front end deliverables, like content and ads, are what we see as consumers. As Robert Cialdini noted in his book Pre-suasion, what we spend attention and focus on is what we believe is most important. What we don’t see as consumers is the strategy, funnels, and planning that went into creating a campaign that is actually profitable.
The fear of missing out compels us to copy competitors and pay tens of thousands on what we want, and not what we need to do. This short term thinking of copying others rather than creating our own strong branding and marketing plans inevitably leads to a lack of return from our marketing efforts. Chasing shiny ideas and using different tactics and targeting with no coherence or alignment to a long term strategy actually ruins the businesses ability to market effectively.
Copying others’ marketing really doesn’t work, and there are a plethora of reasons why. Two reasons that are worth mentioning is firstly is it highly unlikely that your businesses have exactly the same target audience. Meaning that by copying their marketing your potential customer might not even see it, won’t resonate with it and will undoubtedly take no notice of it, how good will it work then? And even if you did have the exact same customers then by copying you are failing to differentiate yourself in any way and just gambling or hoping they decide to choose your business over the other.
The second reason is that in the 1/100 chance copying provides you with results, you have absolutely no way of knowing how to do your own marketing, so in the future what are you going to do to get more customers and clients? You never learnt how to market for yourself.
So what is the solution? Simple, and easy, stop wanting to copy competitors and spend the time developing the positioning, branding and marketing strategies you need to be successful. Strategies provide you with long, medium and short term plans to move your business forward.
Imagine you are wanting to build a house. Would you just order the materials and start digging holes and putting up a frame anywhere and everywhere? Of course not, that would just lead to a big mess and a waste of material.
Instead you get an architect and builder to come together and think about a solution that is right for you. A design is created and approved prior to any materials being ordered or even a single hole being dug. Think of this as the Positioning, Brand, and Marketing Strategy.
Once you have the strategy in place you work through each phase of the building process in order to create a house you are happy with. This is the deliverables that are seen and interacted with by the consumer. For a house this takes carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen. In marketing your business this is advertising agencies, website developers, designers, photographers and videographers, SEO specialists and other branding and marketing roles.
Strategy provides a business with clarity on what approach will be most effective in attracting customers systematically, improving profitability, and increasing the lifetime value to ensure long term success. Building on top of those strategies with funnels, a great user experience and clear goals for your marketing campaigns. These will then tell you exactly what you need in terms of content, advertising, website functionality etc… Ensuring you don’t waste money on deliverables that fail to move provide a return of investment.
Positioning and branding strategy provide you with a foundation and philosophy to base your business on. The clarity you get provides a long-term path to create value and build loyalty. Which is a lot easier to do now that you know why your brand exists and who you are targeting.
Once your positioning and brand strategy are clear, creating a marketing strategy is much easier as you know what direction you are taking the business. The marketing strategy is about how the business will extract value from the market over the short/medium term. It outlines clearly for all involved the tactics that will be used to get a response from your audience.
The strategies present you with everything you need to know to create funnels, develop a great user experience and set goals for your marketing return. Almost like the information flows through each step, taking out the guesswork and providing a plan that is coherent. Your funnels will create a systematic method for repeating marketing sequences and see what is working well and what could be improved.
And finally with the funnels and user experience designed correctly we can develop the website, advertisement, and content that are aligned with our business, not just copied off someone else’s. These are often expensive steps and not something that you want to have to re-design because you failed to build something that you actually need and not something you just want.
This is the process, at least this is the process building a brand that is focussed on growing for a long time to come. There are plenty of other methods, hacks and techniques that can get you out there quickly. They may do long term harm to your business, or fail to create any real loyalty ensuring you are required to bring a continued stream of new business, but that is a decision some businesses make.
I have found that often with marketing the things we desire the most of the things that we need last. Good foundational principles are not as exciting as the latest hack but they do provide businesses with strong foundations and continued success.
The good news is that if we recognise this in ourselves and for our business we can benefit twice.
Firstly we can correct our marketing and ensure that we develop strong foundations with good brand and marketing strategies. Giving us the ability to create funnels and content that is actually effective.
Second, we have a platform to actually test what works best for business because we understand who our customers are, why our brand exists, and how we provide them value. This allows us to create a repeatable and systematic marketing approach that is dependable and not volatile.