Marketing exists to support the sales pipeline. If you cannot see how your marketing is bringing customers through the buying process, then you are probably making one of the seven common marketing mistakes.

Here’s what they are and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1. Not planning.
To stop wasting your money, plan your marketing. At the very least, look at the sales you need to generate and work backwards along your sales pipeline and decide how you are going to use marketing to support you at each stage of the pipeline.

e.g. when turning an enquiry into a hot prospect, they need more information, so you have a glossy brochure to send out with the details they need

Mistake 2. Not really knowing what marketing is
Do you think marketing is about making sure people know your business exist? Or about doing an ad campaign? Or ensuring your brand has the right colours?

You’re right but wrong. Marketing is about identifying a need, developing a product or service to meet that need, and then using a whole range of marketing tools to ensure you get your product or service to the people who need it, at the price they will pay for it, in a way they will buy it.

Marketing activities such as PR, adverts, branding are important as part of the Promotion of your product but they are one part of a huge field. You might get your Promotional strategy bang on but if your Pricing Strategy is wrong, forget it.

Mistake 3. Getting the wrong person to do “marketing”
Just because Jon in accounts is good at design and can knock up a decent leaflet, it doesn’t make him a marketer. Marketing is a profession and therefore it has professionals with years of experience and, often, recognised qualifications. They (should) know how to do marketing more effectively and efficiently than a non-marketer and they (should) avoid the mistakes non-marketers make.

Bring in someone who has a recognised marketing qualification and experience of setting and executing marketing plans. They will probably still get Jon in accounts to do the leaflets, but to a tighter brief and as part of a plan, so it creates the result needed.

Mistake 4. Why do you exist: Part 1.
Every piece of marketing exists to make people Think, Do or Feel something.

Why are you doing an advert campaign on local radio? To make people think, “They sound interesting.”

Why did you work so hard to be featured in the local paper? To make people feel, “They know what they are doing”.

Figure out what response you want to get and ensure your marketing piece gets that response.

Mistake 5. Why do you exist: Part 2
Great, so 50% of the people you sent it to read your e-newsletter. What next?

Your promotional marketing is helping people through the buying/sales process. Ensure the newsletter has a call to action: “Click here for more information”, “Call us to book your free consultation”. Whatever you need them to do to move them along the sales pipeline, clearly sign-post it and tell them to do it. And if you don’t believe this works, go and visit where they clearly tell you, “Add to basket” “Buy now”. They know what they want you to do next!

Mistake 6. Not being targeted enough
It is a marketer’s responsibility to determine who the right people are for your product and then figure out how to attract and keep their attention (normally, in a positive way). Throwing it out there and praying the right people will see your great news piece about herbal gardening in the magazine covering Flower Gardening is not a targeted use of resource (no matter how cheap the space was). This “spray and pray” tactic is common when mistake 3 is made.

Mistake 7. Being impatient
Think about how long you take to make a buying decision. First, you have a need. Then you look at the initial options to meet that need. Next, you might explore those options, gathering more information about each of them. Then, you probably assess them against each other. You might ask a friend or spouse for their opinion. Maybe try the product or read a review from someone who has. Finally, you will purchase and use it.

The Buying Process for a cold drink on a sunny day might be a quick and painless one, involving no-one else but for choosing which supplier to provide a key component of your product, this process could take months.

Your customers are no different. So don’t expect to send out one tweet and be over-run with leads. It won’t happen. Go back to Mistake 1. You need a plan. Over time. That moves people through the Sales/Buying process in a clear, coherent way.

Once you do that and eliminate all the above marketing mistakes, you’ll find that Marketing is the best money your business  has ever spent.

By Kara Stanford, Chartered Marketer, Managing Director, KMS Marketing.

Contact us to find out how KMS Marketing can help you use marketing to deliver sales.

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