Marketing Don'ts

While the basic concept of marketing seems simple enough (put it out there and people will buy what you’re selling), there are so many mistakes that businesses make on a daily basis. We’ve compiled the following list to help you sidestep such blunders.

  1. Avoid ranting on social media…at all costs. Whether it’s your business page or your personal page, keep the negativity to yourself because it will cause others to view you in a negative, aggressive light. If it makes you feel better to put your feelings into words, keep a journal.
  2. Don’t promise or guarantee absolutes. If you aren’t 100% sure you can back up your claim, you better rethink your advertising. Remember, it turned out that the Titanic wasn’t “unsinkable.”
  3. Don’t try to be everything to everyone—stick to what you know. It’s better to do one thing exceptionally well than be average across many things. Think Colgate’s packaged meal. Epic fail.
  4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why rebrand or redesign a logo (ahem, GAP 2010) if what you have is working well?
  5. Make sure you have a call to action. You can have a great presentation, but if customers aren’t prompted to act (i.e. call for a quote, fill out a form, buy online, bring in a coupon, etc.), chances are they won’t. Won’t do what? Exactly.
  6. Stay relevant. It’s imperative to keep an eye on current trends within your industry and market segment. What if you’re a telephone salesman who has never heard of a cell phone? Ok, that’s a bit extreme, but you get the picture.
  7. Engage customers with social media. So many businesses simply put their info out there with no thought to how consumers will react to it or with it. The whole point of social media (or social networks) is to network. You want users to like, share, comment and post. It shows you have a relationship with them, which is contagious.
  8. Don’t advertise without conducting research or testing. The quickest way to waste money and/or make a bad impression is to throw something out there without any justification. Market research, though not always cheap, is highly valuable. So are test groups. You don’t have to go all out with your preparations for a new campaign, but you do need to test the waters before diving in head first.
  9. Stick with your branding standards. Don’t have any? That’s an even bigger problem. Your brand is your image—what people imagine when they hear your name and see your product. Every company, no matter how small, should have a branding standards guide, even if it’s just one page. To create a consistent brand that is easily recognizable, you need to stay the course with colors, fonts, imagery and especially approved versions of your logo.
  10. Don’t ignore quality. We’re talking about your marketing efforts here, not your product. If you ignore product quality, you have no use for marketing. When advertising to your target audience, you always want to make sure your images are high quality, meaning avoid low resolution and (ugh, we cringe at the mere thought of) using a jpeg image on a background. Add some grammatical errors and a misspelled word, and you have solidly created the message of we don’t care. Or worse—we don’t know any better.
  11. See the advice of professionals. Ahem. We don’t claim to know everything, but we do create marketing pieces all day long.
  12. Make sure your marketing budget is realistic. And like the branding standards guide, if you don’t have one, you have an even bigger problem. Clients often have grandiose ideas for their marketing efforts, but they don’t have the funds to make it happen. Kind of like, we want a lion in this commercial, but we can only afford a housecat. There’s nothing wrong with a small marketing budget. Hire professionals and let us make the most of it. When things go awry and no one is happy is when clients don’t have a realistic idea of what they can afford and thus accomplish.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks.
  13. Don’t overwhelm your audience with text. As a writer, it hurts my heart to say this, but keep the words to a minimum. People are visual, so do your best to get the message across with an image and as few words as possible. This is challenging, but it’s so much more effective than wasting time and space on an ad (or even worse, a billboard) by putting more info than people can or want to read. In the words of Don Draper, “Make it simple but significant.”
  14. Avoid installing Flash Player on your website. Yes, when it finally loads it may be the coolest thing on the Internet. But most consumers will go on to the next website before they get to that point, and if they have iPhones, they’ll never get to that point because they can’t download Flash.
  15. Make a plan and stick to it. Marketing without branding standards, goals, a budget, etc. is like casting a net without knowing what you’re even trying to catch. These aspects of promotion should be put down on paper and used to create a feasible plan for advertising your business. It sounds intimidating, we know, but we do it all the time. Whether it’s a yearlong strategy utilizing market research or a simple marketing plan to make the most of your budget, give us a call and we’ll be glad to help.