10 marketing don'ts


The don'ts of marketing

Mistake 1: Failing to accurately identify your target markets

Many businesses fail because they try to tackle too many types of customer on a limited marketing budget. Trying to sell to every member of the public is a recipe for disaster. Even companies that have universal demand for their product, such as big soap manufacturers, have specific target markets for each of their products.

Catching up on e-mail... Bend over at your peril...

Suggestions on how to avoid this mistake: 

Identify those customer groups that are most likely to need/want your product and then go after them.

Develop a profile of your target customer
How much do you need to know about your customers?

Know your market
Tips on how to define your market.

Complete our online training module called 'Target your marketing'.

Target your marketing
This free online training module is for those who need to refine their targets and want to make the best use of limited marketing resources. It also shows you how to carefully select the most lucrative targets for your business. The module is fully funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise - which also manages biz.org.nz. [This link goes to the Small Business Company's website.]

Mistake 2: Not doing market research

How do you know if people are going to want your product or service? How do you know how much they will pay? Some suggestions on how to avoid this mistake:

Before committing yourself to a new business, do some market research.

The internet is a good source of published information. You can use chat rooms or forums to get feedback and input without spending any money.

Or you can test the market using surveys or focus groups among members of your target audience. Testing can keep you from making costly mistakes based on false assumptions about your product, service or customers.

Find out more about the importance of market research

Mistake 3: Relying on just one or two marketing tactics 

It's only natural to rely on the marketing tactics you're most comfortable with. If you like meeting and talking to new people, you may focus on networking. If you're shy, on the other hand, you might rely solely on direct mail.Relying on one or two marketing tactics is a major marketing mistake because customers invariably need to be exposed to your message in at least three different ways before they’ll consider buying your product or using your service. Suggestion on how to avoid this mistake:

When you’re planning your marketing programme, choose from a variety of tactics.

Other marketing tactics include:

Email marketing

Cold calling

Direct marketing

Mistake 4: Failing to communicate your point of difference

As technology and education continue to improve, the marketplace is getting more and more competitive. Your product or service has to have something special or unique about it so customers will choose it over similar ones provided by your competitors. This is what is known as your ‘point of difference’. However it is no good having a point of difference if your customers don't know what it is, so you should include it in your marketing.

Mistake 5: Using marketing tactics that are not target-specific

The more directly you can reach your target market, the more cost-effective your marketing will be.

For example, if your target market is homemakers, you are wasting your money if you advertise on a radio station whose audience is predominantly students (no matter how good a deal the radio rep says it is). If your target market is lawyers, you are much better off using direct mail or telemarketing than advertising in the newspaper.

Mistake 6: Trying to say too much

People are subjected to more and more information and have less time to absorb it. So it is a mistake to tell people too much in one go. Chances are they will simply switch off and move on to the next piece of information. Suggestion on how to avoid this mistake:

The key is to keep your message simple. Generally speaking, it should be one main thought, fact or idea.

Mistake 7: Not spending enough on marketing and promotion

Marketing and promotion are what stimulate the sales for your business. Therefore it is important to budget for tactics that will enable you to achieve these sales. As a general rule of thumb, you might want to spend between 3 and 6 percent of your projected turnover when you’re starting out; and 1 to 3 percent of your projected turnover if you’ve been in business for two or more years.

Get busy with ya greenbacks

Mistake 8: Marketing only when you have time

Sometimes business owners become so busy servicing existing customers that they neglect to continue marketing to prospective customers. Since customer attrition is inevitable, marketing only during the slow times means that you could end up with periods where you have no customers at all. The familiar result in many service-based businesses is cashflow peaks and troughs.

Mistake 9: Failing to present a professional image

Your business cards, letterheads, invoices, brochures, premise's signage, vehicle signage and uniforms all create an image in your customers’ minds. The more professional they look, the more confident your customers will be that you can satisfy their needs or solve their problems.

If you sell services, rather than tangible products that customers can pick up and examine, then presenting a professional image is even more important. Your brochures and stationery are the only tangible evidence of your professionalism.

Mistake 10: Underestimating the importance of current customers

It is easy to forget about your current customers in the excitement of attracting new customers. This is a big mistake, since studies have shown it costs five times more to win a new customer than to ‘resell’ to an existing one. Suggestion on how to avoid this mistake:

Data: useful for retaining customers

Keep a database of customers and be sure your marketing plan includes tactics aimed at stimulating repeat business from these. If you lose customers, make an effort to get them back.

Read more about getting customers back

Plain English Explanations for Terms on this Page

Chamber of Commerce
A Chamber of Commerce is a business organisation that aims to help build business and community.

Market research
Market research is the process of researching what people want, need, or believe. Once that research is complete you can use it to determine a number of factors about your product.

Marketing is often confused with advertising. In reality it is much more than this and must be considered before you launch your business.

For more information visit our website, which is run by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise

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  • Simon says
    The think the biggest mistake made is the failure to identify the target audience. Cause everything after that will never hit its desired mark.

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