Do You Make These Advertising/Marketing Mistakes?

1.) Lack of forethought. Arguably the biggest mistake I see made--even by those who know better. Before even the smallest step, think how it will serve the overall plan.

2.) No overall plan. Yes, Virginia, you should have one. As the expression goes, "failing to plan is planning to fail." It doesn't have to be elaborate, but you need to choose a destination (goal) and decide how you'll get there.

3.) Failure to understand your core business competence. It's essential to know the thing(s) you do best.

4.) Failure to understand your customers' needs. You have to know how the things you do best meet the customer's needs.

5.) Failure to understand your competition.
Did someone say USP? Knowing your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is the final piece of the puzzle. Your Unique Sales Proposition--the reason people should buy from you--should be the foundation of your advertising message. 

6.) Lack of goals for the project at hand. It's hard to plan the route when you don't know where you're headed. Advertising without goals can lead to mismatched media, message and market.You might as well go to the beach and skip silver dollars. You'd have more fun with your money.

7.) Emphasizing features not benefits. Buyers don't care about your latest widget. They care how it will help them or make them feel better. Seems obvious. You wouldn't believe how many advertisers commit this sin. Well, maybe you would. Hope you're not one of them!

8.) Ineffective creative. There seems to be a surprising amount of confusion over this. It's not enough to be clever, imaginative, memorable. Creative is  only effective when it moves merchandise, creates associations or moves the needle for the people paying the bills. 

9.) Poor media planning. For some, advertising is an ego-trip. It's a buzz telling friends, associates and customers about their ad in such-and-such high-status medium. They may even dream of achieving celebrity status. For some reason, this malady seems particularly to affect new businesses. Choose only media that reach enough of your prospects in a way appropriate to your offer and their needs.

10.) Lack of commitment. Advertisers often fail to stay the course with a campaign without giving it a chance to work. It can be the result of many things: inadequate planning, unrealistic expectations or insufficient resources.

11.) Inadequate evaluation. Whether staying or abandoning the course, advertisers should review closely their results to determine what worked and what didn't--and, if possible, why. Only then can they improve their advertising...and their business. Remember the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing while expecting different results. Don't be insane!

For over three decades, Peter the Publisher has communicated professionally for national associations, fortune 500 companies and Mom & Pop clients. The Business Solution Group, which he founded in 1989, provides custom publishing, marketing and advertising services to businesses and organizations throughout Florida.
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