Brad Sugars published a very good article on “5 Ways to Kill a Great Marketing Plan” – below I have added my own thoughts to his Top 5 list based on my own experience with running a business.
5 Ways to Kill a Great Marketing Plan are:
1. Filling your plan with fluff
Don’t be too “sweeping” in who you want to target for your business. For example don’t say you are selling to over 50 year old females. What about “over 50 year old females in USA with a heart condition”. You cannot cover every demographic – its impossible and confuses people. Find a niche and operate in that or create a new niche so you instantly become the market leader. Read the “22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” for excellent help in helping you focus and define your business products and services.
2. Not doing the numbers
Most, if not all, small businesses run on the smell of an oily rag. Have you ever heard the saying “Cash is King”?. Make sure you know how much it costs in total to bring on a new customer and to retain that customer. You may find in times of recession that up-selling to your existing customers is far more cheaper than trying to convert prospects. Though you may also find that in times of recession people are looking for cheaper deals so if you are cheaper than your competition you may find your competitors customers coming to you. Again focus on how an up-surge in customers can affect your systems and staff – are you prepared to handle an increase in customer sign-ups or will it drain your resources?
3. Relying too heavily on creativity
If you can avoid too much expense on “glossing up” your business. Yes is okay to spend $$ on advertising, web site, flyers, PR etc… but first you need something that people want and for the right price (for the customer and for your business). Spending too much on hype and not enough on your systems, processes and staff will lead to failure. As an example I know of a business who was a month old and spent over $5,000 on advertising including a write up in a start up mag. The business did not think that the start up mag is of course for start up companies like themselves – their target customers did not even know the magazine existed! They wasted $5,000 promoting to the wrong people.
4. Thinking marketing is only advertising
Don’t just think marketing is advertising only. Marketing covers your whole business from how the staff deal with customers to the processes and systems that provide the customer will a consistent result. At the end of the day the customer must feel like they are in control of the transaction with your business. How many times have you dreaded going into your local cafe and wondering whether you are going to get a good coffee today? Doesn’t it upset you that you are not in control of the quality of the coffee you get each morning? I was and ended up buying my own grinder and espresso machine as I was tired of not knowing if I was going to get a good coffee or not even though I still paid the cafe $ each time! Providing consistent results to your customers makes them happy and a happy customer tells other people – thats very good marketing – zero cost to you and third party endorsement!
5. Forgetting to market to existing customers and prospects
Brad states in his article that it costs up to 6 times more to get a new customer than it is to sell to an existing customer. We have found in our own business that this is true. While we are still getting new customers during the recession email marketing is still one of the most effective and cheapest ways to get in front of your prospects and customers selling additional services to our existing customers is more profitable.
Read Brads article here…