It is not unusual to see organisations, notably SMEs, spend significant amounts on marketing materials offering poor returns on investment and which in the worst cases even end up damaging their brand.
The three most common marketing mistakes
Lack of time and clarity about business goals, mean that many businesses fall in three common traps when approaching marketing activities: the punctual approach, the ad-hoc approach and the scattergun approach.
In the punctual approach companies ’do marketing’ when they have some unallocated time, for example in the first two weeks of January when clients aren’t making urgent demands. Marketing activities are then suddenly stopped as soon as other aspects of the business take over. This approach is ineffective as all marketing activities, like seeds planted in the ground in order get a full grown tree, need time to create significant audience engagement and ultimately generate sales opportunities. A calendar of regular activities throughout the year is essential to ensure results.
In the ad-hoc approach marketing is only considered when something is too important not to be communicated: for example the launch of a new product or a change of address. This kind of approach means that clients only hear the company talking about itself, rather than demonstrating how it can solve their problems.
In the scattergun approach, marketing becomes top of the list when work gets scarce and there are real cash-flow worries on the horizon. Organisations end up spending large amounts when they can afford it the least, on a wide range of marketing materials which are produced in a rush. They hope that somehow this approach will conjure magical results in no time.
A simple solution
What these three ill-fated approaches above have in common is that they all lack thoughtful planning, they don’t really fit within an overall marketing plan and brand strategy.
Regardless of your budget and goals, what is the best way to ensure all your marketing activities are as effective as the organisation should?
The answer is simple: always start with strategy.
Without a carefully considered marketing strategy truly aligned with your brand values, any kind of random marketing activity remains a wish for success. On the other hand, a clearly defined marketing strategy which is tactically implemented will continuously strengthen the value and uniqueness of your brand in the marketplace.