Marketing: The most common mistakes

Companies have damaged their brand image by adopting the wrong marketing strategy. You should always remember that a mistake can happen very quickly.

A well-thought-out marketing strategy can radically increase an SME’s sales. But, if done poorly, it can have the opposite effect and damage the company's reputation. Here are the most common problems:

  • Having an overly complicated concept. If the message of an advertising message cannot be summarized in a single sentence, the SME should abandon the concept. It will be impossible to implement. And the consumer might well simply not understand the ad.
  • Wanting to reach everyone. No company manages to speak to every category of the population at the same time. An SME should focus on one or two types of customer at the most when developing its marketing plan.
  • Moving too far away from the product. Some advertising campaigns forget their end goal: to sell a product. In 1971, Coca-Cola produced a video called “I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing”, which was a success worldwide. But despite being entertaining, it did not increase the company's sales, because it did not encourage viewers to buy the fizzy drink.
  • Being blinded by novelty. Most of the time, the Internet and social networks are effective and inexpensive promotional tools. But in some circumstances, other methods are clearly more effective. When you want to reach older people, for example, you need to put Facebook and Twitter to one side and use a letter or a newspaper ad instead.
  • Failure to measure performance. The results of each advertising measure should be calculated and analyzed. This helps companies to understand what worked (and what did not) and to avoid repeating mistakes in the next campaign.
  • Conveying a message which is out of step with your offering. If the content or atmosphere of your promotional campaign does not match the product you wish to sell, you will attract the wrong type of customers. There will be major disappointment on both sides. This is what happened to a real estate agency specializing in luxury homes, whose overly vague slogan (“We have your dream house”) attracted only buyers with small budgets. It had to change it to “Specialists in beautiful properties” to solve its problem.
  • Withdrawing your offering. A company that reneges on a discount or promise made in its promotional material (because it has been too successful or it has run out of stock) runs the risk of major damage to its image. The relationship of trust established with the customer is damaged.
  • Favoring size over frequency. Whatever your size, an ad in a newspaper or on the radio is pointless if it is not published or played several times repeatedly. Only repetition helps attract customers’ attention.
  • Ignoring customer demands. Social networks help companies work out quickly what customers want. When you see a demand and that is reaching critical mass, you need to do everything in your power to meet that demand. Similarly, signs of dissatisfaction should be addressed as promptly as possible.

Sources: Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies, Barbara Findlay Schenck, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2012; links below.


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Last modification 25.10.2019

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