Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Biggest Marketing Mistake!

Promoting short term goals
rather than long term growth
Most small businesses, "Fall victim to a constantly changing marketing strategy." This mistake is often due to the lack of marketing expertise, fluctuating budgets and cash flow demands. It is just too easy to get off track, or find a reason to starve or change marketing strategies. Owners or senior decision makers within small companies, due to their businesses' more cyclical nature, often focus on promoting short term goals rather than consolidating long term growth. They choose to market, “What they want to Sell” rather than “What The Client Wants.”  

Larger companies are less susceptible to the short term marketing strategy syndrome; because it is much more difficult to get out of existing media agreements, change marketing messages across a variety of mediums and co-ordinate such changes internally and externally. This is where smaller and being more nimble can be a drawback as the temptation to make constant changes to your marketing strategy can be overpowering. I like using this euphemism in such cases, "Just because you can…doesn't mean you should.”
Small business does not have the kind of metrics that allow them to understand the potential of customer awareness, whether they encompass a broad or narrow audience.  They track their sales in terms of weeks and months not quarters or years and in such a narrow sample it is difficult to see growth, especially if your product or services are gaining awareness and sales may not be in lock-step. Small businesses tend to want to see immediate results and are not willing to invest in long term strategies that do not produce verifiable sales.

In virtually every medium we work in, the strategy of maintaining a consistent marketing initiative over time yields more results than trying to buy your way into growth. Growing your market consistently over time through an organic process creates greater customer loyalty in most situations. Media distribution channels that feed short term marketing strategies work like meters, the minute you choose not to feed the meters  - the clients stop coming. In a more consistent long term approach that is centered around  key points like great customer service,  memorable marketing message, sound product value, product knowledge and great pricing  clients tend to be loyal and provide great word of mouth marketing, but tis takes time to trickle through.

Most small business will tell you that referral business and word of mouth is the greatest from of advertising …and I wold say …very true; but the other side of the coin is that word of mouth and referral business is slow and takes time. You want to manage the impression that your customers shares about you and your products… and what they are saying about you consistently. It has to be good of course … but also has to be consistently focused on the message that helps differentiate you and creates long term relationship.

This can only be accomplished through a sustained marketing initiative that is consistent and carefully tracked over time to make sure that the right message is being delivered and received.  

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