10 Worst Marketing Mistakes

A report by The CMO Survey estimates that marketing accounts for approximately 10.9 percent of a company’s budget. When spending such amounts of money on a single item, it is imperative that it earns the business money back and that it makes a profit. Avoiding common marketing mistakes could be your chance for success. 

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1. A Mismatched Audience

Targeting the wrong audience in marketing will not only fail, but it will lead to financial losses. For example, giving a brochure to everyone you know about baby products may not generate you any sales.  Effective marketing involves finding an audience that needs or wants your product and can afford it. Differentiate between the audience accessible to you and the audience your product needs.

2. Competing Against Yourself

Marketing a product that matches the retail value of your other products without anything new on the table will guarantee you a fail. Every new product your business markets should meet a unique need that existing products have not satisfied.

3. Misplaced Focus

The first step towards successful marketing is to figure out what you want to offer and who your target population is. Be clear on the viability of your product, quality and quantity before worrying about media, public relations, and other concerns.

4. Awkward Pricing

Wrong pricing affects your marketing mix because it influences your product positioning negatively and mixes up your target audience. Base your price on what the market can bear and not what you want to earn to increase your chances of success. You must also ensure that your pricing matches up to the perceived value of your product.

5. Wrong Timing

Bad timing can make the most genius marketing strategy a futile affair.  It is important to be sure that you are not entering a shrinking marketplace before you launch a marketing campaign. The Ford Motor Company failure, when they tried to market the Ford Edsel, is a good example of a good product at the wrong time. The company lost $400 million in an attempt to market their new car just after the economic recession in 1957.

6. Too Many Giveaways

Freebies have over the decades proven to be a good way to get customers’ attention. It can, however, be a big fail if you do not think it well and set reasonable restrictions on how much free stuff people will get. Casa Sanchez, an eatery in San Francisco, is a good example of epic fails when a company promises more than it could offer. During their 1999 tattoos promotion, the eatery’s customers would get meals for free for the rest of their lives if they got a tattoo of the Casa Sanchez logo. The company had to cap the number quickly at 50 after they had realized it was too expensive for the business. Experts estimated that the company would lose $5.8 million if 50 people ate free meals daily for 50 years.

7. Multiple Variations of Products

Unless your consumers are highly limited on choice, changing a product that resonates soundly with them for something new will destabilize your market share. When Coca-Cola decided to celebrate 100 years of a popular product by discarding a formula that was doing well, despite its falling profits in the industry, the market translated it as an admission that their product was inferior to that of their competitors. The company’s executives soon realized their mistake and brought back the old formula, but a good measure of damage was already done.

8. Cultural Insensitivity

Knowing the culture, moral beliefs and legal boundaries of a region goes a long way in implementing a successful marketing campaign. People can ignore your product if they deem it disrespectful to their beliefs. Calvin Klein’s marketing strategy in 1999 failed after parents protested against it as a sex sells campaign. In its adverts, the company featured semi-nude pre-teen boys and girls in sleazy rooms in suggestive poses. While teens loved the adverts and the product –Calvin Klein’s jeans – parents hated it, and the company was forced to pull the adverts down in less than a day.

9. Dull Products

Since consumers are bombarded with millions of marketing campaigns every day, you have to give them a reason to pay attention to your product. Business today is a global arena where you are competing against the best. You have to ensure your product is different or better. If you cannot prove this, you are likely to fail in today’s almost hostile marketing terrain.

10. Misleading Messages

A marketing campaign must be precise and straightforward.  Microsoft took pride in their Internet Explorer 8 product due to its In-Private Browsing ability that allows users to hide their internet history. Their “Oh my God, I’m gonna puke” campaign, however, lost their audience by depicting gruesome scenes of a woman throwing up on her husband after seeing what he had been browsing. Because most people had to change channels when the advert came on air, the company had to pull it down.

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A good marketing campaign should leave people talking about your product in a way that results in sales. Enlist the services of an expert to ensure that for every marketing campaign, your business earns more money than it spent in the short and long term.