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The 5 Most Harmful
Marketing Errors &
How to Fix Them 2
Make a cuppa!
This handy guide highlights the 5
most harmful marketing mistakes and
how to start fixing them.
So make yourself a cuppa, and give
yourself half an hour to step back and
really think about what is happening
in your business..
Marketing help
starts right here... 3
Error #1
Jumping in with no
It’s easy to just focus on ‘getting more customers’ when thinking about your
But often, marketing efforts fail, because the foundations to creating a good
campaign have not been fully thought through.
Instead, a sense of urgency gets you to do stuff you think you should be doing
because that’s what the trends say - and then you end up feeling despondent
when the results don’t quite stack up with the expectations you had. 4
No plan = indecision and overwhelm
There will always be distractions when running your business trying to keep
on top of everything that needs doing to keep things functioning. Marketing
will often get left on the backburner as that can be the hardest thing to work
So, what do you do?
Well you can you just keep doing what you’re doing. But are you growing the
business? What will change for the better – today or any day? 5
To summarise
Where are you now and
where do you want to
To not have any sort of plan that covers the
essential foundations to growing a business is a
prerequisite to wasting time and money on
And a plan does not have to be a laborious
You just need to be ‘on the case’ with what is
really happening in your business now and
where you want to be, rather than writing down
idealistic goals that can soon get forgotten!
This e-book is designed to help you step back
and give you the space for thought to look at
things from a different perspective to help
develop your marketing. 6
Error #2
NOT Knowing your
Often, the only numbers a business owner focuses on in a rough kind of way
are what’s coming in and what’s going out.
It’s only when the year-end accounts arrive, that we tend to look at what
certain figures mean.
With your marketing you need to look at numbers in a different way, to work
out who the right customers are and which sectors of your business are the
most and least profitable at any given point in time. 7
numbers exercise
Take a time period (last 3
months, 6 months) in your
business and think about:
Now, break this down further, to analyse your
main products and services..
Turnover Profit Number of
Average spend per
% of turnover % of profit % of customers Average spend
of customer
Product /
service 1
Product /
service 2
Product /
service 3 8
Useful exercise
Put the previous results into
these tables and think about
how many customers you
need for each segment.
My MOST profitable product/
service is:
Average spend of my MOST
profitable client is:
Target number of
My AVERAGE profitable
product/ service is:
Average spend of my
AVERAGE profitable client
Target number of
My LEAST profitable product/
service is:
Average spend of my LEAST
profitable client is:
Target number of
customers 9
To summarise
Knowing your numbers
will give you clarity on
where to target your
marketing efforts.
A quick exercise like this gives you the space to
just step back and think ‘what is this telling me’.
Look at the correlation across your products and
services and average spend. Where are your
most profitable areas?
Where are the ‘gateway’ buys - that lead to
further sales? How many customers do you
need for each product/ service?
Where do you need to be attracting more
customers? Where do you need to focussing on
retention and upsell?
Marketing is not just about attracting new
customers. It is also about maximising the
potential of customers you already have.
Knowing your numbers will help you to identify
this. 10
Error #3
NOT Knowing your
Compelling Proposition
Frequently, when we ask a business to describe their product or service and
how they differentiate from their competitors, there’s rarely a compelling
‘We are, we do’ and want ‘anyone who’ as customers is a familiar way to
describe themselves. Customer service will often be their suggestion as to
what makes them different - in their subjective opinion.
What’s missing is clarity about what truly makes them connect with their
desired customers and why..
It is this level of vagueness that can see many businesses miss a trick or three. 11
Clarity, resonance
& purpose
The reality is your customers - even if
recommended - will compare and contrast
your business with others.
They will access information on the go -
anytime, anywhere. Smartphones have
transformed how and when people will
search for what they want or need..
And they won’t mess about trying to work
out what a business is saying - they will
move on to the next...
So, you need complete clarity about what it
is that you offer, who it is for and why people
should consider buying from you over
Pique interest, open a connection, lead a
potential customer to think ‘tell me more’.
Tell me more.... 12
Think about...
Work with one product/
service at a time and
answer the following
Be relevant. Be easily understandable. Avoid
jargon - think about the language your
customers use. Describe the detail that
Anyone who’ - is not an answer! Get specific.
Who would really want what your product or
service could offer them? What problem are
you solving or desire are you meeting? How
can you resonate with them?
Define what differentiates your business from
your competitors. Tell a story, be creative, be
your voice - there’s plenty of dull explanations
offered by your competitors!
To summarise
Never assume your
customers know what
you offer….
Taking the time to step back and think about
what it is you offer is hugely important.
This can be a hard exercise to do alone as you
are so close to your business, so try completing
the exercise with someone whose opinion you
Detail matters - so think about what it is that
really resonates with who would be looking for
your product or service.
And be you. Why your business was created will
be your unique story - let people connect with
your voice.
Customers will make decisions ‘instinctively’
with a business they feel they can like and trust. 14
Error #4
NOT Knowing your
It’s easy to define your customers as ‘anyone who’. But you can’t successfully
target your marketing at anyone - and ‘any’ customer is not always a good
Think about the right customers you have in your business. The customers
that have the budget, and respect what you do and the way that you do it.
What defines them? Why do they love doing business with you?
Think about what makes a customer a valuable customer. 15
Any customer does not = the right
Of course, not all customers are good customers. This a fact of business so it
pays to think realistically about this.
The customers that expect you to always reduce your price, show little respect
for your time, quality, skills or knowledge are not who you should be wasting
your precious marketing resources on.
Consider what makes a customer a valued one - and get down to the facts
and real information about what it is you value about them - and what they
value about you.
©someecards 16
Why avatar’s
don’t work
The typical ‘old school’ marketing approach
to understanding your customers is to create
a customer avatar.
This may be a good starting point for logical
facts like demographics, location, income,
possessions etc.
But the equally important illogical reasons -
emotional responses - are not so easy to
identify and assumptions can be easily made
with an avatar exercise
Instead of an avatar, work with real
information that gets to the nitty gritty of
the character traits that help define who
your best customers are.
The following exercise will help.
Assumption vs
Define the
RIGHT customer
Think of your best and
worst customers and
follow the exercise below
Product/ service they buy What do I ENJOY about
these customers
What are their character
Product/ service they buy What do I NOT enjoy about
these customers
What are their character
Tip: Use the Know Your Numbers exercise first to
define who your most and least profitable
customers are and then complete this exercise. 18
Useful exercise
Choose 1 customer at a time
and think about:
What problem do they need solving?
What are the symptoms of the problem?
How do you resolve the symptoms of the problem?
What do they desire?
What aspirations do they have?
How do you answer their desires?
Why do they love doing business with you?
Tip: If you are stuck answering any of these
questions - ask your customers! Do a quick
survey. 19
To summarise
Assumption is one of
the most common
marketing errors!
To take a step back and analyse your customers
enables you to craft a marketing strategy that
will be based on realistic detail, rather than
idealistic assumptions.
What your customers have to say about your
business is often natural marketing juice - it will
give you positive leads about what is important
to them - for better and worse.
And help you to better understand how to
create customer groups to target, rather than a
one-size-fits-all approach.
If you haven’t got a system or process in place to
regularly collect constructive customer feedback
- this should be a marketing campaign essential. 20
Error #5
NOT Knowing your
It’s easy to make assumptions about your competitors from a subjective point
of view - who doesn’t like to cast a critical eye or see an idea they wish they’d
thought of first?!
But when it comes to planning your marketing, you need to be viewing your
competitors from your customers’ shoes.
- What first impression would a competitor make?
- Do they have a compelling proposition?
- How visible are they?
Ask for a recommendation
Do an online search
Respond to an advert
Prospective customers will most likely: 21
Start to get a step ahead
Choose the competitors to analyse. Start off by doing relevant Google
searches. Is a specific competitor easy to find? What other names crop up?
- First impression - would you stay on their website?
- Is it immediately obvious what they offer and to whom?
- Is there an evident pricing strategy?
- Do they have up-to-date reviews?
- Do they have case-studies or media endorsements?
- Are they active on Social media?
Now ask...
- Why would a customer choose you over your competitor? And vice
- How do you differentiate?
- What tricks are you missing?
Google search
Local knowledge
Industry knowledge 22
To summarise
Step into your
customer’s shoes
Customers typically fall into three categories.
100% loyal - they love to do business with you
and would never consider using anyone else
whilst you are serving them
Savvy loyal - they like to do business with you
but are savvy minded and will remain open to
using another business if they considered they
offered something better
Transient - remaining loyal to one business is
not a priority to them as they know there will
always be someone else who wants their
This is why it is important at least once a year to
objectively take a look at the competition and
consider the loyalty of your own customers
when considering your marketing strategy. 2
To recap
Get the foundations in
place to develop your
business growth
Define your most and
least profitable product/
service/ customers
Get clarity and communicate
resonance and purpose to
your customers
Define who the right
customers are using real
insights and facts.
Step into your customer’s
shoes to define how you can
increase customer loyalty
Need help?
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