The marketing and promotion of any product or service can be challenging. The objective should be to have your marketing budget generate the greatest possible return on your investment. Sounds simple enough. So then, why do so many marketing plans fail to achieve this critical objective?
To help guide you down the right path, we have compiled a list of the top five less obvious marketing mistakes we see companies make most often.
#1: “Who Cares” Copy
Take a look at all of your marketing materials – brochures, direct mail, website, print advertising, collateral materials. How many times do they say “our,” “us” or “we”?
The problem with most copy is that it is “who cares” copy. In other words, if the copy is riddled with “our,” “us” and “we,” then it’s all about you. Switch the focus of your copy to the reader by changing the language into “you,” “your” or “yours” copy. This simple adjustment has a much better chance of pulling your reader in.
Too many companies focus on themselves rather than the needs and wants of their prospective customers. Features are about you; benefits are about your prospective customer. Benefits are the compelling advantages your product or service provides. So when creating advertising campaigns and collateral materials, always lead with your most compelling benefits and then support those benefits with the features. Features don’t sell; benefits directed to your reader do.
#2: Your Visuals Are Obvious and Not Compelling
We see it all the time – the predictable stock photo, or worse, the even more predictable (and often cheesy) clip art. These visuals are so obvious that no one pays attention. And very often, they reflect a poor image of your company or product.
Visuals are critical components of your marketing messages. This is not the place to get cheap or lazy. This is the place to be creative and shine.
#3 Not Enough Direct Response Advertising
Brand advertising tells your target audience about your company, products, and services. Direct response advertising provokes an action. Successful advertising does both.
Always include a strong call-to-action. Typically, prospects will respond if there is a compelling reason to do so. Get creative, and be sure to create a sense of urgency – you want to hear from your target immediately.
#4 Type That’s Too Hard to Read
You can write the most dynamic copy possible, but if your final type is too hard to read, it will simply die on the page. Take a look at all of your marketing materials. Are you breaking any of the following rules?
- type smaller than 10-point
- more than two lines of centered type
- type that’s justified on both sides
- more than three lines of reverse type
- sentences longer than 15 words
- paragraph blocks that are more than six lines long
If you answered yes to any of the above, chances are you are losing readers. We do recognize that there are exceptions to the above rules, but for the most part, if you want people to read your text, make it clear.
#5: Buying the Cheapest Media, Not the Best Media
Do you base your media decisions on the lowest price media available? If you were to conduct a detailed analysis, you’d probably discover that you’re not saving money at all. You’re probably losing opportunities to effectively market your company. And, you may be hurting your overall brand image.
Cheap media is cheap for a reason. You should buy media that best delivers your target audience, offers the right association for your brand and is respected within your market niche. Then, to be sure, you should test everything you do, so that you know what works and what doesn’t.
Watch out for these less obvious but very common marketing mistakes. Take a close look at your marketing programs and see how many you are making. If you correct them, we’re confident you will see a difference in your marketing results.
Gumas wrote the book on Challenger Brand Marketing. This has been an excerpt from Marketing Smart. A collective of proven marketing strategies and tips to help Challenger Brands take on their larger competitors…and win! Download an E-book version of the Marketing Smart for free here.