Common Marketing Mistakes (how not to suck at marketing!)

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Common Marketing Mistakes –

Notes from Nial’s recent presentation at the Mid-Norfolk Business Show – 8th June 2015


If you heard me speak at the recent Business Show you’ll know that I shared some ideas and experience, especially around where most people go wrong with their marketing. I hope you enjoyed it and found it valuable!

Here are some notes relating to that presentation for you to use and follow up on – remember, action is the answer!

Getting Marketing right and getting the results you want is really pretty simple, despite what people will often tell you. It’s simple but not always easy and the one main reason is that most people are making the same common mistakes over and over again, while watching hard-earned profits wash down the drain. No wonder we can get so frustrated when it comes to marketing!

So, here’s a radical idea. Instead of trying to teach you all the right things to do, why don’t we make a start by getting rid of all the stuff that’s holding you back first?

This isn’t some wacky notion or an attempt to get you to think differently… or maybe it is.

How can I say that ‘marketing is pretty simple’? Well, because there’s one golden rule I’ve learned over the past two decades, and it’s never let me (or my clients/students) down before.

“Good Marketing is about doing more of the stuff that works and less of the stuff that doesn’t” – and that really is about the sum of it.

For the most part people get lost and frustrated when it comes to marketing because they have no real plan and are firing off ideas, and spending budget, without really thinking why or what they’re getting back.

So here are my top tips for things you NEED TO STOP DOING as soon as possible if you’re going to start making some solid progress.

lifetime customer value1. Stop Gambling – Stop looking at marketing like a night at the casino or a flutter on the Lotto. It’s not about punting some money on an idea and hoping that you’ll get enough back to cover the cost and hopefully making some profit.

Most marketing activity, campaigns and budget is spent as a result of being sold something; a series of adverts, a listing on a website directory, 10,000 leaflets that might make it through some people’s letterbox, etc.

A huge part of this industry relies upon selling some poor punter the next great advertising opportunity. Rate Cards get pushed about, amazing deals are on offer ‘because someone else has pulled out at short notice’, etc. etc.

That’s NOT a way to manage your marketing.

The only true way you can spend money on marketing with any confidence is when you know what a customer is worth to you (learn about Lifetime Customer Value) and how much you’re prepared to spend to buy each new one.

2. Know A Customer’s Real Worth – Good marketing is a simple equation, you spend an amount of money to buy a customer who will spend more with you than your costs, including your marketing spend.

So the only real way you can know how much to be spending, and where, starts when you know what a new customer is worth to your business over a given time.

Think about it; why would you spend money getting new customers if they aren’t going to be profitable? So your first task should be to calculate what a customer’s lifetime value really is. Then you can determine how much you’re prepared to spend to get more of them.

This will also help your marketing in other ways. When you begin to look at lifetime customer value you often spot ways that you could be increasing the value of each sale and get customers to come back to you more often, as well as recommend friends, etc.

3. Don’t Do Everything Poorly – Another common error is a result of the desire to try to do every marketing thing you can. After all, you need a website, right? And brochures, and flyers, and adverts. And then there’s also email marketing, and not forgetting all the choices with Social Media.

Marketing is a huge subject with hundreds of choices and options. People will tell you “you need to do this, and this… Oh and this too”.

Spreading your ideas, your time and most of all your money too thinly across too many marketing channels and tactics is not going to work for you. It’s going to be hard to manage, hard to measure and a nightmare to unpick what’s actually working and what isn’t.

So decide to consolidate your efforts and focus on marketing that you can prove (so far) is giving you some sort of result. Focus on this first and look to improve it. If it’s working a little for you then it stands to reason if you can just improve it a little then you could get better results and more bang for your buck.


The only way you can do this with any confidence is to test and measure the results from your marketing efforts. And this, seriously, is really the biggest lesson you need to employ.

You’ve got to be able to test and measure everything you do. All the marketing stuff that goes on, every penny that you spend; you need to know how it’s being used and track it. Simply don’t even entertain wasting any more time or money on marketing unless you can accurate track the results from it. Assumptions and guesswork are not enough. You need to KNOW what works and evidence it.

In Summary –

Take a long hard look at these three points. If you’re not currently making these common marketing mistakes then congratulations, I’m sure you made them in the past and have learned the hard way, just like I have.

If you are still making some (or all) of these errors now you’re better armed with information and a good reason to change. Take one point at a time and focus on making the changes to wipe out the problem. That will give you more time and budget to focus on the things that will actually work for you and your business.

If you’ve got any questions about these points, want to talk about your marketing, or even just need to let off a little steam, I’m here to help!



PS. If this article has helped you to understand marketing a little better and you think others would value from it, please leave a comment and share it with the button below.

PPS. If you want to learn more about marketing take the Free Trial of Make Marketing Work – my marketing course online.


Nial Adams Author of Make Marketing Work

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