Helping small businesses in Kalamazoo.

  • Blog
  • >
  • What are Four Things Marketers are Doing Wrong?

GKBRN Network

What are Four Things Marketers are Doing Wrong?

What are Four Things Marketers are Doing Wrong?

Cheri Bales, Hannah/Gold Communications

I got a call last month to pitch 3-4 marketing-related topics for a virtual annual conference next year. I quickly jotted down the 4 ideas below, and am waiting to hear what their choice is, but in the meantime, I thought this might make a good story for business owners/operators. 

These were my starting topics with the goal to be identifying what small business marketers are doing wrong and telling them now to fix it:

  1. The 5 Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Success
  2. The Best 4 Tips for Getting Found on Google
  3. The 5 Things Every Business Needs in its Marketing Arsenal
  4. The 4 Biggest Mistakes Most Businesses Make in Marketing

I chose “The 4 Biggest Mistakes Most Businesses Make in Marketing” to talk about here. While there are probably more than 5 mistakes we all make in our marketing, I’m going to tell you my thoughts on these big four that I find problematic:

  1. Too much/not enough/wrong information
  2. Wrong place/time/channel
  3. Not following the brand
  4. Not knowing the customer

Let’s take it one step at a time.

About your information…

  • I often get asked, “How often should I communicate with my followers (social media) and what should I say?” Well, that’s a question that I can only answer as “It depends.” 
  • What are your target audience’s (your desired customers) habits and responses to your posts on social media? 
  • If you get engagement (Likes, Clicks, Comments, Shares), that’s the true measurement of success.
  • If you don’t, the problem could be too much information (posts too long, and too involved; not enough information in the posts (like a call to action) to elicit a response from the reader; wrong information links, phone numbers, hours, and more can cripple a post’s performance and not reach your audience.

Use your data analytics and Insights to learn when your followers are most likely to engage by time of day, day of week, type of post, and use that information to decide when and how to get a post in front of them. (I’ll be repeating this often!)

Right place/time/channel…

This is usually somewhat along the lines of, “What channels should I be using,” and “What time should I post?” 

  • Depending on your target audience (see above) you should choose channels carefully, and only take on the few you can manage well. You don’t need to be everywhere. Nay, you can’t be everywhere! 
  • Find out where the people you want to call customers and clients are and go there. Teens and tweens are going to be on a completely different platform/channel than boomers. Business people who are on LinkedIn may be there for business-to-business connections…but don’t forget, they’re could also likely be on Facebook. 
  • Choose the channels that will provide the best investment for you.

Again, use your analytics to see how many people engage, when, via what kind of device, from what country…the list goes on, and it’s a data-based way to develop and implement your marketing plan.

Be true to your brand…

This happens when someone in the organization posts, blogs, writes, designs, or otherwise represents the “brand” of your business in a way that impedes your followers from recognizing it’s actually your business they are referring to. 

  • Take, for example, McDonald’s golden arches. If you saw them in green and orange (for, say, Halloween), it might take a second for you to make the association with the McDonald’s brand. 
  • I have a client who likes to let staff members design various promotional materials, menus, web images, social media images, and, well, anything they need. I have discovered they have no brand guide and as a result, many of these pieces are posted in what I would call “off-brand” ways. 
  • In this case, it also goes to the actual readability of the post when a decorative font and random colors are used. 
  • If you want people to know you’re you, stick with your brand, colors, fonts, logo uses, always.

There’s not really an analytic for this but you certainly can learn a lot when you ask clients or potential customers what they THINK about your brand! That feedback could be the difference between recognition and awareness, and not. You want to opt for the first choice.

Know your customer…

I see this most often when a client thinks “everyone” is their target audience. When you make an “assumption” about the audience that’s just not accurate, you are missing out on sales. I had a regional roofing chain client who assured me that men were the buyers of roofs. I chose to challenge that by running an A/B Test ad (more later on that) with the difference being simply gender. Now, given there ARE more women than men on FB, you would have expected the difference in results to be significant. It was greater than significant: the ad targeted to the women performed nearly 60% better than the one targeted to men. We changed tactics and began marketing to women shortly thereafter. But, because the “old guard” was driving the marketing bus, they were out of touch with who they’re real target audience was.

You can avoid this mindset by doing some digging and research:

  • Drill down into the geographic, demographic similarities and behaviors your perfect customer has, then think like they do. 
  • Go to the channels where they hang out. 
  • Try various audience combinations for ads (A/B testing is where you run the same ad but substitute one variable – in this case gender. It can also be a different photo, different link, different content…you’re sending the same message in two different ways to see which one “fires” the best. Then that’s the data you follow.

If you’re making any of these mistakes listed here, there’s good news! You can stop it! 

It may take some time and effort to learn the reasons why your marketing efforts aren’t performing at their optimum…these are just a few of the reasons that could be contributing to your struggles. A marketing audit with a marketing expert can help you discover what efforts you might be making that could be better directed to another, more profitable, activity. 

Work smarter not harder. And know when it’s time to ask for help.

Concentrate on identifying your audience—where they are and what they’re doing—then go put your message in front of them. What have you got to lose?

Email Cheri Bales or call 269-341-3786 with any questions!

Congratulations to Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry for receiving his first loan through Northern Initiatives. With help from his SCORE mentor, Cheri Bales, Gregory did a fantastic job on developing his business plan and showing real entrepreneurial spirit. We wish you much success, and look forward to your upward movement. You are a wonderful role model.

—Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry

I appreciate your ears for listening, your eyes that see my vision and your heart that makes you who you are.  I thank you for your time. You are making a difference.

—Shawntel Lindsey, Director, The Artbor Community Connections Center

The WMed Innovation Center is a perfect environment for innovation to grow and become a successful commercial enterprise.

—Client

WMU Business Connection logo

Whether you are seeking a research partner or want to enlist the help of student groups in developing business plans, or just looking for ways to engage with WMU, the Business Connection office can find the resource to help move your business forward.

—Mentor

A loan (from Local Initiatives Support Corporation) helped expand our cafe to triple our seating, add a kids space, increase much needed staff work areas, and make other improvements to the space.

—Krystal

MEL logo

The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is the State of Michigan’s digital library. It has excellent resources available to Michigan residents at no cost.

—Owner

Western Michigan University’s Starting Gate helped me take an idea and transform it into a much more attainable reality. Whether providing talks with investors and business owners or accountability, the ultimate goal is helping your business succeed.

—Peter Shutt

Kalamazoo County Land Bank logo

The Kalamazoo Land Bank did robust community engagement around the vision and gave us something to work with that was solidly desired by people in the neighborhood. Having a vision meant we had to protect it. That’s something I thank the Land Bank for. It was difficult. It didn’t make anything faster or easier, but we got a better project in the end as a result of it.

—Matt Hollander

Buy Local logo

Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo is a hard working grassroots group focused on the greater Kalamazoo community and its small businesses. Their events and networking opportunities are the best!

—Cheri Bales

SBDC logo

Michigan SBDC is a great company providing top notch service to local businesses all over Michigan. The consultants are professional and the student workers contribute with excellent work!

—Martin Herman Sorensen

Previous
Next