Marketing is a difficult science to master. Indeed some will argue that marketing is not a science at all, but an art form. Regardless of opinions on the matter, many businesses in past have ended up undermining their own marketing efforts simply because they failed to understand how marketing works or the nature of its impact on consumers. After all, simply launching a new advertising campaign doesn’t attract new customers on its own. It needs careful thought, planning, and synchronization if it’s to succeed.
Not Understanding the Target Audience
Sun Tzu, in the Art of War, said knowing your enemy as being key to victory. While the world of advertising your business is not a military campaign, the principal is universal. You must know exactly who it is you’re marketing towards if your marketing is to have any hope of success. Otherwise, how will you understand their concerns and convince them that your product or service is the solution?
Research your target demographic as much as possible in order to tailor your advertising campaign to them as much as possible. Know things such as their income range, their age range, where they most often work and for how long, and the sorts of things they might do in their spare time. For example, a commercial for denture paste will probably look different from a commercial for a children’s breakfast cereal. This is because of how different the two target audiences are.
It’s also important to focus on a key demographic, rather than try to sell yourself to everyone. There will be audiences who just won’t be interested in your product. No child will want denture cream, for example, no matter what cuddly cartoon characters you may use to try to sell it. Having a core audience to market towards will yield better results, because you can focus more time, energy and personality into it.
Relying on Quantity Over Quality
Some say quantity is a quality all its own, yet that’s a highly impractical and uneconomic outlook to have with regards to advertising. Every commercial, every website banner, and every radio jingle must succeed in converting as many people as possible. So make sure that your marketing efforts rely on more than just blasting out messages out to the world in the hopes that at least some will stick. Constantly tailor your advertising strategy to ensure that you get as much mileage out of each message as possible.
Neglecting Social Media
We’re now in an age where social media forms a major part of our daily communications. Pretty much everyone in the country now has at least a Facebook page or a Twitter feed, so making use of those websites to gain maximum coverage is essential to any business’s marketing efforts. However, you also need to make sure you cover as much social media as possible if you don’t want to undermine those efforts. It’s not enough to have just a Facebook page or just a Youtube channel. Ideally, you should have at least five social networking sources all working simultaneously. In fact, you may want to look at having social media advertising having its own separate campaign for added benefit.
You Sell Only the Product, Not the Benefits
People generally don’t buy things simply for the sake of having them. It does happen on occasion, but not nearly frequently enough to base your marketing campaign around it. As such, you would not be doing yourself any favors if your advertising focused solely on what the product does rather than what it does for the customer. Thinking about your target audience, just what do the customers get out of your product? Why should they buy your product, and not that of your competitors?
Thinking more in terms of what the item you’re selling actually does for the people who buy it goes much further than simply banging the drum about how great the thing is in itself. Your product may be innovative, wild or luxurious, but why is it those things? What do those words actually mean practically?
Your Advertising Ends with the Commercial
Suppose a customer lands on your social page, sees an advert for a product, and asks a question about it? Do you keep silent, or do you try to engage with the customer?
Your advertising does not start and finish with your active marketing, such as the commercial or banner ads. It continues everywhere else for as long as you’re trying to sell the product. Customer relations are just one area in which you need to make sure your marketing continues to do its work. This is why ecommerce solutions like FastSpring include a certain amount of relationship management in their solutions — your responsibilities to your business and it’s clients persist for as long as you want that relationship to persist.
It’s impossible to know exactly how a marketing campaign will be received simply because people are hard to predict, and there are always outliers. What may work in one place at one time may not work in another place or another time. But with the above in mind, you should expect a better ROI when it comes to your advertising efforts.
Christian Mills is a freelance writer who contributes articles and advice on topics ranging from social issues to the challenges faced in the modern business world.