3 cheers for being brilliant at the marketing basics

Article by Dee Blick

The Marketing Gym

A few weeks ago I had the honour of being a keynote speaker at the British Franchise Association conference. The theme of my talk - being brilliant at the marketing basics- is one that I will be sharing with you in a series of practical tips - in my exclusive not- to- be- seen- anywhere- else marketing columns for whichfranchise.com. I will be sharing tips that apply whether you’re a franchisor, franchisee or supply services to franchisors.

I’ve met many business owners in the last 30 years, searching for that elusive marketing miracle at the end of the rainbow; the tool or tactic that will somehow transform the fortunes of their business and lead to an army of customers beating a path to their door. I don't want to be a damp squib but in my experience there’s rarely one magic marketing solution. Instead, marketing success, something that I define as ‘acquiring and retaining high-value customers on a shoestring budget’, can only be attained if you are willing to put the hard yards in, to become marketing savvy and commit to building marketing campaigns as opposed to pinning your hopes on one off hits.

So, in this my very first column let me share with you the most common marketing mistakes I see business owners make. I'm a great believer that if you are aware of the mistakes, you don't have to put them into practice or, if you recognise they are mistakes you’re making now you can stop them in their tracks!

Business owners select a marketing activity for reasons other than because it effectively reaches the customers they want to engage with. One example is choosing to advertise in a local magazine because it's quick and easy, rather than because it is read by their target audiences.

Business owners put all their marketing eggs in the one basket. Rather than exploring the different ways in which to communicate with their potential customers, they pick one activity, such as distributing flyers, and stick with it.

Business owners overspend on marketing. Although they may allocate certain funds for marketing their business, they fail to keep control of this budget. Their marketing activity is driven by panic not planning. ‘Sales are slowing down so I'd better start doing something.’ ‘I've noticed my competitors becoming more active. I'd better get myself into gear.’

Insufficient time and commitment is given to marketing. It is treated as a bit of an afterthought when it should be a priority.

The visual representation of the business is poor. Business cards, sales literature and website are shabby and present an unprofessional impression to the customer. The customer arrives at the conclusion that the business is not to be trusted.

The business owner is going through the marketing motions. Communications bear the hallmarks of "cut and paste-itis” where large slabs of existing text (usually from the website) are unceremoniously plonked into sales letters, adverts and flyers. Customers and prospects are uninspired and lack the motivation to act.

Cold prospects are communicated with just once. A person will rarely make the decision to do business with you at the very first asking. Despite this, many business owners will engage with a cold prospect just the once only to then declare the exercise a waste of time when the cold prospect fails to buy.

I'll be back in September with top tips on how you can plan fantastic campaigns using a powerful marketing tool that I use without fail.

Dee Blick FCIM is the author of The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Book

Last Updated: 17-November-2015