Marketing Mistakes You'd be Smart to Avoid
by Susan Dunn

1. Resting on your laurels.

Just because you have what you think is a good marketing plan in place today doesn’t mean it’ll be right tomorrow. The pace today is accelerated and you can’t afford to coast. Research constantly what your competition is doing. Surf the Internet!

2. Hype.

We recognize hype. Being superficial and underestimating the intelligence of the consumer is first of all poor taste, and second of all, bad business.

3. Not having an R&D team, focus group or reliable feedback source.

Test your ideas on others, or have a marketing coach. There are some wonderful ads out there that people remember, but they don’t remember the name of the product/company. For example, there was a great ad a while ago that talked about “the Bank of the Northern Hemisphere.” Very clever. Testing showed that people remember it, but they didn’t remember the name of the bank they were supposed to be using instead.

4. Not trusting your marketing person.

If you hire someone to do your marketing, hire someone you trust and then let them do their job. Good marketing requires keen instincts, experience and flexibility.

5. Not giving it time to work.

It’s an adage in marketing that if you’re going to do something, do it at least 3 times. They say it takes 7 times for a person to “bite” re: an offer or ad by email. The formula is – when you’re sick and tired of it, the public is just beginning to get the message.

6. Being timid.

There really is no such thing as bad publicity, and things will happen. Don’t let it slow you down. Some years ago I was marketing a complex and the manager miscommunicated an “early bird special.” The unfortunate incident made the front page of the paper. A year later, the complex was filled to capacity. People remember the name of the complex and not the details of the misadventure.

7. Not being curious.

If you have an eZine edition that had a large number of click-throughs, don’t just pat yourself on the back, ask yourself why. Figure out what was different about it – was it on a special day? Was there something different – more graphics or less? A catchy subject line? Here’s a radical idea – survey the people who clicked through and ask them why they did!

8. Thinking you have to pay for advertising.

Advertising doesn’t work well for some fields – coaching is one of them. There are many avenues for free publicity that can bring you consumers and clients. Press releases are one. Make it known to the press that you’re available top comment on newsworthy topics. Send press releases when you have something interesting going on.

9. Leaving it at home.

The best business card in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t take it with you.

10. Following the rules.

One rule is to be “brief.” I recommend that you say what you need to say. One of the most effective mailers a national insurance company ever sent out was a 5-page letter. Know the rules so you know how and when to break them.

Susan Dunn, M.A., is an executive coach, speaker, writer, and author of a series of ebooks on emotional intelligence. She is dedicated to bringing EQ into the workplace with seminars and workshops, individual coaching, and adjunctive distance learning courses. Visit her on the web at and for a free ezine about EQ in the workplace. Please put "EQ" in the subject line.

Many more articles on Sales & Marketing in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2003 - 2004 by Susan Dunn. All rights reserved.

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