Recently, I wrote about the importance of ensuring your sales and marketing have a synergistic relationship. If one is out of balance, the other one also can lose its overall effectiveness and impact. I want to share with you eight of the biggest marketing mistakes I witness business owners in our industry making every single day. Don’t let these common mistakes have a negative impact on your business and profitability.


1. Being a generalist.

A few weeks ago, I had an experience with an advertising agency that was pretty crazy. I believe agencies can be helpful when it comes to media buying, but can’t always be counted on to truly understand marketing or our industry. 

I was having a phone/web combo presentation with a local ad agency about what it might be able to do for my service business in Grand Junction, Colo. The first page of the presentation appeared on my computer screen and the name of my company was spelled incorrectly! That is just a side note, however. 

The real issue is the agency rep never asked a single question about my business goals and then proceeded to refer to his agency as being a “generalist”— and he was proud of that fact! Needless to say, I did not hire his company and I let him know why. Trying to be everything to everyone is marketing suicide. Know your market, know your client and then speak his language. Don’t use generalizations; always talk specifically to your target customer.


2. Doing what your competition does.

Just because your competition is doing something doesn’t mean it’s working for them, so don’t be a follower. You have no idea if they are effectively tracking their marketing, plus you want to avoid any market confusion. Tracking things for yourself is the only way to know if your marketing is truly working. That corresponds to mistake No. 3 …


3. Failing to test and track.

Unless you enjoy throwing your marketing dollars away like gambling at a Las Vegas slot machine, you need to be extremely focused on how each of your marketing pieces is tracking and the origin of each lead. The more you track, the more you can fully understand your clients and which marketing pieces are appealing to them. 
Effective tracking software is available that makes this a breeze. Be sure your customer service representatives are asking customers where they heard about the company during each call, and track all your online leads.


4. Having ‘marketing A.D.D.’

Tracking your online leads brings me to mistake No. 4 because technology has led to what I call “marketing A.D.D,” where business owners can’t seem to focus on one thing at a time. They jump from trying one marketing concept to another without giving anything a fair chance. 
I’m not saying you shouldn’t abandon something that isn’t working; just be sure to have the evidence before you desert a strategy that could work well with a little time or tweaking. There will always be “the next new thing,” but it isn’t always “the best new thing.” Jumping from one concept to another leads to a lack of focus and consistency, both of which are crucial to marketing success.


5. Not communicating with clients consistently.

I hate to break it to you, but your clients aren’t thinking about you and your company. They are busy with all the things going on in their lives, so you have to make an effort to stay in front of them. You might think that if they had a good experience with your company in the past, you will be the first one they call when they have the need, but studies have shown this isn’t always the case. 
People forget — even about a really good experience. Doing things such as sending monthly newsletters and consistently providing valuable information on social media helps you stay in front of your clients and positions you as the expert in your market.


6. Not using technology to its fullest.

Social media, email, effective websites, data analytics, marketing automation and sophisticated tracking software are tools at our fingertips in today’s rapidly advancing world. The question is: What are you doing to maximize these resources? Not only will they assist with your marketing, these tools can help you provide a higher level of client service and connection, as well as understand more about who your target clients are.


7. Failing to define your target clients.

The fastest way to waste your marketing dollars is failure to understand precisely who you are targeting. How do you determine your ideal client? First, look at your current client base and decide who your perfect client is right now. What is her income level, age range, lifestyle, occupation and marital status? Consider her buying habits and even what neighborhood she lives in. Create a profile of this client and from there you can understand more about how to talk to her in the language she can relate to.


8. Not focusing on your client’s needs/not speaking her language.

If you don’t define your perfect client, how can you speak to her effectively? The fact is, people buy from companies they feel understand them, so how can you show your clients you realize what they want and need? Simply by using words and images in your marketing that are relatable to their lifestyle and demographic. 
If you are targeting clients in a higher-end neighborhood, make sure to promote the things that matter to them and show images of people who dress and look like them. This helps establish trust and connection in the clients’ minds, creating the perception your company is relatable and “gets” them. 
Also, stay away from using too much industry speak. You don’t need to try to look smart by using technical jargon they don’t understand. You want them to recognize the words you’re saying. Remember: You aren’t Starbucks, a giant company that has created its own language. When it comes to your company, if people don’t understand you, they don’t buy from you, and this starts with your marketing.
As you examine your marketing strategies, make sure you aren’t doing these eight things. Know who you are — and who you want to be — as a business, know who your clients are, track, focus and always be looking for new areas of opportunity. As you do this, your marketing will be stronger than ever, support increased sales and improve your profitability.