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Avoid Costly Marketing Mistakes, Part 2

Business mistakes happen, but they don't have to happen to you. Here are the last four marketing mistakes you need to avoid.

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5. Not getting help when you need it. If you find you're too busy to handle your marketing efforts or that your materials aren't looking as professional as they should, it's time to call in the reinforcements. Hire a full- or part-time employee, a marketing or public relations agency, or an independent business consultant, but make sure you're getting the message out in a manner that reflects your business.

6. Fixing programs that aren't broken. If your advertising campaign or direct-mail program is producing results, don't change it just for the sake of changing it. Once you see returns slow down, look for new approaches, but always test them before implementing changes on a full scale.

7. Allowing ego to get in the way of common sense. Ego tempts very bright people to do very dumb things. Your marketing decisions should be based on factors that will positively impact some area of your business--usually its bottom line. Hiring an expensive multinational agency for a small account, sacrificing valuable frequency for full-page advertising, and buying blanket mailing lists without matching criteria to your customer profile are all examples of an ego that's sabotaging effectiveness.

8. Relying on hunches. It came to you in the shower: the Big Idea for promoting your business. So you put all your marketing dollars into, for instance, painting your delivery trucks with neon colors. Before you blow your money on hunches, however, do your homework. Talk to your customers and others who may have done something similar. Then test your theory by trying a small-scale version of the Big Idea. If the initial results are promising, go full-steam ahead. If not, you've saved yourself a big neon headache.

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