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Avoid Costly Marketing Mistakes, Part 1

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

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In virtually every area of business, entrepreneurs find pitfallsalong the way. Marketing is no exception. Regardless of theindustry, time and again owners of companies large and small makethe same costly mistakes. Avoid these mistakes, and you'll saveenergy, disappointment-and a substantial amount of money:

1. Putting all your eggs in one basket. If you spend your entiremarketing budget on just one method of promoting your business, youwon't realize the highest return on your investment.Diversifying your efforts will increase the frequency and reach ofyour messages and stretch your marketing dollars.

2. Not measuring results. Measuring the results of yourmarketing efforts allows you to reinvest in vehicles that areworking-and ditch those that aren't. Try tactics like surveys,coded coupons, in-store response cards or focus groups to find outhow well your messages are being received.

3. Firing before you take aim. If you find yourself throwingmoney at every promotional opportunity, take a step back andrealize the benefits of planning. Set objectives, define theaudience you wish to reach and set your budget over the next six to12 months. Once you have a plan, you'll realize the value ofmultiple advertising insertions, elimination of vendor rush chargesand prevention of unwise purchasing decisions-like those 15,000imprinted kitchen magnets that seemed like such a good idea at thetime.

4. Eliminating marketing efforts when things get tight. Whencash flow slows, advertising, direct mail and other forms ofmarketing are the easiest expenses to reduce, right? But cut these,and you eliminate the very activities that will bring in newcustomers to turn your business around. Keep your communicationgoing, even when times get tough.

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