2 min read

Five Marketing Errors

Consultant Michael Hepworth, who produces The StreetSmart Marketer newsletter, urges companies to avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Zebra Marketing. Virtually nothing distinguishes one zebra from another. A lot of companies say pretty much the same things about themselves, which means customers can’t see any distinguishing features. So they go for the one thing they can see: Price. “ You need to be very clear about why you’re unique,” says Hepworth.
  2. Monkey Trap Marketing. In southern Africa, locals catch monkeys by putting peanuts in a hollow gourd. A monkey grabs the food but can’t get its fist out through the small hole. Similarly, small companies refuse to let go of any business, even if it isn’t in their specialty. Lesson: When you’re everything to everybody, you end up being nothing to nobody.
  3. The Dating Technique. Some men just walk up to women and proposition them. A lot of marketers are like that – they have no finesse. No-one wants to get married on the first date. ”You need to nurture customers,” says Hepworth. “People try to move too quickly through the sale. People need time to get to know you and trust you.”
  4. Butterfly marketing. Most sales people tend to flit from one prospect to the next; if they’re not interested, they move on. Instead, they need to get customers to spend more on each purchase.
  5. Using the wrong bait. Marketing is like fishing, Hepworth believes. When you know who the ideal customer is, there is an ideal bait for that customer. The idea is to get them talking, to build trust and rapport. If what you’re selling is difficult to sell, sell something easier first – for example, a reseller focusing on small consulting companies could offer a free report on preventing computer failure, or how to avoid getting on spammers’ lists. Then follow up to see if the prospect got the information, and to ask if it was useful. But, Hepworth cautioned, “If you’re not providing value, you’re a pest.”