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Your Biggest Marketing Mistake! Its not What You Think It Is

Your Biggest Marketing Mistake! Its not What You Think It Is

When the subject of your biggest marketing mistake comes up most people tend to think of a poorly planned or designed ad campaign. If you look up ‘biggest marketing mistake’ on Google you get lists of all the biggest marketing fails which are all marketing campaigns of some sort that went wrong.

While poorly designed and executed marketing campaigns can certainly be considered mistakes, there is a mistake many businesses make before they even conceptualize their marketing campaign. Small businesses tend to make this mistake far more than bigger businesses and so limit their success.

The Biggest Marketing Mistake is Incorrect Estimation of Effort

It takes a lot of marketing, communication, promotion and effort to get people to take notice of your businesses and its products and services. Once you get noticed, it takes still more effort to get people to buy from you. Then there is the continual effort required to keep your clients in order to generate repeat business.

The single biggest marketing mistake you can make, before any other mistakes are made, is to underestimate the amount of effort that is required in terms of time, money, planning, expertise, etc. to achieve your goals.

We live in a digital age where effort is becoming a rarity as the popular mindset is to do less, automate more, use AI, aim for a life of leisure on a beach somewhere. But this is not how businesses are built. The most successful entrepreneurs in the world have put enormous amounts of effort into their business ventures and that is what has helped them achieve success.

In fact, as more people talk of 4 day work weeks and more automation and less effort, opportunities will arise for those willing to do more.

When it comes to marketing, small business owners in particular, fall into the trap of underestimating what is actually needed to grow their businesses.

You put an ad in a newspaper expecting the phone to ring off the hook but you get silence. Or you try running Google Ads for a month or two expecting an avalanche of leads. Perhaps you’ve just invested in a new website and are now looking yourself up on Google and wondering where the flood of search engine traffic is. Then there are the 5 posts you did on Facebook this week but where are the enquiries?

People’s attention spans are far shorter today and the amount of information they are bombarded with on a daily basis makes attracting attention difficult. A key marketing principle is repetition of message which requires persistence and requires, you guessed it, a lot of effort.

When you increase your marketing efforts it takes around 6 weeks to see any real results and to see any significant results can take 4 – 5 months. This means an ad or two in the paper, or a flyer drop once a month or a month’s worth of Google Ads are really not going to cut it.

And yes, it can be touch when you are hoping for results and nothing seems to be happening and it gets easy to say, well, the marketing is just not working. In reality, it is more likely the case that your marketing campaign as just not run for long enough.

How to Improve Your Estimation of Effort

Now there are many ways to create better marketing campaigns but before you do this you have to estimate how much effort is actually needed to reach your goals.

Broadly speaking there are two ways to increase your estimation of effort:

  1. Estimate how much effort you need to reach or goals and then 10x it. – It always takes far more work than you think.
  2. Make your goals a lot bigger – This automatically forces you to increase your estimation of effort.

Of the above two approaches, the second one is by far the best.

If your goal is to open a specialist bakery in a large mall, then why not make your goal to open your bakery in 10 malls. The amount of effort required suddenly has to go up enormously. While 10 malls may not be achievable, the additional effort you are exerting will make opening a single bakery far more likely to happen and you might even open 2 or 3 which would be batter than your original goal.

The same thinking goes for your sales goals. If you are targeting R 250 000 in new sales, why not target R 2.5 million in sales. It seems crazy to aim so high, and for many of us, thinking this way does not come naturally and often attracts comments like, “Be realistic” or “Don’t aim so high, you will set yourself up for disappointment”.

People who try to limit your thinking or reach do so because they themselves have given up or they simply have a hidden desire to keep you down.
Gordon Wridgway – SME Rocket
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Even if you fail to achieve a 10x goal, you will certainly achieve more success than if you were aiming for a much small goal. There isn’t a big sense of achievement when it comes to small goals and nothing worth while was ever achieved with just a small amount of effort.

So create bigger goals, put in more effort that you think possible, play the game with everything you’ve got, win or lose. With the correct estimation of effort you will not only avoid making the biggest marketing mistake there is but you will find a renewed sense of purpose and enjoyment for life.

Further reading: Think Big, Then Think Even Bigger!

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