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Marketing: Top 10 Small Business Marketing Mistakes

Marketing is a contest for people's attention. Traditional mass marketing fights for people's attention by interrupting them. A 30-second spot interrupts your favourite TV show, a telemarketer calls right when you are sitting down to dinner. In the past, this has been quite effective. But now, there's been a paradigm shift. There's too much information - too much going on - and we're being overloaded with interruptions.

Last year, the average consumer saw or heard over 1 million marketing messages - that's close to 3,000 per day. No one can pay attention to that many distractions. So what consumers have started to do is ignore them. So how does a small business owner combat that?

Most small business owners complain that "Nobody knows who we are or what we do!" I know the answer to that predicament: "They don't tell anyone!" And if they are marketing and promoting - they are not doing it effectively. They are forgetting who their customer is (target market) and they give little consideration to how to reach them.

Most companies market haphazardly. They are drawn in a million marketing directions and often fail to create a targeted marketing strategy.

Just like The David Letterman Show - Here's a list of Top Ten Small Business Marketing Mistakes:

1. A different logo, look and tagline with every promotional piece

2. Believing one or two print ads will give a business instant success

3. Not hiring professionals to do a professional job

4. Forgetting to make the most of a first impression

5. Not understanding, defining or remembering your target market

6. Creating a marketing plan but never looking at it or implementing it

7. Neglecting to track marketing dollars - return on investment

8. Ineffective use of time and money with networking and charitable giving

9. Selling features not solutions, benefits and value to the customer

10. Not reserving their domain/URL

So please take the time to evaluate last year's marketing plan and create a new improved better bang for your buck marketing plan for 2008. And be sure to consider these mistakes and learn from them.

In closing, my prediction for 2008 - businesses that make the most of technology will see their marketing efforts pay long term dividends.

Planning is the key to effective marketing - but it doesn't have to be complicated or costly.


Kimberly Dawson of Blue Banana Marketing, Ontario, Canada, helps small business cut through the confusion amassed by so many marketing options. She helps entrepreneurs better understand and reach their target markets by more effective utilization of limited marketing dollars.

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