Most businesses not meeting their growth objectives are making one or more of these 12 mistakes…

Mistake #1: Failing To Have A Marketing Plan…

The first mistake a business will make is not having a marketing plan. Most businesses have a marketing treatise, but not a plan.

Their marketing plan is created once, consulted rarely, and never becomes part of a working document.

But if the plan that drives growth isn’t part of weekly management, how will it be reached?
A marketing plan is not a document that sits on a shelf. It sits on the desk, and gets opened daily, or at least weekly.

This is what’s in a Strategy and Action marketing plan…

1. A summary of your market research findings
2. A summary of your competitor research findings
3. A summary of your SWOT analysis
4. Key issues arising from all of these that chart the big picture
5. The Unique Selling Proposition or core market focus, around which all company activities can be judged
6. A budget with projected sales, projected expenses, on a monthly basis, for the next 5 years
7. Last month’s actual incomes and expenses
8. Every month’s new-customer acquisition activities for the next 5 years
9. Every month’s existing-customer retention activities for the next 5 years
10. A list of the key staff and their responsibilities within this 5 year plan
11. Minutes from the weekly meetings that drive this plan

If you’re thinking this marketing plan mustn’t look like a spiral-bound document, you’re right.
It’s more likely to be a light folder of core material, but growing in weekly minutes.

Importantly, it will contain what you know of the situation your business is in, where you’re going, and how you’re faring in getting there.

…It’s a navigation tool.

Mistake #2: Failing To Focus On The Right Customer…

Failing to focus on the right customer is surprisingly common because it’s both a strategic issue and an execution issue.


Three questions…

Do you know who your most profitable, available and contactable potential customers are? Do you actively source these customers in preference to others? Do you ensure your staff do the same?

It’s possible to increase business by merely selecting certain targets and deselecting others.
Rank your customers from top to bottom in terms of their cumulative value to you.

Then profile your top 20% by demographics (like age, sex, occupation and location) and business factors (industry, employees, turnover, products and services required).

Chances are these top 20%, when profiled, are a map of the people you should be targeting.
Profile the bottom 20% and you probably have the opposite… the profile of customer not to target if the time and resources spent doing so are at the expense of your top 20% profile.


Even when you’re consciously choosing to target certain customers, it’s very common not to reflect this in the marketing support material, like brochures, letters, websites and advertising.
Do not worry if you fail to appeal to the wrong people because you have adequately targeted the right people.

There are 3 executions to re-evaluate from this perspective…

1. Headlines
Make sure they target your top 20% profile, and the needs and language of that profile.
2. Website Homepage
These days, your homepage is your retail front and Yellow Pages listing rolled up into one critically important reference. Make sure it targets the right people
3. Offers
Your offers are the instrument of response-generation. These must be appeals that work to gain your chosen profile.

…Focus on the right customer and the same expenditure can yield more revenue per dollar.

Mistake #3: Failing To Know Your Customer’s Needs…

Our own estimate suggests that only about 20% of businesses have an adequate understanding of their customers’ needs.

So despite your knowledge and success to-date, there’s a one in five chance that you do not know enough about three aspects of your customers… their likes, their dislikes and their unmet wish-list.

But you’re in good company… the other three in every five!

There are two reasons why businesses fail to understand their customers’ needs…

1. They assume that transacting with customers is enough to gain an understanding of them, and that the very transaction itself is proof of an understanding.
2. They assume that their customers are not changing, or that competitors aren’t changing.
Both of these are wrong.

There are two ways to investigate your customers… Qualitative research and Quantitative research.

Qualitative research is where you interview them, and your questions are open-ended, allowing deeper and varying answers. These interviews give you depth, but it’s difficult and time-consuming, so you tend not to get a lot of people through this style of research.

Quantitative research is about surveys. You structure your questions around options, lists, rankings and other ways of giving limited choices.

It forces your customers to decide from answers that are meaningful to you.

It’s easier to get a lot of people through this style of research. You get more breadth and less depth.

There are three aspects of your customers to proactively investigate.

Likes… Find out what your customers like about you, your product or service, transacting with you, and what they like about your competitors.

Dislikes… Obviously what they do not like about you and your competitors.

Unmet wish list… The things that they wish a company like yours would do or offer, but which nobody is doing or offering.

When you know these, you’ll virtually have a blueprint to getting and keeping customers.

Mistake #4: Failing To Have A Clear Unique Selling Proposition…

A USP is a powerful marketing asset, but first let’s define it.

A slogan is a catchy phrase that attempts to position a company. A USP is different because it makes, or implies, a real proposition… it invites action. What’s more, it attempts to sell in that suggestion. And further still, it attempts to be unique, different from any other slogan, offer or positioning.