Back in the 1800s, Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, extensive traveler and avid beard enthusiast, coined the term “natural selection.” Science has since accepted it as one of the mechanisms of evolution whereby nature kills off the dumbest of critters while the smartest (Galapagos finches who invest in all-natural beak enhancements, perhaps) survive.
But unlike animals, who just do what animals do and let the evolutionary chips fall where they may, people do a lot of stupid stuff. Thanks to the glory of the Internet, there are even websites where you can read and watch it all. Take for example the Darwin Awards. Spend a few minutes there and you may think twice before riding without a helmet, spray-painting your face gold, or spot welding a gas tanker. However, these imprudent tales will not deter you from royally screwing up your marketing.
Consider the following mistakes we’ve deemed the stupidest—and learn how to avoid them.
1. Believing “More” is Always “Better”
If you have more money than Carlos Slim, who is the richest man in the world, then by all means spend your marketing dollars on high-priced television, radio and print media ads. Why not, you have plenty of cash to burn. You’ll feel cool. Your Call of Duty buddies will think you’re cool. But the rest of us will think your not that cool because your wasting your money. In the majority of cases, success is not about spending more—it’s about spending smarter.
Whether you’re running a mom and pop shop or a Fortune 500 company, you can best access today’s diverse audiences through highly targeted digital marketing campaigns. From web-based ads to email marketing campaigns, these tools are effective, affordable and Darwin approved.
2. Pulling the Lever
Marketing is not like playing a slot machine in Vegas. There’s a lot more to it than dropping in quarters and pulling a lever. If you think you can invest a few bucks, send one email or place one ad, and then sit back with your proverbial bucket ready for a deluge of winnings, you’re not the sharpest tool in Darwin’s shed.
Successful marketing requires planning and development, careful implementation, consistency, repetition and constant change. A well crafted strategy is essential. And that strategy can’t be managed like a bad case of diarrhea. If it sounds like too much to handle, use the brains your mama gave you and outsource your campaign to a managed email marketing service company.
3. Failing to Measure
Every man has measured how tall he is at one time or another—even though most women will tell you that size is not important. It has nothing to do with your height and little to do with attraction. If genetics provided you with an average or even less than average height, natural selection will not lead to the eventual extinction of your family line.
However, failing to measure the results of your marketing efforts could damage your business. Make sure you have a plan in place to track the number of responses and actual sales any advertisement generates. Compare approaches and you can avoid wasting marketing dollars on duds.
4. Cutting the Budget
The experts keep telling us that the economy is improving. Unemployment is holding steady. Home prices are increasing, and men are buying new underwear. However, we understand that many small businesses are still feeling the pinch of the recessions slow recovery. Unfortunately, when executives tighten their belts, they often slash marketing budgets.
In reality, marketing is the last place any business should cut back—unless they want to go the way of the dodo. When cash flow is slow, you need to reach out to new prospects and retain current customers more than ever. Remember, digital marketing, such as an email campaign, allows you to spend even the tiniest budget more intelligently.
5. Falling for the Con
The floundering economy has given birth to more than the Octomom, Kate Gosselin and Michelle Duggar combined—though rather than babies, it has squeezed thousands of kicking and screaming consultants out of its clown car. You can now find these “professionals” everywhere, proclaiming their sales and marketing prowess with all the finesse of a “Buy Here-Pay Here” used car salesman.
Sure, you might find that some may actually know what they are doing, but fall for the con of one who doesn’t and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself. Always lay out clear expectations regarding costs, timelines and results. Check references and ask about the quality and reliability of delivered work. When in doubt, choose a full service marketing company with a proven track record.
Darwin published his theory of evolution in the 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. Recognized as a preeminent scientist and one of history’s most influential men, England gave him a nobleman’s funeral in 1882 and buried him near Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey. Today, his name lives on in conjunction with acts of the utmost stupidity in the Darwin Awards. Don’t let your marketing become an award nominee or winner.