The 3 Biggest Marketing Recipes for Failure and How You Can Avoid Them

Marketing Strategy

This post is part of the “Marketing Recipes for Failure” Series.


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"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

Fact: According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years. Now that’s a very scary and unfortunate statistic and in my opinion, one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail or underachieve is the lack of effective marketing. Therefore, what I’d like to do in part 1 of this 4-part article series is to expose to you what not to do with your approach to marketing. In the subsequent articles that follow, I will break down each one of the 3, as I call them, ‘marketing recipes for failure’ and share what to do to avoid them. So without further adieu, here is what I believe are the 3 most common and biggest small business ‘marketing recipes for failure’:

Casual Marketing

Let’s start out by defining exactly what ‘casual marketing’ is.

In a nutshell, it’s trying a marketing tactic once, maybe twice, and when you don’t see immediate or expected results, you drop that marketing tactic and either try something else or worse yet don’t do any marketing for a while – hoping clients will just magically appear.

This is the old ‘build it and they will come’ disorder.

I don’t know if you’re one of the charmed ones or not, but sitting and waiting for clients to show up has never worked for me or anyone I know of.

Essentially it means spraying your marketing message out to anyone and everyone and hoping that the right someone will immediately come knocking at your door. In the online world of the Internet we call this technique spamming and it’s illegal in that world.

So why do so many small businesses use this approach in the offline world?

This sort of untargeted and in my opinion inappropriate marketing is a huge time and money drain that needs to be plugged up immediately if a small business is to succeed.

Did you ever hear of the phrase ‘wing it’?

How about the old cliché ‘flying by the seat of your pants’?

Now there’s a time and a place for unplanned, spur-of-the-moment action, however it should not be the main approach to your marketing. Lack of a solid marketing plan and/or the lack of discipline to follow it are typically the driving forces behind this problem.

So let’s be honest now, are you guilty of using any of these ‘marketing recipes for failure’?

I admit it; I had been guilty in the past and have learned some hard lessons because of it.

If you are guilty, first off go easy on yourself. The past is the past; it’s over and done with.

It’s what you do with your marketing from this moment forward that will ultimately determine the success of your business!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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