Most marketing blunders can be traced directly to a lack of audience knowledge and forget to put them first. Audiences and customers want to know what’s in it for them and want to know that you get them. They do not want to be confused by your message and feel unheard. Here are some famous marketing blunders that we can learn from:
- Coke versus New Coke: The audience liked regular coke, there was no complaint about the flavor and they had a large market share. New Coke is a good example of not listening to your audience and moving in your own direction without any thought. You must keep your audience in mind when you are creating any type of product.
Coke customers were already happy.
- Badly Named Diet Candy: In the 70s a very popular diet candy called Ayds came onto the market. Shortly after, in the early 80s, a horrible disease called AIDS was sweeping the nation. If the makers had kept their ears to the ground regarding trends in the news, they could have quietly changed their name and marketed the candy with the new name.
- Bad Imagery: Choosing the right images for your marketing campaigns are very important. Think about what happened to The Beatles, ‘Yesterday and Today’ Album with their poor choice of cover. They got rid of the chopped up bloody dolls and switched album covers after the backlash. Again, you have to know your audience. Obviously chopped up and bloody babies is not a good image for The Beatles’ audience. **Link to original cover – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yesterday_and_Today#/media/File:The_Beatles_-_Butcher_Cover.jpg
- Underestimating the Creepy Factor: You’ve seen the Burger ‘King’ commercials, right? The King comes into a person’s room, in their beds, and in otherwise private moments, and it is just wrong and creepy. The consensus for this commercial was ‘ick’ and soon the King was gone. Humor is a good thing to use, but you must understand your audience and the type of humor they have.
- Being Insensitive to Various Groups: In the famous Snickers commercial, Mr. T. bullies and makes fun of a speed walker for his choice of exercise and literally shoots him with Snickers bars. This commercial was not funny and did not bring home the message of a yummy, filling, peanut-filled snack to give you energy. Instead, it made people angry and they did not even notice the product. Your audience is first; product placement needs to make them feel good about using it.
- Going Too Far with a Joke: You are likely familiar with Skittles Pox and while those commercials are funny, the first foray into “Touch the Rainbow” campaigns was not as funny. A commercial about a man who can not touch anything, including his grandson due to turning everything into Skittles is not funny. It would be funnier if non-living things turned to Skittles instead of killing people. Death never translates well in marketing messages.
- Using Bad Puns as Marketing: Maybe it was on purpose, maybe not, but when Disney Garden came out with Hannah Montana ‘Red Cherries,’ it did not go over too well. It is very important to ensure that your message is not made into a bad joke. This, of course, starts with knowing your audience, understanding modern meanings for words, and testing your message.
Most marketing companies do not mean to make bad puns, turn their company into a joke, or have the point of their advertisements missed altogether. But, it does happen. And as you can see, it happens to large corporations with experts who should know better. Maybe it just goes to show that you can not get to know your audience enough, or keep your ear to the ground enough, or test your messages enough.
Most shoppers are picky these days. In the history of business, it has never been harder to get someone to buy from you, but when you do, it can be easy to get them to buy again, and again. People are turned off by the hard sell and by many of the tactics used by professional sellers. But, the fact is that some of the tactics work. If they did not work, people would not do them. Here are a few tried-and-true practices you can use to turn shoppers into buyers.
- Nurture the Relationship – Get them to sign up for an email list to receive news about your products and or services. This works for bricks-and-mortar businesses and digital businesses alike. People like feeling special and getting special notice of sales and events happening surrounding the products they like.
- Automate Your Processes – Thankfully, you can put things on autopilot with the right email marketing software like Infusionsoft. These systems allow you to send people information automatically, leading them through the buying cycle with information that they long for.
- Consider Pop-Ups – Yes, some people hate them, but the truth is they DO work. They increase sales by more than 20% in some cases. You can make beautiful pop-ups using software like ThriveThemes.com, which helps you create converting sales pages and pop-ups.
- Retarget Website Visitors – A really useful feature of online marketing today is the ability to put a cookie on your web site that any visitors automatically receive on their computer. Then when they go to Facebook or Google, the things they left in their cart, or the things they looked at, are shown to them again.
- Always Include a CTA – You would be surprised at how many people forget the CTA. This includes actual bricks-and-mortar stores. If a sales person does not ask for the sale, or you do not send them a reminder of what they want, you may not make the sale.
- Incentivize Your Sales Process – Give your customers incentives to buy. The more they buy, the larger the discount. Let them have an opportunity with each purchase to win their purchase. Give the 1000th buyer a prize!
- Encourage Referrals – Ask current customers to recommend and refer their friends and family and earn incentives. You can do it by points, by monetary reward or any number of ways, but make sure they want to refer you and that they are real customers.
- Add a Live Chat – When you sell high-priced items, it is a good idea to have a live chat open at least part of the day to help people with questions that they have. A live chat can push shoppers over the edge to purchasing.
Turning picky shoppers into buyers will work on all your customers and future customers. It is important to know your audience and then leave no stone unturned to make those sales effortless.
Networking is one of the cornerstone elements of a business. In today’s world, even if you only have only an online business, you should not overlook your local market. Networking locally will likely be an amazing way to jump-start your business. It doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product or a service; there are people local to you who likely need and want what you are offering. What is more, is that it is easier to market to local people than you think.
- BNI – Business Networking International is a networking group that enables local people to get together to help refer business to each other. Usually, the way it works is that only one person representing each type of business is in each networking group. There is a steep fee for being involved, but most people who stick to it report that it is worth it.
- Chamber of Commerce – Your local Chamber can offer you a lot more than you might think. As an owner of any type of business, there is a special need for your involvement in your chamber. You can go to business after-hours events, volunteer to help with ribbon cuttings, send out flyers to other business owners and more.
- Niche Groups – Even locally you will find some niche groups such as local blogger clubs, network meetings and more that can help you find like-minded individuals or customers. You can even start your own niche groups.
- Meetup – Meetup is an online service that helps you meet with people locally. You can find a lot of groups and events via this service that is relevant to your local networking needs.
- Local Mastermind Groups – Look through your local college or university to find local mastermind groups that can help you reach the next level in your business. If you are a woman, look for women-owned business networks.
- Teach a Course – Why not start your own networking events by teaching a course to others? You can usually rent a space relevantly inexpensively; place an advertisement in your local newspaper and via other networking groups to teach something important to local people.
- Host a Workshop – Once you get involved, other people will ask you to host workshops with them. Joining forces with others is always helpful and can help you get known as a local expert.
- Sponsor an Event – There are many local events that need sponsors. This can cost a little bit of money, but having your business name as a sponsor for a major event in your town can make a huge difference in brand awareness.
- Volunteer for a Cause – While you should not volunteer only to get your name out there, it is still a good way to add to the knowledge others have about you. Choose a cause you like without thought to sales, but only to help the local community get to know you while you do something helpful for a cause you care about.
Networking your business or online business locally can help you either get jump-started or help you get out of your comfort zone to become a well-known expert in your niche.