Five Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Article by:
Suhail Algosaibi EO Bahrain
Suhail Algosaibi
EO Bahrain

As a marketer, consultant and business mentor, I have had dozens of conversations with aspiring startup entrepreneurs over the years. Along the way, I’ve noticed that the same marketing mistakes kept coming up over and over again; mistakes that can stall an entrepreneur’s journey and prevent his or her business from achieving success and significance. Here are five common mistakes I’ve seen entrepreneurs make when it comes to marketing their businesses:

  • Thinking of everything except how to get customers. I’ve seen this one happen a lot. The entrepreneur will think of the logo, the shop design and layout, hiring new staff, the website— everything but the most crucial activity: marketing! Several years ago, I flirted with the idea of starting a children’s barber shop. A family friend had a similar idea, and we talked about the possibility of a partnership. Most of my thoughts about the potential new business were about how to attract families and how to stand out in the market. Most of her energy went into the design, colour scheme and even the fabric of the chairs! Had she done it on her own, I doubt the concept would have survived, as her business priorities were off.

  • Not knowing who their target customer is. This is another common marketing misstep. An entrepreneur falls in love with a business idea and rushes to implement it before thinking about the potential size of the market, who they’re trying to target and how often they should target them. Here’s a big lesson learned: If you try to appeal to everyone, you will end up attracting no one. It’s important to think about who your target customer is: What’s their age? Income level? Where do they live? Do they have any hobbies? Are there enough of them to justify your business venture? Decide who to target before taking action.

  • Not having anything unique about their business. It’s happened more than once that I’ve sat in a coffee shop not knowing if it’s a Costa, Starbucks, Coffee Republic or another chain. A lack of uniqueness is a dangerous thing, and it scares me when I see a startup entrepreneur who’s not giving enough thought to how he will distinguish his business from the competition. Every startup should have what marketers call a “USP,” or a unique selling proposition. A USP can be based on positioning, price, ingredients, size, hours of operation, location, etc. Ensuring your business sticks out from the competition will drive the growth and success you’re seeking.

  • Not having a relationship with the customer. A wise marketing guru once said: “You make a sale to get a new customer, not to make a profit on the first sale.” A good marketer will often spend a lot to get a customer, often sacrificing the profits of the initial sale. But the real profits come from the continuous purchases the customer makes over an extended period of time. The purpose of the initial transaction is to gain a customer and establish a long-term relationship. After the initial purchase, you have to maintain that relationship by communicating with the customer through email, social media, newsletters, postcards and special offers, strengthening the bond and leading to more sales and profits in the long term.

  • Having too few sources of customers. When I teach marketing at seminars, I talk about a concept I developed called the “Marketing Squid.” A squid has 10 tentacles, and it needs each one to survive. Imagine if it had only one or two tentacles … it wouldn’t be able to move properly and catch its prey. The squid represents your business. If you have only one or two sources of customers (tentacles), your business won’t survive in the long term. You need multiple sources of customers (i.e., multiple marketing activities) to survive and thrive. I tell my students to diversify their marketing efforts; consider print, radio and television advertising, as well as direct mail, marketing joint ventures and PR. Never be dependent on just one or two key sources.

  • Suhail Algosaibi is a Bahraini serial entrepreneur, consultant, startup mentor, writer and activist. He is the owner of the DreamBody Centre, a 23-minute weight loss and fitness concept he plans on franchising around the world. Fun fact: Suhail is a certified pranic healer! Contact Suhail at [email protected].​​

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