Skip to main content

Foundational Marketing Strategy: Don’t Make These Mistakes!

It’s not all that uncommon for entrepreneurs to feel stuck at various points in their business cycle. Making that big growth breakthrough is wonderful…if it doesn’t cost a lot of money and time. 

A foundational marketing strategy is one way SMBs can make sure that the basics are covered. Your business needs a workable marketing foundation plan before you jump into the myriad marketing tactics available. The good news is there are always new marketing techniques and tricks to help make this a reality. It may feel confusing at first, but take a step back and remember: don’t focus on the basics of your marketing foundation, you could go down the wrong road and waste a lot of time and money.

Having a clear understanding of what your marketing foundation looks like is crucial. But when you are working on your plan, here are some mistakes to avoid: 

Mistake #1: Missing What Sets You Apart from the Crowd

Understanding who you are RIGHT NOW is essential! That’s why doing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is so important as you look at your foundational marketing strategy. You don’t want to build your entire marketing strategy on a faulty foundation that’s  likely to crumble fast. 

To get you started, we’ve got a SWOT worksheet with some questions to get you started on your own assessment. Finding out what you do really well and where you have some room for improvement can be a revitalizing exercise for both you and your team. During this process, you may very likely find out what your “competitive superpowers” are. 

What is a superpower? A superpower is a strength that you uncover  which sets you apart from your customers in a way that’s specific and meaningful to them. A superpower is a special quality that your business is able to execute in a unique way, which also helps you stand out among your industry counterparts.y. In short: it’s what can launch  you above your competition.

But you don’t want to get complacent. Not all strengths are superpowers — for example,  take great customer service. The truth is, many businesses have good customer service, so unless you are Amazon, this isn’t a superpower.

Mistake #2: Not Defining Your Ideal Target Audience

Forbes says one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is failing to define their target audience. It kind of makes sense: most entrepreneurs  are really passionate about nuances of their product, and it’s easy to forget about figuring out who, exactly, the best audience is to market that product to. 

And, yes, as a part of determining your target audience, it’s also important to know what your competition is doing. They may be covering some areas that you also need to be covering. But—and this is key—your competition may be missing some components that your customers need. This is where you can jump in and offer the customers a unique service! So focus on the customer, not the competition.

Who’s your ideal customer? Use our worksheet to figure out who they are and what they care about. Then, move to create your marketing plan based on that information. As you do, ask yourself: What are YOUR clients’ pain points? What do they want? What do they need?

Once you have narrowed down the issues that your customers are having and the solutions that you offer…let them know! Whether it is a blog, an email or social media, make sure your customers know you hear them loud and clear. 

Don’t expect others to tell your story for you. You are the best storyteller for your brand. 

Mistake #3: Inconsistency 

Too often, businesses (both large and small) think they need to “mix things up.” While they want this to be a positive thing, in reality all they have done is mix up the customer!

Staying consistent visually, as well as in your content and your very message is really just good business. Inc magazine found that some businesses increased their profits by 23% simply by maintaining a high quality, visual brand consistency.

Building your brand with your customers means establishing a relationship that the customer can count on. And when you break that trust, it can be difficult to get it back.

Mistake #4: Failing to Go Beyond the Expected

Successful SMBs can probably claim to share at least a few characteristics. One of them is their willingness to go beyond the expectations of their customers, whether it’s in delivering a product faster than the competition, or offering customer service that far outweighs the rest of the industry. 

“Surprise and delight” is a phrase often used by marketers as a means of retaining customers in a totally unexpected way. Whether it is offering an unexpected coupon for discounted services or a free cup of coffee at a local coffee shop, going that extra step for a customer can enhance your business. One study showed that 30 percent of customers surveyed gave the brand more business as the result of a surprise and delight experience

Going beyond the expectations of your customers has many other forms, whether it’s introducing a customer to a new and valuable contact or simply under promising and over delivering on your product.

How Strong is Your Foundational Marketing Strategy?

Unfortunately, a lot of marketing plans are costly and take a huge amount of time to put together. Worse yet, many are so long and complicated they often get put in a drawer and are never looked at again. 

But as an SMB, you do need a foundational marketing strategy to guide you as you decide when and how to spend your marketing resources.

This is why it’s critical to spend the time up front to build a sound marketing roadmap that will help you better execute down the road…. and it starts (as all good plans do) with a sound strategy.

Having a strong marketing strategy does not need to cost a lot of money and time. You can take our free assessment quiz right now and get an idea of where your strengths and weaknesses are. We’d even be glad to follow up with a quick, 15-minute call if you have a few questions.

Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.