Marketing Mistakes


99% of businesses I come across make 4 major marketing mistakes.

Ok, ok…99% may be a bit of an exaggeration.  Let me correct myself.  

98% of businesses I come across make 4 major marketing mistakes.

It doesn’t matter the industry, size of business, or experience.  

Most are making at least 1 of these mistakes, if not more, and just one of these mistakes could crush your marketing and business.

And that’s a shame because there are so many great businesses with great products and services that aren’t reaching their customers because of these mistakes.  

In this post, I’m going to cover the 4 marketing mistakes 99%, (ahem), 98% of businesses make and how to avoid them:

Major marketing mistake #1 – They don’t know who to target

This is what I call customer confusion.

Just because your business, product, or service could be for everyone, doesn’t mean it is for everyone.

You only have so much time, money, and resources but many businesses spread themselves thin trying to attract everyone.  This leads to paralysis. When you could go after everyone, it’s overwhelming because there’s no clear path forward.

And here’s the deal, the friend to everyone is a friend to no one.

Great marketing is personal and relevant. Here’s a quick test for you: could what you say in your marketing apply to anyone?  If so, that means it’s vague, general, and not appealing to anyone in particular.

If your customers can’t see themselves engaging with your brand, you’ve lost them.  

Many people and brands don’t do the work to figure out who their ideal customer is because it feels daunting.  But it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is a bit of reflection.    

If you aren’t sure who your ideal customer is?  Answer these questions:

  • Who are your highest profit – lowest maintenance customers?
  • Who refers you the most?
  • Who are the customers/clients you love to work with?
  • Who are the customers/clients you dread working with?
  • Who has the greatest success because of your product or service?

This typically breaks down into groups: your biggest fans, the best for business, and those with the biggest problem that you can help.  

Can you find similarities in these answers? Are there any themes? I’m willing to bet there are.  Now can you group these customers into clear avatars?

If you aren’t clear about who you want to attract, then it doesn’t matter how cool your brand is, how awesome your website is, or how great your product is.  

Great marketing starts with obsessing your customer and being clear on who you want to attract.

Major marketing mistake #2 – They don’t know what to say

This is what I call message confusion.

The world is noisy and if you’re confusing, you’re losing customers.  To cut through you have to be clear.

Most businesses get ignored because their message is confusing and it’s almost always caused by:

  • Using jargon or vague language
  • Trying to appeal to everyone
  • And TMI ( saying too much)

Nobody cares or knows what your features do.  They don’t know who you help, unless you tell them.  And they don’t want to read the Encyclopedia Britannica to figure out what you do.  

Be brief, be clear, be obvious.

And repeat it. Repetition is the key to being remembered.

Here’s how to create a clear, compelling message:

  1. Identify the #1 outcome your customers want that your product or service can deliver.  We get remembered for 1 thing. Nail that desire your customers want.
  2. Identify why they can’t get that outcome, aka the problem.  
  3. Position your product or service as the solution.
  4. Paint a picture of what life looks like after working with you or buying your product.  Don’t assume people know what they’ll get.  Tell them!

Nail those answers and you have a clear, compelling message that gets your customer’s attention.

And remember the golden rule of marketing: clarity attracts, confusion repels.

Major marketing mistake #3 – They don’t know what they need to attract their ideal customers 

 This is what I call marketing confusion.

And this leads to wasting so much time and money on expensive marketing collateral that does nothing for your business.

So forget all the confusing funnels, tricks, and hacks.  Keep it simple and start with the essentials and do them well.

Here are 3 marketing essentials to make sure you nail down:

  1. An effective website: can your website answer in 5 seconds or less what do you do, who’s it for, and what do they get?  If not, it’s time for a revamp.
  2. A lead magnet that captures your customer’s information so you can nurture them
  3. An email nurture and sales sequence that moves your customers forward and closes them.

Major marketing mistake #4 – They don’t have a system

Most businesses don’t know what to do, at the right time to draw customers into their brand.

I can’t tell you how many times I see owners, founders, and leaders come up with a cool website or logo and want to immediately jump to Facebook ads, SEO, youtube, or the next shiny marketing object that’s “guaranteed” to grow their business.

Great marketing is a step-by-step process.  There’s no random jumping around from one thing to another.  Before you spend a dime on paid ads, you need to validate and test what you have works. 

Pro tip: one post, one video, one email, or just about one of anything will NOT work.

Great marketing is about showing up at the right places (where your ideal customers are)…

With the right information…

At the right time…

With the right marketing asset (landing page, sales deck, social media post, webinar, email, etc.) that makes sense for your business and your customers.

This is what I learned working at Nike for 11+ years.  

There are no knee-jerk marketing reactions at Nike or any billion-dollar brand for that matter. 

It’s thoughtful, it’s planned out, it’s consistent, and it’s choreographed.

So what’s the right order for your marketing?  Focus on these 3 areas in this order:

  • Step 1 – Create customer and message clarity (see mistakes #1 and #2)
  • Step 2 – Develop your key marketing attraction assets (see mistake #3)
  • Step 3 – Create an attraction system to get in front of your customers.

Your business isn’t like the 80’s movie starring Kevin Costner The Field of Dreams.  

If you build it, they will NOT come.  

You HAVE to give your customers a reason to come to your business. That’s your attraction system.

Here are 2 tips to help you develop your attraction system:

  1. What activities can you commit to consistently that you enjoy? 
    • Do you like to talk, great! Get on podcasts or host webinars.  Do you like to write? Great, start blogging.  You don’t need to do all things on all platforms.  Find what works best for you and your customers.
  2. Find great partners and collaborators to work with. 
    • There are people, brands, and businesses out there that serve your ideal customers with a non-competitive product or service and have gained their customer’s trust.  So if you partner and co-market with them, they extend all the trust they’ve built to YOU.  That’s a fast path to sales.

For a partnership to be successful, it must be a triple win: win for your partner, win for you, and absolutely it must a win for your customers.


To create an effective marketing system for your business, often it’s not about finding the perfect strategy for your business (hint: the perfect strategy isn’t out there), it’s about not doing the wrong things.

Avoid these 4 mistakes and you’ll see a massive leap forward in the return you get from your marketing.

Feel stuck with your marketing?


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