Four marketing blunders I made that you should avoid (and how you can do it better)

I’ve made some dumb mistakes in my short and sweet career. Here’s four of them that are related to marketing:

1. I tried to sell car detailing services in the dead of winter through a quarter page ad in a cheesy coupon magazine that was used by most to light the woodstove on Christmas Eve. Read the full length tale of woe here.

2. After the car detailing business, I went to work for a car detailing company. Yeah. Kind of funny, hey? The shop was located just outside of a car wash/vacuum lot, and was an upgrade for the do-it-yourselfers. One day, while business was slow, I was commanded by the head hancho to take some fliers and distribute them among the folks vacuuming their cars in the lot in front of the store.

I just shake my head thinking about it. Here I am, a 16 year old kid, interrupting people who are trying to maximize the quarters they just paid for their vac job, and attempting to make them buy a detail package while my boss watched from the garage bay. Their cars were in the process of being cleaned. Did the big boss really think we’d be able to convert some prospects by shouting over the sound of a vacuum? Interruption marketing at it’s finest.

3. The landscaping company I work for used to use a lead generation service. One day, I received a lead about lady looking for some pavers. We liked doing hardscape projects, so I gave her a jingle. It turned out, she needed some pavers cut. To be specific, she needed two pavers. She was hoping I’d drive across town with my saw and cut her blocks for $20 or so. I had to stifle a laugh and resist the urge to tell her that we had probably already spent that much on her contact info through the lead generation service. With some looking into it, we realized that the lead gen service was more of a distraction than anything. By and large, it brought in demanding people looking for cheap work, so we opted out of that game. They just weren’t our peeps.

4. Of course, there’s always the poorly conducted supply and demand analysis. Trying to sell to people who don’t need or want the product was really a stretch. But it certainly ties in with #2 and the ‘high-volume’ vacuum sales technique.

So if we step back and look at all of these, we see commonalities in the things that were missing: Need and trust.

In each instance, what the prospect needed and what I was attempting to provide didn’t align. They were looking for cheap or quick or ‘not now’, all of which was not what I was after.

The second thing we see missing (with the possible exception of the last example), is trust. Could people really trust that I would deliver an outstanding detail? Did the DIYers believe that I could provide such an amazing vacuum job that they would be willing to pay $59 and wait an hour instead of .50 cents and be gone in six minutes? Did the folks using the lead gen service have any reason to trust me and my ability to deliver with our brief interaction over the phone?

Without establishing trust to the people who seek our offer, we shoot ourselves in the foot. Sometimes, both feet (See Ex. 1).

So, instead of focusing on making sales, focus on finding a need that people have and establishing trust with those people. The sales will take care of themselves.

Did you like this post on marketing? If you want to stick your neck out and be vulnerable, tell me about one of your marketing blunders below!


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