3 Common Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

9 Jul 2022

Here are 3 common marketing mistakes that you should avoid when marketing a business. 

1. Trying to sell to 'everyone'.

While your business might sell to a wide range of people of different demographics, this does not mean that you should market to 'everyone'. Rather, you need to dissect your audience into different groups and target each group with individual marketing campaigns. 

This is for two reasons. Firstly, different groups within your market have different customer needs. Your marketing campaigns will be far more successful if you focus on satisfying one group's needs really well as opposed to doing a poor job of satisfying everyone's needs. 

And secondly, it is much easier for a business to build confidence by successfully selling to a small audience before they move onto a larger audience. As renown marketing expert Seth Godin explains:

"Focus on a small audience you can possibly live with and make a difference. If you can change 10 lives you can get the next 50."

Niche down and be specific. 

2. Having a mediocre product or business. 

Marketing cannot smooth over the cracks of a bad business or a mediocre product; it will only make issues with your business stand out to your customer. Marketing will only work well when a business has a great product it is sharing with its market. 

Australian entrepreneur Dan Norris terms the connection between a great content and a great business as 'monetization logic'. He explains:

"Creating great content is not enough, because without a great business, you are sending attention to something that is broken (or non-existent)."

Marketing therefore comes down to what you sell as opposed to how you go about the process of selling. 

3. Merely 'advertising' as opposed to selling experiences. 

Successful marketers aren't mere 'advertisers' who simply 'raise awareness' of an existing product; successful marketers are the ones who sell customers experiences that they want to buy. 

Here's another quote from Seth Godin:

"We don't buy what we need. We buy the stories we tell ourselves."

Successful marketing therefore comes down to telling stories that resonate with customers. When selling a product, you are not selling the product itself. You're selling an entire experience that your customer wants to buy. 

Crafting an exceptional story comes down to two things. Firstly, marketers need to have empathy for who they are selling to. They need to understand their customers in terms of their wants and needs even if marketers themselves does not experience what their customers do.

And secondly, marketers need to know how to resolve customer problems. The product and its surrounding story need to go towards resolving 'pain points' in the customer experience. Do customers want more free time to spend with their families? Are they looking for a product to clear the confusion around personal finance? What experience will a product or service create that helps alleviate these 'pain points'?

In sum, marketing requires far more thought and nuance than what merely 'spreading awareness' would allow. Marketers need to think of the narrative they are telling and whether that narrative is a 'helpful' one. 

Final Thoughts

To recap, here are 3 common marketing mistakes: 

  1. Trying to sell to 'everyone'.
  2. Having a mediocre product or business. 
  3. Merely 'advertising' as opposed to selling experiences.

It becomes obvious when businesses make these mistakes. Their marketing campaigns are bland, unrelatable and even irritating. Fundamentally this comes down to a lack of understanding of what the purpose of marketing is: Solving people's problems. 


[1] Kidadl, '101 Seth Godin Quotes On Tribes, Marketing and Leadership' (online, 6th September 2021) <https://kidadl.com/quotes/seth-godin-quotes-on-tribes-marketing-and-leadership>.
[2] Dan Norris, 'Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-Figure Business with Zero Advertising' (2015). 

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Johnson Chau
The first point is actually super important. In the beginning, it is very difficult to market everyone at scale due to team capacity, time and lack of user awareness in the beginning. It is far better to focus on a niche and be the best at it. Awesome blog!