Top marketing mistakes and helpful tips from Johanne Wilson, founder of COOL Creative

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • July 16, 2012 4:37 AM EDT

With over 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising, Johanne Wilson, the founder of COOL Creative, shares some of the most common marketing mistakes that business owners make:

Not having a consistent plan for marketing

Think of it like exercising or getting fit. If you don't stay consistent with it, you'll never see the benefits of it. Most businesses that are unsuccessful in their marketing do just a little bit of it and quit when they don't see fast results. Create a marketing calendar where you document when, where, and how you plan to reach your customer.

Talking to everyone and reaching no one

When you try and speak to everyone, you end up not having a clear point-of-view. Your messaging becomes very generic and ends up getting lost in the sea of sameness. It is important to identify your consumer so that you know how to reach them. Connecting with your consumers may be the difference between closing the deal and not.

Talking to yourself

You are in business to serve your customers. Listen and understand them so you can supply their needs. This is where market research is helpful. You might actually not be your target audience. Just because you respond to something does not mean your customers will.

Not doing marketing campaigns

Some may think this requires tons of capital to do, but with a little creativity it's more attainable than perceived. This is especially true for small businesses. There are so many ways to communicate to your customers. A marketing campaign involves a series of activities to promote your business. It's all about timing and leveraging different media platforms. Coordinate free promotion or EARNED MEDIA, like editorial features, through PR with your PAID ADVERTISING + OWNED MEDIA (like your website, blog, or social media pages). Timing these so that they all get to consumers during the course of your promotion is the key. Be sure that messages remain fresh and relevant to the consumer.

Underestimate good design

People respond to tasteful design. It's the reason why people pay so much for Apple products. Good design is important for a product and everything that represents it, especially if it is higher priced. Good design can help justify the cost of product or service, and it's not just about looks. Good design is rooted in sound strategy, purpose, and a strong understanding about branding. Hire an agency or independent consultant with proven experience. Be sure to see samples of their work before hiring them. There are some great smaller agencies that provide large agency thinking.

Good creative. Bad product.

The saying goes... "Nothing exposes a bad product like good advertising." Some businesses make the mistake of going to market prematurely. Be sure your product is good before you invest time and money in marketing it. A bad customer experience can cost you a lot, or everything.


Johanne Wilson is the founder and director of COOL Creative, a company that specializes in marketing, advertising, branding, design, and public relations. COOL, which stands for "Created out of love", is based in Miami, Florida, and plans to open an office in Haiti as well.