Frustration? Confusion? Anxiety? Envy? These are likely to be the emotions that come to mind when you think about marketing your business.

We know that marketing is important — non-negotiable, in fact. That hasn’t made the challenge any easier, though. A strong work ethic and ambition isn’t enough.

There are definitely some trends and habits that stand in the way of businesses achieving marketing success. Here is a list of some of the more common business marketing mistakes and what you can do to address these holes in your customer journey.

Which of these sounds familiar?

Guessing and not setting goals: Great marketing takes research, educated decisions, testing, tracking and measuring. Goals keep us on track; they give us direction.

Doing what everyone else is doing: This isn’t the way to stand out from the competition.

Looking for the quick sales fix: Marketing is a long-term strategy, not a special advertisement, publication, or website. It is a process.

Not setting goals: Goals keep us on track; they give us direction.

PUSH SELLING all the time: Instead look for ways to build TRUST, LOYALTY and EDUCATE. Don’t be one of those annoying schmoozy salesy types. An effective marketing strategy eliminates the need to sell all the time… really!

Not talking to your customers: No one knows your value – or faults – better than the people who actually buy from you. Talking to your customers will provide valuable insight and ideas.

Ignoring your competition: Knowing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses will help you differentiate yourself to your customers.

You copy what your competitors are doing: Although you can get quality information from the competition, why would you do the same thing they are doing and be part of the same noise people will probably ignore.

Assuming you don’t need a marketing strategy: Sure, some products and services might market themselves, but that’s rare. Real marketing success takes strategy, planning, and work.

Not using a referral system: Getting solid referrals, consistently takes planning and solid execution.

Thinking that anyone with a pulse is your client: Find your niche – that segment of the population you are born to serve and you will uncover a gold mine!

AND one of the biggest failures of all is…

Not building relationships: You have to get out there – mingle, be helpful, connect people, add value and build relationships with the right people!