Top 10 Marketing Pitfalls

As you plan your own marketing efforts, especially as you start up your business avoid these mistakes.



I have spent my entire career as a marketing specialist, working across many different businesses, including brands names such as Jell-O Gelatin, American Express, IBM, and numerous new products and technology start-ups. While I must say that most of my experiences have been rewarding,

I’ve also built up a whole lot of scar tissue developing and implementing marketing programs. As you plan your own marketing efforts, especially as you start up your business--even if you’re just starting with a Facebook page.

The following is a list of my top 10 pitfalls and how to avoid them:

10. Legal: 

It can be disastrous if you don’t get your brand registered or your trademark approved legally. Spend the time and money to get this fundamental element right.

9. Poorly trained staff: 

If you’re investing in marketing, it means you want customers to buy.

There’s nothing worse than unknowledgeable or unresponsive personnel who walk into your store or interact with your company on the phone or over the Web. Take the time to educate everyone on your goals and prepare them with the right information and attitude to welcome AND service all potential new buyers.

8. Unclear marketing materials: 

Spend the time to carefully read every word on your ad or Web page to ensure it’s clear for the average potential customer to understand.

Share your materials with at least five friends and get their reaction. If they don’t understand it, you’ve got a problem. Remember, most people only spend seconds surfing your site or reading an ad.

Also, if terms and conditions accompany your offer, make sure they are clear so you’re not left with costly customer service issues.

7. Poorly designed channel incentives: 

If you’re relying on channels other than your own to market and sell your product, make sure that they have the right training and the right incentives to sell your stuff.

Unless you have an exclusive relationship with a partner, they’ll have choices on what to push, so it’s wise to know what your competition is offering them and, at the very least, match that offer.

6. False claims and other ethical lapses: 

If you can’t honestly back up a claim you’re making about your product, DON’T GO THERE.

It can cost you a lot of money in terms of refunds and potential lawsuits. Most importantly, losing the trust and damaging your reputation with customers, financial backers, and employees can affect your future livelihood forever.

Next page- Marketing pitfalls #5 through #1


About the author

Miriam Vializ Briggs

Miriam is a co-founder of Briggs & Briggs Marketing Services, offering marketing training and consulting services to small businesses.  Miriam holds an MBA from Columbia University School of Business and a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University.  In recognition of her business leadership, she was named one of the “Elite 20 Hispanic women in business” by Hispanic Business magazine (2006) and selected as Corporate Executive of the Year by the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (2004). Currently, Miriam serves on the Board of Advisors to the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT and Latin Business Today  Contact information: