Are You Making The Most Common Marketing Mistake?

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Every time I look outside at billboards, flip through a newspaper or magazine any other form of mass media, I get this gut-wrenching feeling that someone’s money is being wasted on advertising that could have easily been avoided just by giving me a call, or reading this blog post. It really bothers me when I see people waste money on advertising because some pushy salesman convinced them to try something, or some business runs around copying the market leaders instead of innovating in their own way. So much money is wasted on mass media advertising that It just boggles my mind.

So, what is the biggest mistake marketers and business owners make? I think Gary Halbert illustrated this point best when he asked a roomful of marketers What One Advantage Would You Want Over Your Competitors If You Owned a Burger Stand?

Most people responded a better recipe. Others responded they wanted a better chef. While these sound like great advantages, they really aren’t. Being the best does not help you sell product. Why not? Because customers don’t know you are the best until after they buy, not before. So, if you are marketing a business, while you might be the best, and while delivering excellent value and a great burger will bring referrals and repeat business, it won’t help you sell that first burger. So, What Advantage Would You Really Want?

Gary Halberts Answer was, “A Starving Crowd!”

If you can’t get your message in front of The Right People, you are wasting too much time, energy, effort and resources searching for needles in a haystack.

So, whats the most common mistake marketers make? The Most Common (and Probably Costly) Mistake You Can Make Is Not Figuring Our EXACTLY who YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER is, and finding ways to target them directly.

There are many ways to find ideal customers for your business, some as easy as following your competitors delivery trucks around town. is probably the best kept secret of the Direct Response Marketing world. You can literally buy lists of prospects so targeted your head would spin.

So, instead of spending so much time trying to have the best burger, focusing on finding starving crowds of people and giving them a good enough burger.

I am not saying mass media advertising doesn’t work, It certainly can, but until you exhaust all possible avenues to bring the starving crowds right to your door, stay away from the expensive ones. If you must advertise in these media venues, make sure you use direct response methods, use a lead generation campaign offering a free guide to qualify leads, and put them through a follow up funnel so you only spend your time and energy working the most qualified prospects. 


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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. Jade McAulay says

    It surprised me that so many people would actually make this mistake. It’s the same in a number of other situations. Like, you can’t start writing a novel (if you want it to sell) without working out the target audience. Otherwise you’re going to end up with a mix of plot and story targeted at different types of people and it’s just not going to work. The same thing should be said for business, but as you say in this post, it really is true that a lot of people haven’t taken the time to work it out, and a mess of things suited to different people with no clarity is not going to get you where you want to go in this world.

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