We all know that without loyal customer relationships, a business is less likely to grow consistently. We also know that the marketing department plays a leading role in increasing brand awareness, and great marketers make attracting customers likely to stick with your brand for years look easy.
Advanced technology, emerging trends, current events, and ever-changing consumer behaviours make marketing one of the most dynamic departments. Realistically, though, your marketing plan could be costing more money than it’s worth — but how do you know, and how can you fix the problems? With the constant guesswork and experimentation that comes naturally with marketing strategies also comes mistakes that can set your marketing results back. Making mistakes in your marketing plan can also drain your business finances.
This boundless freedom to find the best ways to attract quality leads can become costly if you aren’t learning from your mistakes or doing everything you can to avoid making them in the first place.
Here are nine marketing mistakes that could cost your business and how to avoid them:
Not researching your competitors
We’ve all been there. Being enamoured with your own company’s products and services, you fail to acknowledge the competitors out there offering similar services and products — and sometimes, doing a better job of it. Being so caught up in your own billion-dollar ideas, you and your peers fail to understand what’s working with other companies and where there are new opportunities.
Not researching your competitors is one mistake you don’t want to make in your marketing efforts. You must know what companies are leading your industry, where you fall in line, how they’re communicating with their customers, and most importantly, their strategies for building brand awareness. With this knowledge, you can identify what’s missing, strategize how to make it fit best for your own products and services, and fill the need customers might not have being met by competitors.
But also imperative is, after thoroughly researching your competitors (both before and after launching your marketing strategy), you make sure you continue performing research afterward, too.
Knowing little about your target audience
Naturally, you want to know just as much about your target audience as you do your competitors — though knowing about both can also inform you about both, too. You need to know who your ideal customer is in detail to attract them to your brand successfully.
Knowing little, or at least, not enough, about your target audience or failing to specify who you’re communicating to results in inevitably trying to target everyone. Trying to target as many people as possible costs you valuable marketing dollars, as you end up spending significant amounts of money on half-effective strategies instead of investing those dollars solely in strategies that resonate most with your ideal customer.
Do constant research on your target audience. Collect as much data as you can on things like their buying patterns, pain points, current challenges, trends that affect them, and so forth.
Not using the right tools
Are you trying to do everything by hand and on your own? You’re not alone. Many marketers make the mistake of not using enough of or the right tools to help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Tools can help you organize information about customers, reach out to them more effectively, automate repetitive tasks, help you create content, and get that content out to the world. Without using marketing tools, you’re limited to what you can do, and when you can do it.
Explore using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to organize the data you collect on your customer. Use automation tools to automate tasks like posting to social media, personalizing emails, and sending marketing messages. To take it to the next step, also consider using analytics tools to collect customer data in larger quantities, in order to learn even more about them and how to appeal to them and meet their needs.
Unclear marketing goals
People constantly preach about how important it is to set goals in any capacity if you want a real chance at achieving them. Clearly defining them and writing them down increases the chances of them coming to full fruition.
Unclear marketing goals or failing to set any at all puts you on a path to never really seeing results from your efforts. After all, if you don’t have any expectations for your strategies, you don’t have any way of tracking whether they’re working or not.
Create a clear marketing plan that includes your goals front and centre. Be as detailed as possible about what you plan to do, how you’ll keep track of success, and how you’ll move forward with necessary changes. From there, loop in your peers, leadership members, and anyone else who is involved in your marketing strategy so you can ensure there is oversight from multiple areas who could provide valuable insight at different parts of the process.
Failing to set up analytics
You’ve probably heard the word analytics a time or two in your marketing career. But you’d be amazed at how many marketing teams fail to set up analytics correctly, let alone at all. Analytics allows you to collect massive amounts of data on key metrics for your marketing goals.
Failing to set up analytics puts you a step behind any competitors that do use them. They’re likely to have more information on what’s working and what’s not in their marketing efforts and make changes to better them. Without analytics, you’re missing out on an opportunity to identify ways to grow your business.
One first step is to set up Google Analytics or something similar on your website to ensure you’re collecting critical customer data. Work with a support agent to set up the software correctly. Get trained on how to understand the data you collect, analyze it, and leverage it to make changes to anything that’s not working in your marketing strategy.
Not building the right marketing team
Many businesses have to start with a one-person marketing show. But, it’s ideal to have a marketing team full of individuals that specialize in different marketing strengths once the business begins to grow and expand. The right marketing team is essential to the effectiveness of your efforts.
There is much to be done in marketing, and you need people who can fill roles effectively. These various duties include:
- Customer data analytics.
- Building an online presence.
- Competitor and customer research.
- Product/service promotion.
- Creating advertising campaigns.
- Creating content.
- Monitoring market trends.
Be sure to create a marketing team that is diverse and inclusive, including people from different cultural backgrounds and specializations to ensure you’re taking advantage of unique perspectives.
Trying to do everything on your own is counterproductive, not to mention putting all of the marketing duties on one person’s shoulders is emotionally, physically, and mentally draining. And if you’re not well because you’re overwhelmed with your job’s responsibilities, your marketing efforts’ productivity and potential success decrease.
Delegation is key to ensuring each team member feels supported to do their jobs at a high level. Productivity is vital for creating marketing campaigns that produce results. Delegation makes that possible.
Identify the strengths of each person and delegate tasks according to those strengths. Use technology to delegate. Use collaboration tools like Asana, Igloo, Google Docs, Microsoft 365, or Quip to track each task and who is completing them. From there, you can make adjustments to task delegation determined by individual strengths, time in the day, and more — without ever losing track of something that needs to be done, and who is responsible for it. Further, no one has any questions about what they should be working on, or who to reach out to about a different task they have questions about.
Outdated marketing strategies
There are so many marketing strategies out there to try. Which methods you implement are dependent on your specific marketing goals. Don’t make the mistake of using outdated marketing strategies to target your ideal customer. Outdated marketing strategies prevent you from connecting with your target audience — you wouldn’t try to connect with someone via email if they spend most of their time on Instagram, for example. Older methods probably mean you aren’t communicating to your ideal customer via their preferred method, on their most popular platforms, with messaging that resonates with them.
Do an audit of your current marketing strategies and take an in-depth look at how engaged your target audience is with them. Update any outdated methods or outreach strategies that just aren’t getting the attention they should, and reanalyze your customer data to determine which means are going to be the most effective for making connections. From there, don’t be afraid to consider hybrid options like a combination of traditional and digital marketing strategies to achieve better audience segmentation and targeting, especially if you’re trying to reach a broad range of potential customers.
Choosing the wrong marketing types and platforms
There are various marketing types that you’re probably familiar with. Some of the most popular include:
- Social media marketing.
- Email marketing.
- Content marketing.
- Digital marketing.
- Inbound marketing.
- Video marketing.
You’re probably also using various platforms like Mailchimp, Instagram, Facebook, HubSpot, and Youtube to conduct your different marketing strategies. Choosing the wrong types of marketing and the venues in which you deploy your strategies can result in you spending unnecessary marketing dollars.
Identify how your ideal customer communicates, like email or social media. Learn how they take in information, and how they best respond to the information being presented. This could be via video or by reading written content, or even through suggestions from popular influencers. You’ll also want to ensure your marketing strategies are on the platforms your ideal customer is most engaged.
Making mistakes in marketing is inevitable, especially as it continues to change and evolve in this digital landscape. You want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to avoid making those mistakes in the first place. When you do make mistakes, ensure that you learn from them and leverage the lessons to shift your marketing strategy for the better.