We have worked with clients in all kinds of businesses and have done a lot of cool stuff for them. We have also helped steer some of them away from some common marketing mistakes. Below are a few we try to avoid.
You: “I want a marketing thing.”
Many marketers and companies feel that they need a “thing”— paid search, SEO, social, email, or any other tactic—rather than a strategy. But a “thing” won’t necessarily solve your marketing problem.
Let’s say you think you need a new website. Have you asked why? Strategically, you need to look at your business first. After identifying your business problems and goals, then you can more strategically look at what tactics will help you achieve those goals. You may still need a new website, but you may also just need to improve your existing website or invest more heavily in another tactic.
Vendor: “Sure, you definitely need that marketing thing.”
Many vendors will skillfully encourage you that you definitely need that “thing.” If you talk to a vendor or agency that focuses on website redesigns, then a website redesign will solve all of your problems. Paid search vendor – same thing.
It’s okay to bring in specialized partners when it makes sense, but avoid any path that defines your overall marketing problems only in terms of a tactic. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of money on a limited tactic that doesn’t end up solving your business problems.
Lack of business experience.
A good marketing strategy needs to be grounded in business. That means understanding the business challenge at hand. What is your business? If your goal is to increase online revenue by $10 million, where are you now? And what are you doing with marketing to currently support those business goals?
By understanding the business, a marketer can make good strategic recommendations. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t fully understand business—and that’s why they often instinctively reach for tactics, products, and tools first.
With “checkbox marketing,” marketers simply tick off a list of “things to do” such as a blog, SEO, paid search, social media, etc. They just want to make sure some kind of activity is happening for each marketing item so they can check it off their list.
The danger here is not knowing if each area receives too much or too little effort based on actual need. A lot of money gets wasted and a lot of tactics fail with this “unstrategic” approach.
Have you fallen into any of these traps? That’s okay. All you need to stay out of them is a more strategic mindset.