Small Business

Are you making any of these 8 critical marketing mistakes?

Are you making any of these 8 critical marketing mistakes? A blog for SME's from Dynamize Marketing in Worcestershire

In the ever-evolving world of marketing, it is very easy to make mistakes. Algorithms change frequently and there are always new systems, theory, frameworks and simplification of processes to learn – plenty of room to make mistakes!

This is not necessarily a bad thing, after all, who learned anything by not making mistakes? But in the world of marketing, mistakes can have a lasting impact on your brand image and be costly to rectify.

In an attempt to help you avoid making basic mistakes, I thought it might be helpful to pen a blog. So, here are my top 8 marketing mistakes you should avoid making.

1. You don’t know your audience
I cannot stress how important this is! My favourite example of this was when The National Trust removed all advertising from popular site Mumsnet due to swearing. A big pat on the back for not understanding your audience because, as a Mum myself I can confirm, we do actually swear. They have clearly built their brand strategy around a persona that does not exist; the idealistic mother. The response to this was not particularly well-received by the target audience – there is nothing worse than not keeping it real.

Yes, even BIG brands get this very wrong.

So how can you avoid it? Simply put, you need to know who you are marketing to. What does your customer look like? Ask yourself;

  • Where do my customers hang-out? This isn’t just restricted to online.
  • Where do they go for information?
  • What problems do they have that your business can support them with?
  • What are their interests?

You get the idea.

2. Not planning
Without planning how can you understand where you are going and what your targets are?

The popular misconception here is that a plan has to include tonnes of detail. Let me just reassure you that a marketing plan does not have to be complex. It simply needs to outline where you are and how you are going to get there.

Just consider; where you are now, where you want to be, how you’re going to get there and how you’re going to measure your success.

I know an awful lot of businesses that work on a ‘responsive’ basis when it comes to marketing. Whilst it can be interesting to fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, proper planning can really help you focus your efforts.

Now, I am the first to agree that planning is not much fun, but it will help you immensely in the long-run. You will thank yourself in a years’ time when you can look back and see what you have achieved.

3. Having no purpose
“Let’s just put an advert in the local paper”, yeah great idea – but why? Are you trying to increase brand exposure, promote an event, sell a product, drive traffic to your social media platforms? You need to have the desired outcome in mind.

This applies to every type of activity, both online and offline. For those of you utilising social media platforms, just think before you hit the ‘post’ button, consider ‘what am I trying to achieve?’. You do not have to post on your social media pages every day – quality over quantity!

4. Expecting an instant return on investment
Now do not get me wrong, there are engagement strategies which produce faster results than others. However, expecting an overnight increase in followers, traffic, sales – it’s totally unrealistic.

Particularly in the world of digital, elements such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) focus on tactical (short-term) activities with the aim of strategic (long-term) results. “But I completed my metadata last week and I’m still not ranking” – hell no, you’re not. That’s because it takes months to see any results!

If you want faster results through your marketing campaigns, I suggest you consider tactics such as online paid ads – however, this does come with a price tag and you need real knowledge of keywords and ad platforms to really optimise the success of your campaigns.

5. Following the crowd
“But everyone else is on Instagram so surely I need to be?” The question you need to ask is why are they on Instagram and is it beneficial for your business? If your target audience resides on that platform – great.

In this instance, adding an additional social media platform into the mix needs careful consideration. What’s your strategy for conversions? Have you got time to update it regularly? What are you going to post?

The same goes for all marketing if you genuinely believe something will add value then go ahead. Just doing it because everyone else is – that is the wrong approach. As I always say; find out where your customers are and go build your campaigns and strategy around that.

6. Not measuring results
Just how successful is your social media when it comes to converting customers? Have you actually measured how successful it is?

If you don’t measure your marketing, how will you know it is working? By measurements, I don’t mean running pages of stats – just the information that really means something

Online platforms give you a world of statistics to help you identify how things are working, for example, Facebook Insights will show you the reach of your posts and interactions. Offline the use of voucher codes is a great way to help you measure your marketing effectiveness.

If you’re currently working with a marketing agency, they should be reporting the success of their campaigns, at least, on a quarterly basis. If they’re not – you should be asking yourself what they are doing!

7. Not keeping an eye on your competitors
Do you know who your competitors are? Their prices, products or service offerings? If not, you should!

Customer experience these days accounts for a lot – both online and offline. What are your competitors doing that you are not, similarly, what are you offering that they aren’t?

This doesn’t need an intensive research thesis but it does need to give you a good insight into the market, services, prices and customer experience (by customer experience I am referring to returns policies, communication touchpoints etc).

Ultimately, price is also a key driver in the decision-making process; how do you compare to your competition?

If you do not currently follow your competitors and keep track of what they are up to, you are missing a BIG trick.

8. Getting stuck in a marketing rut
Many businesses will find a routine that works for them and stick to it – but as marketing is constantly evolving, you need to make sure you are optimising your spend. It’s very easy to get stuck in a marketing rut.

If you are currently working with a marketing agency or consultant, they should be keeping abreast of new emerging platforms and technologies – after all, that is their job! They should be telling you how to maximise your budgets and identifying ways to strengthen your marketing strategy.

Your marketing should be returning results, so if it isn’t you need to shake things up!

So there we have it. I can think of plenty more to add to the list, but maybe we should tackle those in another post. Finally, just to reaffirm; no one is perfect and you WILL make mistakes!