Failure to understand your audience or failing to plan properly is just the beginning. Here's a look at 8 of the biggest marketing blunders to avoid + 1 startup advantage.
Failing to Understand Your Audience/Consumer/Client
Marketing requires an in-depth analysis of your target audience, including geographic and psychographic indicators. The more detailed you can make your buyer personas, the more pinpointed and accurate your marketing efforts will be.
Hubspot put together a very comprehensive list of questions to ask when creating buyer personas.
Remember, each business usually has two or three unique prospects, so take this activity seriously!
Failing to Plan Adequately
You all know that saying by Winston Churchill, "Failing to plan is planning to fail."
The same is true in marketing.
Many marketing programs fail because they don't have clearly outlined goals and a distinct plan of action. And this doesn't only include a brainstorming session with decision makers. It's to your advantage to carefully analyze your current needs, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
Once you have a written plan of action, make sure to reference this document(s) regularly throughout the campaign process.
Note: All that said, there's is such a thing as too much planning. Researching, planning and gathering resources doesn't help much if you're solving for a problem that no longer exists or if someone else beat your to the punch while your were planning. At some point, you need to ACT. LEARN from that step and then BUILD on your success.
Failure to Focus
You can't do everything at once.
Focus on small, concerted efforts and originally, the types of prospects that fit naturally with your service or product. Then, pick measurable goals that align with industry benchmarks that can be tracked over the next several months.
For example, social media platforms are a fun and fast way to market your company. But it's best to choose two or three that your target audience frequently uses and posting information and content consistently.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great platforms to start with, but you might also need to consider Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest or Periscope.
Failing to Have Realistic Expectations
Digital marketing is not a sprint, it's a marathon. Very few campaigns will achieve instantaneous results. Social media has the shortest turnaround time, followed by PPC campaigns at about a month and a half. SEO campaigns have the longest lead time, usually requiring at least 6 months to see meaningful results.
Failure to Budget Properly
Many digital marketing elements can work on a shoestring budget, but others require strategic investments. This requires taking a hard look at where your money is currently going and making some judgement calls. It might be wise to focus on hiring talent inside and outside your organization to help you achieve your goals.
Failing to Understand the Importance of Content
Content is king. Content is the foundation of any successful digital marketing campaign. However, content must be relevant, engaging, and informative.
Video content in particular is becoming a staple of any content marketing initiative. Entrepreneurs with a limited budget can launch homegrown campaigns using Snapchat, Vine or YouTube to make an impact.
Failing to Measure Results
In the planning phase, you should also be thinking about how you can measure and prove a campaign's return on investment (ROI).
You should also be tracking and monitoring results throughout the process to tweak social media posts, keywords used in your PPC campaign and other information in ongoing digital marketing campaigns to better target your audience.
Failure to Use a Combination of Online and Offline Marketing Tactics
Traditional marketing isn't dead.
For example, some print campaigns are entirely focused on the digital landscape, featuring a hashtag or an Instagram handle to promote a contest. Mixing old-school and new-school strategies makes for a multi-level campaign that has a potential to connect with your audience and consumers on a deeper, more emotional level.
The Startup Advantage
Entrepreneurs have the distinct advantage of starting from a fresh slate. They can craft marketing initiatives that don't battle preconceived notions.
Now it's your turn! What's your biggest digital marketing challenge? Share your comments in the box below.