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Top Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Dodgeball seo top marketing mistakes

Our team has worked with countless marketers over the years and we’ve seen everything! The one thing most marketers have in common is that while they always try to do their best, they often make unintentional mistakes that limit their success.

In this article, and a subsequent one, we’ll reveal some of the most common marketing missteps and explain how you can avoid them.

9 Common Marketing Mistakes

Mistake 1. Prioritizing the Easy Stuff

Many marketers prioritize easy projects over more challenging ones. It’s a great way to clear your desk and generate fast results. But is this the right thing to do?

Sometimes getting quick results is necessary when you need to generate some buzz or help achieve looming monthly or quarterly sales goals.

Instead of always focusing on the lowest hanging fruit, start thinking bigger picture and longer-term. Figure out what you can do that will get you the biggest sales and marketing results for the smallest investment. It will make your marketing efforts more efficient and earn you more bang for the buck.

Tip: If you constantly get pressure to deliver quick wins, change the dynamic. Set goals and communicate them to your stakeholders. Explain when you’ll report on progress and do so on time. Sometimes marketers get pressure to show progress and results because they’re not proactively communicating to stakeholders what they’re doing and how their marketing efforts are performing.

Mistake 2. Putting Tactics Before a Strategy

Many marketers just want to get working — or focus on their area of specialization — and jump right into executing tactics. Or stakeholders put in orders requesting email, social media, or content campaigns, and marketers immediately fill those orders.

Executing tactics without having an overarching governing strategy is always a mistake. How will you know if you’re achieving anything? Prior to launching any type of campaign, step back and ask yourself and your business partners: What are we trying to do?

Once you have an answer to that question, you can develop a strategy supported by tactics that will help you achieve what you want to achieve.

Tip: Include benchmarks and metrics in your strategy so you’ll be able to track progress toward your goals after you launch your campaigns.

Mistake 3. Developing Disposable Content and Marketing Materials

There are times when creating short-term campaigns or content makes sense. If you can generate a big amount of business with something like an NCAA bracket-themed campaign or piece of timely content, go for it.

However, if immediate term wins are all you’re investing in, you may not be spending your marketing and content dollars as sensibly as you could. Using your budget money for limited use campaigns can earn you a big payoff fast. However, investing in evergreen materials will likely earn you more over a longer time period.

The key is to find the right campaign and content balance that earns you the highest return on your overall investment in marketing.

Mistake 4. Confusing Content Marketing with Campaigns

By their nature, campaigns come to an end. Content marketing is an ongoing, ever-evolving process that only ends when a company goes out of business, it changes direction, or marketers give up on it - which is unlikely today.

Never treat content marketing as a campaign. Doing so will make your content program seem choppy and incoherent. Instead, think of it as an ongoing conversation with the people in your target audience that you hope never ends.

Mistake 5. Marketing Isn’t the Same as Sales

It’s hard to believe that there are still people in each field who confuse the two. Marketing is about attracting prospective customers and building relationships with them. Selling is about sealing the deal as quickly as possible.

When the two are thought of as the same, marketing can be rushed, and salespeople can feel slowed down and constrained. The two groups have to work closely together, but the unique aspects of each discipline must be respected and supported. Let marketing be marketing. And let sales be sales.

Mistake 6. Similarly, Marketing with Content Isn’t the Same as Content Marketing

The marketing process uses content, whether it’s on websites, in social posts, or in videos, to drive consumers toward a sale. Content marketing is more about educating consumers so they feel empowered, along with building goodwill. It could eventually lead to sales, but it’s not its primary intent.

It’s critical to recognize the difference. If your content marketing pieces feel too sales-y, readers, listeners, and viewers will lose trust and abandon them. And if your sales content does not include a clear pitch and call to action, people won’t act on it, and you won’t close the deal. It’s important to structure materials, so they always deliver on the expectations of the people you’re targeting them to.

Mistake 7. Failing to Communicate the Value of Marketing.

Are you a marketing apologist? It’s the wrong way to present yourself and your team within your organization. Marketing isn’t just about putting pictures and images on a page or screen. It involves strategy, planning, research, tracking, reporting, and more — all in multiple media.

Marketing isn’t work that should be apologized for. It should be respected and celebrated by your colleagues. It’s up to you to convey your value, and the merits of the people on your team, in order to earn that respect.

Mistake 8. Silo-izing

Marketers often live in their own world, isolated from the rest of the business. It’s a reason their marketing programs don’t work. The isolation prevents them from representing their company, it's culture, products, and services accurately or in a compelling way.

To be good at what they do, marketers must fully integrate into their organizations. It’s the only way they can bring their businesses to life in their marketing content and campaigns.

Mistake 9. Fighting Instead of Uniting

Do the people on your marketing team get along, or do you find them fighting all the time?

Disagreements among marketers are commonplace. Creative people are passionate and often have strong opinions and viewpoints. Allowing people to have their say is critical. It will make your work better. However, it’s a mistake to allow infighting to go on too long. It can result in creative paralysis.

Set rules of engagement to govern interactions on your marketing team. Allow people to express opinions early on in the creative development process. Then ensure everyone unites on a single vision for projects moving forward. Doing so will ensure that you’ll get to leverage the creative perspectives available to you while uniting people on your team as they develop materials as efficiently as possible.

Stay tuned: Marketers make a lot of mistakes that they’re not aware of. We’ll post part two of this series soon.

Bonus content: if you’re in the healthcare industry, be sure to tune in to this episode of our Dodgeball Marketing Podcast, where Michael and Chris cover the top healthcare marketing mistakes to avoid.

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