Even the best marketers can find themselves stuck in bad habits – harmful behaviors that limit the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and waste valuable resources.
Like breaking any bad habit, the New Year is a good time to make a fresh start.
Here are 10 ways you could be hurting your marketing and tips for a better approach:
- Putting your marketing strategy on “auto-play:” If your 2014 marketing plan looks a lot like your 2013 plan … and your 2012 plan … it’s time to reevaluate. Marketing changes too fast to simply repeat the usual tactics without questioning their effectiveness. Audit your marketing to find out what’s really working and try some new approaches.
- Fighting with the sales team: In many B2B companies, sales and marketing don’t get along. Internal battles only benefit your competitors. Make a renewed effort to understand each other’s needs and priorities, build trust, and get on the same side.
- Marketing to non-buyers: If your advertising and marketing is reaching too many people who don’t have the interest, budget, or need to buy from you, you’re wasting time and money. Make this the year you target your marketing more effectively, using data analysis to identify your best prospects and tactics you can measure, like direct marketing.
- Using old data: Relying on outdated prospect or customer data is like trying to plan a journey with an old map; you’ll never get where you want to go. Hire a professional data management company to clean and update your files. Append fresh data to fill in gaps in your customer and prospect records.
- Reprinting outdated materials: This is a classic bad marketing habit. Inventory runs low on sales collateral and suddenly, there’s a panicked call to the printer to reprint stuff that really should be revamped. Start the New Year with a plan for updating your sales tools.
- Oversharing or under-sharing on social media: If you’re posting on social media every five minutes – or every five weeks – your timing is almost certainly off. Posting too often turns followers off. Posting rarely is worse than not at all. You want to be active but not overbearing. Study effective social media users in your industry to gauge the proper pace for sharing.
- DIY marketing: Marketers have many tools to create video, shoot photos, and build websites, but there can be a down side to doing it all yourself. If you’re in a marketplace with very sophisticated competitors, you may need a professional marketing team to guide your efforts and expert vendors to execute your campaigns.
- Being office-bound: Reading blogs in your office isn’t enough to stay fresh and current on marketing. Get out from behind your desk and talk face to face with customers, vendors, and business colleagues. Go to trade shows and get active in local business and trade associations. If you’re in Cleveland, join the American Advertising Federation; it’s Northeast Ohio’s best marketing resource.
- Over-marketing: Bombarding customers and prospects with promotions is guaranteed to irritate your audience and get your emails blocked. Respect the people who’ve opted in to hear from you by sending messages that are relevant to their needs and at a reasonable pace.
- Failing to monitor social media comments about your business: Social media makes it easy for happy customers to report good experiences and unhappy customers to sound off. Pay attention to what’s being said about you, respond directly and immediately, and move conversations off-line when there’s a complaint. Even big marketers fall short here. It took The Wall Street Journal four weeks to find my blog and related social media posts about why they lost me as a customer. Their response was genuine and direct, but four weeks?
Resolve to be a Smarter Marketer
After decades as a marketing consultant and strategist, I still believe advertising and marketing are the most fun you can have with your clothes on. The New Year is the perfect opportunity to review your approach to marketing and resolve to make changes for a smarter marketing strategy and better results.