Ask the Experts: What Marketing Mistakes Are Made Most Often?

September 14, 2016

social brand speakers

People usually ask the experts about best practices and their predictions for the future. While these roundup posts are usually full of useful insights, they’re also incredibly optimistic. And while optimism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it glosses over real life, which is full of problems.

We picked the brains of our resident expert audience, the speakers of Social Brand Forum 2016. The question we’d really like an answer to — Which marketing mistake do you see people making most often?

Here’s what the speakers of Social Brand Forum 2016 had to say. 

joe pulizziJoe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute

“The biggest mistake I see is two-fold.  First, a company that starts a content marketing approach doesn’t choose a content niche that’s truly differentiated from anything else out there. And second, they don’t consistently deliver the content and keep their promise to their customers.”

Gini Dietrich, Arment Dietrich

gini dietrich“The biggest marketing mistake I see people make most often is not measuring their efforts to business results. Sure, they track fans and followers and website visitors and all of those vanity metrics, but they don’t know which tactics are driving the most qualified leads for conversion to sales. With all of the data we have available to us today through customer relationship management, analytics, and other software, it’s a no-brainer to show you are an investment, rather than an expense.”

Melanie Deziel, Founder of MDeziel Media

melanie-deziel“Content marketers often forget to place themselves in their consumers’ shoes. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our own marketing goals and the messages that we want to send. When we’re in that mindset—and we don’t take a step back to consider what content our customers truly want, need and are interested in hearing, seeing or engaging with—our content often comes across as self-serving, too branded, or out of touch. In order to create content that our customers and potential customers will truly value and engage with, we need to remember to gut check our ideas and goals against our customers’ needs, wants, behaviors, priorities and more. When we do that, we’re able to find the small overlap in those two things, and create something that’s additive to our consumers lives, not disruptive.”

Jay Baer, Convince & Convert

jay baer“The marketing mistake I see people making most often is wasting prospects’ time by telling them things they already know, or can easily discover. ‘Oh, your hotel has a nightstand with a phone charger? Wow! What an illuminating commercial!’ Use your precious marketing dollars to introduce information that is unknown, and therefore can actually change behavior.”

Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media

andy-crestodina“‘They say it’s important to blog, so I wrote a bunch of blog posts …and nothing happened.’ I hear this all the time. The mistake (and it’s a big one) is that marketers are spending too much time creating content and not enough time promoting it. Too many content marketers have a process that looks like this: (1) Write and publish a blog post, (2) Share it on social media, and (3) Write and publish another blog post.

“That doesn’t work very well. The fix is to create content with the promotion process in mind. Content optimized for search is aligned with a phrase. Content optimized for social involves collaborating with influencers. There are dozens of ways to promote content. The key is to plan ahead and never write something without a solid idea for how you’ll drive traffic directly to it.”

mike-smithMike Smith, Aweber

“Marketers are wasting too much time on the shiny new thing syndrome. Test them out the new platforms, but be careful not to over invest too early. Test and assess what is working and make sure you don’t ignore it. (Ahem — email!)”

Kristen Craft, Wistia

kristen-craft“Here’s the mistake I see marketers making all too frequently: We fail to build real, meaningful connections with our customers and audience members. It is these meaningful connections that makes someone a lifelong customer or — better yet — a brand evangelist. It’s within our grasp to create these connections, and the methods are infinite. For me, I most prefer using video and in-person engagement to build relationships. But I’ve also seen companies do this by creating vibrant communities, loyalty programs, and terrific support processes, among other things. This kind of long-term thinking is the way we win long-term customers.”

No time to read the whole article? Read this for the most important takeaways.

TL;DR: Which marketing mistake do you see people making most often? Lessons learned:

  • Differentiate your content niche
  • Consistently deliver on content promises
  • Measure efforts with actual business results
  • Place yourself in your consumers’ shoes
  • Don’t waste prospects’ time with things they already know
  • Spend as much time (or more) promoting content as creating it
  • Don’t neglect tried-and-true marketing methods for shiny new things
  • Build real, meaningful connections

You’ve heard from the experts — now it’s your turn. Which marketing mistake do you see people making most often? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll share our favorites on Twitter leading up to Social Brand Forum!

And if you haven’t bought your ticket yet — grab one before they sell out, and come to Social Brand Forum with your own questions to ask these experts.

See you in Iowa City!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.