Imagine the frustration of entering a store with no clear signage, disorganized shelves, and no staff to guide you. How long would you stay? The same applies to website navigation.
Marketing is an extraordinary and a very dynamic area. It constantly changes. Business’ success depends on it, good strategies create new development opportunities allowing you to understand customers and their needs. For these purposes, it is important to use modern solutions that improve marketing efforts. However, it might not be easy for entrepreneurs to be aware of every new product on the market. Some of the newest solutions might cause serious errors, damage the company’s image and generate losses. It is worth knowing and avoiding the most common marketing mistakes regardless of whether you are just starting your adventure with your own business, or if you have been running one for years.
Everyone makes mistakes
The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything. It is hard to disagree with this statement. In every field even the best professionals can make mistakes, which is okay if those mistakes are not followed by serious consequences, which in marketing can be severe. Many entrepreneurs are afraid of the risks and give up on taking bold actions. Unfortunately, it is impossible to run a business and be sure that every new move is the correct one. First of all, you have to accept that not everything can be predicted and that some decisions may turn out to be wrong. In order to minimize the risk, it is worth seeking the help of specialists from marketing agencies. You should not be stagnant because of your fear of failure.
Every decision made by an entrepreneur has an impact on his business – positive or negative. It is the starting point for a series of actions and events that will either be good for the company or not. There are situations when you can predict some results thanks to detailed analysis of customer behavior, company situation or market fluctuations. Above all, however, you need to establish and implement a precise plan. After that, you have to wait and see if the right decisions have been made. Sometimes, ideas that seem good can turn out to be bad, and vice versa – what you consider inadequate can turn out to be the perfect solution to your company’s problem. Once again, it is impossible to be in control of everything, even detailed analysis does not completely eliminate the potential risk.
Biggest marketing mistakes to avoid
Digital marketing is already very popular. It is an absolute must for the company to have a website, social media accounts and other online marketing support tools. Top marketing mistakes occur mostly on those elements and make their way into advertising campaigns. In the past, marketing was much simpler and had fewer elements. Nowadays, unfortunately, it requires more time, money and harder work. Marketing failures happen more often and the competition is relentless. Marketing disasters can, in extreme cases, even lead to the collapse of a company. This is why we came up with this list of marketing mistakes to avoid, this way you can make sure to never go through with the ideas that can only be described as the worst marketing fails.
1. Lack of strategy and vision of development – the first of the top marketing mistakes
In order to achieve success you need a solid marketing strategy. Be flexible about it. Reluctance to change it when needed is a serious mistake. Make sure to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. You have to take into account that something may not work out and have a plan B or even C in place when things go wrong. If you do not want to create additional solutions, plan the basic one in a way that changes can be added at any point of the process of its implementation. This way you not only reduce the risk of failure, but it will also be easier for you to adapt to changing marketing trends, customer expectations or market conditions. A flexible approach to marketing will make it more effective and enable better profiling of the message or even long-term planning. You can see how important this is right now, in times of a pandemic. Only quick adaptation to difficult conditions will allow you to keep your position on the market. Even if the company’s development slows down, at least it will not stop, and if competing companies stop growing, it will be a great opportunity for your firm.
2. Hiding behind a logo
A company is more than just its logo. First of all, they are people – the founders with ideas and those who work for them. It is important to show that there is a human behind the company, especially in a one-person operation. Every brand should have a humane side, it should ideally be the founder presented as a specialist and a professional in their industry. Showing a friendlier side strongly influences the company’s image, improves the credibility of its message, as well as communication with customers who prefer to talk to other people, not machines or bots. This way the distance between the firm and customers is shrinking making the marketing efforts seem more genuine. How to achieve that? First of all, you have to adjust the way you communicate with the clients on your website. Post pictures of yourself, not only of your office and products. Use tools such as YouTube or Spotify to create videos or podcasts. This way your customers will be able to see your face and hear your voice, which might change the way they perceive your brand. However, it is important to consolidate your image as a trustworthy specialist who deserves to be paid well.
3. Not specifying the target audience can lead to another marketing fail
If you think your product is for everyone, then you are about to make one of the biggest marketing mistakes. All business owners would like to create a product that would suit every customers’ needs and it seems to you that the wider the target audience, the better. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. The target group should always be precisely defined – you need to know who your customers are. You must determine whether your offer is for ordinary people or for specialists and experts in a given industry. For example, new accounting programs should be offered to bigger companies and specialists rather than what we call “normal people.” Maybe you are producing something only for women or men? Do you want to appeal to teenagers or seniors?
Each group has its own interests, preferences, language they use, websites and places they like to visit. It is important to remember that. Personalization is the core of today’s marketing. General ads no longer work because they do not focus on a specific target group. These people later leave negative reviews about the business or simply hide the ads. This works to the advertiser’s disadvantage. Only personalized ads tailored to a specific audience will benefit you.
4. Not monitoring and analyzing the effects – one of the most common digital marketing mistakes
Analysis of the course of activities and monitoring of the effects on an ongoing basis are extremely important in marketing. This way you can make sure that everything is going according to the plan and that the results are satisfactory or that you need to make changes. Only data collected with the use of various tools can give you proper answers. Google Analytics or Google Search Console are the basic means for collecting data, but there are of course many more. Social media and platforms for website creation offer their own tools. They allow you to analyze your progress and peek at the competitors. Taking advantage of marketing integrations can support the analysis of marketing performance by providing access to variety of data and metrics from multiple sources. These analyses should be carried out even before making specific marketing decisions.
It is a great opportunity to verify your visions and get the chance to make adjustments before any of them negatively affect your business. Collection of data can create the true image of your brand. However, collecting and analyzing data is not enough. It is important to take customers’ feedback regarding your company, products and services seriously. This way you will be able to resolve most issues quicker. Even if it seems that everything is going according to the plan and the brand is developing, it is worth checking if it really is the case.
5. Lack of proper relationship with customers and business partners
You can run your business without caring about customers’ feedback, but this approach will not be sustainable. Paying attention, listening to customers or reading their opinions is definitely not enough. You have to create a proper relationship with them, and to do that you have to try harder. How? First of all, you should analyze customers’ behavior and feedback, adjust the way you communicate with them and be simply authentic. Your products, services and customer service must be of the possibly highest quality. When building relationships with business partners, it is worth going even further and thinking about going to different meetings, conferences or events that are an opportunity to personally represent the company. You can meet new people from your industry and see what your competition is up to.
6. Low quality of anything – recipe for a marketing disaster
Brand building is based primarily on presenting your company as a specialist in a given field. That is why the correct sequence of actions is important. First, you should try to become an expert and refine your product. Only then can you go out to people with the appropriate message and advertising. You need to show both your clients and business partners that you are trustworthy. A good way to do this is by creating campaigns with special offers or adding valuable content on the website, in social media or on forums and discussion groups. Your marketing should include more than articles. Try using recordings, films, vlogs, interviews and online courses. There are plenty of possibilities. It all depends on the specifics of your business. Highlighting your knowledge, skills, having the best equipment and using high-quality raw materials for production is really necessary. Customers simply need to know what they pay for, especially when your prices are higher than competitors.
7. Lack of consistency
The company’s image and undertaken actions must be coherent and consistent. Hence, the above-mentioned flexibility is important. This is the only way to instill the brand image in the customers’ awareness. The results can be really great if you are able to consistently implement your well-established marketing plan – regardless of various changes and problems. You will be able to see the effects clearly and develop in the right direction, as long as you devote the right amount of time to data analysis and building the entire concept. Consistency should be visible not only in the planning and organization itself, but also in communication with clients and business partners. Customers will be confused if the posts, written in a professional and official language, that you publish every day suddenly change their form and are full of emoticons, memes or slang. Your message must fit your industry and target audience. Stick with what worked in the past, but be open to innovation.
8. Insufficient budget
If you think you do not need to invest in marketing solutions, you are wrong – very wrong. Good ideas, non-standard solutions and introduction of new products and services that will distinguish you from the competition usually require a big budget. When planning your marketing strategy, you should take into account whether you can afford the implementation of your ideas. A smaller budget means you have to spend more time and work harder to get the same results. Even with a small budget you can accomplish a lot over a longer period. Larger budget can help you get the desired outcome faster. Let’s use the organization of a networking meeting for clients as an example. You need an appropriate room for it, a person who will lead the meeting, an advertising campaign encouraging people to participate, a plan to promote the company during the meeting, and maybe even a snack – coffee and cake or even a normal meal would be nice. With a larger budget, the room and refreshments can be provided by an external company. The event can be promoted using more efficient tools and your advertisements will reach a wider audience. You could distribute company gadgets, invite a special guest, give vouchers or cut prize coupons or organize a competition with prizes to be won.
9. Ignoring free marketing solutions – a common small business marketing mistake
The above-mentioned lack of appropriate budget makes many solutions impossible or difficult to implement. But that does not mean you should ignore free marketing opportunities. Assuming that nothing can be done without a big budget and ignoring free solutions is among one of the most common small business marketing mistakes. It is small and start-up enterprises that should focus on free opportunities or those that require only a small budget, because they just need to start earning, and small businesses need a lot of time to earn enough money to make a large marketing budget. One of the most important things is to create a social media account.
Having a Facebook page is almost an obligation, but it is also worth having accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn – not necessarily all of them. You can create and run accounts on those sites for free. Build mailing lists and make use of the word of mouth marketing – they cost nothing and can be very beneficial to your business. Do not forget about blogs. Starting a business blog is completely free, and you can even use it instead of a website. They are so advanced that sometimes, when you go to any online address, you cannot really tell whether you are on a website or a blog. Once a year there will be small costs associated with paying for the domain and hosting, but by choosing the right offer they should not amount to much of your budget. Domain and hosting companies have a lot of promotions for new customers or at the end of the year – take advantage of that!
10. Lack of brand identity and aesthetics
The company’s image includes your logo, website, offer, posts on social media accounts, company materials, gadgets and even the email footer. These elements create the overall message and the first impression. We all know that people buy with their eyes. That is precisely why first impressions matter. As the name suggests, it is created during the first seconds of interaction with a given brand, i.e. entering a website or a Facebook page. The better the message looks, the more potential customers will be willing to explore your brand. By adding consistency in the chosen form and aesthetics, you will get a chance to become more memorable, visible and recognizable than the competition. This way your brand will have a unified message, which will be of great help in the brand developing process.
11. Never ending sale offers – one of the worst marketing ideas
You should not bury your clients under thousands of emails with new marketing offers. Every company wants to sell their products and services, but you cannot be intrusive. Spamming customers with commercial offers and focusing mainly on selling, can quickly scare them away. It is worth remembering that nowadays ads are everywhere. People are offered money for viewing or clicking on them. This kind of ads are eagerly used by various websites, portals and blogs. It is not uncommon for them to not match people’s interests and simply irritate them. Customers do not tolerate spam, both in email and on websites.
As a last resort, they start using ways to hide or avoid ads, such as AdBlock or subscribing to the premium version of a service. So you need to find a balanced solution – one that encourages people to buy a product or use a service, but is not intrusive. It is worth preparing the campaign in such a way that the recipient finds additional value in the message. This applies to both communication and the website, blog, social media profiles and other marketing elements. Brazen marketing will only discourage customers, even if your brand provides excellent quality products or services. It is impossible to make people buy from you. You can only encourage them to do so.
A good example of intrusiveness are comments with links to the website or store, especially if you leave a lot of them, and there is no interesting incentive to click on them. People will classify such behavior as spam. In most cases this approach is ineffective. If that is the path you want to take, you should try to make the comment interesting, so the link can be seen only as an addition. Comment on forums or under content related to your business, where you are specialists who knows a lot about a given subject. Never start your comment with a link – substantive information should always come first, so it can be treated as a valid contribution and not spam. This way you will build the image of an expert, and gently encourage people to click on your link.
12. Bad website – one of the biggest marketing mistakes
A good website should consist of many important elements, ranging from the colors, layout of elements on the page, size of photos and finally all its content. The website should contain the general outline of the company, contact information and instructions on how to buy a product or a service. A good idea is to add the so-called FAQ section, i.e. gathering and answering the most frequently asked questions in one place.
It is also a good idea to include on the website a list of the clients you have already worked for and their opinions. Building a good website is more difficult than you might think, but worthwhile because bad website is one of the biggest marketing mistakes. You should invest in a good CMS and even the services of a good agency that will help you create the website for your business. Such as Nopio! Without a good CMS, the marketing team loses not only time but also money, which is why Nopio offers custom WordPress websites and custom website design services, helping to create the best possible website that will not hinder the work of your marketing team. In addition, Nopio offers website consulting for the creation and maintenance processes.
Worst marketing fails – examples
You already know the most common mistakes in marketing. Now it is time to go through some real life examples. Here are some marketing disasters created by big companies. You should be extremely cautious when creating a controversial campaign. Racism, violence, naked body, using any of these three elements can end badly for the brand image.
Let us start with the cosmetics giant, Dove. Their women body positivity marketing campaign was a great success. Unfortunately, the company overdid it by issuing a limited edition packaging that was supposed to represent the diversity of shapes and colors of women’s bodies. Comparing female bodies to shapeless soap bottles ended in a flop.
Another example comes from the Ford marketing campaign. The car industry giant came up with an advertising campaign, where three tied up and gagged women were stuffed into the trunk of a new hatchback. Not only was the ad withdrawn, but the company had to publicly apologize because many people associated the ad with promotion of violence against women.
Another example is the racist advertisement made by SONY. It shows a white woman grabbing a dark skinned woman by the face. The white woman looks determined and the dark-skinned one submissive. Then comes the slogan “White is coming.” It was all about the new ceramic white PSP model, but the whole thing just came out racist.
The next example of the worst marketing ideas is all about timing. Airbnb created a campaign which involved a photo of a house standing on the surface of water with the slogan “Stay Above Water” and “Your next aquatic adventure starts here.” It would probably be a success if the timing was not terrible. It was the end of August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston.
The last example will be from copywriting and education companies. Who will trust a person or a company that makes mistakes in their content? A typo can happen to anyone, but for copywriters or companies and educational institutions it is a marketing failure.
Digital marketing mistakes – summary
Every marketing strategy has to be thought out and planned to the smallest detail. You always have to think twice if the idea is actually good. The key is to hire a marketing team of experienced people and provide them with clear instructions on what to do.
A marketing partnership with an agency will be an even better idea than having your own team. Although it is a costly solution, you can be sure that everything will be done professionally. It is also important to predict the appropriate budget, define the audience and create a campaign that will not be intrusive and will create an appropriate image of the company. Do not forget to monitor and analyze the customer activities.
The way you will react to a marketing mistake is also important. You need to be fast or customers might think that you are ignoring their opinions. You can retract a given campaign, postpone its introduction, or implement a minor change when something goes wrong. Remember, however, that regardless of your strategy and ideas, you need to be aware that it is not possible to find the optimal solution right away. Marketing is about testing solutions by trial and error, but should always be based on something that worked in the past.