“Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy!”
A wise red-headed teacher once said this. Most of you have probably heard of her. Her name was Ms. Frizzle, and she was a character on the animated series The Magic School Bus.
When it comes to marketing, yes, you should take chances. You should try new things, research new trends and step out of your comfort zone.
And, yes! Things might get messy.
But today, we want to talk about that second thing—the “Make mistakes” thing.
Here’s the deal: If you’re taking chances and getting messy, mistakes are bound to happen. Most of these mistakes can be written off as “learning experiences,” as you tweak your marketing strategy and make a mental note to not let that happen again. But some of these mistakes can (and should) be avoided entirely. To save you the grief, we’ve put together a list of the most common marketing mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Forgoing research.
We’re creative types. We love being spontaneous and brainstorming and doing things by the seat of our pants. But even we won’t forgo research when it comes to implementing a marketing strategy.
Who are your customers? Okay, and, outside of the numbers and generic demos, who are they really? What do they want to see? When do they want to see it?
What are your goals? What do you need to do to reach them? How much money are you willing to spend?
What platforms and outlets are available to you? And which ones will actually work for you? (Hint: Just because it works for everyone else doesn’t mean it’s best for you.)
These are the types of questions you need to answer before you can even develop a marketing strategy, let alone implement it.
Mistake #2: Pausing for perfection.
When it comes to your business, you are your own worst critic, but if you’re putting everything on hold until the website and the logo and the copy are absolutely, immaculately perfect (and then making changes even when they are), you could be missing opportunities. We are perfectionists ourselves, so we get this one, but sometimes the best way to improve a brand or a project is to go for a lean launch. Once the ball is rolling, you’ll be able to gather information that will actually help you tweak and guide your brand to perfection, without wasting any time or money.
Mistake #3: Copy-catting competitors.
It’s not a bad idea to research what your competitors are doing, and it’s certainly smart to learn from their efforts and inject what you’ve learned into your own. That said, don’t become the mirror of your competitors. You are your own brand with your own identity, and trust us, your customers will appreciate you more for it. Plus, just because your competitors are doing it doesn’t mean it’s right or that it’s the best strategy for your business. You have a competitive advantage that they don’t; you just need to figure out what that is.
Mistake #4: Asking for opinions from everyone.
The funny thing about opinions? Everyone has one. And the even funnier thing about asking for an opinion on a project? More times than not, people try to find something that’s wrong with it, often creating problems that don’t exist. Don’t let everyone have a say in your marketing strategies. Instead of asking every colleague, family member, friend and stranger on their street what they think, designate a handful of people that really understand your business and your business goals as trusted sources.
Mistake #5: Missing measurements.
Spend a day in the CGR office, and you’ll hear more talk about tracking and measuring and reporting than anything else. Yes, we implement strategies that we believe in, but we know that these strategies mean nothing if we don’t have the numbers to prove it. Whenever you put money in your marketing, and even when you don’t, it’s important to measure the success of your campaign. This also means that you need to know what the measurements of success are for your business or campaign. Is success a new lead? A Facebook like? ROI? Whatever it is, by tracking and measuring, you can easily identify what’s working and what’s not, using what you learn for campaigns down the road.
There are plenty of other mistakes made in marketing (like the use of QR codes on highway billboards—seriously, what are people thinking), but we’ll stop there.
Which of these mistakes do you struggle with the most?