“How can I improve my marketing skills?” you may be asking. Well, first, let’s talk about what not to do.
There’s a reason Socrates, Plato, and Descartes aren’t well known for their social posts, email campaigns, and out-of-home work. It’s because content isn’t a philosophy; it’s a tactic. Too often, when coming up with marketing strategies, these two things get confused. While there are many viable tactics that play an important role in growing a brand, what are really important are the philosophies behind the tactics. Here, we’re going to discuss some marketing mistakes to avoid that miss the big picture and put your brand or business in a hole from the start.
#1 The “Silver Bullet” Strategy
The consumer is not a werewolf. One strategy (or silver bullet) is not going to take care of the problem. We all know that simply doing one thing is not enough, but how many times have you seen a brand make one Instagram post a week and leave it at that? If you want to have meaningful engagement with the consumer, you need to create a constant dialogue to grow the relationship over time. Repeated interaction with a brand builds the interest and, more importantly, the trust that is required to maintain those relationships. When developing a strategy, just doing one thing is never enough. Branch out and engage your target audience in multiple ways and continue to do so consistently over a long period of time. It won’t kill a werewolf, but it will help your business.
#2 The “If We Build It, They Will Come” Strategy
One of the most outdated marketing techniques we see all the time is the idea that you just need a cool website, and the money will start rolling in. Building a website is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the same when creating anything. You can’t make a brochure or even build a brick-and-mortar storefront and think the job is done. Unless you are constantly going out to engage the consumer, they’re not going to just show up in person or virtually and give you their money. The ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson might be powerless to avoid what you’ve built, but everyone else is going to need a little bit more from your brand.
#3 The “Going with Your Gut” Strategy
There’s a reason the phrase “OK Boomer” became part of the pop culture lexicon recently. It’s not so much about any single generation as it is about the thinking that your experience translates to the rest of the world. Consumers are different. They’re different from each other and different from you. Even if a 55-year-old man has been working in the same business for 25 years, that doesn’t mean he knows the best way to reach his 28-year-old female audience. There are numerous ways you can survey consumers to figure out what they want and develop a strategy that addresses those specific needs and desires. So do the research; don’t just go with your gut. OK Boomer?
#4 The “Strategy-less” Strategy
“Do you make viral videos? Let’s do that.”
A viral video or any singular piece of content is a “what.” Before a brand has a “what,” it needs a “why.” It’s essential to develop a strategy as the foundation for your content. Before you can make something meaningful, you have to figure out why you’re making it in the first place. What purpose will it serve? How does it fit with the other moving parts of the brand? Foregoing strategy to just “make stuff” is like shouting into the wind. So put a purposeful strategy in place, and you won’t just be making stuff; you’ll be building something.
#5 The “All We Need Is an Intern” Strategy
Imagine the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs letting his nephew start at quarterback because he’s really, really good at playing Madden on his PS4. Sounds ridiculous, but something similar happens all the time in the marketing and advertising industry. Just because your sister’s boyfriend took a Photoshop class last semester does not mean he should be handling crucial aspects of your business. Professionals, that is people who’ve studied advertising and marketing and put it into practice for multiple industries, have more than just the basic tools and programs to make a piece of content. They also have the experience and understanding to give meaning to the work. It’s always worth investing in people who actually know what they’re doing when it comes to your business needs.
#6 The “We Don’t Have a Budget” Strategy
Your clients need a sandbox, not a beach. As much fun as running around all over the beach can be, it’s not very efficient when you’re trying to build a specific sandcastle. It’s important to set a price point for a project before coming up with your strategy. That way, you can avoid spending time and resources on 100 different variations of an idea only to have 99 of them dismissed because they don’t fit the actual budget. If you and your client have a clear picture of what the price point is from the start, then you can work within that framework to create a strategy that maximizes resources and ensures all of your ideas remain viable options.
#7 The “Hire a Pro, Treat ‘Em Like a Rookie” Strategy
Sometimes even those with enough experience to know they need an experienced marketing team aren’t experienced enough to delegate all they should to their marketing team. Unlike the “intern” strategy, this process doesn’t just waste people’s time; it wastes your company’s precious dollars. Allowing the teams you put around you to do their best work is one of the greatest strategies you can implement as a marketer. Don’t undercut the time, effort, and experience your partners have brought to the table with a “thanks, but let’s do my idea instead” moment. When you pay people to do a job, it’s important that you let them do the job you’re paying them to do. Duh.
#8 The “Keep Your Cards Close to Your Vest” Strategy
Welcome to the loop. Sales doesn’t know what Marketing is doing. Marketing doesn’t know what Operations is doing. Operations doesn’t know what Sales is doing. Ad infinitum. If you aren’t sharing business goals and objectives with all the departments involved, you don’t get a well-oiled machine. You get a Rube Goldberg device. It’s crucial to make sure everyone can see the bigger picture; that way, each part can work toward a cohesive whole, and you’ll have a strategy to avoid a communication breakdown.
#9 The “We’re Just Like Apple” Strategy
Does your business or brand spend millions of dollars a year on creative? How about hundreds of millions on marketing as a whole? Do you have a passionate, sometimes obsessive fan base that will probably support your brand no matter what? If you said yes to this, then congratulations, you are Apple. Otherwise, you’re going to have to approach things another way. Without investment in resources, you can’t get the quality, consistency, and loyalty you desire. Let’s be honest, even with all that, you still can’t be Apple. But you can take a page out of their book; when it comes to your brand’s strategy, “Think Different.
You might have winced a little while reading some of these strategies to avoid because you’ve experienced them firsthand. But don’t worry, we’ve all been there at some point. So, how do you avoid marketing mistakes? With the right agency, budget, and team behind your brand helping you build a strategy that’s right for you, success will come. Connect with us here at My Friend’s Nephew, and you’ll see what a partner with the work and culture to inspire confidence can do for you and your business.