Let’s face it: Nobody’s perfect. As marketing professionals, we like to think that we’re experts in our field and that we’re one step ahead of the changing landscape, but the truth is, human nature is to fall into routine and get comfortable. Pride can be a devastating roadblock that prevents us from correcting and fine-tuning our marketing presence. Sometimes it takes an outside nudge to rid ourselves of a bad habit, or make us aware we even have one in the first place.
The good news is, it’s never too late to shake a bad habit. No one can fault you for brushing up on basic best practices (which we all know can be clouded by an at times hectic and demanding career). Here are some examples of marketing mistakes which demonstrate that a little awareness sometimes goes a long way.
1) Keep it Consistent: Any marketing agency will tell you, it takes multiple and repetitive ad experiences before someone will be able to distinguish a particular brand. Avoid the urge to send out a bunch of awesome (but different) versions of copy and creative to media vendors. Your brand’s website, magazine spreads, digital banner ads, and stores should all contribute to a specific look and feel which can be perceived and recognized. Marketers may feel overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities for presenting their brand visually and aesthetically, but remember: Branding is all about consistency. A consistent image is even better than a perfect one.
2) Out With the Negative: Whether you’re a top level executive or just starting out in the business, you’ve undoubtedly come across a “Negative Nancy” or two in your career. Even if these people don’t deal with customers directly, their negative attitudes can begin to poison the livelihood of the entire behind-the-scenes team, which can be just as detrimental to the success of the brand. Always do your best to stay optimistic, constructive, and upbeat – those qualities are just as likely to rub off as the bad ones. And on the flipside, realize that often your work stress, personal problems, or just a bad mood can affect others.
3) Let Your Consumer Do The Talking: Working full-time to market a brand can often lead us down a rabbit trail of assumptions about who our audience is. Yes, we have statistics and demographics to work with, but numbers can only tell us so much. Sometimes, we need to dig further to find more subjective, specialized information. Rather than resting on our knowledge and experience with what our customers want, just ask them. There are a million and one ways (even more so now that social media has become such an integral marketing tool) to reach out to your customers. As much as you know them, they know themselves better.
4) In With the New, Stay With the Old: Customers aren’t puppies — their loyalty has to be earned. Marketers and advertisers work so hard to ensure that their message is received and that they are getting the maximum ROI, the marketing dollars and efforts made to reach new customers and those geared toward retaining the old ones become unbalanced. But with so much competition at every turn, you can’t afford not to retain them. Give them an incentive and they’ll likely keep coming back.
5) Location, Location, Location: E-commerce may be growing, but that doesn’t mean you should throw your brick-and-mortar presence on the back burner. Choosing a location based on your own internal staff research may not suffice – but you can always contract a location broker to do a thorough analysis of any particular location. You may have to spend more to get the location you want, but remember: choosing a location that doesn’t work for your brand, no matter how little the cost, is always a waste of money.
Marketing is far from a static industry – it’s constantly evolving, so much so that we can forget to focus on fundamentals. Evaluating your own practices, good and bad, can provide insight and clarity into the bigger picture. You are inundated with endless possibilities and decisions to make on a daily basis, so make sure that you don’t fall victim to complacency. Mistakes are only mistakes if you don’t learn from them!