Over our 24 years of helping companies make positive strides with their marketing, we’ve come to recognize the points where businesses tend to stray off the path. Below are a few of the more common marketing missteps we’ve seen over the years, along with some tips for course correction.
Misstep #1: Too many cooks
Just as “too many cooks spoil the broth,” too many decision makers can spoil your marketing. Getting buy-in from others in your organization is a good thing, but trying to incorporate the preferences and opinions of a dozen different people into one sell sheet is a recipe for disaster.
Misstep #2: Consistent inconsistency
Take a look at all of the marketing materials you’ve produced over the past year. If it’s not obvious that it all came from the same company, you have taken a consistency misstep. Having a consistent look, feel and voice to your marketing makes you recognizable. It also tells your customers they can depend on you. That doesn’t mean every single thing you produce has to look exactly the same—consistent use of branding elements gives you cohesiveness and leaves room for creative freedom.
Misstep #3: Wearing too many hats
While this is a marketing misstep most often made by small companies, large companies are not immune to it. Whether you have a small marketing staff or no marketing staff at all, the story is the same: there’s work to do, and a limited number of people to do it—so you each take on more until everybody is spread too thin. What once seemed like efficiency becomes the exact opposite. Details begin falling through the cracks. Your marketing becomes reactive instead of proactive. Not only does productivity suffer, but so does staff morale. Left unchecked, your customers will also suffer.
Misstep #4: Not taking advantage of tech
In a world where smartphones and tablets have put high-speed computers in nearly everyone’s hands, it’s surprising how many companies still overlook the impact that marketing technology can have on their business. If terms like “SEO,” “marketing automation,” “retargeting” or even “social media” make you cringe, consider this: tech tools like these give you fast results, enhance your audience targeting capabilities, and give you unprecedented metrics on how your campaigns are performing. Plus, the agility inherent in these platforms gives you the flexibility to quickly change what isn’t working and capitalize on what is.
Steps to take
If you find that your company has taken one or more of these missteps, here are some things you can do to get back on track:
- Limit your feedback to key stakeholders—those individuals whose input is truly important for a given project. You’ll save time and money, and probably be more on target with your marketing message.
- Develop a set of formal brand guidelines to help keep everybody on track with color palette, imagery, font and tone.
- The simplest solution to being spread too thin is to add staff—whether in the form of full-time employees, part-time help, freelancers, fractional staff…or an outside marketing partner.
- If you’re hesitant to take the tech plunge, test the waters with something small and simple like a LinkedIn page or a company blog, then ramp up as you get more comfortable. You’ll soon wonder how you ever got along without it.