When it comes to marketing there is no one size fits all to ensure success for your business. In a recent report just 61% of marketers reported that they believe their marketing strategy is effective (HubSpot, 2016).
So how do you make sure your marketing efforts will reap the results you want?
Here are some pitfalls to avoid on your way to achieving marketing success this year!
1. Failing to Plan – Without a well thought out plan you’re just treading water. A strategic plan is the first thing you need to have in place. Starting at the high level you can highlight where your business is currently at and where you want it to go. But more than that, your plan needs to drill down to the actionable steps for you to get there. Once you have a strategic plan, it’s important that you stick to it and give it enough time to get traction. It’s easy to get distracted, but don’t. Going off on different tangents will see your marketing efforts diluted and the results will be disappointing. You need to work out what you think is a reasonable amount of time and give your marketing plan that amount of time so you can see the results.
2. Inconsistent Brand Messaging – Brand recognition is crucial to business success. Why should potential customers/ clients choose your business to engage with and ultimately purchase from you over another business? Social media makes getting your brand message out both easier and more difficult. Easier because you can reach a larger audience, but more difficult as you need to ensure that every piece of content you publish/ curate is consistent with and a true representation of your brand.
3. Trying to Be All Things to All People – Your core business offering(s) can be diluted by not staying focused on what it is that makes your business unique. By taking your eye off the ball and focusing on other things, you run the risk of not being front of mind for anything and wasting a lot of time, effort and money. Recently this has been a point of concern for several major Aussie Brands who are suffering or have suffered from not effectively getting out a consistent brand message. Target/ K Mart; Dick Smith; Pumpkin Patch/Charlie and Me etc have all confused their positioning and offerings resulting in a confused audience. You know what your business is good at – concentrate on that.
4. Taking Every Opportunity That Comes Along – New opportunities require research and assessment – is this the right direction for you/ your business to take? Jumping in before taking the time to fully research and test the waters can have disastrous results not to mention waste a lot of money. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth research project or cost a lot, but do take the time to do some basic research and test, test, test. You can ask your existing customers, run a poll on social media, a lightbox on your latest blog, test a small product sample or run a small survey (paid or unpaid) etc. In any case, it’s important to have a process to deal with the new ideas and possible opportunities for your business. You want to ascertain that they are in line with your value proposition and are a profitable business decision before you rush in.
5. Not Measuring the Success of Your Marketing and Using the Learnings – How will you know how successful any of your marketing activities have been if you don’t measure the results? You need to set clear realistic objectives up front and put in place a process or system to collect the analytics for regular review and optimisation. You need to be able to determine which marketing activities have worked well and which ones haven’t so that you can do more of the things that work and optimise those or drop off the ones that haven’t. The good news is that gathering the data to get your results is faster and easier than ever with the many, varied tools available online – many of which are free or already in systems you are using like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc.
Starting off the new year hoping that your marketing and business results will be better than last year isn’t enough. Charging into new ideas and opportunities without planning and analysis can also be wasted time and money. Get a strategic marketing plan in place – something you stick to and can tick the activities off as the month’s go by, reaping the rewards of your hard work. By all means go with your gut instinct, but stay focused on your core business and analyse opportunities before you jump in – your business will thank you for it.
To help you get started, here’s our handy 1-Page Action Plan to keep you focused on your priorities this year.