As a professional who has worked for many different companies, I’ve been involved in a marketing plan or two. Working for an advertising firm, in particular, offered a close-up perspective on the very nature of marketing and how it plays out. In my experience, here are five of the most common marketing mistakes I’ve seen.
1) Grammatical/Spelling errors – It is the simplest and most frustrating of blunders, because it is a preventable error that leaves a not-so-good impression. You know what I’m talking about – we’ve all seen posters, mail blasts, or even websites that have misspellings or incorrect grammar. It detracts from the message that the marketer is trying to convey. A second, third, even fourth pair of eyes is never too much when it comes to words on a page.
2) Not budgeting enough – Oh, the marketing woes when fourth quarter of a fiscal year rolls around and there isn’t enough left in the marketing budget to garner the extra revenue needed to finish the year strong. Time and time again, I’ve been in the middle of this exact scenario. Understandably, things happen throughout the year that were not expected, but you have to do your best to plan for these things. I can’t stress enough the importance of putting cushions in the budget.
3) Keeping the wrong people – Some companies are very soft on their employees, giving the slackers too many chances before getting rid of them. This is especially true of companies that have a younger workforce. You can’t keep people on the marketing team who aren’t getting the job done. Just because so-and-so is a cool person doesn’t warrant the loss in revenue that you could be earning if that person were better at marketing the company. Find the right people for the job and eliminate the ones that aren’t.
4) Not keeping your website updated – Website maintenance, particularly for small businesses, is extremely important in staying relevant to your target audience. I remember going out to the company website for the advertising firm for which I worked. A lot of the content was “under construction” and I was so disappointed in the amount of time it took to get it straightened out. Imagine how the clients felt! In today’s technological world, your website is the window to your company. It’s one of the biggest marketing tools you can have – take care of it.
5) Not following up on leads – I worked for a company that specialized in healthcare job boards, and our monthly meetings often seemed like the movie “Groundhog Day.” I would hear the same things from the salespeople over and over, where they were making calls all day but not following up with the clients that showed an interest. Cold calls are fine and all, but you have to put aside a piece of your day to pursue the folks that may need a little extra sales pitch. And, if you’ve got salespeople that don’t want to be aggressive, see #3 above.