by John Lindner
Founder and Chief Creative Officer
Let’s face it. Marketing is a complex proposition. Why not learn from other people’s mistakes? Here are a few I’ve seen over the years.
1. Not making a plan.
Most companies recognize that they might need a website, sales materials and possibly an ad or two. But they might not give much thought to how all of these things work together. A marketing company can help you put together a plan that will not only make sure that you have corresponding materials for each of your products, market segments and seasons, but will ensure that you have a communication stream in place to convert window shoppers to loyal customers along the way.
2. Doing too little.
This is the most common mistake we see marketing managers make: running a single ad or keyword campaign and then trying to measure results from the one-time effort. Multiple variables can affect performance: offer, audience, creative and seasonality to name a few. A small, one-time promotion won’t deliver the information necessary to tell what is — and isn’t working. Which leads us to mistake #3 …
3. Not measuring results.
I got my start in direct mail where everything was measured, so I got a crash course in what worked and what didn’t. But when I was hired by an advertising agency, I was shocked at how little focus there was on results. When I started 93 Octane, we made it a point to build measurements into everything possible, whether through offer codes, unique phone numbers, URLs, or addresses, or through click-tracking.
4. Not testing.
Knowing a campaign is working is one thing. Knowing why it is working is another altogether. By testing offer, audience, channel and creative variables, you can extend the value of your marketing dollars by making your future spend more effective. Testing allows you to develop a continuous cycle of improvement.
5. Following the crowd.
There’s a natural pull towards playing it safe and the “me too” game. But the most successful companies have carved out unique selling propositions, unique offers and unique marketing strategies that differentiate them from competitors. While we rarely recognize this in hindsight, this always involves risk. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks, knowing that even a promotion that fails will give you valuable insight that can help you build your brand and grow your organization.
With an ever-changing marketplace, there’s no foolproof way to approach marketing. But when done right, it can be the engine that throws your business into overdrive. Of all the mistakes mentioned above, perhaps the worst would be to do nothing at all.