In 2019, we saw a few common patterns emerge from the mistakes that marketing teams were making. Most of these had little to do with the use of tools and technologies, and much to do with understanding customers and communicating with them.
Why are these mistakes being made? Two main reasons in my view.
Firstly, we get so busy in our daily work lives of emails, tasks and meetings, that we forget to take time to look at things from the customer’s standpoint.
Secondly, we forget that online users have many sources of information and influence. For us to hold their attention, our communications need to provide enough value – and not just boring corporate-speak – to compete well against the alternatives.
Top 5 Digital Marketing Mistakes We Saw in 2019
Mistake 1: Not profiling your current customers.
Why it’s a mistake: Your current buyers, by definition, have evaluated and liked your product. The easiest and cheapest way to get more buyers is to find more people resembling your current customers.
As an example, after surveying the existing buyers of a real estate client for demographics and psychographics, we used the survey results to target people like them online and drive sales higher in a short period of time.
An even better option than surveys is to capture this information in your CRM at the time of sale, so that your marketing team can continuously update its customer understanding.
Mistake 2: Giving up on a marketing strategy because “we tried that once and it didn’t work”.
Why it’s a mistake: Many mar-com implementations don’t work the first time. You have to experiment, try different versions and iterate, before giving up on the strategy.
After seeing high click-rates but low conversion for a client with a complex value proposition, we realised that expecting users to buy a complicated and highly personal product instantly was unrealistic.
We are now implementing a lead nurturing flow that segments users based on their interests, and provides them with the targeted and detailed information they need to make a purchase.
Mistake 3: Focusing on each part of the acquisition funnel, but not the coherence of the customer’s journey through the funnel.
Why it’s a mistake: Marketing tools and platforms – and even organisational structures – are set up to specialise in different parts of the funnel. The result is a disjointed experience for the user as he moves through the funnel.
How often do you search for something specific on Google, click on an ad that promises to answer your need, and then find yourself on a landing page that doesn’t speak directly to your need?
Fix this, and you will be surprised at the decrease in funnel drop-offs.
Mistake 4: Writing website content as if it’s a marketing brochure or press release.
Why it’s a mistake: Online users today turn to influencers, independent bloggers and user reviews for information. They are quick to tune out one-sided and overly commercial pitches.
Your content team should work as much for the end user as for you. A real estate client’s blog promised guaranteed investment returns for buyers, without further explanation. We advised them that explaining why their project is likely to generate high returns, by quoting comparables and experts, would be a more credible message for serious investors.
Mistake 5: Designing and reviewing your online creative and website on a laptop or desktop.
Why it’s a mistake: You may be the rare exception, but if you are in the consumer business, chances are the majority of your traffic and purchases are coming from mobile.
Yet, at every level in the organisation, we see laptop screens being projected onto conference room screens, with only the occasional huddle around a mobile.
Even if you are using your laptop, browsers can simulate mobile screens for you. This is a step in the right direction, but in addition, get a Chromecast device for your conference rooms, so you can project your mobile screen onto the big screen to give it the attention it deserves. And make it a policy to always start the design and reviewing of user experiences on a mobile.
Eliminate some mistakes, but learn from others!
While the above mistakes in approach and process should be avoided, that is not the same as never making mistakes. In the digital medium, the right strategies and execution are discovered through experimentation, and by definition, some experiments must fail.
The key is to learn from those failures and iterate your way to success. That is how great companies in the digital age are being built.
Get in touch if you have a growth problem or opportunity that can benefit from iterative experimentation. We not only work with you to drive growth, but we also help your team with the necessary process and cultural changes to enable experimentation.