Do you want to be a more successful marketer in 2009? Then here’s a good New Year’s resolution: avoid the top ten marketing mistakes. Whether you’re just getting started with marketing or are an experienced professional, these ten mistakes are common enough that anyone can slip up and make them. Fortunately, these missteps also can be easily avoided.
Strike these mistakes from your marketing efforts and you’ll achieve better results:
1. Not measuring your current marketing program.
The only way to know if your current marketing tactics are working is by measuring their performance. Not measuring your marketing program is like packing for a trip without knowing where you’re going. You should set goals for any marketing program you use, and evaluate performance against those goals. A goal could be number of leads or referrals, amount of brand exposure, invitations to speak at an event . . . whatever makes sense for the specific program. When you measure, you can manage — and you can make necessary adjustments to your marketing program using data to support your decisions.
2. Staying on the same path.
It was Albert Einstein who said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We’re not calling anyone insane, but you can’t do what you’ve done in the past and expect it still to work. The economy has changed, new marketing channels have emerged, and the way your customers and prospects find information has evolved. Don’t assume that a marketing tactic that worked last year or the year before will work this year or next. Be ready to change and try new marketing tactics appropriate for today’s business environment.
3. Forgetting to “fish where the fish are.”
It’s a classic marketing mantra: “fish where the fish are.” Today, virtually all engineering, technical and industrial professionals use online resources throughout their work processes, including locating suppliers, manufacturers, components and products. That means you must make investments in appropriate online marketing channels to reach this audience and to forge more — and more frequent — connections with customers and prospects.
4. Ignoring frequency.
The other part of “fishing where the fish are” is making sure your line is always baited and in the water. In other words, you must have your message in front of customers and prospects on a regular basis. Sporadic marketing efforts that come and go will cause you to miss out on significant chunks of marketing opportunity. It’s not a case of the big fish that got away; the big fish never knew about you. Make sure you are attracting engineering, technical and industrial professionals while they are looking (which could be 24/7/365) and where they are looking (mostly online) for products and services like yours.
5. Working separately from your sales team.
Too often marketing works in its own bubble, unaware their efforts might not be aligned with the needs of the sales team. This can result in marketing generating leads that the sales team ignores, creating collateral and sales support materials they don’t use, and fostering a culture of mistrust and resentment between the two teams. Instead, marketing and sales teams must work together to identify the target customer, create a definition of a sales lead, establish processes for handing off leads from marketing to sales, and track leads through the sales cycle to determine what’s working and what’s not.
6. Focusing on lead quantity versus quality.
More leads! More leads! You’ve likely heard this rallying crying in your company, and especially during challenging economic times. But it’s more effective to have a balanced focus on both lead quantity and lead quality. If marketing focuses lead generation efforts solely on quantity, fewer leads will convert to customers, more sales resources will be wasted, and sales people will quickly learn to distrust leads that marketing generates. This goes back to the point above: marketing and sales must work together. Ask any salesperson and they will tell you they’d rather have a handful of highly qualified leads than a suitcase full of unknown Web site clicks. Re-allocate your marketing dollars to programs that offer both quantity and quality – delivering qualified prospects, defining their area of interest, and providing their contact information.
7. Failing to make the most of your media partner relationships.
Marketing is held more accountable than ever before for performance and delivering results, yet so much of your success depends on which media partners and channels you choose. Be sure to choose media partners and channels that offer detailed reports delivered on a regular basis that measure the performance of your marketing programs. That way you’ll know without question which media partners and channels perform well for you.
8. Overlooking timing.
How important is timing in marketing? If the trade show you’re planning to attend is in March but your new product launch isn’t until May, you might be coming up cold when it comes to generating excitement among customers and prospects. Instead, synchronize marketing with company initiatives. For example, increase your e-newsletter sponsorships and online banner ads when you have an important product launch. Or use these vehicles to announce your attendance at an event and drive more prospects to see you.
9. Abandoning brand exposure.
Brand exposure is so important, but some companies have shoved it aside in order to increase emphasis on lead generation. Yet continually exposing prospects and customers to your brand keeps your company top of mind, increases lead generation opportunities and helps reduce the sales cycle because prospects will already be familiar with your brand and value proposition. A good strategy is to choose marketing programs and channels that offer both brand visibility and lead generation, keeping you in front of an audience of engineering, technical and industrial professionals at all times.
10. Moving into the year ahead without a plan.
If you haven’t already, set aside time to establish marketing goals and objectives for 2009, and plan your tactics for the year ahead, including marketing programs and channels that align with your goals and that offer the best opportunity to reach prospects and customers. A marketing plan will drive your actions, allow you to avoid the mistakes here, and ultimately help you achieve better results from marketing efforts.