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7 common marketing mistakes you might be making

Failure to implement marketing tactics and analytics effectively can prove troublesome for brands.

5 min read

Marketing Strategy



Marketing is only as effective as its execution. Properly considering the experience and message being sent to future and existing customers can make or break campaigns. 

Here are seven common marketing mistakes to avoid so your audience and your brand is best served.

Poor research

Before launching a marketing campaign, you need to understand your customers. Regardless of your campaign’s purpose — building brand awareness, increasing engagement, generating leads, etc. — it must consider the audience to be compelling.

Carve out a portion of your marketing spend for research. Use these dollars to test different messages and offers across various marketing channels — such as email newsletters, social, direct mail, etc. — so you can see how they perform before increasing your effort and budget into a campaign. It’s commonly called A/B testing. Once you’ve found a successful campaign, you can scale it to reap the benefits. But do not stop there. Marketing is an ongoing effort. Begin a new set of messages and tests to fine tune performance across channels.

Broad targeting

New tools and platforms allow for highly targeted campaigns. Your advertising shouldn’t take a “spray-and-pray” approach.

Fortunately, identifying the core audience for your business is easier now than it has ever been. With the wealth of data and information available on social media, businesses can get a clear, comprehensive picture of their core audience. This gives you an idea of what gender, age group and geographical area are most likely to interact with your business, and targeting can even be narrowed down to the particular social media platform and best time of day to promote to your audience. Pairing the insights from research with data-backed targeting is a winning combination.

Lack of USP

Your unique selling proposition, or USP, tells why you believe customers should buy from you and not someone else. This is what sets your products or services apart from those of your competitors. Your USP should be the central theme of all your marketing efforts, regardless of what you’re intending to achieve with a particular campaign.

Many businesses think they’re accomplishing a USP by saying things like “better,” “top-rated,” “most valuable” and other unsubstantiated claims about the superiority of the product or service. These types of vague phrases don’t help your customer understand how your product or service will benefit them, so they do nothing to separate your brand from the competitors.

Failing to earn repeat customers

Generally, in business, 80% of sales and profits come from existing customers, while the other 20% comes from new customers buying for the first time. If you fail to retarget your current customer base to get them to buy again, it could put a significant dent in your profits.

Selling to a new customer is five times more expensive than selling to an existing customer, so don’t forget to designate a few of your marketing campaigns toward your existing customer base to get the repeat sale. By doing this, you’ll not only attract a wider audience of potential buyers, you’ll also make sure that you’re devoting enough of your efforts to the core of your customer base.

Unwilling to invest

It’s a common hurdle for small businesses: they have the budget, but they don’t invest it in marketing. In fact, recent studies show that at every life stage, business owners wish they invested more in marketing. From their first year in business to their 20th year (or more) businesses on average allocated 10% of their budget to marketing when they wished they had invested 25% or more.

New funding platforms on the market make it easier for businesses to get the capital they need to invest in marketing. In some cases, businesses can get approved for funding in minutes and have access to funds the same day. Don’t let a lack of budget prevent you from securing high ROI opportunities.

Not tracking performance

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to keep track of your customers’ behavior and use it to your advantage. Unfortunately, many businesses use this data to craft marketing campaigns they believe will perform well, but then they fail to track the performance to identify areas for improvement.

With all this technology, you can track every aspect of your marketing campaigns, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t know where you have succeeded and where you can improve. Before launching a campaign, be sure to set clearly defined performance goals at the start so that you always have an idea of how your campaign is performing. Otherwise, you’ll just be throwing money at campaigns that could be better spent elsewhere.

Being unwilling to adapt

Just like people, businesses need to grow and evolve if they want to succeed. Businesses unwilling to include new technology, try out new platforms or experiment with new audiences are unlikely to stay profitable in the ever-changing business world.

The most successful companies do whatever they can to tailor their marketing strategies to accommodate different trends and reach new prospects. By experimenting with different social media channels or marketing strategies and techniques, you can reach a wider audience and maximize your potential profits.


Aditya Narula is the head of customer success at Kabbage, a FinTech company helping small businesses get access to working capital.

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