Have you committed one of the seven deadly sins of marketing? While they may not be as detrimental as the original sins, they can make or break you as a marketer. And since I only have 1,000 words to make sure that doesn't happen, let's dive right in!
Deadly Sin 1: Marketing Without Metrics
According to a survey by the Fournaise Group in London, 80 percent of CEOs don't trust marketers. In comparison, 91 percent do trust their CIOs and CFOs. Yikes.
Today's marketer has to be more "renaissance man" and less "mad man," combining a metrics-driven approach with the creativity that great marketing is made of. A firm understanding of the metrics associated with each marketing activity is key, and identifying the success metrics of each channel comes down to understanding your goals and the purpose of your marketing initiatives.
Deadly Sin 2: Marketing in a Silo
There are two aspects to this. First, failing to communicate internally within the marketing team and to other departments. Second, assuming "marketer knows best" without talking to potential and existing customers.
Keeping the lines of communication open within the marketing team and among every department can help you gain valuable insight into what people want. Sales and customer service teams are a great resource for content, and can tell you all about pain points, problems and even things your customers love. Here are a few ways you can keep the lines of communication open:
- Have some shared goals based on the company's overall strategic direction to keep everyone aligned.
- Use a shared calendar. At Uberflip, we also send a "daily marketing update" that gives a quick digest of any new pieces on our content Hub, press or upcoming initiatives.
- Weekly stand-ups with the marketing, sales and customer success teams. Ours lasts about 15 minutes and includes updates and requests from each team.
The second aspect of breaking out of the silo is communicating with customers. In the early stages of a company or product, talking to customers to develop your messaging is essential. Run surveys, research whatever data has already been collected and pick up the phone. If you're dealing with a mature product or company, its still important to keep a pulse on your customers' pain points to make sure your messaging is still on mark.
Deadly Sin 3: No Audience Segmentation
Do you talk to your grandmother about the same topics as your best friend from college? Probably not. Failing to segment your leads (or customers or prospects or contacts) before emailing them, creating content or reaching out for a sales demo, means you're sacrificing potential revenue.
Segmenting your audience can tell you a lot and, needless to say, the more segmented your audience the more targeted your messaging can be. Understanding each segment and speaking directly to the individuals in that segment can have a significant impact on your overall results including:
- Increasing conversion rates
- Increasing revenue
- Creating a better customer experience
- Increasing customer retention
Deadly Sin 4: No Process for Experimentation
Marketing is part art and part science, but many marketers still lean a little too far towards the "art" part. Whether you're talking about PPC and social media campaigns, landing pages or even headlines for a blog post, testing is often the missing ingredient.
At Uberflip, we're constantly trying and testing new channels. For example, if it's a paid campaign, it always starts off with a minimum spend that yields enough data for a relevant result. One of three things might happen based on the result:
- We kill the experient if it isn't working.
- The experiment is moderately effective so we try to optimize it.
- It blows us out of the water so we try to scale it.
The third one can be tricky. Every channel scales differently, and upping your spend doesn't necessarily mean you'll get proportionate results at the higher spend. If you're working on scaling any channel, as you increase the dollars invested there will typically need to be an adjustment period followed by optimization.
Deadly Sin 5: "Spray & Pray" Marketing
You'd be hard-pressed to find a marketer that hasn't "sprayed and prayed" at least once in their career. Whether its a sign of desperation or lack of knowledge about the customer segment, industry or the business as a whole, this approach is rarely effective.
What exactly is "spray and pray" marketing? It's creating a video without properly targeting distribution and optimizing it based on the metrics. It's focusing purely on page views rather than whether or not your content is actually converting customers. It's the social media manager that shares everything with everyone with no regard for who would really benefit from their content. This approach combines several deadly sins, including failing to segment your audience, not knowing your numbers and failing to test before going full board.
To be clear, don't confuse "spray and pray" marketing with experimentation. While experimentation can lead to discovering a highly effective channel for your business, "spray and pray" marketing generally leads to wasted money, time and resources.
Deadly Sin 6: Too Much "Selling", Not Enough "Nurturing"
This deadly sin is most prevalent in the content marketing space. It's no secret that content marketing has been a major buzzword in the last few years, and with good reason. It's shown to lower cost per acquisition, increase awareness and help position companies as thought leaders within their industries. That is, if it's done right.
One of the biggest mistakes I still see in content marketing is low-value content. Many businesses struggle with matching the right content to the right stage of the buyer's journey. Creating content that is "pitchy" or very sales-focused can be off-putting for people that aren't quite ready to buy.
On the flip side, creating valuable content around your target audiences' interests and pain points can be an incredibly effective way to establish a relationship and gain trust. Once you've nurtured that relationship, you can (and should) sprinkle in content that is related to your product or service with a direct ask—this could be purchasing a product, signing up for a free trial or requesting a demo.
Deadly Sin 7: "Set It and Forget It" Marketing
Last but not least, we have "set it and forget it" marketing. Are you using marketing automation software? Are your PPC or social campaigns on auto-pilot? How often do you change the landing page on your website, or, better yet, create and test new landing pages?
Many of us think about marketing in terms of campaigns, launches and individual initiatives and overlook the day to day optimization of ongoing marketing streams. For example, if you're using marketing automation to run lead nurturing campaigns, it's easy to just set it up, let it run and forget about it.
Without a process in place for iteration and optimization, you're leaving very little room for improvement. In many cases, focusing on optimizing conversion rates across emails or landing pages has a much bigger impact on your business growth than trying to increase overall traffic.
Which of the seven deadly sins are you guilty of? Better yet, are there any you think are missing from this list? If so, let me know on Twitter @HanaAbaza!
Hana Abaza is director of marketing at Toronto-based content marketing and lead nurturing platform provider Uberflip. Reach her on Twitter @HanaAbaza.