Common pitfalls of marketing

Founder & Strategy Director
Let'sTalk Strategy
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There are a number of bad habits we as marketeers are guilty of doing. Here’s the common pitfalls we’ve come across, how to recognise yourself falling into those traps and how to overcome them in your future marketing activity.


Marketing lingo

How many times have you sat as an attendee at a talk at an event and been bamboozled with buzzword bingo? Worst of all how many times have you been guilting of dropping in marketing lingo words when speaking to your clients? With startup businesses booming through the power of the internet, the broader client base is now more than ever, less clued up on the lingo and more focused on simplicity so you’re including marketing lingo that only marketeers will understand you’ll already be missing out the wider industries.   

We’ve all been guilty, and a way to test whether you’ve become blindsided with adding constant buzzwords to conversations is if you’re able to example to your friends what you do and what the company you work for or own does. If you’re unable to get your friends or family to understand, how are you going to engage new prospects and continue to engage existing customers if you’re using language no-one understands?

There’s been many occasions where I’ve been introduced to a marketing organisation and I couldn’t tell you what that company did. This got me thinking – if we as marketers don’t understand what’s being said in our own industry, how can we expect the outside world to?

There’s a great book called ‘Think Simple’ by Ken Segall that talks all about the art of simplifying everything. This has led to the success of brands like Apple Ken Segall's book - Thinking Simple

who simplify every part of their business so their products and services are intuitive. Marketers can certainly learn from this approach. Generally, we have a tendency to overcomplicate even the smallest detail that effectively could confuse a potential new lead or customer to engaging with your brand or product/service.
For example, recently we were at a marketing talk, where we were presented with a beautifully printed performance report that was dual branded. After flicking through the pages for a couple minutes, could I tell you what the company did? No. The ‘about us’ section was on page 6 hidden at the very bottom. That paragraph of text contained double digits worth of marketing buzzwords. A simple, we do X and this is Y in plain and simple language would have been enough and ideally on the first index page or on the last page.

It’s all too easy for us to get swept up into this whole new marketing language that, in my opinion isn’t necessary. We’re struggling to be marketers, if we’re unable to even communicate clearly to our peers, let alone our target audience. Next time you’re introducing your company, say those words back to yourself and pick them apart. Ask yourself, simply what do we do as a business and how do we do it? Take out the marketing jargon so that anyone can understand your business and you’ll start to appeal to a wider audience.


Audience engagement

To engage an audience pretty much sums up the meaning of marketing. Every marketer is tasked with this mission. Recently we attend an event where we had the pleasure of attending CEO of Social Chain, Steve Bartlett’s talks. Steve has three thought provoking quotes on this subject:

  1.  ‘Attention doesn’t dwindle, it moves’ 

It’s easy to think that if your content or website isn’t receiving engagement, then you’re not attracting the right audience. But have you ever thought, that maybe the places where you’re looking are no longer the places where your audience now hangs out? Attention is available, it’s just not in the place it once was. Steve makes a valid point in regards to captivating attention, and how constant push messaging on social media isn’t going to drive engagement. This sounds like common sense, however in reality it’s quite the opposite. The next time you refresh your twitter feed, count how many brands and people who are pushing messaging at you. This is the same for any digital channel. Constantly pushing your latest product or brand message down a prospects or customers throat isn’t going to get the best result. The human reaction when a person is shouting about their latest product in the street, immediately makes people walk in the opposite direction. The same behaviour happens online, we just can’t see it.

  1. ‘Never think anyone cares about you, as much as you care about you.’

Harsh but true. Sometimes it can be difficult to see this, when we’ve got tunnel vision, because we’ve working on launching a new product for the last 18 months and it’s finally ready to go to market. That new product is going to be incredibly important to you. However, in reality, everyone is busy, too busy to care, unless there is a clear benefit of how it will add value to them. Does your latest marketing campaign clearly demonstrate the value your providing your customers?

Tip: When creating your next product launch or marketing campaign consider how you can bring the value it brings your target audience to the forefront, because without that you’ll not achieve your marketing mission, to engage an audience.

  1. 'If someone is exposed to a message multiple times, it will prompt an action'

Taking into account quote 1 of not pushing messaging, and quote 2 of providing clarity of value, if you get the message right and your audience is exposed to it over multiple times, you’ll create an action. Ignore the above and solely focus on number 3 and you’ll very quickly disengage a target audience.


Context, context, context

Bold statements grab attention. We’ve all been there, we’ve probably all done it at one point in our marketing career. Like making the headline news, it’s the headline that grabs the attention. However, when you’re making that bold marketing statement are you doing so with context? Without context, any statement or message you expose your brand, service, product, or story to confusion and questioning. If the headline grabs the attention of your target audience and they then look to the small print for the context, they’re going to feel misled. Let’s face it no-one likes to be misled.

Of course, content is also important but the two working together engages an audience. The two-work hand in hand to provide an ultimate experience of value for your audience. If you don’t include one, something will be lacking and your marketing will suffer. Context marketing is all about knowing your audience. For example, you’d know your audience well enough to know the knowledge, products, services, content etc. that will interest and engage them. It’s not about pushing a message and ultimately shouldn’t feel like marketing to a target audience because it provides value. Content without context is generally seen as spam, intrusive and irrelevant.

This makes any message your making difficult to relate to and the original reason of why you were including that heading is lost. It goes back to the first takeaway of keeping it simple. Simplicity avoids confusion and context provides the full picture to engage an audience.


3 takeaways to overcome the common marketing pitfalls

To overcome the common pitfalls that us, as marketers can fall into, ensure you consider the following:

  • Keeping it simple, don’t bamboozle with buzzword bingo,
  • Clearly demonstrate the value you’re providing,
  • Context is everything.


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