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17 Things to Say No to in Marketing in 2017

The world of marketing is all about adaptation.The global business world is a highly competitive one and businesses that get too attached to their marketing strategies will lose customers and ultimately, their bottom line.

In that spirit, here’s a list of 17 marketing behaviors and strategies that you need to let go of

  1. Stop chasing “viral.” No one even knows what “viral” means. It can mean 29 or 29 million clicks on your cute cat photo, depending on the context.”Virality” doesn’t always mean sales. Once you’re doing sharing a viral video, what’s the next thing most customers do? Move on.
  2. Misusing social media automation tools. Social media automation is a great way for a business to save time, measure their efforts, and improve the consistency of their social media marketing. Automation, however, lacks social and cultural insight. Some errors that businesses have made:
  3. Trying to dominate every social media channel. You can’t do it, give up before you learn the lesson the hard way.
  4. Relying on only one social media channel.  While you shouldn’t try to dominate every social media or marketing channel, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Social media platforms change rules and even die (RIP Vine). You don’t own social media, either the content or the accounts that share the content. Social media companies like any other business, do what best for them.  You want a primary marketing channel, not ONLY one channel.
  5. Ignoring customers on social media. Social media isn’t like TV or radio, it has a two-way conversation built into its very framework. Businesses can engage with customers and customers can engage with businesses. For many businesses, this works fine, until customers start complaining. 
  6. Placing too much focus on data (and not enough on common sense). The marketing world is full of technology and data that can help marketers better understand their customers. Like social media automation, analytics and other tools don’t have human insight as Target learned when it determined a teenager was pregnant before she told her father or when Pinterest accidentally congratulated single women on their marriages.
  7. Not doing your research (Remember, check twice before you land on the wrong side of nice!) Whenever you post information for the public to see, check and check again. Check the spelling, usage of the term (in the appropriate language), context, and the links. Companies that found this out the hard way included:
  8. Trying to cheat Google. Don’t listen to the voice in your head (or online) that says you can reach the #1 spot on Google if you trick Google using this or that hack. You won’t win.
  9. Not optimizing for mobile devices Despite all of the statistics about mobile devices (including the fact there are now more mobile devices than people and that users spend more time on mobile devices than desktops), there are still businesses who haven’t jumped on the mobile bandwagon.  OPTIMIZE EVERYTHING FOR MOBILE.
  10. Relying on vanity metrics. Vanity metrics like (Facebook Likes, shares, Retweets, pins, etc.) are a good measure of consumer interest, but they don’t tell the whole story. Vanity metrics can’t tell you why someone did or did not respond to content. You need more context, conversation, and analysis for that.
  11. Not connecting the dots. Your business survives when it clearly understands the environment from all fronts, that includes the boardroom as well as the frontline. Don’t fall into the “success trap” of many companies that assume “they” know what will work. Test your assumptions in the real world and use that information to build a stronger business.
  12. Harassing your customer’s inbox Should you email customers? Yes, especially if they have expressed interest in some way, either buying your product/service, subscribing to a newsletter, or asking a question. What you do NOT want to do is be annoying in one of the following ways:
    • Sending an email with the headline “Dear {Insert First Name} or something similar
    • Being overly aggressive with follow-ups (like a 7-day “Please come back to us” campaign)
    • Too many links
  13. Not connecting your marketing to your business goals There is a saying in marketing attributed to John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Many business owners still don’t tie their marketing efforts to specific business objectives. This will not only hurt your campaign (you can’t really tell if you are winning or losing), but it can leave your hard-earned money vulnerable to marketing “experts”
  14. Using email lists as an unwanted neighbor. If you’re going to use email marketing to connect with customers (and most businesses should), you want to do it right. Get permission. Send good content. Proofread. Make the process easy and worthwhile for your customers. What you don’t want to do is:
    • Assume customers are on your email list because they emailed you
    • Repeatedly send emails with headlines that annoy spam filters like “Get Free Offer Now”
    • Use email lists of people who did not give you permission to email them
  15. Treating your website like a brochure This advice comes from “SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs“. Many business owners, even in this day and age, assume that a website is just an online brochure. WRONG! Your website is the central hub for all of your online marketing activity. It is the online face of your business, which may be the only face that a customer ever sees. That means you need to maintain a good and functional website, that is optimized for mobile, and responsive to the needs of your customers. You need more than pretty pictures to sell online.
  16. Being overwhelmed by it all Marketing can seem like a complicated thing. To some degree, it is. Businesses now have to maintain a good website, social media channels, email, customer service, and much more. All of this is part of marketing and all of it constantly evolving all of the time. The best thing you can do in the face of such change is to proceed forward with a plan, dedication to continuous learning, and persistence. With those three things, you can focus on the essential and not the trivial. You don’t want to chase every fad and technology out there. You want to pick and choose the things that work for you and your goals.
  17. Stressing out over marketing Stress impedes creativity. As a marketer or business owner trying to get more sales, you might feel predictably stressed over everything you have to do to get a customer. That’s life. Stop whining and share your awesome. Marketing, no matter how complicated it can evolve, is still the same thing as it has always been, a conversation. All you need to do is find the right medium to tell your story.



About the Author Charles Franklin

Almost-graduated turned freelance marketing/tech writer, future web developer, social justice advocate, and Millennial on a mission but still confused about the path

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