Without exception, the biggest thing that will cause you to fail is you. Cheerful, no? But it really is true. In marketing especially, you are always your own worst customer, and the tiny things you do can sabotage your marketing efforts in a big way. Whether you’re working with an agency, an in-house marketing director or a business owner trying to make it happen on your own, here are the top five ways you’ll sabotage your marketing:
1. No clear goal. Every marketing piece should have a goal. From website to logo to blog post, you need to understand what each one is trying to achieve. Without that, you’re stabbing in the dark and no good can ever come of it. Every step along the way, you should be asking, “how does this serve my ultimate goal?” If you can’t come up with a good answer, chances are it’s serving ego instead.
2. Confusing your customer and yourself. Unless you’re a designer or artist of some sort, your personal style is completely irrelevant in your marketing. You may not even particularly like how your marketing looks or sounds. None of that matters if your customer likes it. Don’t get so wrapped up in your personal love for the color purple that you forget that your customer is predominately male and working in the manufacturing industry. Remove yourself from the equation and focus on your customer.
3. Moving too fast/too slow. Either one of these can be fatal to the success of a project. Too fast and you’ll make hasty decisions you’ll regret later. Too slow and you’ll lose momentum, get caught up in tiny details and forget why you started in the first place. Set a schedule before you start a project
4. Can’t see the forest for the trees. Minutiae will swamp you. You will find yourself buried alive in a sea of finding exactly the right stock photo and researching whether or not sentences can end in dangling prepositions and forget that you need to complete this marketing activity in order to make more money. Perfection is pointless if no one ever sees it. Remember the big picture and focus on what’s important, not every tittle and jot.
5. Too many cooks. I’m sure your receptionist is really smart. Your spouse is, too. But unless they are your target customer, they should have no input into your marketing decisions. If these stakeholders absolutely must be involved, bring them in from the very start. Don’t waste time and money developing materials only to throw them into the trash because your dog walker doesn’t like it. Show him the first draft and adjust from there.
You can be a great marketer. But to do that, you need a strong sense of who you are, what your company is and who your customer is. Don’t sabotage yourself with silly mistakes.