For most businesses, marketing is a crucial component of success. If you can't market effectively, you can't sell and grow, and that spells trouble.
Thanks to the internet, the rise of digital marketing channels, and the abundance of marketing tools and technologies, companies have more marketing assets and capabilities than ever.
But figuring out how to use them correctly is often a challenge and there are a number of common mistakes that hold companies back. Here are five of the biggest and most detrimental.
1. Establishing too many metrics
Can there be too much of a good thing? When it comes to marketing, the answer is a resounding "yes!" Thanks to Big Data and the misguided but common notion that complexity is sophistication, companies are quick to adopt all sorts of metrics that confuse rather than clarify.
In many cases, these metrics do little more than justify campaigns, rather than boost sales or generate valuable insights.
2. Buying too much software and services
The number of companies that claim to have built a better mouse trap for reaching influencers on Twitter or Facebook continues to grow by the day, and for good reason: there is no shortage of companies interested in solutions that promise a silver bullet for marketing channel x.
But the truth of the matter is that from search to social, far too many companies purchase marketing-related software and services that don't produce more effective campaigns and greater returns.
3. Not tracking soft costs
Time is money, but when it comes to tracking how much time employees are spending on marketing efforts, many companies fall short. The result: marketing initiatives that look profitable on the surface wouldn't be had the cost of employee time been factored in as it should have been.
To avoid this, ensure that you're associating employee time with marketing initiatives so that all-in costs can be tracked and ROI accurately calculated.
4. Investing too much in new customer acquisition
It's hard to grow a business if you can't acquire customers, but ironically, many companies begin ignoring customers once they've been acquired. That can be extremely expensive mistaken given how expensive it can be to acquire new customers, and how much money is frequently left on the table by not attempting to maximize sales to existing customers.
Building a company that is 100% dependent on organic search traffic from Google probably isn't a good idea, but business owners shouldn't be lured into believing that the other extreme -- overdiversification -- is wise either. The truth of the matter is that some channels are bound to work far better for some companies than others.
Instead of jumping into every new channel because "we have to be there!" it pays to identify the channels that produce best, figure out how to scale them and allocate spend accordingly.