The forbidden sins of digital marketing

Thursday 14th, November 2013

The forbidden sins of digital marketing

While there are lot of resources to tell you what to do as a digital marketing professional, there are very few that tell you what not to do. Here’s an insightful list.

There is no debate anymore about whether businesses should go online or not. Towards this end there are many marketers who are offering their support to enhance organizations’ digital marketing efforts. Yet, so many businesses get it horribly wrong that it’s plain heartbreaking. Here are some classic marketing mistakes that inevitably get well-meaning brands into a lot of hot water.

Poor excuse for websites

Websites are what people immediately think of when they decide to test the waters of online marketing. It is also the one fundamental aspect that is most likely to be badly executed. From bad online branding to horrifying user experience, most websites today don’t deliver what is expected.

Social amnesia

Social media marketing is probably the most abused marketing term of the century. Everyone claims to be doing it. The percentage of brands actually getting it right, however, is surprisingly small. Most businesses create social media accounts and forget about one teeny little detail – engagement. It is a medium that provides options to interact with customers and facilitates phenomenal reach. Creating accounts and not making an effort is like taking a pretty lady out for a candlelight dinner and ignoring her completely.

Marketers not magpies

A lot of our marketing brethren are afflicted by one common problem. The magpie mentality. New shiny object in the horizon? Must have immediately. No matter if the investment makes sense to the business or not. What that investment results in finally is confusion and eventual abandonment. In short a complete waste of precious resources and time which could have been invested better in experimenting with something more relevant.

Talking at instead of talking to

Gone are the days when promoting meant that a loud guy would come and yell in the village square. Marketing is today a clever mix of utility and charm. Continuing to operate in the old ways and yelling at the customers is only going to make them avoid you like the plague. Do yourself a favour and do your homework on what the customer expects. Then converse exactly about that.

‘Rabbit holing’

Being a marketer today is not easy. Competition is stiff and to stand out you need to be truly exceptional. So an average marketer is juggling a whole bunch of pins, possibly more than he/she can handle. In this process of doing everything ‘a good marketer must do’, they often have no time, energy or mind space left for the one thing that is guaranteed to set them apart – innovation.

Choppy customer experiences

The evolution of marketing has brought about intriguing development in related concepts such as customer experiences. The importance of good customer experiences has never been clearer than it is today. Designing and executing the perfect customer experience, however, is not something that all businesses have had success in. Those who appreciate its importance are not always able to demonstrate a seamless integrated experience either. This is definitely one area that organizations will need to focus on.

No (insightful) data, no direction

Data data everywhere, not an insight gleaned (apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge). Despite the fact that everyone everywhere is talking about data big and small, the biggest marketing challenges stem from the following:

  • Lack of fail-proof analytics process
  • Lack of relevant data
  • Scarcity of actionable insights

Not listening

Too many of us believe that marketing is an outward projection of promotional efforts. The truth is that it is equally about monitoring, listening and understanding. Consumers and their expectations are changing almost on an hourly basis which makes the need for marketers to listen even more pertinent.

No value offered

The worst thing that businesses can do is to make meaningless offerings. Whether it is a product, service or communication, if it is not valuable to customers, it won’t help businesses either. Would you sell iced lemonade in a snowstorm? Would you sell a kilt to a traditional Japanese gentleman?

While the list of marketing no-no’s isn’t restricted to just the above, avoiding the goof-ups discussed will ensure that you steer clear of major marketing catastrophes.



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