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Category: Brand · 5 min read

Don’t Make These Marketing Mistakes

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on October 15, 2019

author profile photo

on October 15, 2019

Professionals around a meeting table discussing a chart

Chances are, over your career, you’ve witnessed some marketing mistakes. Maybe it was a misspelled word, a wrong image, or a link that didn’t work. Or, maybe it was like Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” slogan, that led to a lawsuit when someone drank Red Bull and tried to fly. Spoiler: it didn’t work out very well. 

When you’re running at 100 miles per hour, mistakes can happen. Things get overlooked or ignored, and exceptions get made. Your marketing is one area where it’s important to be very thorough and detailed. Mistakes can hurt your business’s reputation and credibility. 

As you make marketing decisions to help grow your business, keep these common mistakes in mind, so you don’t fall into any of these traps. 


Forgetting Your Audience

First, let’s talk about focusing on your audience, the people you’re trying to reach. When you’re creating your marketing materials and messages, it can be easy to forget about them. When you do, your marketing becomes about you, not them. And then we wonder why our marketing isn’t working. 

The lesson here is to always be thinking about who your marketing is going to. What are their problems? What are they looking for? What do they need? Create your ads and emails with that person in mind, and your marketing will be better for it. 


Acting Tactically, Not Strategically 

What does it mean to be strategic? Sometimes strategy is mistaken for being tactical, but they’re very different. Thinking tactically is being focused on the actual execution of your marketing and whether you’re going to use ads, emails, or flyers to get your message out. Thinking strategically is taking a step back and making sure you’re leveraging the strongest benefits and points of difference where your business shines. At the same time, it’s also about understanding your target audience and ensuring your messaging speaks directly to them. 

If you’re moving fast, it can be easy to slide into a tactical mindset. You might create marketing materials that don’t align with your business’s purpose or benefits and don’t effectively engage your target audience. So, remain focused on your strategic approach when planning and work on making sure your marketing efforts align with your brand, your business’s purpose, and your audience. 


Ignoring Data

Here’s the thing: we like to trust our gut. We think it’s usually right, and if something feels right, then we’re more inclined to take that path. But there’s some danger in that thinking. While going with your gut and making decisions based off your feelings can work, it shouldn’t be done at expense of what the data says. 

In other words, your gut shouldn’t undermine the marketing data you already have. If you have evidence that one ad performs better on Facebook than another, but your gut likes the ad that performs worse, don’t listen to your gut. Try, as often as you can, to base your marketing decisions off of real data. 

Collecting marketing data is fairly simple. Tools like Google Analytics and your email marketing software can give you an in-depth look at how your marketing efforts have performed. If you’re not collecting any data, you should start. If you are collecting it, you need to review frequently to explore what it’s telling you about your efforts. Doing this can help make your tough decisions easier. 

While going with your gut and making decisions based off your feelings can work, it shouldn’t be done at expense of what the data says.

Going With the Flow

I’m sure you’ve all heard this classic argument before, probably from your parents: “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?” Let’s talk about this in terms of marketing trends. When everyone’s marketing looks the same and everyone is implementing the latest marketing trends into their ads and emails, it provides an opportunity to create something that truly stands out. Instead of following the crowd and copying what they’re doing, you can set yourself apart by being different and not going with the flow. Just like your parents probably advised you, don’t jump off that cliff. Turn around and go back down the path alone. 

This doesn’t mean you should stop using social media just because everyone else is. But it might mean using different colors, imagery, or language to look different than your competition. 


Email Errors

Some of the most common marketing mistakes have to do with email. Today, there are 293.6 billion emails sent and received every day, worldwide.1 Can you imagine all of those emails in your inbox? 

With so much email traffic happening in a 24-hour time span, the opportunity for mistakes is large. To help reduce your email errors, follow these steps:

  1. Proofread your email. It’s always a good idea to double- and triple-check your email for spelling and grammar errors before you send it. If you aren’t good at proofreading, have a co-worker, employee, friend, or family member help you out. Or, run it through a grammar and spell-checker tool online. I’ve always found printing it out and going through it word by word, line by line, to be a good way to check for any errors. Seeing a hard copy helps me find errors that I may have glanced over on screen.
  2. Test your links and email formatting. How your email looks and works is also important. Before you hit send, make sure all of the links in your email work and go to the appropriate page. Don’t forget to double check the format of your email. Does it look like it’s supposed to? Does it look visually appealing?
  3. Review your email list. Another area to verify is who you’re sending your email to. Do you have the right email addresses? Did you include everyone you wanted to? Ensuring that your email list is full of valid emails helps increase the odds that your email will get opened. 


Reacting too Quickly

We all like to see results right away. We want our ads and emails to immediately lead to a lot of new appointments and clients. But, reality is, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it takes time to develop results that meet your goals and expectations.

Impatience is the biggest mistake here. There’s a tendency to want to tweak, change, or pull the marketing, instead of waiting it out a little longer. Here’s one reason why waiting may be more beneficial than changing: A consistent brand message across all channels can increase revenue by up to 23 percent.2 The goal is to make sure you have enough data to truly understand if your marketing is working, before you change it. Also, be careful when you change your messaging. Tweaking too many things at once makes it next to impossible to know what made your marketing improve.

When everyone’s marketing looks the same and everyone is implementing the latest marketing trends into their ads and emails, it provides an opportunity to create something that truly stands out.

You know what the best part about making a marketing mistake is? It’s easy to fix. All of these errors are things you can correct. By changing how you think about your marketing, you can reduce your mistakes and be on the way to creating marketing that works. 



1. Statista. “Number of sent and received e-mails per day worldwide from 2017 to 2023 (in billions).” 2019.

2. Shaoolian, Gabriel. “10 Marketing, Web Design & Branding Statistics To Help You Prioritize Business Growth Initiatives.” Aug. 10, 2018. 


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Written By

Scott Wright

Chief Marketing Officer

Scott Wright is the Chief Marketing Officer of Brokers International. Scott has more than 25 years of experience in building equity and accelerating profit growth across multiple categories and brands, including Crest toothpaste, Pantene Pro-V, Old Spice, Valvoline and VISA. Scott and his team are focused on developing innovative marketing programs and tools that will deliver growth for our partner agencies and their financial professionals.

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