Monster mistakes: Marketing blunders that will make you scream

It’s that time of year again, when things get spooky for Halloween. Witches, monsters and ghosts might be particularly frightening on one night of the year, but there are somethings that will frighten even the best of B2B marketers, no matter the time of year. As a cautionary tale, we’ve pulled together some of marketing’s most monstrous mistakes to give you a fright this Halloween, and tips on how to avoid them.

Email personalisation gone wrong

Personalisation is a simple and essential component of email marketing. But if it goes wrong it’s the stuff of nightmares. Sending out an email addressed to “lead@firstname” strikes fear into any marketer’s heart. Or leaving the [COMPANY NAME] field unpersonalised is sure to see contention rather than conversion.

Avoiding making such a simple and embarrassing mistake requires little more than attention to detail. First things first: check your data before you upload it to your email platform – check all the names are spelt correctly and correct details are attributed to the correct person. Then, check your email before you send a test. Remember that sending one test to yourself is simply not enough – send a test to your colleague, and again, and then send a one-to-one campaign to absolutely ensure your personalisation is correct.

Ignoring online marketing for your content

Creating a fantastic piece of content, whether it’s a report, a whitepaper, infographic or video, requires a lot of time and effort, in planning, creating and building it. When the final product is finished it’s hard to remember that the actual content marketing has just begun. No matter how fantastic your content is, it is not going to magically appear on the top of Google search and have thousands of organic visitors just stumble upon it. When only 48% of searches result in an organic click, forgetting to push your content online is as foolish as forgetting to lock the door on Halloween night.

Publishing your content on your website is always the first step, and then, don’t forget to drive traffic to it. Whether it’s social or digital advertising, the spend of your marketing budget for this piece should always include online marketing. Lastly, don’t forget email. Pushing your content out to your database in a one, two or three drop email campaign is a simple and cost effective way to drive downloads.

Forgetting to calculate ROI and the value-ad

There are so many different pieces of data to report on in marketing, it can be tempting to report on the most positive pieces of information. Especially in B2B marketing, the sales journey is long and it can take a lot of waiting to calculate the ROI. The mistakes occur when we focus on the exciting pieces of information: a great CPC for example. Careless marketers could spend their whole advertising budget on a campaign that is getting a great cost per click, and maybe even a good conversion rate, without calculating or reporting the value-add of the campaign. Frighteningly, only 35% of B2B marketing executives say they can calculate the ROI of their marketing spend most or all of the time.

The solution, always know how much you are spending, and what you are spending it on. Calculate every element and assess the cost per acquisition, and quality of acquisition at regular intervals and from the start of your campaign. If it’s tricky to calculate ROI, look at the opportunity pipeline revenue, or at the very least, qualify the leads generated and calculate the cost per qualified lead. A great CPC and CPA are only helpful if they will feed into the sales pipeline. An expensive CPC or CPA is terrible if there are no valuable leads, and often worth the cost if they flow huge amounts of opportunity into the pipeline. 

Forgetting your audience

It seems simple, but many a marketing campaign has failed because of improper targeting and not addressing the right audience. Planning a fantastic campaign, with epic content and captivating visuals, media and influencer partnerships is all well and good – but if you aren’t talking to the right people, or telling them the right things, it doesn’t matter how good your work is, it won’t succeed. It’s like trying to tempt carnivorous zombies into a restaurant with vegetarian food.

The solution? Know your buyer personas. Before you start your campaign planning take time to dive deep into your target audience and truly understand their interests and needs. Focus on the detail, using SSPS, interviews and surveys to create strong buyer personas. 

Forgetting your USP

In perhaps once of the most memorable marketing moments, Coca-Cola launched the “New Coke” in the 1980s, and after only a few months, pulled it from the shelves and stored it as a complete disaster. The new formula was driven by an increased competition from its competitor, Pepsi. Although this tale is riddled with marketing mistakes that would keep you up all night, one essential point is that Coca-Cola forgot its unique selling point. In a drive to increase its popularity with the younger audience, Coca-Cola moved closer to its competitor, rather than focusing on its USP.

In a B2B market, the USP is just as important, if not more. When 70% of B2B buyers are sales ready before they start their search the marketer’s role is to highlight what it is about your version of the product or service that is worth their time.  Persuade them not that they need help, but that they need your help.

Misusing social media

In the digital age it’s easy to think we’ve mastered social media, but take a look at our 7 social media marketing nightmares blog and you’ll discover just the opposite – there are plenty of scary social media tales to be told.

When it comes to social media, the age-old make-up philosophy “less is more and more is less”, is spot on, lest you end up with a social media account resembling a character from The Joker. There is nothing more haunting than a Twitter feed overflowing with posts from one company, especially posts that lack consistency and a tone of voice. Your followers will promptly unfollow you to half the relentless appearances on their news feeds.

For B2B social take the tactical approach and avoid blasting your newsfeed. Instead, use a select few – think of your posts as silver bullets: precious and effective. If you’re just starting out on social then seek the help from a social media platform, like Hootsuite or Audiense to help you master your posts, and track the timing and engagement. Find out what works for your company, and remember the average social media campaign takes six months before it shows results. Another cheeky tip is to take a look at what your competitors are doing. 

With hauntingly horrible mistakes hidden around every corner, it’s essential that a marketer avoids the ghastly ghouls and checks everything, and everywhere. Look under the (metaphorical) bed, in the cupboard and under the stairs to stay safe from marketing monsters.