Common Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them 1Failing to research or measure your marketing efforts leads to wasted time and wasted money; here’s how to make sure you are not making the most common marketing mistakes.


Even minor mistakes have a big impact on your success when you are running your own business. You don’t have the luxury of investing in multiple channels or in the latest fad without carefully researching first. A small business has very little margin for error due to  budget and time constraints. Any time spent on a faulty approach is time wasted, even if you choose a low-cost marketing method like social media or content marketing.

Off Balance Budget

Do you understand all of the channels you are using? Are you correctly allocating your budget to get your message out? Investing heavily in one channel while avoiding the others could limit your exposure and lower your results.

As a small business, you have two things to pour into your marketing plan—money and time. If you spend all of these in one place you’ll be neglecting other opportunities. Regular research allows you to pinpoint the right channels and ensure you are investing both your money and your time wisely.

Your Tone and Approach is Off

Ever heard an adult trying to talk “teen” or “hipster”? That cringeworthy approach is exactly what you’ll sound like if you use the wrong tone with your audience. The content of your message matters, but the way you deliver it does too – take the wrong tone and you’ll turn your audience off completely.

Readers and viewers naturally get authenticity; if the message you are sending is going to resonate with them, you need to make sure your tone and the way you relay information matches your business model and meets their expectations.  Review your target persona and make sure that every marketing piece you use, from a single tweet to a 10-page whitepaper manifesto has the correct tone that speaks authentically about your brand.

You have no Idea what Works — and What Doesn’t

If you are not tracking the results of your marketing, you really have no idea how effective your strategy is. Marketing without measuring your results is basically throwing money away – you could not only be making mistakes, but making the same mistakes repeatedly.

Do you know how many of your ads convert? Which keywords are bringing you paying customers? Simply correctly targeting your PPC ads can greatly reduce your costs – but you won’t know how to effectively target them if you don’t track your results. Knowing how you are doing allows you to eliminate waste and to properly allocate your marketing budget and focus on the things that resonate with your target customer.

Lack of Pre-Campaign Research

Lack of focus or the need to invest in the next big thing – whatever that big thing is – can lead your marketing plan astray. If you forge ahead with whatever marketing approach seems new and novel without researching it first, you could make a big mistake. Investing in a new approach simply because you read about it, it makes headlines or someone says you should is a recipe for disaster.

Thoroughly researching any avenue before you take the plunge can help you avoid spending time and money on efforts that simply don’t pay off. By understanding what resonates with your unique target market, you can position your brand for success and ensure that you don’t waste a penny of your capital or a minute of your time.


Posted by Melissa Mullen, Strategic Account Manager at initiate-it, a digital first, full-service agency in Richmond, Virginia. She’s dabbled between agencies and in house (both in and outside the U.S.) with clients focusing on some of her favorite subjects: research, consumer trends, competitive landscapes, and future marketing strategies.