Big Mistakes That Businesses Commonly Make With Marketing

I speak with a variety of business leaders in quite some depth about their businesses. Some are seasoned, whilst others new to running and growing a business. But the issues are everywhere.

Inevitably, I stumble across some serious thought blunders that are being made every single day. Mistakes are costing them both time and money.

I’ve summarised the key issues to help by highlighting the top mistakes that are being made every day.

Mistake #1. Asking for help with Digital Marketing.
The problem here is they’re completely missing out the bigger picture – marketing.
This one is very common. For some reason, they think digital is the way forward. The silver bullet. The new shiny object.
I’m not saying they’re wrong to ask about it. But Digital Marketing is sub-segment of marketing and should fit within an overall marketing strategy an overall marketing strategy.
Every business will require a different digital strategy as part of their overall marketing strategy.
So by asking only about digital, their subconscious is cutting out the engine room for growth, which is marketing as a whole (which should include a digital portion).

Mistake #2. Thinking of social media as a form of free advertising.
This is slightly less common than before, but it’s still too slow to change.
Social media is all about connecting with your audience. Why? To build your brand.
Broadly this is done by adding value. To add value, you have to produce great content that helps people, and engage positively.
It’s not a channel to hard-sell to your audience. It’s not a channel to talk about yourself and your great offerings all day long. Do this and you’ll turn them away – guaranteed.

Mistake #3. Build it and they will come.
This is a big one and it’s a surprisingly common attitude.
Yesterday, things were noisy. When I say noisy, I’m talking distractions. Today’s world is many, many times more distracting.
You have to work much harder to cut through, and you have to make it easier than ever for your customer to take action.
But a common mistake is the belief that customers will find your product or service, be compelled to buy and will jump through hoops to do just that.
Not so. If these attitudes may be lurking in your subconscious, prepare to fail.

Mistake #4. Assuming that your potential customers will follow through on the actions, aren’t lazy, or distracted.
Related to the last point, but this one focusses purely on the customer journey and customer experience once they have come to you.
The customer journey is all about what they have to do to get closer to a decision to buy.
The customer experience is all about how they feel about that journey. Is it easy? Is it pleasant? Is it cumbersome? Etc.
The fact is, you have to make the journey and experience as simple as possible or you shouldn’t expect your customers to do what YOU want them to do.

Mistake #5. Do just one thing. When that doesn’t work, give up or move onto the next thing.
There’s no such thing as a silver bullet. At least in marketing.
As a high-level summary, effective marketing requires you to understand the wider situation, your ideal customer, and have clear objectives.
Then form a strategy, tactics and execute with actions.
However, many businesses, even experienced marketers, just go straight to the tactics which inevitably fail or deliver poor results. So they cycle through the next thing, then the next, and so on. They lose time, money and effectiveness. Epic fail.
Painful to watch. But more painful to experience. At best, this delivers slow growth, but at worst it’s a business killer.

Mistake #6: The belief that with traffic comes positive results.
This seems like it’s for eCommerce business but it relates to anything.
The mistake is to assume that visitors (to your site, your store, to your meetings, etc.) will convert into customers.
Not so. Well, it’s not that simple and there are many variables at play.
The experience might be cumbersome. They might think your offer differs from what they previously expected. You may not be trusted. They might not want to pay your price, etc.
Converting (to a sale, or any other growth goal) requires thought, planning, execution, measurement, and optimisation.

Mistake #7: Hiring someone to do one thing without addressing the interrelated problems.
If you hired a person to solve every bit of your business, you’ll hire too many people.
One of the most common examples I see is when more sales are needed, more salespeople are hired.
This makes sense in theory, but there may be other related issues such as a lack of good leads coming through marketing efforts, fundamental issues with the product or service that remain unresolved, etc.
So by simply hiring someone to push more sales, you could end up frustrating them due to the interrelated dependencies.


Mistakes in marketing are commonplace. Marketing has become more fragmented, so there’s more going on, therefore more to get wrong.

But the fundamentals of marketing have not changed!

What’s changed is a widening of the marketing landscape of disciplines, especially digital, which has given people so many options that it has clouded their thinking and basic decision-making.

Leaders need to rise above the detail, think through their objectives, devise strategy accordingly with a clear view of their ideal customer in mind.

The strategies and tactics that emerge from this approach will help you find your customer, convert them where they are, and ultimately lead to efficient growth for your business.