5 Marketing Mistakes to Learn From - Burlington Press
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5 Marketing Mistakes to Learn From

We love other people’s marketing mistakes. Why? Because we can learn from them and avoid duplicating those mishaps. In 2016, Direct Marketing News shared the mistakes of 13 direct marketers and how they fixed them. We want to share five of those “lessons learned” with you.


1. Misunderstanding your audience

It’s easy to think you know who your audience is. It’s common sense. It’s who you have always marketed to. One marketer rested on past assumptions and the audience turned a deaf ear—totally. Ouch! The lesson? Continually question your assumptions about your audience and how to stay relevant. Use A/B testing. Try new things. Bring new people into the process. Never rest on past success!


2. Sending multiple “personalized” communications to the same person

Personalized communications are a powerful tool, but if you do what one marketer did—send five communications to the same person in the same week—that value deteriorates fast. Remove duplicates from your marketing database and set up a system for removing people from multiple touches in a short period of time.


3. Neglecting customer retention in favor of lead gen

Lead generation is a critical component of your marketing strategy, but your best customers are often your existing ones. Invest in retaining and growing your existing customer base. Otherwise, you’ll overlook your most profitable market. Solution? Treat your marketing like an investment portfolio—diversification is the key.


4. Getting your audience’s motivation wrong

One marketer tried to increase fundraising by creating a “World Cup” competition to motivate donors to compete against one another. The project was a total failure. The reason? In the nonprofit world, donors give, not out of competition, but out of desire to make the world a better place. The marketer relaunched the campaign, removing the competitive element and making it a collaborative process for the greater good. Success! Understand your audience motivations before you launch any campaign.


5. Thinking customers will become brand advocates simply because they like your product

Customers don’t turn into brand advocates all by themselves. If they love your products, they will become brand advocates, but you have to nurture that relationship well beyond the sale. Develop ways to actively engage with customers on a variety of platforms, from newsletters to social media, from email to review sites, and even to in-person at events, if relevant. Investing in ongoing relationships will reap benefits long term.

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