Marketing is equal parts art and science, but these seven fatal mistakes can compromise your entire campaign.
Marketing is an essential part of doing business. Unless you increase your brand's visibility and raise customer awareness, you'll never gain enough momentum to build a recurring stream of revenue. But in order to be successful in marketing, you need to yield a positive ROI, and all too often these seven fatal mistakes get in the way:
1. Not Putting the Brand First. Your brand is your company's core identity, and if it isn't at the heart of your campaign, you're doing yourself a disservice.
2. Not Doing the Research. While some of the most successful marketing campaigns have been built on intuition and inspiration, the most practical ones have been built on raw data. Do the research up front to know what you're getting into.
3. Targeting the Wrong Audience. Know exactly who your audience is and create advertising and messaging that truly speaks to them. Get the audience wrong, and your campaign won't stand a chance.
4. Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket. It's a cliché, but it's a popular phrase for a reason. In marketing, there are no guarantees--even if the data supports the success of your campaign, random factors can interfere with your results. It's best to pursue multiple strategies across multiple channels, hedging your bets against the worst-case scenarios.
5. Failing to Proofread. This may seem like a small misstep, but in the wrong context it can ruin your brand's reputation. Countless major brands have tweeted with an inappropriate hashtag, circulated an unintentionally offensive ad, or grossly misspelled a word in a major publication--and the events are catastrophic.
6. Forgetting to Measure. Without data, you'll never know whether your campaign was successful. Forgetting to set up tracking and analytics means you've essentially stripped your campaign of any objective value--and you've forgone the ability to learn a lesson from your approach.
7. Not Making Adjustments. Nobody is successful in marketing immediately. Only through an ongoing process of revision and improvement can you eventually find a selection of strategies that work for you.
Be sure to avoid these mistakes at all costs when planning your first few marketing campaigns. With experience, you'll gain a feel for the right way to do things, and you'll be able to improve on your previous efforts. In the meantime, focus on what's in front of you and avoid these critical pitfalls.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.
Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.