15 Common Marketing Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Avoid

Marketing strategies and techniques change constantly. With all the advice and warnings to follow—some of it contradictory—entrepreneurs can quickly get confused as to what works, and what should be avoided. This can lead to entrepreneurs, especially those first starting out, making some crucial marketing mistakes.

To help you avoid trouble, 15 members of Forbes Business Council, below, discuss some key marketing mistakes they’ve observed among entrepreneurs, from casting too wide a net to waiting to craft the “perfect” campaign. Read on to learn how these common mistakes could end up costing your business time and other resources.

Members discuss a few marketing mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid making.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS

1. Not Defining Your Customer First

Effective marketing compels action. To do that effectively, the right message needs to reach the right audience in the right way. Successful entrepreneurs are wired to think big and have obsessive focus on developing a feature-rich product or service. However, a successful marketing strategy is based upon first narrowly defining the customer and what they care about, then figuring out the rest. – Edward Dellheim, Abaco Group

2. Not Tracking Results

Entrepreneurs—both new and experienced ones alike—often forget to do detailed tracking of marketing campaigns. It doesn’t matter if they’re online, TV, newspaper or billboards even: Granular tracking is a necessity to determine if your marketing dollars are being effectively spent. Digital tracking is easy; others take some thought (e.g. new domains, new phone numbers, etc.). – John Monarch, ShipChain

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3. Ignoring Your Product

The intersection of marketing and product development is where real growth happens. Entrepreneurs can’t assume that if they get their channel mix right, amazing results will follow. Product and marketing leaders need to work together to drive acquisition, retention and upsell through continuous testing and improvement. Build your marketing strategy in tandem with product strategy and vice versa. – Emily Bernard, PlacePass

4. Failing To Look At The Holistic Strategy

The most common mistake I see people making is failing to view their marketing strategy in its entirety, as a customer experience ecosystem. It’s not just figuring out an algorithmic hack on Facebook or testing different captions on video or testing email flows over and over. It’s all this and much more. Most people become obsessed with one or a few of these components but ignore the others. – Kevin Zhang, Kreator eCommerce

5. Lack Of Consistency

I cannot stress enough the importance of being consistent in one’s brand. If you’re not being consistent in your imagery, lingo or message across platforms, there’s a high chance for failure. A lack of consistency tarnishes the initial impression your brand will leave on your potential consumer. – Jeff J Hunter, BrandedMedia.io

6. Too Much Experimentation Without Research

Many entrepreneurs (and large corporations) play spaghetti: Throw it up and see what sticks. That usually results in changing strategy and tactics, again and again, and fewer sales. Far better is to do your research to identify a meaningful, compelling story about who you are with your market and stay with it. People build trust and loyalty when they know you and what you offer consistently. – Sharon Lynn Livingston, The Livingston Center for Professional Coaching

7. Thinking You Need To Spend Big To Get Results

Sometimes the things that cost the least have a more lasting effect than even a billboard in Times Square! Grassroots efforts which are more economical can target your specific demographic and have lasting impressions on your clientele. It’s not about trying to reach everyone, it’s about defining your audience and marketing to them. The biggest spends don’t always yield the highest rewards! – Hoda Mahmoodzadegan, BAḴT Global

8. Focusing Solely On Digital

It’s no surprise most marketing decisions today are made with digital strategy at the forefront. This is limiting, especially for high-touch, service-based businesses. Not only are social media networks subject to glitches and algorithms, but consumers are drowning in emails and ads. They will, however, remember a quality invitation or thank you note sent via snail mail. Invest in the relationship. – Sara Intonato, SaraYoga

9. Trying To Be Everywhere

Believing your company should have a robust presence in every single outlet—social, traditional, email, etc.—is the easiest way to spread a marketing strategy too thin and seem disingenuous. Instead, take time to research where your target audience spends most of its time, and build a marketing strategy to engage your customers. – Susan Levine, Career Group Companies

10. Analysis Paralysis

In today’s digital world, the marketing landscape has changed to one that is quick, malleable and incredibly flexible. Entrepreneurs must be willing to make decisions based on data they currently have, run with it, learn from it and then adjust their strategy along the way. Waiting too long or analyzing too much causes one to fall behind and lose out on current opportunities. – Brian Chew, OC Wills & Trust Attorneys

11. Not Testing Your Strategies

It’s important to run trials in early-stage marketing efforts in order to maximize ROI long-term. Two to three trials of different efforts across same markets will show you which gives the best results and what costs will be. Cycle through experiments quickly to fail fast, bring learnings to experiments and implement. Continuous learning and minimum viable models are critical to ROI. – Lauren Cooney, Spark Labs

12. Forging Ahead Without Proof Of Market Fit

Especially in the early stages of entrepreneurship, market fit can be elusive. A purchase order or a pilot may falsely indicate market fit prior to reaching critical mass to validate true market fit. In the early stages of market fit, it can be downright dangerous to execute a costly marketing strategy based on untested hypothesis. Softly test out your market messaging and pivot with learning. – Scott Amyx, Amyx Ventures

13. Investing Based On Assumptions

In most cases, the strategy makes sense on paper. But the main aspect is how does the strategy perform on-ground? Before implementing an elaborate strategy, testing the core thesis of the strategy through micro-markets could possibly prove to be the difference between success or failure for a business. – Chaitanya Hiremath, Scanta

14. Expecting Others To Tell Your Story For You

Tell your own story until others begin to tell it for you. That’s when things get exponential. No one else can truly author your story but you. Too often, entrepreneurs try to force their story onto others with the hopes they will distribute it. But the better approach is to distribute it yourself in your own way via your own channels. Keep executing, and then others will share without you asking. – Craig J. Lewis, Gig Wage

15. Giving Up After One Failure

After one failure it’s quite obvious that you get disappointed or discouraged because you aren’t seeing the result you are expecting. If you believe that you have something great and solves real problems, take a step back and create a very “solid differentiator.” – Abigail Aboitiz, Advanced Remote Monitoring / ARM LLC

[“source=forbes”]