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Typical Marketing Mistakes Business Owners Make

You’re not using your marketing and branding fundamentals to save  you time and headaches

Regardless of having a small, tight-knit team or a large, extended team, it can get to a point where it feels like opinions are bringing marketing and branding work to a halt. This might look like conflicting feedback, endless rounds of revisions, or diluted messaging. With some fundamentals in place, your next marketing campaign can roll out smoothly with quicker buy-in, more confidence, and clearer results.

Marketing and branding fundamentals are your best friends

Think of it as mise en place, which is French for “putting in place” in the context of preparing to cook. It’s no fun getting halfway through a recipe just to find out you don’t have an ingredient on hand. Nor is it fun to get mid-way through a campaign just to start hitting a wall. According to a project management stat, 70% of projects fail. Ouch! But we know you can vastly improve those odds with the following fundamentals in place.

Audience description and personas

Know who you are marketing to and know them well. Make sure the team at large knows them! It should be no surprise to anyone what’s important to them, how they talk, and what their decision-making habits are. You’ll take a load of mystery out of your work with this piece.

Product/service description and differentiator

What you are selling should clearly solve a problem for your audience and it should be communicated clearly, concisely, and consistently. Have set language for this and you won’t lead anyone astray.

Brand guide

Never argue about a font, tone, or style again. Lock in it to a brand guideline and you’ll find that the boundaries you set will actually give you a bit of freedom (and a lot less explaining over and over).

Key performance indicators (KPI)

Know what your team is working toward and the progress each month. Do not let this fall to the side or be left a mystery. You’ll only ever know if your marketing and branding efforts are working if you have KPIs. And, further, you’ll best prioritize your incoming requests if you know how they will or will not help you hit set KPIs.

Brand strategy and marketing roadmap

Remember that a brand is built every day with every action. Ensure that you are supporting a healthy brand from the marketing point of view with a roadmap that shows channels, themes, and activities.

Content calendar

On a more granular level, be able to present and socialize the content calendar. Content shouldn’t be developed or published in a vacuum. Capture the voice of your organization (after all, it is the bloodline of your brand!), promote your knowledge, and give value to your audience. Last but not least, know and track your KPIs because if you are not tracking, it’s not getting you to your goals. If you have a content calendar before you have the above items in place, you’re not going to be effective with your efforts.

Creative brief

Secure the concept and messaging of your marketing campaign with stakeholders before digging with a creative brief. You’ll get consensus on the goal and objectives, budget, timeline, evaluation metrics and, of course, the creative approach. This should be part of the project’s process every time. No only is it helpful to have going in, but it also serves as a place to record outcomes and have a great record for you to refer back to.

Seamless marketing campaigns, one after another

When you have your marketing and branding fundamentals in place, you’ll find that the framework you work within will eliminate hours of unnecessary work with each marketing campaign that you do. You’ll switch your focus to creating consistency in getting the word out and doing so in a memorable, effective way. You’ll get the collaboration of co-workers more easily. You’ll onboard new teammates with a shorter learning curve. Your budget will thank you.

We watched a client go through this process over the course of a year. The tipping point was producing a sales video that never got used. It was an unfortunate use of time and resources (though very clever!) because when it came down to it, the marketing team did not have alignment with the product team on descriptions and differentiators. That left the video setting up customers with the wrong expectations. The mistake was not repeated, however, as the teams settled on product messaging together. Then when the project of sales sheets came around several months later, the development was done with confidence and efficiency.

As you can see, the reward for the effort of getting fundamentals in place is great, but you may be asking how to get those things in place while still managing the day-to-day. They certainly don’t come together easily.

Outsourced marketing isn’t the answer to good fundamentals

The first thing to do is take a few hours and honestly inventory what you have. Think about how well it is working for you and don’t hesitate to get feedback from others that tend to chime in on your work. How should you decipher your notes? We like to say “if it’s not a ‘heck yes’ it’s a no.” If it hasn’t been working for you now, pausing one day to look at it isn’t going to change anything.

Secondly, you’ll need to have an honest conversation around how to fill in the gaps when it comes to marketing fundamentals. You will need to have more than just yourself on board. Be prepared to advocate for constructive feedback, a change in priorities to open up time to work on the fundamental pieces, or the budget to bring in help to get them done while you continue managing the day to day. One thing is to be sure, getting the fundamental pieces right cannot be done without input regardless of who builds them. Consider this as you are building a timeline to get them in place.

Maybe you were caught off guard when we said outsourced marketing isn’t the answer to good fundamentals. We stand by that. Having good input, strategy, and decisions is the answer. Outsourced marketing help cannot make decisions on behalf of you and your leadership team in this area. But we can be your trusted, thinking partners in the process.

Targeted strategy. Unleashed creativity.

Don’t waste any more hours, budget, or creative energy. We’d love to hear about what fundamentals you think are missing or not serving you. And if you have them but aren’t sure you are using them as intended, we can talk about that, too. Contact us today by phone or email.