In the digital business world, few topics are as complicated as digital marketing strategies. No two plans are identical, from internal business processes and infrastructure to Google’s partially obscured algorithms and plain market happenstance. Holistic customer-centric strategies involve content marketing, social media activity, customer service, interaction management, and so much more.
Research can often lead you to theoretical conclusions, analysis of questionable methodology, and plain buzzwords. There’s an absolute abundance of problems that can potentially ruin your digital marketing strategy in this context. Thus, instead of explaining how to succeed, when such plans will undoubtedly vary, we’ll highlight ten common pitfalls to avoid.
Problems That Can Potentially Ruin Your Digital Marketing Strategy
To paraphrase Murphy’s Law, “anything can go wrong” in digital marketing. Attempts at humour aside, this is not a hyperbolic statement. There are hazards to avoid every step of the way, and some businesses still manage to find more. From the very first step of choosing to launch a campaign to the last stages of monitoring progress and acquiring backlinks for SEO, there are small and large problems that can potentially ruin your digital marketing strategy.
We obviously cannot list them all for the sake of text economy and out of respect for our readers’ time. We can, however, list ten across different phases of digital marketing campaigns.
1. Poorly Defining Your Target Audience
Among the very first steps toward building a digital marketing campaign is target audience identification. This issue should be obvious enough; if you don’t know who you’re marketing to, you will fail.
Still, businesses may overlook a target audience’s definition and mix it with other related terms. Neil Patel has written many articles on this subject, precisely because it’s so prevalent an issue. The key takeaway should be this: define your audience very carefully.
Consider the following factors to do so:
2. Poor Budgeting
Poor budgeting can irreparably harm your long-term strategies. Budgeting is at the heart of all campaigns, regardless of type, simply due to practicality. Return on investment (ROI) hinges on cost-effectiveness, costs and sales alike.
Consider, for example, budgeting for business software like Customer Relationship Management (CRM). This booming software industry sees wide acclaim and continues to prosper. Yet, businesses continue to budget poorly, often due to poor goals or research into their chosen solutions. Sadly, there are no simple solutions for this issue, except for diligent study and solid SMART goals.
3. Scope Creep and Strategy Derailments
On the SMART goals, scope creep is among the most common problems with any long-term campaigns. Derailments soon follow, and the results range from notable to catastrophic.
PMI very aptly identifies “poorly defined initial requirements” as a primary cause of scope creep. Of course, there are other reasons, both standard and unique or circumstantial, but this one is highly avoidable. Specifically, one needs to adhere to SMART goals very closely:
4. Neglecting SEO over Marketing
With your campaign launched, new problems that can potentially ruin your digital marketing strategy emerge. One of the most notable ones is neglecting search engine optimisation (SEO) over marketing.
This problem is common because it’s understandable; one may believe marketing will suffice or that SEO is a fool’s errand. A campaign can get very hectic, and derailed or scope-crept campaigns will undoubtedly sideline your SEO efforts. It’s crucial to understand the importance of an SEO-friendly website and how it synergises with digital marketing. These practices share the explicit goal of increasing conversions and sales, and poor SEO will indeed hamper marketing.
5. Neglecting Content Quality
The most infamous tenet of both SEO and marketing is that “content is king”. This tenet hasn’t become less accurate since Bill Gates said it in 1996. If anything, it has become more relevant than ever.
Interestingly, it’s effortless to neglect content quality over content quantity. One may chase specific activity metrics, pumping out content for its own sake. Lacking in-house talent can also make consistent quality content output unrealistic, so quantity becomes “the next best thing”. However, that’s far from an ideal solution, and it can destroy campaigns outright. It’s quality that drives user engagement and enhances SEO, thus yielding better conversion rates. It’s quality that is “king”, and for good, verifiable reason.
6. Poor Choice of Tone and Style
However, even the best content can be marketed poorly. Among many problems that can potentially ruin your digital marketing strategy is your choice of tone and style. Indeed, this subject is deep enough to deserve its article to cover.
Tech-savvy customers indeed dislike corporate jargon, overly formal tones, and “salesy” approaches. Thus, many marketers have shifted to more personal, engaging, everyday styles. However, it is a fine line to walk; customers also dislike forced humour and unprofessionalism. What’s more, some such approaches are not sustainable. For a case study of this factor, consider how the infamous Wendy’s Twitter account shed its “attack dog” style.
7. Social Media and Credibility
On the subject of social media marketing specifically, this topic deserves its mention. Social media missteps can positively ruin digital marketing campaigns simply by eroding public trust and credibility.
Social media marketing is, of course, a very lucrative aspect of digital marketing. Social media platforms have given marketers access to an ever-expanding pool of customers, and Statista predicts this trend will continue.
What’s more, these tech-savvy audiences actively seek to engage with brands. That’s why it’s common and advisable to follow one’s competitors on social media to outperform them. However, it’s common to misread the room and damage one’s public face. From Bud Light to Gillette, there are many examples of campaigns that backfired in recent memory. Here, the best advice is prudence; you can aspire to innovate, but you must also ensure a good public presence.
8. Adoption Rates and ROI.
On the internal side of things, the adoption of internal tools is an equally common pitfall. Or rather, a lack thereof. Indeed, employees may frequently not adopt internal tools or underuse them, throwing a proverbial wrench into the gears of collaboration.
Consider, for example, the poor adoption rates of CRM software that persist today. With siloed data, poor communication, and undefined or miscommunicated metrics, how can teams function? How can marketing and sales departments collaborate toward a common goal when they’re not on the same page? Worse yet, how can they ensure optimal ROI? They cannot. This problem you’ll likely need to address proactively; provide proper onboarding and training. Demonstrate the merit of your internal assets and encourage their use whenever possible. Your efforts may not fully solve the issue, but they may minimise it enough.
9. Ignoring Your Data
Regardless of your teams’ collaborations, ignoring your data may still occur as well. Among many problems that can potentially ruin your digital marketing strategy, this one may be the farthest-reaching.
Indeed, this problem can manifest in the very first stages of customer identification, as we’ve highlighted at the beginning. It may appear mid-campaign in poor SEO and conversion strategies or cause inappropriate social media tone and messaging. It may even emerge post-launch, as monitoring and readjusting efforts falter. Unlike the others, this is a holistic problem that can branch into every aspect of your digital marketing campaigns.
Naturally, such overarching problems require deep solutions. To proactively tackle this challenge, you should make a conscious effort always to make data-driven decisions. From setting SMART goals to content creation to monitoring, data needs to back every one of your choices. Fortunately, there are many, many software solutions, CRM or otherwise, that can collect troves of data to use.
10. Failing to Monitor Long-term Campaigns
Finally, as with all business efforts, constant monitoring should be a staple practice. Circumstances change, customers change, and your own business changes. As such, monitoring your campaigns is nigh imperative to ensure you can adjust effectively and timely.
Failing to do so often stems from neglecting crucial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). From beginning to end, your teams need to adhere to your set goals and keep an eye on KPIs. It is especially true for digital marketing and SEO endeavours, as they’re frequently long-term investments. You can’t simply rest on their results needing time; a watchful eye is always vital.
To summarise, there are probably as many problems that can potentially ruin your digital marketing strategy as there are campaigns. From setting goals to monitoring campaigns and everything in-between, there are myriads of ways to fail. However, this doesn’t need to discourage you; vigilance pays off, and knowledge is power. With proper research, planning, and prudence, you may avoid these pitfalls and succeed where others fail.
About the author: Mariah Williams is a web designer, copywriter, and avid digital marketing enthusiast. She contributes to WP Full Care and similar publications, where she discusses her experience with SEO and PPC marketing, CRM software, WordPress, and other CMSs.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post by Mariah Williams. You can learn more about them here. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect Mauco Enterprises’ views.
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