Key Speaker: Mr. Mike Tomita (Director – Online Marketing, Marketo)


While conducting digital marketing, there are some common mistakes that most marketers commit. These have been collated together so that others can learn from these mistakes committed. There are also some very simple means that exist in order to avoid repeating them. This write-up will detail those mistakes while dealing with how best to avoid such errors.

Not Knowing the Audience

The least a marketer ought to know is one’s own audience. The target market is vast, but relevant segments need to be identified. The help of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be taken to optimize such searches. As an example one can cite the motorcycle brand Kawasaki. It can be called a motorcycle, sports bike or even street bike. And then its specific Ninja set is also something it is known by. As a marketer, one must give the customers all options. The SEO to be done must tag all these keywords so that Google can quickly recognize one of these terms as per customer searches to reduce the gap. As a solution to this conundrum, external help from any reputed management consulting firm would be advisable. Each tool available must be used to test the hypothesis. An A/B test can be used when doubts creep in. The assumptions made must be verified using data backed studies.

Ignoring Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Some companies make this fatal mistake. All content created must be original and valuable to the final user. In case the content created is very similar or simply a rehash of the original catalogue information, then not much value gets added at this stage of the chain. Google will thus assign it a lower rank. Such positions may keep changing depending on user searches and value of the content. Detailed market research must be conducted on the user base. Once that is done, or even while doing that, a proper website needs to be developed which needs constant modification. The user interface in that must be easy. No time lag must exist for page loading. Content sharing handles must be provided. Also the content must be compatible across platforms or devices.

A Google Bing Search Console could be the solution to such conundrums. A periodic technical inspection of the website is recommended. If content is not well optimized, Google will reduce the search rank of the website.

Obsessed with being #1

Companies get obsessed with reaching their target of being top in that particular industry. That involves a lot of work. Eventually it pans out similar to the Theory of Diminishing Returns where the higher one reaches, per rank the incremental benefits tend to subside. So much of effort or stress for such incremental payoffs does not always bode well. Google now allows only four slots of paid slots on the top. The entire right hand side column of advertisements has been removed from starting this year. Marketo that regularly finds itself as the top search gets an average rating of 1.2. There is nothing to worry about such average ratings as Google keeps on twisting its numbers based on trending topics.

Thus focus should be paid on the relevance of the content and not on quantity of the same. Similarly due importance must be put on the performance not search rank. Data must be analyzed to develop the overall corporate strategy.

No Social Media Strategy

Social media must be firmly wedded into the marketing strategy of any organization these days, yet many companies fail at that. While many may have an organic strategy for its website and on its pages, few are using paid means. Sometimes paid forms are necessary to supplement and further leverage the good work done by the organic stream. Research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit prescribes that social media is the top channel for marketing to be used by organizations in the year 2020. This is followed by the web, mobile applications, mobile web and e-mail. Direct mail, television, print and radio by comparison seem to be struggling.

Business Research provided by Bloomberg confirms that the relatively new media Snapchat already boasts of a staggering ten billion video views every single day. Overall, Facebook certainly leads by a substantial margin in social media marketing. Its advertisements’ pool and analytics support is far larger than its peers in the industry. Just to put it into context, Facebook’s overall online ad revenue amounts to US$ 5 billion which is 12% of the total. It has been growing steadily having held only 8% of the total two years back and a tenth of the total last year. Google leads the pack with 31% but has been declining having held 35% of the market two years back and an exact one-third till last year.

Same Tactics on every Channel

Various channels including those within social media exist to market, but lots of companies are guilty for using the same strategy for them all. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Plus and Pinterest all have different areas to leverage. Usage patterns also differ across the week. On some days and at certain points of the day one social media channel outperforms the other. Specific metrics then become important to track such trends and gauge valuable business insights. The decision taken must be backed by sufficient data. Each channel must be planned for individually. Mistakes must be learnt from. Also separate approaches must be periodically tried out. A bit of humour goes a long way in social media success.

Focusing on the Wrong Metrics

Marketers must embrace data science. With so much of it now available, marketers need to understand the art themselves so as not to be duped by market forces. Data could be in various forms. Some of them are – impressions, cost-per-click, conversion rate, cost-per-conversion, cost-to-pipeline, cost-per-opportunity and click-through-rate. Only some of these metrics will be relevant to particular industry and provide useful business intelligence. Overall end-to-end performance must be evaluated accordingly.

Testing Improperly

Sometimes testing is not done at all. A good test must comprise of certain metrics. This includes high traffic, high impact, supporting data, goal and hypothesis. Enough data must be gathered in order for the test to be quantified as credible. Only a single thing must be tested out at once. A hypothesis must be pitched right at the start. A hypothesis must exist at the beginning to give the researchers a starting point for basing their study against.

Falling behind the Times

In today’s times of digital disruption, it is not unusual to see marketers struggling to adopt the modern methods. Often they fail to empathize with the millennial generation due to pre-existing inhibitions. Thus constant experimentation, unlearning and management training must be conducted along with the regular work. Social media is one field rife with experiments. It is important that marketers dedicate some time to reading every morning on arrival at the office. Some time must be dedicated to learning new things. Lots of great blogs are available so some must be kept track of on a regular basis. Google Alert can be an ideal method of attracting top content or newsletters to the users in order to stay updated. Also the reading list must be shared with the team members.

Thus there are eight fatal flaws that most online marketers are experiencing but they all have respective solutions. Instead of seeing these failures as individual cases, they must be studied so that such are not repeated in the near future. 


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