Commentary

3 Timeless Marketing Mistakes Companies Make

After 18 years in online marketing, I’ve lived through pretty much every trend that’s come and gone.

You know what, though? I’ve never seen one tactic make or break success in marketing. Instead, it’s usually one of these three things.

1. You’re not thinking big enough.

Tactics are never the problem. The problem is that you’re either not doing them fast enough or big enough.

Take content marketing.

Unbounce reported it went from getting an average of 500-800 visits on a typical blog post to over 4,513 visits and 6,000 shares by treating one post as a much larger campaign.

HubSpot, on the other hand, built a blog that generates millions of visitors each month by publishing up to 10 times per day!

I’ve seen this play out time and time again. To cut through the noise today, it either needs to be a hundred times better or a hundred times faster.

2. Cut the losers faster and double down on the winners.

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The 80/20 rule applies everywhere in marketing: Less than 20% of your customers produce 80% of the revenue. And 20% of your ads probably bring in 80% of the traffic.

The way you benefit from this is to find your greatest points for leverage, by quitting the 80% of activities that aren’t producing and doubling down in the 20% that is working.

Perry Marshall’s book, “80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More,”  goes into more detail.

A study from Orbit Media on blogging trends found that most bloggers spend an average of around three hours per post, while the people who get the best results spend at least six hours on each one.

In other words, most people do just enough (three hours), instead of doubling down on what works (six hours).

Average content today would get average results. Whereas a much bigger, better guide to a particular topic will have a better chance ranking in the top three and get you 100X more traffic, shares, and attention than the average one ranking top of page two.  

3. Relying on talent instead of processes.

People always ask me how to get more customers. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I almost never know the right answer. It always depends.

Marketing is a guessing game. You make a few hypotheses, try a lot of little things, and then scale the winners as much as possible, as fast as possible.

Circle back to that HubSpot example of publishing ten times per day. How on earth would you manage that?

A talented team definitely helps. However, it’s not always in the budget. Most companies don’t have the luxury of paying enough topnotch writers to publish ten times per day.

And doing so leaves you completely reliant on finding talent instead of developing talent. What if your rockstar employee decides to leave and freelance? Or worse, your competitor steals them away?

You lose the number one thing that matters in marketing: consistency.

Developing standardized systems and processes that even a fresh new hire could learn and emulate in a short period of time can prevent potential future disasters and ensure consistency.

All tactics will come and go. But only doing them more, faster, and longer (through consistency) matters at the end of the day.

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