5 Online Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Shocking, isn’t it?

Much of marketing (and life in general) is about learning strategies for success, but also about learning from the mistakes of others.  Here are some tips that will prevent your audience and social media pundits from exclaiming, what were they thinking?!

1) Marketing to a Demographic – Marketers should always target a niche, not a demographic.  A niche can be best described as “a group of people with a common problem who congregate together.” (Copy Blogger) Stay at home mothers, seniors over the age of 65, and newly weds are all examples of demographics.  Stay at home mothers trying to keep the house clean, seniors looking into retirement homes, and newly weds who wish to shed weight are examples of niches.   These groups all have a specific problem to solve, and your task is to do just that.

2) Expecting Your Campaign to go Viral – Having a viral campaign is a marketers dream.  It relies on Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), whereby content – images, video, articles are passed from one person to another.   The true value of WOMM is that the content is more likely to be reviewed because it is being sent from a trusted source – friends, family or coworkers.  As a result, your message has a higher chance of reaching and pentrating audiences.  The fact of the matter is, most campaigns (I’m talking 90%) will not go viral.  Viral should never be the intent behind your marketing efforts.  It is the reward, not the expectation.

3) Expecting the Public to do the Marketing for You – This faux pas hinges largely on #3.  Too often, marketers assume that a viral campaign will save their organization time and money, since the success of the campaign is contingent on the pass-along rate.  WRONG.  Incentives must be added to compel users to participate in your marketing efforts.

4)  Neglecting Metrics – Joe Shmoe sits in his living room and watches your tv ad.  It makes him laugh, it convinces him that your product is superior and it propels him to make the purchase.  Fine and dandy, but one of the core weaknesses in television campaigns lies in the inability to trace consumer action, history and response.  Online marketing can measure user details, page visits, and peak web site times.  There are a variety of tools that can help measure your website’s performance, so why not use them to your advantage?

5) Failing to Plan for the Long Term – Many marketers get caught up with the “real time” movement of internet marketing.  Constant, rapid, here, and now.  Though this might be the case, it is absolutely CRITICAL that a long term online marketing plan be considered.  Too often, marketers get stuck on trying to create the one perfect campaign, rather than a succession of succesful campaigns.  Your long term plan should guide you towards your goals, relate your actions back to your vision/mission statement and provide measures of success.


Copy Blogger hit the nail right on the head when it outlined the difference between demographics and niche markets.  If an organization markets to demographic, it fails to solve a problem or need within that group.  As a result, the audience may feel  spammed with messages, and ultimately, harbour negative feelings towards the product/service/company.  Addressing your niche allows the marketer to identify the core benefit of the product/service and better articulate the message.

Given the recent success of the Old Spice campaign, markters are running amuck, with visions of viral campaign grandeur.  That’s the first mistake there, making viral marketing your modus operandi.  This faux pas results in a short sighted campaign, which typically fails to address the core needs of the target market.

Know thy audience, know thy long term plan and know thy metrics and ye shall reap the rewards of a successful, online campaign!

Resources: Copy Blogger, Twittown, Whats Next Blog, iMedia Connection,

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