For most marketing teams, resources are limited, and you want to use them well. Oftentimes, marketers can fail to reach their overall goals but struggle to understand why. Here are four specific marketing strategy pitfalls you should know about and how to avoid them.

1. Failing To Define the Marketing ‘Win’

Merely being busy isn’t a mark of success for a marketing team. While your team may be full of hard workers who are good at what they do, if your goal for a particular marketing strategy or task is not clearly defined, then you may find yourself spinning your wheels. 

To be sure, the goal for every marketing task isn’t necessarily that it would measurably lead to a specific sale. For example, the goal of certain tasks may be oriented more toward brand awareness than lead generation. Measuring those tasks by the metrics of lead generation will almost invariably make them look like a failed venture. 

Nevertheless, if your goals are not specifically defined, then you never know when you have succeeded in a task. Further, there may be some marketing tasks your team routinely completes for which there is no discernible goal and thus should be discontinued. 

Never move forward on a marketing task, strategy, or initiative until the goal is first clearly defined. Define which metrics you will use to determine its success.

2. Focusing Too Much on your Product or Service and Not Enough on Your Customers’ Needs

If your marketing team truly believes in the products and services your organization is providing, as should always be the case, then you may be tempted to focus too much on those products and services than on the customer’s motivations, needs, and desires. 

For example, you may spend too much time touting the specifications of your products, recent improvements, the particulars of the technologies involved, or your company’s journey in arriving where it is today. All these things may become important components to be incorporated into your marketing message, but if you do not first establish how and why your product or service will improve the life of your customers and help them achieve their goals, then they simply will not care. 

That may sound harsh, but it’s just the reality. While in our day-to-day interactions, we want to value people for who they are more than what they can do, customers don’t share such a bent toward altruism when determining what product or service they want to spend their hard earned money on.

Always focus on your customer or potential customer first: who are they and what are their goals? If you haven’t done so already, define your target audience and build out customer personas. Then seek to understand what motivates them and how your company is uniquely equipped to help them.

Make the story of your company the story of your customers, and how you can help them reach their goals.

3. Spreading Your Marketing Team Too Thin

There exist an infinite number of marketing tasks your team could be attempting to accomplish, but wise marketing leaders know the value of focusing on executing on a few important strategies with excellence and consistency. 

Depending on the size of your marketing team, almost everybody may be wearing multiple hats or focusing on any number of separate areas of responsibility. However, it is possible to spread your team so thin that quality is sacrificed on the altar of quantity. 

For example, when it comes to your social media presence, your marketing team may be so focused on remaining highly active on so many different platforms that you do not have the time to create an effective content and engagement strategy for any of those platforms, resulting in your brand being in every digital space but not gaining traction in any of them. 

Further, you may be so focused on your social media strategy that you do not have time to develop robust email marketing strategies that may actually be more effective in cultivating relationships with your audience and target demographic. 

Marketing teams are served better by saying “no” to good marketing tasks in order to do great work in the areas that are going to yield the highest return.

4. Focusing Too Much on Vanity Metrics

In a world where people often judge how well an individual or organization is doing by the number of followers, subscribers, retweets, and shares they amass, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. 

Social media is a vital aspect of any marketing strategy, and not every post should be intended to directly drive a sale. But don’t let that make you forget that, for marketers, social media is a means to an end and not merely an end unto itself. 

Social media metrics aren’t meaningless. Having a decently sized social media following and good engagement provide important social proof of your legitimacy and can increase your discoverability online. But those numbers aren’t everything. If your social media posts aren’t driving meaningful engagement with your brand or don’t effectively push anybody toward a next step in their purchasing process, then they are little more than window dressing. 

Yes, you want to build out your visual brand and organizational voice, and social media can help you establish industry authority. But do not fool yourself into thinking that your marketing strategy is an unmitigated success because your social media following is larger than that of your competitors.