Marketers aren’t immune to bad habits. With a hectic schedule and a never-ending cycle of digital activity, it’s easy to repeat marketing behaviors without realizing the negative effects. Those efforts often have a false appearance of smart marketing strategy, but aren’t executed properly.
The first step to change is identifying the problem. Here are common marketing bad habits to quit:
Jumping on the bandwagon
Real-time marketing has become a huge buzzword—especially in social marketing—as the practice that often sees impressive results. Brands have received extreme attention for real-time tweets—like Oreo’s Super Bowl blackout tweet, and Arby’s tweet about Pharrell’s hat at the Grammy’s. When other brands see the attention that an event or news story is receiving, they often can’t resist the urge to comment or develop content surrounding the trending topics.
Sometimes, like with Oreo and Arby’s, that move can be a smart one. However, it only works when the commentary feels natural, is relevant to the brand, and doesn’t come across as desperate. Unfortunately, few brands are able to pull off an attempt at jumping on the bandwagon without appearing silly.
For example, the highly anticipated movie “50 Shades of Grey” was generating a good deal of attention for its February premiere. Despite the movie’s strong sexual content, plenty of family-friendly brands jumped on the bandwagon with 50 Shades-themed campaigns. Most of them seemed odd, desperate, and, in some cases, simply inappropriate—like the New York GOP’s “Fifty Shades of Bill” tweet about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Overall, real-time marketing and integrating current events into social media campaigns is a good idea in theory, but marketers should be careful not to overstep into territory that is completely irrelevant to the brand they represent.
Creating content just to create it
Content marketing has become a cornerstone of countless campaigns, and for good reason. It allows for deeper engagement, offers educational opportunities, and invites target audiences to learn more about a brand without being “sold.” In a world where everyone is exposed to thousands of ads every day, content needs to be impressive enough to cut through the noise.
Many brands have an understanding that they need to create content to engage their target audience, but too many do so haphazardly—shooting out blogs and videos with little thought to whether anyone is interested. The brands that do content best, like GE and IBM, offer valuable and interesting information while still staying true to their core image.
Neglecting to listen
The best marketing is a two-way street, and social media is intended to make that communication easier. A multitude of tools exist that promise “social listening” to marketers who understand the importance of the practice. But are brands really listening?
According to research from SocialBakers, 70% of questions from Facebook followers went unanswered by brand pages. If companies truly valued their followers and allotted the time to keep an open line of communication, those questions would have received responses. Not only does neglecting to respond to social questions alienate followers, but it creates missed opportunities for what those answers could have inspired.
The best brands at listening are those who encourage feedback from customers. Big box retailer Best Buy, for example, offers rewards points toward future purchases for completing reviews. It listens to customers’ input—both good and bad—and relays the information to its vendors to ultimately improve its services.