3 marketing pitfalls to plan for

Build failure into the plan, determine potential obstacles, and always prepare for the worst.

3 marketing pitfalls to avoid

Good marketing can catapult businesses to fast growth.

Marketing success stories are shared, applauded and oftentimes replicated. What people aren’t always quick to talk about are the failures—or near-failures—behind the success stories, or the failures that never became success stories.

In marketing, being optimistic is essential—but something is almost guaranteed to go wrong with nearly every marketing campaign. By preparing and planning for these bumps in the road, marketers strengthen their campaigns and make them more resilient, bettering the chances of success.

Build failure into the plan. Pinpoint backup solutions to problems that may arise. For example, if you’re working with video equipment, remember to bring extra batteries and memory cards. If you’re working with models or actors, schedule to have extras on call in case someone gets sick.

Building backup solutions into the overall plan will help ensure the small failures within campaign development are not even detected in the finalized product. For marketing campaigns, this might mean having alternate creative assets and messaging on hand, as well as pushing your offer through multiple channels in case one doesn’t perform as well as you’d like it to.

Determine potential pitfalls. Say you have a good idea for a marketing campaign based on data, intuition, or a mix of both. Instead of just blindly trying launching it into the world, pressure-test the concept first. This can be done in a number of ways.

For one, have a highly experienced and knowledgeable team member try to poke holes in the plan, combatting your marketing as if he or she was working for a competitor. If holes were successfully poked, address them.

You can also dig into the archives of past marketing campaigns—specifically those that didn’t perform very well—to analyze what did and didn’t work. This can ensure repetitive mistakes aren’t made in your new campaign.

Pinpoint the worst-case scenario. Most marketing campaigns have some level of success, but that doesn’t mean the effort is always worth the large investment some campaigns can require. Use data to determine how many leads, impressions, clicks—whatever you’re hoping to achieve—the campaign should generate. Take the low end of your prediction, and imagine the result is actually even lower than that. Would the campaign still be worth the effort?

Pinpointing the worst-case scenario allows you to really determine what success looks like—and may make giving the campaign a try seem more or less appealing, depending on the data.

As in life, there are no guarantees in marketing. Doing all the preparations and tests possible, there’s still a chance something will go wrong with a campaign along the way. How reasonable that chance is will vary depending on the campaign.

A solid instinct is a mark of an impeccable marketer, but there is no single strategy that works all the time. Instead, instinct should always be validated by testing, data and planning for how a worst-case result would affect the client, company or brand.

Thomas Wachtel is a Content Marketing Specialist at Element Three. Read more of his writing at MediaPost.

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