Savvy Speaks: Don’t Commit One of These Common Marketing Mistakes

Savvy Speaks: Don’t Commit One of These Common Marketing Mistakes
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Wed Sep 29, 2010 @ 04:03AM
Comments: 14

For this, the first of our Savvy Speaks articles, we decided to chime in on the biggest, most glaring mistakes we see folks make when creating marketing content.  We hope you can’t relate to any of them – but if you do, here’s a checklist to make sure you don’t EVER do it again!

Wendy Thomas


Trying to be funny and tooting your own horn

The common mistakes I see in marketing content are trying to force funny and the inclusion of “so what” material. Not everyone is funny – some people have it and most people don't. Those who don't should never be allowed near copy, they only end up producing material that makes people painfully wince instead of nod in communal humor. The other mistake is the inclusion of “so what” material. This is the material that makes a company look good (usually only to themselves) but does not add to the marketing message resulting in the reader scratching their heads and saying “so what, who cares?”

Stephanie Tilton


What’s in it for your customer?

One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make is focusing on themselves and their offerings instead of the prospect/customer’s interests and concerns. This usually happens when companies lack a strong sense of who they are trying to reach. Instead of doing their homework to define the ideal buyer, they create content aimed at a broad, generic audience. The result is a failure to connect well with the audience and a struggle to move prospects down the path to purchase. On the other hand, companies with a strong understanding of their ideal customer are able to produce content that attracts and engages prospects, and inspires them to take action.

Heather Rubesch


Is it really a white paper?

Labeling one page product overviews, solution briefs and outright sales slicks as “white papers.” I get so frustrated when I register and download something that says “white paper” and it is anything but!  A white paper should be persuasive and informative but not a direct in your face sales pitch.  Check out the recent Savvy Roadtrip post highlighting some of our best posts on white paper practices for further information.

Michele Linn


I see a lot of mistakes in the B2B world, but here are my top three:

  • Writing to businesses, not people: Somehow B2B marketers can forget they are writing to people – people who are distracted (keep it short, be entertaining) but who also want to find easy answers to their questions. Two keys: write like people talk (here are some words to avoid) and be as relevant to your audience as possible (consider these 20 questions).
  • Being inconsistent: Marketers get so excited to start something like a blog or an email newsletter, but it’s so easy to underestimate the time this will take – especially after the initial enthusiasm for the project dies down. So what happens? You have blog that hasn’t been updated in months or an email newsletter that is delivered very inconsistently. This looks terrible, and it would have been better to devote your energy to another project instead. Here are four things to consider before starting a new content project that requires care and feeding and seven questions  to ask before starting a blog.  How do you stay consistent? Develop an editorial calendar.
  • Forgetting the call to action: After you spend all of this time creating content to engage the reader, and then what? If you forget your call to action, readers will at best do a search for your company on Google – and who knows where they will land? A much better – and easy – approach is to add a call to action. Here are the three things keys to identifying what a compelling next step would be.

Kate Waddell



One of the biggest mistakes I see on a regular basis is the “info-dump” approach to marketing collateral. This seems to happen more with small companies with limited budgets or those making their first-time foray into creating collateral. They feel they need to get it all in there to get their money’s worth. But strategically speaking, less is more; the piece needs to give just enough information to walk the reader to the next step in the sales cycle. (And, no, the next step is almost never “call the sales rep and order 5,000 widgets.”)

That means that before you start writing you need to know your sales cycle, where the piece falls into it, and what information is critical at this point in the process. You will get a much better response by limiting the amount of information and leaving some white space instead of cramming everything anyone ever knew about your company, products, mission statement, support services and etc. into a front and back sell sheet.

Jamie Wallace


Leaping before looking

If more businesses took the time to do proper market research, branding, and strategy, they’d see greater success in their marketing efforts. The “research & planning” piece can be a tough sell because the deliverable isn’t always as tangible as a web site, a blog, a direct mail campaign, or a trade show booth, BUT if smart thinking goes into the mix first, the end result will always be more effective and – in the long run – a better investment.

Join the conversation!

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see being made in marketing collateral?

Comments: 14


1. Jason Ball  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 29, 2010 @ 05:46AM

To echo Wendy and Stephanie's points, the biggest mistake I see clients make is assuming their customers care. You hear the whole 'we've got this great new product/white paper/content that we've been developing for ages, of course they want to hear about it' thing. They become so immersed in their own business that they cannot see the world from any other point of view.

The reality of course is quite different. Customers have a thousand and one things to do every day. Whatever content we produce has to make it onto that list against stiff competition (everything from immediate crushing deadlines to getting home to read the kids a bedtime story).

'So what' content just won't cut it. Nor will self-indulgent bloatpapers. It needs to be focused, helpful and interesting. Anything else is just spam.

2. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Fri Oct 01, 2010 @ 03:35AM

Jason, great point about keeping your audience/market top of mind -- including time constraints. It's so hard to step out of the world you're immersed in on a daily basis...and yet so vital to connecting with prospects/customers.

Thanks for stopping by!

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