Read on to discover:
- Common marketing missteps and how to avoid them
- Advice to proactively address marketing concerns
- Solutions to avoid mistakes before they’re made
Marketing is an umbrella term for all of the activities businesses do to get customers interested in their product. Though there are different marketing goals, like building awareness or conversion, the general principle remains the same; Businesses need customers, and marketing helps them get them. Social media, television ads, digital ads, text messages, and print media are just a few of the platforms that companies use to market to their audiences. Although marketing seems like a straightforward exchange in which ‘company x’ tells a customer what they sell, the customer buys the product, and they both ride off into the sunset together, it’s just not that simple.
Brands can easily rub their customers the wrong way with even the most well-intentioned marketing efforts. Look at stationary bike brand Peloton, which aired a seemingly harmless television commercial in 2019 where a husband gifts his wife with a bike for exercise. The advertisement didn’t go over well, with many consumers claiming the advert was sexist. The lifestyle that Peloton was hoping to showcase didn’t match up with the scenes displayed on television and laptop screens across the nation.
The bike-maker paid for their mistakes, with stock prices dropping nearly 10% following the debacle. Before Peloton’s crisis, Pepsi aired a disastrous ad campaign during the 2017 Super Bowl. The ad displayed a protest that ended due to Kendall Jenner handing a police officer in riot gear a can of soda. Pepsi essentially equated their product to a culturally unifying force. Due to the political and racial climate, this was a massive blunder that the soda giant still hasn’t recovered from. Given the harsh consequences of making marketing missteps, how can businesses avoid the same fate? Hint: it involves market research. Let’s dive in.
Marketing Missteps & How To Avoid Them
All marketers make mistakes; however, significant snafus can be avoided with the proper systems in place. In particular, strategic marketing goes a long way towards error-proofing marketing efforts. The strategic marketing process involves conducting research and establishing goals and objectives that maximize the effectiveness of the overall marketing strategy. Here are several common marketing mistakes and how to avoid them with strategic market research.
You’re Targeting The Wrong Audiences
You may have a great marketing campaign including a glossy print ad, humorous TV commercial, stellar social media graphics, and a well-written blog post. However, if you unleash it on the wrong audience, it will not produce the results you want. Buyer personas are an excellent way to uncover and target the right people with your marketing efforts. Buyer personas are representations of who your ideal customer is based on data and market research.
Qualitative market research specifically can help guide you towards laser-focused personas without the guesswork. For example, conducting surveys of your customer base asking questions about behavioral drivers, obstacles to purchasing, and mindset will give you the insight you need to move forward.
You’re Using The Wrong Message
Anyone in marketing knows that driving traffic to their website is crucial to boost sales. However, it is not always clear how to get your customers to convert online. Your marketing messages should connect and drive desired actions, but many marketers still draft campaigns that don’t speak to their customers. The best way to combat this is with message testing.
Message testing is the process of testing out different versions of your marketing messages. To get started with message testing, it is best to use a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. For e-mail messages and digital ads, analytics and other quantitative metrics can tell marketers which subject lines, taglines, calls-to-action, or landing pages get the most conversion. Conversely, qualitative testing methods take advantage of customer insights so that marketers can understand how their messages are perceived on an emotional level and why they are resonating (or not).
You Don’t Connect With Customers On An Emotional Level
Emotions are a large part of our decision-making process. Though it may not seem like emotions are activated when we buy a candy bar, there is a reason why we opted for a Snickers versus the equally delicious Hershey’s bar. Perhaps, we used to eat Snickers after school growing up, and the nostalgia is driving our purchase. No matter the ‘why,’ the fact remains that 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. Brands that fail to elicit emotions from their marketing will quickly fall by the wayside.
To avoid this misstep, consider starting an online research community. An online community is an ideal way to get to the heart of your target audience. With an online research community, you can engage with your customers and uncover valuable qualitative data that will show you their motivations, behaviors, and evolving needs.
Your Research Is Outdated
Data-driven decision-making is a process where businesses frequently collect data, analyze that data, and make relevant decisions to improve their business based on their conclusions. Even the best data in the world grows stale over time. Information that isn’t collected in real-time won’t equate to stellar marketing campaigns. Agile market research ensures that businesses incorporate current customer needs into products, communications, and services. By understanding precisely what their audience wants and needs, companies can quickly make effective decisions to keep customers coming back for more. Though there are many methods to choose from, the best way to gather agile feedback is with templated surveys, virtual interviews, and virtual focus groups with the best tools at your disposal.
Avoid Marketing Missteps In A Nutshell
Marketing is not black and white, and there are many mistakes that brands can make that cost them customers. Even large corporations, like Peloton and Pepsi, can push out tone-deaf advertisements that lead to significant financial losses. Although mistakes can happen to anyone or any company, market research can help companies avoid major blunders. Solutions like Fuel Cycle make it easy to set up market research initiatives for better targeting and messaging with agile data at the helm. For more information about Fuel Cycle, check out our brand marketing solutions.