The 3 Most Common Marketing Strategy Mistakes

As an agency we live and breath strategy; it is essential to nearly every project, and one of our most robust offerings McQueen. Whether you are concerned with growing your company, or positioning your brand, we have ideas and the experience and expertise to back them up. Like many organizations, we’ve learned a few things along the way, and know there is no single solution, or one strategy that fits everyone. We have also experienced some common mistakes when it comes to strategy. These can be easy to fall prey to, so we wanted to share them with you:

1) Not differentiating between “strategies” and “campaigns”

Every industry is now saturated with their own ‘buzzwords’. Superficial terms or phrases that give the user some semblance of authority; people will assume they know what they’re talking about.

In marketing, there are two pervasive buzzwords which seem to be used interchangeably: “campaign” and “strategy”.  It’s important to distinguish what separates the two.

Marketing strategy provides the framework for a company moving forward. It is all-encompassing, focusing on the macro aspects of an organization. Strategy is the map that guides us towards the end goal. It contains the company’s value proposition, the customer archetype, what they stand for (mission), and their vision moving forwards. Boiled down to it’s basics, a proper strategy should answer 2 questions:

  1. Who we are
  2. Where we’re going

Marketing campaigns are the smaller, tactical operations that help achieve specific goals within the overall strategy. They are typically oriented around a specific product of service offering, but should fit cohesively with the strategy. A good campaign should have timeframes, KPI’s (key performance indicators), and effectively promote what it is meant to.

2) Trying to be all things to all people

So you want to grow your company? Welcome to the club.

You might consider targeting a larger group of customers. Likely by either expanding your current business model to new industries, or creating new goods and services for new markets. A larger market means more potential customers, more customers means more revenue.

There is logic here, but the argument is unfortunately a fallacy. Let’s talk about it.

When you create new offerings or expand horizontally, there is likely somebody who is already doing it better. In fact, many of these firms have been honing their value proposition for years. They are efficient, play in their own lane, and if you try to enter that lane they’re likely to cut you down.

The issue is competitive advantage. Why does the consumer want to do business with you? It’s incredibly difficult to develop a single competitive advantage, so spreading your time to simultaneously develop several advantages could be a fool’s errand. In contrast, if you’re using the same competitive advantage for every offering, you become generic. You need differentiation to grow.

Although the size of the market is one consideration, it is arguably more important to consider the size of the market you can win. Instead of width, think depth. Stay in your lane, and continue to learn.

How can you grow your sector expertise? How can you further differentiate to develop your value proposition? These are the questions you must consider. This is how you win.

3) Taking a “set it” and “forget it” approach

When creating a marketing strategy, there are certainly some things that shouldn’t change. For example, your mission statement should stay stable – very few events should shake the convictions of who your company is.

But what needs to change?


Gone are the days where you could repeatedly run a winning campaign. You can no longer trust it to consistently perform, season after season. With changing consumer behaviours and access to the internet, past performance is no longer a realistic indicator for future success. We must continually adapt.

Fortunately, the dawn of digital marketing allows us insight into how our campaigns are performing. We can see who is interacting, and what actions are being triggered.

With a constant influx of data, marketers must re-calibrate campaigns to ensure they’re optimized. To do so, we can utilize techniques like A/B testing. By running 2 distinct versions of a campaign, we can observe data and make tweaks for better performance. This method is not necessarily new – hypothesis testing has been around for quite some time. That said, digital marketing allows us to collect real-time results, making changes quickly and with more reliable data.

That’s why it’s important to conduct a periodic situation analysis. The purpose of the situation analysis is to assess current and future issues based on the trends of 3 environments: the internal, customer, and external.

The internal analysis focuses on factors within the organization such as current objectives, strategy and resources. The customer environment is concerned with the current and potential customers, in addition to why, where, and when they purchase your products. Finally, the external environment deals with factors that affect the entire industry. It considers items like competition, economic growth, and political trends. 

By conducting the analysis, you gain a stronger grasp on what may need to change in order to keep your business viable. A periodic situation analysis is an essential piece in any marketers tool belt, and reduces the threat of your strategy becoming stagnant.


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