15 Marketing Failures and Mistakes to Avoid

The marketing industry has continued to grow through the years, with an increasing investment from companies on creating effective strategies. However, marketers and brands still make mistakes that can cost valuable time and energy.

ePromos reached out to marketing experts for tips, ideas and experience regarding marketing mistakes to watch out for. Read more for great information about how to sure your marketing campaigns of 2019 run smoothly.

1. Not Translating for a Global Audience

The biggest oversight that we often see, believe it or not, is a lack of oversight and proper staffing when it comes to marketing translations. Facebook, Google and other major worldwide platforms have made it quite simple for any size business to advertise worldwide, but there is a lack of safety nets when it comes to understanding the language and culture of target markets. 

Most recently we were called in when a client with a five figure social media campaign decided to forgo a translator in exchange for Google translate and call all their customers in Latin American severely overweight. This was a technology company that did not operate in the fitness space and so it didn’t go over terribly well.

-Zachary Weiner, CEO at Emerging Insider Communications

2. Spending Resources to Attract the Wrong Customers

I think one of the most common mistakes brands make is that they try to get as many people as they can to visit their website and become aware of who they are. While this sounds like a good idea because awareness will bring people, people become customers, and customers equal profits, I’ve found that often you can waste a lot of effort trying to get everyone to know who you are.
Instead of making this mistake, spend time understanding who your potential customer is and having a laser-like focus on marketing to them. Granted, you will likely have less people aware of your brand, but it’s better to have a small audience of very interested customers compared to a large audience with very few customers.

-Ron Stefanski, Internet Marketing Consultant, Cat Kingpin 


3. Long and Confusing Brand Names


Stacy CaprioOne of the mistakes I’ve made when setting up a few of my first sites, including my marketing blog, is using too long company and domain names. It makes the site and company name awkward to say out loud, and less likely people will remember it. I recommend everyone use a shorter, more creative name over a long, semantic match name any day.

-Stacy Caprio, Founder of Growth Marketing


4. Relying on a Single Social Media Platform

Jacqueline BasultoThe biggest mistake I see companies make time and time again is relying on only one social media platform or marketing channel to grow their brand. Companies like Facebook and Google are constantly changing their algorithms, and no one can be sure of what to expect. That means if you are growing rapidly on Facebook, but the algorithm changes slightly to your disadvantage, it can cost you a lot of time, money, and maybe even your business! I advise businesses and individuals to market themselves on multiple platforms and collect e-mails so that they can always reach their audience and aren’t reliant on one medium of communication.

-Jacqueline Basulto, Owner of SeedX

5. Sticking to Tried-and-True Strategies

The marketing world can change in the blink of an eye, forcing marketing teams to predict emerging trends. In other words, it’s vital that marketers don’t invest too much time and money into the same marketing strategies. Diversity is often the best policy in marketing since it helps prevent the inevitable outcome of putting all your proverbial eggs in one basket.

Diversify your marketing budget by investing in on-ground marketing, social media, content development, SEO, and so on. By limiting yourself to one method that has worked in the past, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Different marketing strategies should cater to a specific demographic and give you the ability to outwork your competition by reaching more potential clients.

-Nate Masterson, CMO of Maple Holistics

6. Waiting to Utilize the Web

Earl WhiteTraditional forms of advertising for small businesses such as direct-mail and billboards still work for my company – but are expensive and produce less motivated prospects. Our lead generation switched to high gear once we invested in our website and online traffic. My company’s biggest mistake was waiting nearly two years to make the website the core of our business. Developing a great website from “Day 1” would have expanded the lead funnel nearly a year faster. This is particularly important because search engines may take months to discover and rank your site in organic search results.

-Earl White, Marketing Manager of House Heroes


7. Not Building an Effective Email List

Pulkit GeraThe biggest mistake I made was not focusing on building my email list right from the beginning.
Since most people who visit your business website won’t ever return, it’s in your best interest to try and get their email address the first time. Automated email sequences are a great way to build those initial touch-points so you can sell more.

So, build your email list right from the start and send out regular newsletters to keep your subscribers engaged with your brand.

-Pulkit Gera, Founder of Blogging Done Better


8. Cost-Cutting Professional Advice

Jennifer HoffmanAs the owner of a digital marketing agency, one of our clients was a hot tub retailer who grew from three stores to six stores in the time we worked with them. As they grew, so did their marketing expenses. Our strategy was working, but the business owner was concerned about cost and decided to hire an employee to do their marketing work instead of us.

The new employee started all new campaigns in Google Ads but forgot to set the locations, so their ads now run across the entire US. This local hot tub company has now paid thousands and thousands of dollars in ads to target people all over the US instead of within 10 miles of each their stores.

-Jennifer Hoffman, CEO of Plum Marketing Services

9. Misunderstanding the Needs of Your Customers

Ketan KapoorThe biggest mistake a marketing campaign can do is to focus on what they think is the problem of the audience which is not what the audience considers a problem. You should be solving a core problem and not any fringe or secondary problem. You don’t have to assume what the audience needs but instead prove your intuitions with the right business intelligence. Starting without the adequate research and knowledge of what the audience needs is the cardinal mistake that can be committed by a marketer while making the brand marketing campaigns. The more you focus on their immediate and prevalent need, the more you become successful.

-Ketan Kapoor, CEO & Co-Founder of Mettl

10. Not Preparing for Failure

Shane BarkerYou prepare your marketing strategy and give it your best and hope for good results. But what if it doesn’t work? Everyone who is trying to build a new brand needs to understand that there will be challenges along the way. You cannot be perfect and win every single time. So, you need to have a plan B. I learned this early in my career, after making a few mistakes. Now, I always keep 2-3 options and strategies handy to meet any marketing objectives. For example, when building an email list, don’t depend entirely on a promotion or offer to get sign-ups. Instead, do multiple things simultaneously so that even if 1-2 plans fail, the overall objective will still be met.

-Shane Barker, Digital Strategist at

11. Not Sticking with Loyal Customers

Andrew RudisterIt is very important that you don’t lose sight of the customers who are loyal to you. This means don’t try to change your image or purpose to help benefit your business while hurting your customers. An example of this is a campaign that was done by Netflix. Before Netflix was huge digitally, they were more of a mail-order rental. They had almost a 16-million-dollar market value with many loyal customers. In order to make more money easily, Netflix decided to join forces with an online streaming company called Qwikster. This resulted in more complications and a 60% price increase, which lead Netflix to lose 800,000 subscribers. This only wound up hurting both Netflix and its customers in the long run.

-Andrew Ruditser, Lead Technology Coordinator for MAXBURST

12. Broad Targeting for Advertising

Our product is an online tool, with a free trial for people to see if they like it before buying. Like many others, we were running ads via AdWords and Facebook Ads, to get new trials and ultimately, sales.

Everything was going smoothly. We had a lot of traffic that converted into trials for a pretty cheap price, so we were convinced that our marketing campaigns were doing great! However, after digging a little more into this, we realized that all those new trials never converted into clients. The problem? We did not target efficiently. Our product is sold worldwide, however certain countries and segmentations offer a better conversion rate than others. Some offer a lot of traffic who then never convert into clients, while others usually lead to more expensive trials, but with a higher conversion rate.

So, by having very broad campaigns, including all countries, we were getting a lot of new cheap trials that simply never converted into clients. And paying ads for traffic that will never convert into clients, that’s an incredible waste of money.

-Marie Lamonde, Content Marketing Specialist at DashThis

13. Relying on a Brand Ambassador Without Help

One very expensive mistake that I’ve seen inexperienced brands make is hiring a spokesperson, influencer or celebrity representative without the help of a marketing or PR pro.

Diana KozakChoosing the right influential partner can quickly elevate a brand, product, or campaign to unprecedented heights but when the person or team responsible for selecting a representative is inexperienced, the result can be disastrous. I have worked with clients that signed long-term contracts with an influencer prior to bringing on PR and often saw it lead to legal battles, low return on investment, destroyed brand reputation and so many headaches. The celebrity or influencer will sometimes refuse to do media interviews, forget to use the name of the brand they are the face of during an interview or will accept a press interview and mispronounce the name of the brand

-Diana Kozak, Partner at AD2 Public Relations

14. Prioritizing Design Over Message

Stan TanWe’ve seen it time and time again where companies pay thousands of dollars to ad agencies to design campaigns that look good but forget about nailing the message. We’ve seen ads that make us go “That’s a terrible ad” and 99% of the time it was because of the message, not because of the design.

For example, the “Red Bull Gives You Wings” feature a cartoonish design but get the message across extremely well. Ads with the right message and terrible design always beat ads with the wrong message and world-class design.

-Stan Tan, Digital Marketing Manager at Selby’s

15. Forgetting to Double-Check for Errors

Matthew RossMy business partner and I made a huge marketing blunder in early 2018. In short, we created a promotional video to help drive traffic to our website. Within the video, we mentioned a few of our competitors and why we offered a better service. Well, somehow when our social media manager was finalizing the campaign within the Facebook ad platform, our competitor’s website link was used instead of our own. I’m still not sure to this day what exactly happened but somehow directions got lost in translation.

Bottom line, we poured $15K into the campaign and one of our competitors received all the traffic from it. In hindsight, I wish my business partner and I would have been more hands-on while finalizing the campaign specifics.

-Matt Ross, COO of The Slumber Yard

Creating a fruitful marketing strategy does not have to be rocket science. Remember that marketers are only human, and mistakes provide a valuable learning opportunity. By being aware of the possible and past failures of others in the industry, you can have a leg up on the competition by knowing exactly what to avoid in your campaigns.

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