Sandra Lynn: 6 Mistakes Even Smart Marketers Make (and how to avoid them)

An experienced strategic marketing advisor, business consultant, and seasoned 7x entrepreneur, Sandra Lynn has helped hundreds of leading businesses worldwide develop new areas for digital growth. She’s an MBA with over 20 yrs experience online serving global organizations, investing groups, and entrepreneurial leaders in over 17 countries. This has also led Sandra to the heart of her mission to empower vulnerable populations through leadership and financial education that comes through entrepreneurship training. Reach her through IBEC Ventures or

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures


In our world of scattered tactics and silver bullet advice, current marketing seems to be stuck in constant reactive mode. Changing tactics everytime a new idea is publicized is not a solid plan of action just because it sounds good or worked for someone else. Getting distracted by casual advice with a quick, easy tactic not specifically suited for your business seems to be the norm. And even with good ideas, starting in the wrong place leads many businesses astray.

Marketing changes fast, and tastes and trends move quickly. Marketers must keep adjusting and testing and not leave posts and ads up for too long without adapting, editing and constantly optimizing.

Let’s look at the top 6 mistakes even smart marketers make so that you can avoid them:

1. Too focused on entertaining.

Some marketers think running ads on social media is “marketing”. Some think posting on social media is marketing, or tiktoks, reels and stories are great outreach. Some are trying too hard to be cute or edgy hoping to get posts that go viral and count that as marketing. Being interesting or funny with your posts or ads isn’t going to help customers buy.  Many are uncomfortable with what to say when and rely on quick tactics and entertainment instead of solid marketing communication.

Smarter marketers are purposeful with a mix of content driving specific action. They show potential customers the value, the unique difference. They demonstrate a compelling reason to buy from the business and to take immediate action using language the customer understands and situations and stories that they relate to. Be a smarter marketer.

2. Missing key strategy.

Many businesses drudge forward with faulty strategy or no plan at all. When the marketing team focuses on fast and easy instead of important, decisions are more spaghetti than purposeful-forward goals. Chasing each tactic creates silos and then nothing is working together for the best. Copying someone else’s tactics is following their strategy, not the marketer’s company. Novices can’t possibly follow the same plan as advanced marketers.

Even “experts” can be teaching methods that miss the mark because there is a difference in marketing activities for branding versus marketing activities for results or performance like leads or sales. Without a solid strategy set before the start, there is no way to know where the company is heading or why. Overused tactics like numbers matter so get those followers, or new content is key so post every day, can drain your time and send you  in the wrong direction of your goals.

Smarter marketers know where they are starting and where they are going. If you know where you are heading and why, then the path is clearer and it is easier to make that goal. Leveraging storytelling to work on brand and positioning and brand consistently are better moves than random posting. Smarter marketers balance the right activities for the right purpose. Be a smarter marketer.

3. Not focusing on your customer.

Too many online conversations begin with talking to the wrong audience. Content is broadcast to reach the most people and is mostly about the company’s self interests and selling the latest offer. Throwing out content that doesn’t fit into a full online conversation or isn’t specific to each audience group can’t start a conversation well. Not working from a customer point of view looks like self-promotion and will be mostly ignored causing loss of sales.

The root cause of most mistakes comes from lack of clarity over the customer path.

Smarter marketers work on their community building to reach their best audience. Posts are woven into a conversation thread by theme and fit what the ideal customer wants to hear. They include the customer and don’t say “I” and “we”. They focus on solving customer problems and leading them along a path to their solution. Authority and that know-like-trust feeling grows when posts are about customers and not just about what the company wants to tell them. Smarter marketers reverse engineer content from the end-goal back to where the conversation starts.  Be a smarter marketer.

4. Not enough budget.

Even if marketers are not paying for ads, there are still investments to make and costs to sell. Content development, tools, and experienced copywriters need to be used among many other costs. If paid media campaigns are in place then investments need to be made to constantly improve returns for creative changes and new media. Marketers often promise unrealistic expectations of results because they are aiming for positive industry averages but aren’t recommending the right amount of financial investment to get there. Some marketers are not investing in training to keep up with new skills, not investing in high level support, and not dedicating the proper resources to succeed. Another budget mistake often happens by not spending on the right support. Transaction mode activities for sales or leads is not the same as building audience and brand. More often businesses need a generalist to do deeper, long-term work but hire specialists for one specific task who don’t understand the big picture goals.

Smarter marketers plan for less rigid budgets and build in extra time for trial and error, testing, and the learning curve on new tools and new support help. They spend on strategists and consultants who see more than the task at hand. They work with specialists or experts only when they already have a specific strategy for that area and can give that expert the proper amount of instruction and time to get the job details synced. Be a smarter marketer.

5. Missing key systems.

Often marketers begin taking action before doing the foundational work. There can be pressure from leadership to initiate a tactic but without the proper strategy, there is less hope of success. These marketers are flying without a plan and trying to grow without systems and processes in place. Marketing ecosystems for knowledge systems, content systems, and asset creation and file storage organization are missing. Without the groundwork, marketers have trouble with:

  • Not staying consistent
  • Not staying consistent long enough to test well
  • Not building up digital assets or having a copywriting framework
  • Not batching the work for efficiencies

Smarter marketers leverage repetition and turn it into automated tasks. They save time and money with upfront effort to plan file systems, documentation, and set standards. This creates accountability, easy to see goals and plans, and consistency for roles and tasks. They scale with systems and processes, and the right support in place. Be a smarter marketer.

6. Unwilling to change an ongoing business mindset.

Tech and tools give you a headache? Often, business owners are trying to do it all themselves in-house, or trying to outsource it all. They can be found to not make time to keep up with social posting and engaging, and then wanting to outsource without any delegation plan or content strategy. They get frustrated or impatient with the ongoing changes and neverending content load and press the wrong issues. Without skilling up themselves or building their team, gaps form that can cause delays and detours. Some business owners get stuck in old thinking without the proper attention to marketing strategy. They think marketing is the hot tactic of the day and miss the cross-functional tie-in with sales and promotion. They are not getting expert help and instead hiring a junior person or any agency for the wrong type of work. They allow vendors to manage the brand and strategy and lose the perspective that the business sets that policy, not contracted help. They don’t know what questions to ask and don’t want to learn.

Smarter marketers are always learning. They have a growth mindset and get excited about identifying gaps to improve. They understand that marketing is a process, not a task to accomplish. They are willing to change their plans and adapt to the times. Smarter marketers try new tools and test new methods even when it takes some extra time and energy. They take the time to develop preliminary plans to discuss with their vendors.They change and grow.  Be a smarter marketer.

Be a smarter marketer.





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