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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn

Four Mistakes New Marketers Make, and How to Avoid Them


I've worked in marketing and communications now for more than 20 years. It seems like both yesterday and forever ago that I got my first job as a Marketing Assistant and started out on my own journey of mistake-making.


Making mistakes is a perfect normal way of becoming more skilled. Think about how many times you fell off your bike/skates/scooter when you were a child. And while many marketers may have studied communication theory, it's quite different out in the big bad world.


So what are the most common mistakes new marketers make? And what can you do to avoid making them yourself?



An ice cream cone has been dropped on the ground. A scoop of ice cream is melting next to the cone.


1. Not correctly defining a target audience

"Know your audience" is one of the most important pieces of advice you can get as a marketer. New marketers often make the mistake of casting too wide a net, hoping to reach as many people as possible. If you ever think that your audience is "everyone", "the public" or "all staff", you might want to think again.


Clearly defining your target audience allows you can tailor your marketing efforts to appeal directly to them, increasing the chances of engaging and people and getting them to take the action you would like them to take.


Luckily I can help you with this. See my blog post on Analysing your Audience for a step-by-step guide on how to identify, research and tailor messaging to your ideal audience.


2. Neglecting to set clear goals

Without well-defined goals, it is very easily to get distracted by a shiny new trend, or be led off in a different direction by a well-meaning stakeholder.


Every marketer has at some point made the mistake of diving headfirst into a campaign idea that sounds exciting without establishing specific objectives. But setting clear, measurable goals helps you agree on what success looks like, stay on track, and make adjustments in activity where needed. Whether it's increasing website traffic, generating leads, or improving brand awareness, having tangible goals allows you to track progress and adjust tactics accordingly.


Again, you're lucky people. I've got a guide for you on how to Set Marketing Goals as well.


3. Overlooking the importance of data

The older and wiser you get as a marketer, the more reliable your gut will feel. It will be informed by experience, both good and bad. But regardless of your level of experience, gut feelings are no replacement for data.


Data is unequivocal. Numbers don't lie. Data is powerful in terms of informing everything you do as a marketer.


It's got me out of some tricky conversations too. Difficult stakeholders might not agree with you, or even like you, but it's hard for them to argue about data.


Whether it is market analysis, audience research or performance stats, my advice on data is the same: Keep it close, know it well.


4. Forgetting that communication is the heart of what we do

In the midst of deadlines, Google Analytics dashboards, board reports, creative proofs, web content and more, it is really easy to forget that at the heart of marketing and PR is talking to people.


Make your words, whether written, spoken or inferred through pictures count. Make your message clear and meaningful. Don't write it for you, write it for your audience.


If your organisation would benefit from mentorship for new or junior marketing staff, I offer fractional CMO services which take a coaching approach. I'd love to chat through how I can help.

Image credit: Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

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