Five Bad Marketing Habits To Give Up In 2015

As 2014 draws to a close, many of us are trying to both take stock of the year behind us and get ready for the one ahead. There’s a lot of advice out there about what you should be doing; but if you’re secretly thinking, “Sounds nice, but I’ll add that to my list when […]

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As 2014 draws to a close, many of us are trying to both take stock of the year behind us and get ready for the one ahead.

There’s a lot of advice out there about what you should be doing; but if you’re secretly thinking, “Sounds nice, but I’ll add that to my list when I get eight extra hours in the day,” you’re not alone.

In fact, to integrate some of the new practices that are so critical for your success, you actually need to let go of some less productive habits. Here are five suggestions for what not to do in 2015.

1. Don’t Drown In Data

In the past few years, marketers have become hyper-focused on data. Unfortunately, a result of that trend has been that people are more concerned with figuring out how to collect as much data as possible than they about figuring out what to do with those data.

Data can dramatically impact the work marketers do, from campaign execution to website design. Even “creative,” which used to be considered separate from the more tactical areas of marketing, is highly data-driven at this point. But it’s important to recognize that although data can be incredibly valuable, sometimes it can be unnecessary noise.

Marketers and advertisers need to have a clear understanding of what data are most valuable and focus their energy there. The key to prioritizing data lies in whether or not that data is actionable. As Coleen Kuehn, President of Strategy and Planning at MediaVest, said at Advertising Week this fall:

[blockquote]If it’s not actionable, then it’s not meaningful. It’s a waste of time.[/blockquote]

2. Don’t Talk About Yourself

Great storytelling has always been the Holy Grail of marketing, but it’s only in recent years — with the rise of content market and diversification of digital media — that it’s become a bigger focus than ever before.

There are numerous examples of companies who have done a fantastic job at storytelling. Unfortunately, it seems that most of them are B2C companies. This is in part because B2B companies often make a point of being conservative and sales-focused with their content. This usually means that most content they put out is product-centric.

As it turns out, people would much rather consume great stories that are relevant to them than a list of your most popular features. By playing it “safe,” you actually risk alienating your prospects by being boring and self-absorbed. The real risk for B2B companies is continuing down that same product-centric path.

A quote by Shane Snow, cofounder of Contently, really hit home

[blockquote]When we talk about bad content… you see a lot of examples of content that’s boring, but not content that will ruin someone’s career.[/blockquote]

In 2015, take a few risks, and make a promise that you’ll put the boring stuff to bed.

3. Don’t Put Advertising On The Back Burner

If you’re completely immersed in ad tech, it’s easy to forget just how new it is and how many advertisers, publishers and brands are committed to doing things the old way. Programmatic has taken the industry by storm, and it presents a lot of opportunity, but not everyone has been quick to jump on board.

Not only does programmatic present challenges from a technology perspective — like new terms and processes — there’s also a bit of psychological hump for some people. They’re not sure they can be as strategic and thoughtful when we start automating; but in fact, programmatic advertising is a powerful tool when it comes to integrating our advertising with the rest of our marketing.

For example, programmatic gives us the opportunity to leverage ad campaigns beyond the top of the funnel and nurture users throughout the entire lifecycle. Whereas often our advertising runs independently of the rest of our marketing programs, that siloed strategy is one that we should leave behind in 2014.

4. Don’t Take It Slow

Up until now, marketing technology has been the domain of early adopters, but 2015 is the year that will start to change. If your 2014 was to “wait and see” how other companies leveraged technology, it’s time to put some of those ideas into action.

Marketers have always seemed to operate at a higher frequency than everyone else. But now that technology is evolving at the same rate as all our fabulous ideas, that urgency is intensified.

If we want to succeed, we need to stand out. That means not getting left behind when it comes to the latest technology. Now is the time to leverage new opportunities, but that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. It means trying new things while consistently measuring the success of your initiatives.

5. Don’t Guess

Especially given how much is changing, collecting metrics and evaluating your work is probably the most important thing you’ll do as a marketer in 2015. Huge strides are being made when it comes to measurement and data. If you’re not taking advantage of the tools that are best suited for your initiatives, it will be hard to track changes you make or develop your strategy for the coming year.

What bad habits are you looking to break in 2015? Let us know in the comments!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Rachel Balik
Rachel Balik is a writer and marketer with several years of experience in online publishing, B2B technology and digital communications strategy. In addition to serving as content strategist at Demandbase, she is a freelance journalist and advises startups on core messaging and content.

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