6 Costly Yet Avoidable Digital Marketing Mistakes

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6 Costly Yet Avoidable Digital Marketing Mistakes

With the digital marketing industry predicted to reach $807 billion by 2026, it has become a crucial aspect of modern business strategies due to its far-reaching impact and numerous advantages. In essence, digital marketing offers unparalleled opportunities for businesses to connect, engage and convert customers in ways that were not possible with traditional marketing methods. Its dynamic nature and ability to adapt to evolving trends make it an essential component of a successful modern business strategy.

“Unfortunately, digital marketing mistakes are relatively common across various industries and business sizes,” notes serial entrepreneur and digital marketing authority Philip F. Smith, a five-time Inc. 5000 award honoree, author and consultant.  “While some companies have well-structured and effective digital marketing strategies, others may struggle due to various reasons. Some may not even be aware that they are falling far short, resulting in avoidable opportunity loss.”

According to Smith, below are six costly yet avoidable digital marketing mistakes that are all too common:

1) Funnel Fails

If a company does not concentrate on the entire marketing funnel and only worries about things like driving traffic to the website, email marketing content or sales conversions, then the funnel will not be optimized and not be as efficient as it could be. Or, worse, it could fail all together and not generate any revenue while having squandered both fiscal and human resources. This happens more often than you might think. 

We all know that revenue generation solves most problems, but many business owners erroneously believe that all they need to do is “generate leads” and, if fruitful on that front, that everything else in the sale process will fall in lineFor a funnel to work, every facet of it needs to be optimized. for maximizing conversions and improving the efficiency of your sales process. Some key considerations to keep in mind when optimizing your sales funnel include things like  ensuring that your value proposition is clear and compelling right from the beginning. Visitors should immediately understand how your product or service can solve their problems or fulfill their needs. Other considerations include streamlined landing pages, effective call to actions, social proof and testimonials, responsive design and exit intent popups, among others.

2) Poorly Monetized Leads

At first this could seem odd. Promoting other ancillary products or services to your leads or established customers? But, even the largest companies do this—and with good reason. Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart all monetize their traffic and boost revenue by leveraging other products or services from other companies. Every consumer has multiple needs and this is a great way to capitalize on that captured attention. There are many ways to be strategic so you can promote other related and synergistic products or services that make contextual sense.

A company can also send out emails or texts to databased leads to promote other such services. It doesn’t have to be someone they are speaking to directly. Many lead generation companies generate a lead for a specific product or service, and they promote other services right away via multiple monetization strategies. This can also be accomplished using a dynamic lead form. Depending on the answer to a question prompt, other differing questions will continue to appear to help filter and qualify the lead for other products or services. That lead will then be placed into a specific email or SMS sequence promoting other products or services. This is a powerful automated way to monetize leads from a 360-degree point of view.

3) Ignoring Target Audience Segmentation

Failing to properly identify and segment your target audience can lead to wasted resources and ineffective marketing campaigns. Understanding your audience's demographics, preferences, and behaviors helps you tailor your marketing messages and strategies to resonate with them. Investing time in thorough audience research and creating buyer personas can help you avoid this mistake.

4) Neglecting Mobile Optimization

With the increasing use of mobile devices for online browsing and shopping, neglecting mobile optimization can be a significant mistake. If your website and marketing materials are not mobile-friendly, you risk losing potential customers who have a poor user experience. Ensure that your website is responsive and that your emails, ads, and content are easily accessible and readable on mobile devices.

5) Not Tracking and Analyzing Data

Failing to track and analyze your digital marketing efforts can result in wasted resources and missed opportunities for improvement. Without data-driven insights, you won't know which strategies are effective, where your audience is coming from, or how they engage with your content. Set up proper analytics tools, track key performance indicators (KPIs), and regularly review the data to make informed decisions and optimize your campaigns.

6) Staffing Stumbles

All too often companies hire the wrong employee for digital marketing, which is a highly specialized sector. When it comes to the trade, most people know just a few marketing strategies. They might be good at Facebook ads, SEO, Google, YouTube or email marketing, but the company mistakenly thinks that is all they need to know to make a digital marketing endeavor work. Such thinking is a huge mistake, as all facets of the digital marketing-driven sales funnel needs to work together for any digital marketing campaign to work—and certainly to maximize possible outcomes. From driving traffic to a landing page, to conversion optimization, to sales videos, to email and SMS, to long term marketing strategies and everything between, everything must work in concert as a well-oiled machine. And, beyond the systemic aspect, the content needs to be aptly strategized, written and displayed. The problem is, it's hard to find one person that knows how to execute all aspects of an entire marketing funnel.

Surprisingly, many marketing agencies also fall into this category of only concentrating on a handful of marketing strategies, convincing business owners that it’s sufficient to achieve goals. Generating and maximizing digital marketing revenue demands a holistic and comprehensive approach from properly trained tacticians. 

According to Smith, here are a few other factors that contribute to the prevalence of digital marketing mistakes:

  • Rapidly Changing Landscape: Digital marketing is a dynamic field with ever-evolving platforms, algorithms, and trends. Keeping up with these changes can be challenging, leading to mistakes when strategies become outdated.
  • Lack of Expertise: Not all businesses have dedicated digital marketing experts on their teams. This can lead to mistakes in areas such as ad targeting, content creation, SEO, and social media management.
  • Limited Resources: Small businesses and startups often have limited budgets and resources for marketing. As a result, they might make mistakes due to lack of investment in proper tools, training, and research.
  • Misunderstanding Audience: If businesses fail to understand their target audience's preferences, behaviors, and needs, they can create ineffective campaigns that don't resonate with potential customers.
  • Overlooking Analytics: Neglecting data analytics and not monitoring key performance indicators can lead to wasted resources and missed opportunities for optimization.
  • Rushing Campaigns: Hasty execution without proper planning and testing can result in errors and subpar outcomes.
  • Ignoring User Experience: Poor website design, slow loading times, and lack of mobile optimization can drive away potential customers.
  • Inconsistent Branding: Inconsistent messaging and branding across different digital channels can confuse customers and weaken brand identity.
  • Misallocation of Budget: Allocating resources to ineffective channels or overspending on one channel while neglecting others can lead to inefficient spending.
  • Copying Competitors: Trying to replicate competitors' strategies without considering your own unique value proposition can lead to lackluster results.

While many of these mistakes are prevalent, it's important to note that businesses can learn from their errors and continuously improve their digital marketing strategies. Regularly reviewing campaigns, staying updated with industry trends, investing in education and training and seeking professional advice and campaign oversight can help minimize the occurrence of these mistakes and enhance the overall effectiveness of digital marketing efforts.

Ultimately, avoiding these mistakes can help digital marketers maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns and achieve better results for their business overall. As digital marketing is an ever-evolving field, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices is mission critical for sustained success.


Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand strategist and analyst who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all B2B and B2C categories. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the “Savvy Ventures” business TV show that airs nationally on FOX Business TV and Bloomberg TV and the “Savvy Living” lifestyle TV show that airs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and other major markets on CBS, FOX and other top networks. Merilee also hosts the Savvy Ventures Podcast & Radio show available globally on W4CY Radio—the #1 ranked live streaming radio station—among others as well as all major podcast platforms, including Pandora, Audible, Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Streamyard, iHeart Radio and dozens more.  As a prolific business and consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme—also delving into the minds behind the brands. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/MerileeKern / Twitter www.Twitter.com/MerileeKern / Facebook www.Facebook.com/MerileeKernOfficial / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.