Top 10 big digital screw-ups by marketers

Collated from a day of marketer talks at BrandMAX , from brands including O2, TfL, William Hill, Barclays, Audi, British Gas and Halfords, the top 10 digital screw ups reveal the most common mistakes made by brands in digital.


Senior marketers took to the stage at BrandMAX yesterday to discuss the challenges they face and the successes they have achieved in an increasingly digital world. But for all the good work, there were also some fails:

1. Thinking 'Tech' - not consumer first

Brands were urged not to think about the technology they are using before they considered what their customers wanted and needed.

2. Bolting on digital to something that is analogue

Digital shouldn't be an afterthought now, so speakers picked this out as a core screw up by marketers.

3. Doing it all yourself, rather than collaborating

The velocity of change within people and society means brands won't always have the answer. Being able to collaborate with others means you can get the answers you need and keep up with your customers.

4. Approaching it as a digital transformation, not business transformation

The marketers agreed that digital was so fundamentally important that viewing transformation as purely digital wasn’t enough. Any digital transformation had to be a business transformation.

5. Adding little or no real value to the customer experience

Digital for the sake of digital is a common theme and a particular place it has an impact is the customer experience. Superfluous digital experiences can be a drain on important investment.

6. Waiting until something is perfect before launch

Marketers should be taking heed of the start-ups that are now becoming the biggest brands of the future by working in perpetual beta. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s now infamous quote ‘move fast and break things’ is becoming a mantra for businesses way beyond Silicon Valley.

7. Don’t get yourself a ‘bike whisperer’, never bother to ask ‘why would I watch this?’

Halfords marketer Ben Towers discussed the bike retailers’ investment in video, including its series ‘bike whisperer’ which it launched around the Tour De France. The message the panel of experts gave was to be brave in creating content.

8. Automatically transferring KPIs across media platforms without relating them to the very specific context your content will be in

The resounding message around content and measurement was "Content is not king, context is king". The debate around the measurement of social media and content is forever hot but marketers denounced the use of vanity measures and meaningless metrics, favouring context and KPIs set to real business objectives.

9. Don’t assume it takes 30 days to build a habit - people are more interesting than profiles

In a more social and digital world it is harder to change and predict customer behaviour, assuming this can be done quickly is a common failure of marketers.

10. Don’t attempt to know too much about how to blend social, search, display and affiliate activity

Trying to know it all but become a master of none is common as marketing becomes more complex.  

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