5 common mistakes in building a digital marketing plan

Developing a digital marketing plan is not easy; it takes trial and error and experience. Here are five common mistakes to avoid to ensure your digital planning success.

1. Failing to plan is planning to fail

Developing a digital marketing strategy & plan is crucial to success. Without understanding the role of digital channels to your company (and to your customers), you’ll never really know why you are doing it in the first place. A digital strategy gives you alignment on all your activities and should clearly set out SMART objectives to define success. Having a plan also avoids distractions to this objective; however its important to also note that planning and executing a digital marketing strategy takes time. And in reality, it’s an ongoing process that’s never really complete. It’s very rare to see results soon after set up. So plans may change and that’s okay; test, learn and improve continuously.

2. Ignoring (or not investing in) customer research

The worst thing you can do is forget who your audience members are as people. You don’t need to know their full daily routine, but you should be able to identify their online behaviours, attitudes, job functions, general age, and what specifically they need from your brand. If you don’t know who your customer is and you’re just sending out scattered marketing messages, you will soon get lost in the crowd. Investing in some sort of consumer research (either in time or money) will be valuable to delivering relevant, timely and effective digital communications.

3. Thinking everything is free

Social media was, and still is, a free market. But as a marketer, that well has dried up. With so many ads and businesses posting on social media, your product is the needle in the haystack. Sometimes you need to spend a little to gain a little. Facebook has one of the most sophisticated ad platforms in the world; and the wealth of targeting variables as well as its strong reporting functions mean you can always be on top of your spend and monitor return on investment (ROI) closely. A little spend on social media (if executed well) can turn into big gains in the longer term. 

4. Not integrating

An integrated marketing campaign is the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional (e.g. direct mail) and non-traditional (e.g. social media) marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce and support each other.


Having an integrated marketing campaign will create a unified marketing strategy that will deliver numerous benefits. Consumers need constant and consistent reinforcement and if marketers have an integrated marketing campaign, it builds trust and credibility in your brand and are less likely to be confused. Not only will it boost sales and profits, but it will also increase brand loyalty, save you money and increase your competitive edge.

5. Lack of measurement

Senior leaders and executives focus heavily on making data-driven decisions. Marketing is not excluded from this and unlike many other marketing channels, digital marketing can deliver a lot of data. When marketers have data on campaign performance, and can see quantifiable improvements in return on investment, website traffic, online sales or social media conversations, making decisions on future marketing strategy (and rationalising increased budgets) becomes that much easier. To execute digital marketing without any tracking can be a poor and costly mistake. 

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