The 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Acquisition

Brand marketing is a battlefield. You’re multitasking around the clock to keep all your channels, campaigns and initiatives going, racing to hit deadlines while putting out fires, and working hard on customer acquisition. You have a zillion balls in the air, loose ends to tie and an overflowing to-do.

No wonder you and your team are looking for shortcuts to help keep the marketing tower from toppling under its own weight. At times, it takes almost superhuman discipline to do the right thing: Rework your strategy to accommodate the changing landscape, take back work from agencies to improve your marketing performance, avoid the temptation of straight-out copying your competitor’s successful tactics.

But taking the high ground is not just a matter of morals. In most cases, doing things right pays off in in the most down-to-earth terms: Better results. Here’s a rundown of the likely marketing sinkholes, and how to avoid them to improve customer acquisition.

Lust: Coveting Improved Outcomes, Relying on Old Tactics

All marketers need to improve KPIs, see an upward trend and go beyond their objectives. But hoping to achieve this without an ongoing innovation effort is insane. Indeed, there’s nothing more tempting than to keep betting on a winning horse. But in customer acquisition, every campaign, every target segment, is a world unto its own.

That’s why many marketing teams are sticking to acquisition strategies that have served them in the past despite the overwhelming evidence that the landscape is constantly changing. If your strategy is to simply implement the same acquisition strategy over and over again, don’t lust after improved results. At some point, your acquisition math will simply break.

Gluttony: Outsourcing Your Entire Customer Acquisition Strategy

Despite the shift back to in-house marketing, most brands still rely on agencies, at least to some extent. But outsourcing comes with a price, and the belief that someone else can do the work for you while you sit back and enjoy the ride is nothing short of audacious. The “set it and forget it” mentality has been hurting firms for decades.

A company’s agency partnership is only effective when the firm is heavily involved. You may have hired experts, but leveraging them effectively means taking ownership of the projects they’re working on (and your ultimate marketing objectives) while staying accountable (instead of passing the buck). Hiring an agency while taking the backseat will ensure your projects wander off track and your own goals suffer.

Greed: Trying to Sell Without Building Awareness

The funnel is not a figment of the imagination, and trying to short circuit it in order to reach conversion is the sort of opportunism that always backfires. Customer acquisition isn’t a single-pronged investment, so there’s really no use trying to sell without gathering insights on your audiences and building awareness.

Your new audiences need to be warmed up for conversion from awareness to consideration to decision, and this process needs to be based on ongoing audience analysis. Nurturing is the heart of customer acquisition, and there’s no way around it. Don’t get greedy and try to short circuit the conversion funnel!

Sloth: Siloing Your Data, Channels or Tactics

If there’s one thing your prospects don’t care about, it’s your professional hardships in trying to create a positive organic experience for them. Acquisition is multifaceted and multichannel, and operating your campaigns in sync across a fragmented funnel is an ongoing struggle.

Failing to create a seamless experience because your data is siloed, your pixels are misfiring, your retargeting is disconnected from other campaigns, etc., will only frustrate and turn off your prospective clients. The onus is on you to get your marketing act together in a way that will appease your audiences’ expectations for responsivity, personalization and relevance.

Wrath: Not Developing Your Expertise

In the marketing landscape, the only constant is change. Publishers change their algorithms. Prospects change their affinities. Channels rise and fall. Technologies advance. Marketing fads come and go. New methodologies and tools sprout like mushrooms in the rain.

There’s no law that says you need to sign up for every trend that rocks the internet for a day and a half. On the contrary, you need to focus your endeavors on what works. But – and this is a big “but” – you need to keep on top of your field of expertise and be proactive in testing and validating tools, channels, approaches and formats.

Envy: Copycatting Competitors Without Any Adjustments

Seeing your competitors succeed is often a heart-wrenching experience. However, this doesn’t mean you should do exactly what your competition is doing. Moreover, if you implement the “If it worked for them, it should work for me” approach, you’re most likely to crash and burn.

The reason is that marketing activities work in a given context. Your competitor’s audiences are different, their attributes and make up are unique. Digging into your competition – what they offer, how they operate – will allow you to identify the outstanding moves that give them a clear advantage. Then, you need to adjust those initiatives to your ends and roll them out after tweaking them to suit your brand’s specific circumstance.

Pride: Assuming You Know Your Target Audience

You may have customer personas, you may have audience analysis data, but your prospects and segments are constantly evolving in a variety of ways. Today’s consumers are always in flux, from how they shop to the types of products and services they seek to their overall brand expectations.

Not only are there things you don’t know about them, there are also things that you aren’t even aware you don’t know about them. Unfortunately, this means that the highly homogeneous audience segments you’ve worked so hard to develop might not be relevant in the months or even weeks to come. If you simply assume you know your audiences, sooner rather than later your cost of customer acquisition is likely to prove you wrong.

Alon Tvina is the CEO of Novarize

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