Tackling The Big Mistakes Marketers Make 

Are vanity metrics throwing off your content marketing plan? Global martech leader Neil Patel takes on the big mistakes that marketers make with martech investments, choosing the right influencers, using real-time data and more.


  • Neil Patel needs little introduction in the marketing community. He is a New York Times Bestselling author for his 2016 release – Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum. He has worked with brands like Amazon, Microsoft, Airbnb, Google, Thomson Reuters, Viacom, NBC, Intuit, Zappos, American Greetings, General Motors, and SalesForce to help them grow through marketing.

    Patel will be a keynote speaker at the Vibe Martech Fest’s (VMF) Saudi Arabia edition taking place on October 18 and 19, 2022.

    Excerpts from the interview;

    What are the common mistakes marketing teams make when it comes to investing in marketing automation tools?

    The big mistake that people make when it comes to investing in marketing automation tools is they look at the tools, they set things up, but they don’t actually focus on quality. With a lot of the marketing automation tools out there – it can help get a lot of the jobs and tasks that you need done. But if they’re not the same quality, you’re going to suffer in the long-run. So, you need to make sure that the quality is there. Use the automation to help streamline things, but you may need to have someone on a part-time basis just check and ensure when adapting so that way the quality is there.

    What are the common mistakes marketing teams make when it comes to strategising for a mobile first market?

    In a mobile first market, sometimes you need an app. That’s fine – you need a different experience for that. But with your website, the big mistake that we see with people using tools is they try to actually create a separate website for mobile versus desktop instead of a responsive website. When you have a responsive website – the mobile experience is adapted for mobile. So, you just have one site but you adjust both devices.

    Of course, you can make some tweaks and make sure the mobile experience is a little bit different, or quite a bit different. The last thing you want to do is have to manage multiple sites, and that’s why you ideally would want a responsive site. That is important.

    What are the common mistakes marketing teams make when it comes to making the most of real-time data?

    The big mistake that we see with real-time data is people actually make adjustments based on many vanity metrics. If something is growing your traffic, or decreasing your traffic, or increasing your bounce rate, or decreasing your bounce rate – it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. For example, at my ad agency NP Digital we had one customer where we saw a decrease, not increase. We decreased our traffic by a little bit more than 18 per cent but their revenue went up almost 40 per cent.

    So, the real time data would show traffic going down but that was okay. If you’re actually focusing on the right sources, and revenue is starting to go up – that’s all that matters. What you want to do is track your main KPIs, and focus on things that really move the needle and move the business versus vanity metrics.

    With real-time data, there’s a lot of things that change that you may not be able to adapt to on the fly, or maybe they’re gonna fix themselves over time. So, you may not need to adapt to it in the first place. Don’t make knee-jerk reactions when you see real-time metrics not going the way you want. Make sure there’s enough data, and you’re sure that it’s gonna hold true before you start making changes.

    What are the common mistakes marketing teams make when it comes to working with influencers?

    The big thing that we see with companies working with influencers is they focus on getting influencers with the biggest follower count versus the right audience.

    Let’s say, I’m selling sweaters. I wouldn’t go after someone with a million followers that’s popular for music and movies. Instead, I may go after someone who has a hundred thousand followers who sells high-end sweaters to men. That’s better because that is what I would be looking for. Make sure there’s alignment.

    The second big mistake that people make with influencers is they pay the influencer to promote a product or a service, and that’s it. It doesn’t convert that well unless you have that influencer on your website. For example, if someone paid me (Neil Patel) to be an influencer for their marketing technology, you wouldn’t just want to pay me to promote – you would also want to have my face on your landing page. So, when people go there – the experience is congruent. That way, your conversion rates go up quite a bit.

    What are the common mistakes marketing teams make when it comes to scaling marketing efforts?

    With scaling your marketing efforts, you need the right tech stack. If you don’t have the right tech stack, you’re not going to be as efficient.

    The second big mistake that people make is they don’t have the right leaders. You don’t need a jack of all trades. What you do need is people that are really good with one channel – one person who’s good with SEO, one who is good with Google Ads, one that’s good with Facebook ads, etc.

    When you have people focusing on specific channels, you will get much better results than if you have one or two people working on all the channels. That’s a big mistake that we see when people are trying to scale up.

    Future projection – what is a big trend in Martech you see in 2023?

    We are going to see more solutions and softwares that are using AI and machine learning to make marketing easier and more efficient. So you will need less people but there’s a caveat. I don’t think it’s going to be good enough in 2023 for you to replace all the people. It’s going to help you with some of the hours, or reduce how much you need to pay people. What you will have to do is get people to double check the work, adjust.

    For example, there’s a lot of AI writers out there. We even have one on Ubersuggest that helps write content for you. Whether you use this tool or another, AI writers aren’t good enough to actually write your whole article – it can give you a start. Instead of it taking you three hours to write an article, the AI writer cuts down an hour. So, now it only takes you two hours. These tools can help make people more efficient, and that’s a big trend we will start seeing more of in 2023.

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