Even the best marketers can find themselves stuck in bad habits — harmful behaviors that limit the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and waste valuable resources. As with any bad habit, the New Year is a good time to break these 10 bad habits:

  1. Setting your marketing strategy on “auto-play.” If your 2014 marketing plan looks a lot like your 2013 plan…and your 2012 plan…it’s time to reevaluate. Marketing changes too fast to simply repeat the usual tactics without questioning their effectiveness. Audit your marketing to find out what’s really working, and try some new approaches.
  2. Fighting with the sales team. In many companies, sales and marketing don’t get along. But remember that internal battles only benefit your competitors. Make a renewed effort to understand the other’s needs and priorities, to build trust and to get on the same team.
  3. Marketing to non-buyers. If your advertising and marketing is reaching too many people who don’t have the interest, budget or need to buy from you, you’re wasting time and money. Make this the year you target your marketing more effectively. Use data analysis to identify your best prospects and employ tactics you can measure, such as direct marketing.
  4. Using old data. Relying on outdated prospect data is like trying to plan a journey with an old map; you’ll never get where you want to go. Hire a professional data management company to clean and update your files. Then supplement with fresh data to fill in gaps in your customer and prospect records.
  5. Reprinting outdated materials. This is a classic bad marketing habit. Inventory runs low on sales collateral and suddenly, there’s a panicked call to the printer to reprint stuff that really should be revamped. Start the New Year with a plan for updating your sales literature.
  6. Over-sharing or under-sharing on social media. If you’re posting on social media every five minutes — or every five weeks — your timing is almost certainly off. Posting too often turns off followers. And posting rarely is worse than not at all. You want to be active but not overbearing. Study effective social-media users in your industry to gauge the proper pace of sharing.
  7. DIY marketing. Marketers have many tools to create video, shoot photos and build websites, but there can be a downside to doing it all yourself. If you’re in a marketplace with very sophisticated competitors, you may need a professional marketing team to guide your efforts and expert vendors to execute your campaigns.
  8. Being office-bound. Reading blogs in your office isn’t enough to stay fresh and current on the latest marketing trends. Get out from behind your desk and talk face to face with customers, vendors and business colleagues. Go to trade shows and get active in local business and trade associations.
  9. Over-marketing. Bombarding customers and prospects with promotions is guaranteed to irritate your audience and get your emails blocked. Respect the people who’ve opted to hear from you by sending messages relevant to their needs. And do so at a reasonable pace.
  10. Failing to monitor social-media comments about your business. Social media makes it easy for happy customers to rave and unhappy customers to vent. Pay attention to what’s being said about you, respond directly and immediately and move conversations offline whenever there’s a complaint.

The New Year is the perfect opportunity to review your approach to marketing and resolve to make changes for a smarter marketing strategy — and better results!

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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.