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Marketers make mistakes. Some mistakes can cost a lot in the long run. Some marketing tactics are annoying and inefficient. Others are confusing or overly complicated. These types of marketing strategies annoy me immensely and make it onto my list of top five marketing pet peeves.

1. Actionless Content

Content that does not provide consumers with actionable elements is a waste of time and money. You’ve read about my concerns with actionable video elements in my blog, “How to Leverage Video Content.” But this concern does not only apply to video content.

Any content that does not allow the user to take action is useless. The point of content is to drive consumers down the sales pipeline. If there is no action embedded within your content, then consumers cannot move to the next step in the sales process. Your content thus stagnates the consumer in the sales process.

The problem is not only with content that lacks actionable elements. The problem is also content that includes confusing elements or too few actionable elements. The point is to make it easy for consumers to take action. Don’t make action difficult or confusing. Don’t force your customers to search for the next step. Make the next step obvious, but don’t force action on your consumers.

2. Too Many Options

Content with too many actionable elements is almost as detrimental to the sales process as content with too few or zero actionable elements. Not only that, but any overflowing information—especially unwarranted information—is annoying and confusing.

If you give too many options, customers might take no action because there is too much work involved. They don’t want to spend time weighing the options. Offer around three options. It’s safe. It gives customers choices, but it’s not overwhelming.

3. Robbing Customers of Choice

Don’t force the customer into doing anything. This will not only undermine your brand’s image, but it will also drive customers away at the thought that you robbed them of their decisions.

Don’t create video banners that play automatically. Don’t force pop-ups on customers. Show customers how long a video will play. Allow them to adjust sound. Allow the customer to be free to choose. That way they will support your brand on their own accord.

4. Repetitive Repetition

Say the most you can with the fewest words. Use videos that are five minutes or shorter. Be efficient and effective in all content and media. Say only what is necessary. And don’t repeat yourself.

5. Misuse of Data

Don’t use data to justify actions you’ve already taken. You should constantly be testing. Don’t, in hindsight, attempt to justify actions you’ve already taken. You should use data as often as you can to figure out what would be best for you and your brand. Use data before and after you take action. Anticipate what will work best for your brand, then test it.

Even if something works on one medium (e.g. mobile), it may not work on another medium (e.g. desktop). That’s why you need to test subtle differences. To avoid misusing marketing schemes you need to test. Don’t use data to find a reason to accept the status quo.

Use data to find a reason to do better. Always adjust. Always improve. Be a dynamic marketer.

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