Are there patterns in the marketing mistakes small and midsize companies make? Longtime B2B marketer (and Hubspot customer) Rebekah Donaldson thinks so. She's noticed six "gotchas" when it comes to CEO-led decisions about marketing and lists them in a new ebook called Six Marketing Gotchas that CEOs Can Avoid .

Here are some highlights:

#6 Marketing Gotcha: Me-Too Marketing Planning

Symptom: "I'll have what they're having."

You want your prospects to know that your company is better than the competition. The way to show them is with a marketing campaign designed specifically for you, not one generated by filling in blanks on a template. If you use a marketing plan template, you'll miss the whole point of planning. You won't be taking the best advantage of your strengths, or uncovering weaknesses that you can work on.

#5 Marketing Gotcha: Uncoordinated Specialists

Symptom: "Make sure the guy designing our branded giveaway items talks to our web designers and PR agency about this big conference."

If your B2B marketing is not fully managed in house or by an agency partner, you will need to navigate dozens of choices - including which specialist providers are needed, how to keep different teams coordinated, how to track ROI, how to stay abreast of best practices, technology choices, and more.

Providing just services for PR, web marketing or graphic design is one thing. Seeing all the options and making them work together for you is quite another.

#4 Marketing Gotcha: Push (Not Inbound ) Marketing

Symptom: "It may take seven tries or more before she responds."

Are you annoyed by interruptions? So are your prospects.

#3 Marketing Gotcha: Awareness - The Red Herring

Symptom: "These mailers/ads/calls will raise awareness about our company."

Marketing is not about creating awareness. Every faithful Pepsi drinker in the world is aware of Coke. Awareness alone isn't going to persuade them to switch.

Here are some other things that marketing isn't about: Branding. "Reaching people." Or search engine rank.

#2 Marketing Gotcha: Hiring Specialists Too Soon

Symptom: "Ed, help us put the right bids on the right Adwords keywords."

We've urged you to use a pro when it comes to improving your marketing. But what kind of pro? Do you pick a specialist, or a generalist?

The answer: It depends.

#1 Marketing Gotcha: Tactical Tunnel Vision

Symptom: "We need a pay-per-click campaign in order to jumpstart leads and sales."

Do you have a favorite marketing tactic? Maybe it's one you tried a few years ago, and you were thrilled with the results. Now that times are tough, you automatically want to try the same tactic again. You may find yourself saying something like: "We need a pay per click campaign/ telemarketing campaign/ webinar series/ media outreach/ new website design in order to jumpstart leads and sales."

That's tactical tunnel vision -- grabbing at a solution before you have even analyzed the problem.

Can You Afford to Make These Mistakes? 

Rebekah's premise for the ebook is that, in a "normal" (non-recession) year, low-ROI marketing efforts hurt a company - through missed opportunities, burning up cash, and dings to staff morale. But this year, with so many companies in crisis, low-ROI marketing can kill. Are you making any of these mistakes ?


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Originally published Jun 30, 2009 8:56:00 AM, updated July 03 2013