7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in the New Year


The new year often provides a fresh start for people and companies. This is especially true for marketing. Many companies start the year with a fresh marketing plan (or at least a few adjustments from their current efforts). Most of the time, there’s a level of energy and excitement as you start the year with 365 days to achieve your marketing goals.

As marketing continues to evolve, it’s important to understand and implement the basic principles for earning attention and inspiring action. Failing to embrace the core principles of marketing might lead to mistakes that cause you to invest time, energy, and resources into marketing tactics that don’t move the needle. 

7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in the New Year

After more than two decades in the industry, here are a few common marketing mistakes that businesses are prone to make in the new year:

1. Focusing on “tactics” rather than your strategy.

One of the most common mistakes business owners make is to focus too much on tactics and not enough on strategy. As a marketing agency, people often reach out to us and ask for help building a new website or a stronger social media presence. While these are admirable goals, they must be based on a strategic plan to truly return the best ROI for your business. 

If you’ve struggled to generate results and wonder why your marketing isn’t working, it likely has to do with prioritizing tactics over strategy. 

2. Getting comfortable with the status quo.

“The job isn’t to catch up to the status quo; the job is to invent the status quo.” – Seth Godin

Doing things the way they’ve always been done is tempting because it’s safer. But in a world that’s changing faster than ever, sticking with the status quo only creates an opportunity to get left behind. 

It’s important for B2B companies and marketers to get out of their comfort zone. Embracing a mindset of growth and change is one of the best ways to ensure your marketing efforts continue to produce results year after year. 

3. Failing to recognize how marketing is interconnected with other areas of your business.

At Green Apple, we often say that “everything is marketing.” This is a mindset we bring to every meeting and every marketing strategy we create for clients. Failing to recognize how marketing impacts sales or operational decisions could quickly create breakdowns in other areas of your business. Additionally, developing a marketing strategy without considering other key initiatives in your company might lead to a lot of “spinning your wheels.” 

4. Being too rigid with your marketing plan and failing to adapt.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in recent years, it’s that businesses must be willing and prepared to adapt. In some cases, you can pivot your marketing tactics without abandoning your entire strategy. Sometimes, if there’s a major shake-up in your business or industry, you might need to overhaul your entire plan. 

5. Defining what your customers want without asking them. 

Marketing is all about helping customers understand how your business can help solve their challenges. It’s relational. And every good relationship is built on communication. If you want your marketing to resonate with customers, listen to them. Taking time to understand their challenges and create messaging built around their current reality is key to creating a more customer-centric culture

6. Talking about your products and services in a way that confuses an audience. 

Using complex phrases or industry jargon is one of the quickest ways to lose potential businesses. Customers will disengage if they can’t understand or relate to your message. 

If you work in a detailed industry, it’s important to find effective ways to explain the complex products or services that you offer. Making it simple for people to understand how they can become a client or customers is one of the easiest ways to gain potential business. 

7. Identifying the wrong KPIs or forgetting to measure results. 

Successful marketing initiatives often require the use of lessons learned from previous experiences. This means identifying the marketing metrics that matter most to the overall success of your business and developing the habit of measuring them on a regular basis. 

Green Apple Can Help Your Business Avoid Costly Marketing Mistakes

Everyone, from professional marketers to small business owners, makes marketing mistakes. But even if you make some mistakes, you should be ready to learn from them. If you’re looking for a way to take your marketing to the next level or simply need help managing everything that is required for reaching your goals, our team can help. Contact us to learn more about our unique approach and schedule a discovery call with our team. 


How Your Sales and Marketing Teams Can Support Each Other

How are you setting your sales team up for success?  In an ideal world, your sales and marketing team would be perfectly aligned, working together to increase revenue. Your sales team would have a set of marketing assets that they could use to support their process. And, your marketing team would fully understand the sales strategy.  The good news is that this scenario is entirely possible. Here are a few ways you can implement a marketing support system to increase sales. 

Have a Cross-Training Session

When sales and marketing understand each other, your team is running more smoothly and working toward the same vision. They can use this information to align their goals, see where they can help each other, and build a sense of teamwork that will open up future collaboration.  Encourage these teams to work together to build revenue-generating opportunities. You can accomplish this by holding regular cross-training sessions, during which marketing is trained on the sales process and vice versa. You may also try implementing team-building exercises between the two teams as well, strengthening their communication. 

Ask The Sales Team What They Need

“If I could provide you with one thing to make your job easier, what would it be?” This question can spark conversations within your sales team about what they feel they’re missing and how you could help them fill a gap in their process. You might be surprised what they ask for. As a bonus, it will open an opportunity to brainstorm creative ways that you could solve their issues.

Build Marketing Pieces with The Sales Team in Mind

In your marketing strategy meetings, bring in a sales team member to discuss their goals for that year. As you’re building your newest plan, consider sales at every step of the process. Are there any pieces that you could build that might improve the sales strategy?  A few examples of marketing collateral pieces that could support your sales team are: 
  • Whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • Customer interviews
  • Testimonials
  • Brochures 
  • Business cards
  • Branded customer gifts 

Attend a Sales Team Meeting

The more you know about what’s going on on the inside of your company’s sales team, the better you can support their efforts. Try attending sales meetings, and likewise, offer for a member of the sales team to attend your marketing meetings as well. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from each other.  Not only should these teams observe each others’ meetings, but they should also provide insight as they see fit. The more opportunities you take to be collaborative, the more aligned your sales and marketing teams will be. 

Adopt An Open Door Policy

By opening communication in the previous methods we discussed, you let the teams know that they can communicate with each other to improve their processes. However, it is essential to make it clear to these teams that an open-door policy is encouraged. Though you may feel like the teams feel comfortable coming to each other, some may still be reluctant. Make it abundantly clear that collaboration is the key to success. Are you looking to align and boost your sales and marketing efforts? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

20 Questions to Ask Yourself that Will Improve Your Customer Profiles

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Customer-focused culture is everything. After all, serving our customers is what we’re here to do, right? When you take care of your patrons, they take care of you—and tell everyone they know about how much they love your business. One of the best ways to provide exceptional customer service is to understand your customer. The customer profile can help you do that. In this article, we discuss the basics of a customer profile, along with 20 customer profile questions that will help you build your own.   

What is a customer profile?

A customer profile paints a picture of your current or target audience. You can create in-depth profiles to understand your customers on a deeper level and use that information to better serve them. You can create a profile in any format you’d like, whatever helps you visualize your audience the most.  Here are a few ideas that might help you build your profiles:
  • Create a separate document for each of your target customers. For example, if one of the groups you are targeting is young families with children, you will create a profile document for that group.
  • Consider using stock images to help you visualize your customer. You may find that visuals help fuel your brainstorming process as you dive into your customers’ needs.
  • Make the creation of your customer profiles a group effort by opening the discussion to your team. Group brainstorms can give you multiple perspectives and open doors to new ideas. Tip: Try free brainstorming platforms like Mind Meister to map your thoughts.
  • Use the 20 questions below to take notes on your customers’ motivations, roadblocks, needs, and wants—among other identifying factors. Leave space to note actions that you can take to further cater to that target audience category. 

20 Questions to Improve Your Customer Profiles

  1. How would you describe your typical customer? 
  2. What do your customers have in common?
  3. What age is your typical customer?
  4. What types of jobs do your customers usually have? 
  5. What problem does your business solve for your customers?
  6. How do your customers usually shop: online or in-store?
  7. What level of education do your customers usually have?
  8. Do your customers generally live in rural or urban areas?
  9. Where do your customers get their information—news, ads, etc.?
  10. What are your customers’ typical motivations and interests? 
  11. What keeps your customers coming back? 
  12. What is a frequent compliment you hear from your customers?
  13. What would keep your customer from buying from you?
  14. What is your customer passionate about?
  15. What is your customer actively against? 
  16. How do your customers usually find your business?
  17. What makes your customers choose you over the competition?
  18. What do your customers worry about the most?
  19. What do your customers do on a typical weekday?
  20. What hobbies do your customers enjoy?
Are you looking for a marketing partner to help you better understand your customers? We’re here to help! Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

4 Marketing Insights to Know Before Calling a Prospect

In today’s world, the buyer has more control over the sales process than ever before. On the one hand, this can make things more difficult for sales professionals. They don’t have as much control over the narrative and buyer’s journey as they once did. However, this new world order provides opportunities for business development pros. Rather than having to conduct tons of research on a prospect or cold-calling potential leads, they can instead use marketing insights—one of the many reasons salespeople are smarter than ever before  

Marketing Insights Every Salesperson Should Know Before Calling a Prospect

Here are four specific marketing insights to share with your business development team to help them be more effective in their outreach to prospective customers: 
1. Their Overall History of Engagement with Your Brand
Today’s marketing tools allow you to track a prospect’s engagement over the past several years. These insights can help salespeople quickly answer questions like: What content have they read or converted on? Have they ever spoken with a sales representative before?  Even if it’s their first time speaking with a prospect, your sales leader can know the prospect’s entire relationship with your brand. This information is incredibly valuable for weaving the context of their history of engagement into the conversation. 
2. Insights Behind the Action That Qualified Them as a Lead
Knowing what action a prospect took to qualify them as a lead is non-negotiable. However, I’ve found that it’s also important to provide sales with an overview of what that resource or lead magnet is about. In many cases, sales professionals don’t take time to read all of the lead generation resources that marketing creates. Providing a brief synopsis that helps your sales team know what the resource is about makes it easier for them to create the connection between the action of the prospect and your products and services. 
3. Their Ability to Make a Purchasing Decision
Most companies know the job title or roles that would have the ability to say “yes” to a final purchasing decision. Capturing this information through your marketing efforts will ensure salespeople aren’t wasting time on leads that they can’t convert.  
4. The Career History of a Prospect
It’s useful to understand your prospect’s job history. In many cases, your CRM can track whether a person has moved from one company to another. You can also leverage LinkedIn insights to capture a prospect’s career trajectory and mutual connections. All these factors will influence how much a prospect can impact a purchase decision, how much educating you’ll have to do, and how quickly they can make a decision. Today’s business development professionals have access to more information about their prospects than ever before. The more your marketing team can help salespeople contextualize their messaging and save time getting to know the prospect, the more effective both teams will be in the long run.  Green Apple Strategy’s team is dedicated to understanding our clients’ target audience, creating compelling content, and generating the leads you need to grow your business. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

3 Ways Most Companies Get it Wrong with Marketing and Sales Alignment

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The importance of creating a culture of collaboration between your sales and marketing teams can’t be overstated. But, in case you needed a reminder of how important it is, consider these facts…
  • Aligning both departments can help generate 209% more revenue from marketing (Marketo).
  • Aligning sales and marketing also leads to 38% higher sales win rates (MarketingProfs).
  • B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth. (SiriusDecisions).
I’ve written a lot about the collaboration between sales and marketing over the past few years. However, I see a lot of the same challenges when talking with leaders from various industries. Here are some of the most common reasons companies struggle to create synergy between their sales and marketing teams. Where Most Companies Get it Wrong with Marketing and Sales Alignment Here are three common ways organizations hurt themselves when it comes to creating a culture of collaboration between sales and marketing:
  • Sales and marketing teams have different objectives. While each department might have specific goals they’re trying to reach, both should be working together on one objective: generating revenue. When each individual goal is tied to that single objective, it creates a greater focus and filter through which you make decisions. Creating alignment around a shared objective to drive revenue helps hold both teams accountable to the projects and tasks that truly move the needle.
  • Sales and marketing teams aren’t meeting together regularly. Collaboration can only happen when both teams are getting together on a regular basis. When sales and marketing teams aren’t meeting together regularly, you’ll often find the organizational struggles with inconsistent messaging, battles over lead quality, and an “us vs. them” mentality.
  • Your sales or marketing teams are afraid to fail. When someone is afraid to fail, they’ll do everything they can to make sure they look good. Sometimes, that means fudging the numbers or making excuses about why they’re not meeting their goals. If one side is afraid of what might happen if they fail, they’ll often get very defensive about their contributions and point fingers at the other side. Collaboration between sales and marketing teams requires open and honest communication. If one side isn’t willing to face the “brutal facts,” true collaboration isn’t possible.
Whether you’re in marketing or sales (or leading both teams), it’s important to always be on the lookout for ways to improve collaboration between the two teams. If you’ve struggled to create synergy between the two teams in the past, consider if one of these challenges might be the reason. And, more importantly, get both teams together to discuss how you can begin addressing the issue as soon as possible. The future of your business depends on it.

3 Ways Senior Leaders Can Strengthen Collaboration Between Sales & Marketing

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Everyone within your organization wants sales and marketing to work together like a well-oiled machine. This is especially true for CEOs and other executive leadership—and for good reason According to a recent LinkedIn study, 65% of business leaders believe a lack of collaboration could directly lead to missed business opportunities. But we all know it’s not as simple as telling the two teams they should work together. As a senior leader, you play an active a role in making sure collaboration exists. There are things you can do to strengthen the collaboration between your sales and marketing teams. The same LinkedIn study found that leadership actively encouraging collaboration is the number one characteristic of organizations with strong alignment. 3 Ways to Strengthen Collaboration Between Sales & Marketing So, what can you do as a senior leader to support greater collaboration between sales and marketing? Here are a few tactics to consider:
  • Provide clarity around business objectives. Clarity allows sales and marketing to focus on the goals and objectives that will help you get where you ultimately want to go. Without absolute clarity on the business objectives or specific products/service lines you want to grow, both sales and marketing are left guessing what will actually move the needle.
  • Get buy-in from leaders on both sides of the business. Problems arise when one side of the business (sales or marketing) feels left out of the conversation around your business development strategies. Getting buy-in from key stakeholders on both sides of the business not only prevents one side of the business from feeling handcuffed by something they didn’t agree to, but it also gets people excited about coming together around a common goal.
  • Help teams stay focused when things get tough. There will be times when things go wrong or when it looks like you’re not going to hit your goal. In those times, it’s your job as a senior leader to help both teams stay focused on working together to reach the agreed-upon objectives. Some marketing initiatives take time. Sometimes, you lose a sale for reasons outside of your control. Submitting to the pressures to shift gears and respond to every varied outcome is a great way to give everyone whiplash that leads to burnout.
While you may not be involved in the day-to-day activities of your sales and marketing teams, you set the tone for the collaboration that is created between the two teams. Embracing these ideas will allow you to create greater trust between the two teams, build a track record of results, and create an environment optimized for success.

3 Ways Internal Sales Teams & External Marketing Agencies Can Thrive Together

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Marketing should exist to be a strategic asset for business development. That includes equipping the sales team with the information and tools they need to be successful. But, creating the kind of collaboration that’s necessary for a thriving partnership isn’t always easy—especially between an outside marketing agency and an internal sales team. Oftentimes, a marketing agency works directly with one person on projects, either a business development leader or a marketing manager. Most of the work that’s being done by the agency isn’t directly connected to the day-to-day activities of the sales team. As a result, the sales team often wonders what the marketing agency is doing…and the marketing agency is wondering why the sales team isn’t taking advantage of all the work they’re doing. How Internal Sales Teams & External Marketing Agencies Can Thrive Together So, how do you create a type of culture where an external marketing agency can thrive with your entire sales team? Here are a few keys I’ve learned over the past few years…
  1. Make Sure Your Sales Team Feels Supported by the Work the Agency is Doing
Having a partnership where your sales team knows and trusts your marketing agency is key to an effective partnership. When sales and marketing agencies work together, there’s a certain amount of marketing that needs to be done for reps within the organization. While most marketing agencies work on specific projects or marketing campaigns, one way they can provide value to the sales team is by doing all of the heavy lifting for the “marketing work” that sales reps should do. This includes getting your agency to help with things like email scripts, sample social media content, and buyer personas that your sales team can use to be more effective and efficient.  
  1. Find Ways to Keep the Communication Lines Flowing
It’s critical for a marketing agency to communicate on a regular basis with relevant, important information that can help sales with customers and potential deals. Find ways for your sales team to connect with your marketing agency, whether it’s setting up monthly or quarterly meetings, weekly phone calls, etc. This provides an opportunity for your marketing agency to make sure sales is aware of all the activity that’s going on. It also provides your marketing agency with an opportunity to identify the biggest obstacles your sales team is facing so they can help create solutions for them.
  1. Inspire Both Teams with Success Stories
Celebration is another important key to collaboration. Highlight the success your sales team is having with your marketing agency. Let your sales team know about the projects and key learnings your marketing agency has discovered through their work. Finding times to celebrate the collaborative wins between your external agency and the internal sales team is key to ensuring the two teams are locking arms rather than pointing fingers.