Avoid These Noob Mistakes Amateur Companies Usually Make If You Want Faster Marketing ROI

ByAzleen Abdul Rahim

I have been in the marketing industry since 1997. To be in the same industry for 26 years is a nut job, but I’m loving it. Whatever it is, it’s a pretty long time. The experience covers a combination of employment stints I had in a few large local and global multinationals, and business adventures with several SMEs, large organisations and start-ups. Success and failure stories, inspiring and disappointing endings and forever fire-fighting dramas, I’ve seen them all. In other words, I truly learned a lot from these ups and downs.

Since I have unique expertise when it comes to marketing strategy, I was engaged to solve their marketing problems. And I’m telling you right now that even though my deliverables are related to marketing, more than 50 per cent of my work doesn’t actually involve marketing but something else. 

Those are the pain-in-the-ass non-marketing issues and challenges that somehow directly affect the marketing ROIs. The funny thing is, when the performance of the marketing initiatives is affected, thousands of fingers from the top will point straight to the marketing department, especially the marketing director or CMO—for not performing.

The mistakes those amateur companies are making

These mistakes are kind of obvious. But the insiders hardly ‘see’ them. It’s either they don’t really see them or do not want to see them. Let’s dig into those mistakes one by one.

I came across this one company back in 2021. On the first day of the discussion I had with their marketing team, I was informed that every single decision on marketing must go through the I-will-have-the-final-say CEO. It seems that this CEO will decide on every single decision be it small or big, important or not, data-driven or not and others—he will have the final say on everything. And the worst thing was, he was the type who doesn’t listen to others. Despite the fact some inputs coming from his subordinates are great, he will eventually say no to them as he has already made up his mind on that thing. I was observing this company regularly despite my advisory contract being no longer active. Yet after three years, the company didn’t progress at all. It stalls. People come and go, the attrition rate is high and nobody dares to work on the marketing strategy on behalf of the company anymore thanks to the CEO’s antics.

If you are serious about achieving a faster ROI for your marketing, don’t do this. Do not micro-manage your team like the one I shared earlier, marketers can’t work like this. As a CEO, you will kill creativity almost instantly. You will kill motivations too.  

In 2018, I was hired to work with the marketing department of a popular sports retailer in Malaysia on refreshing their marketing strategy for the upcoming year. The first week, I realised that the entire organisation doesn’t have a proper structure and SOPs. Nobody knows what everybody is doing. A number of people have a similar role—redundant responsibilities. I felt a little bit weird that this is happening in a large, award-winning company with a nationwide presence. 

Having a proper and systematic standard operating procedure helps big time. New people, especially in the marketing department will be able to move forward quickly with a guideline here. The existing team members will see this as a critical document so that they are able to stay within what’s required from them and the expectations they need to deliver too.

2022 was the year when almost all companies began to stabilise their operations post-pandemic era. A Malaysia-based start-up accelerator invited me to work with their marketing team to work on their marketing strategy for 2023. This company has another five associated companies under the same group. That is right, altogether there are six companies in total. And the marketing team comprised of only four people were presently working on all these companies’ marketing stunts. This is crazy. These four of them were covering tasks from blogging, social media posting, ads, SEO, events, website development and maintenance, designs and video stuff, and a few more. This is crazy. 

If you wish to speed up the ROI of your marketing gig, be reasonable. The number of people and their roles must be reasonable with the deliverables you want out of them. Do not squeeze your small team to deliver big things. It shows that you are not a good boss.

To recap

Those stories are just the tip of the iceberg. There are more actually, but I’m just going to keep it till here only. Keep your eyes open and your ears alert, I’m sure you are able to also see and hear some other examples similar to these noob mistakes, out there. 

So please, do not be like these amateurish companies. Their way of doing things sucks, especially when it comes to marketing. Again, be reasonable. Then only you will see ROIs coming your way.

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