As digital marketing has blossomed into a global industry, there has been a great deal of innovation and refinement.

Even so, there are still a good number of digital marketing mistakes that too many brands still make. These are the 5 self-sabotaging mistakes, missteps, and pitfalls digital marketers make:

1. Treating Digital Marketing as a Zero Sum Game

A zero sum game describes a condition where it’s only possible for one party to benefit at another party’s expense. Digital marketing isn’t like that!

It’s a positive sum game, where the increase doesn’t come at anyone’s expense – it just increases the total pool. Let’s focus on how to support each other. There is enough work for everyone!

2. Misreading Your Audience

Trying to get in touch with your audience is a great idea! Draft personas – they will help you establish whom you’re marketing for, and how to communicate with them.

These personas should be deeply written characters, with coherent motivations and well-thought-out lives. When you reduce your audience to just a few traits, you miss out on opportunities to truly connect.

3. Lacking Good Judgement

Ever watch a commercial, or witness a digital marketing campaign, and think to yourself “how could they have thought this was a good idea?” So have we!

Example: The infamous ad in which Kendall Jenner offers a Pepsi to a riot cop, diffusing a tense moment during a Black Lives Matter protest, apparently ending racism forever.

There are dozens of examples of digital marketing mistakes like this! How do you avoid making the same mistake?

· Step outside your own shoes.

· Get a focus group.

· Ask your mother.

· Avoid leveraging anything sensitive for personal gain.

· If it doesn’t feel quite right, it probably isn’t, so trust your instincts.

4. Following Trends

Don’t follow a new trend without stopping to wonder whether it’s right for your particular brand.

· Does it feel like a natural place for your brand?

· Does it seem like something your audience will be excited to engage with?

If so, go forth and conquer! If not, think of yourself as a leader and start your own trends.

5. Feeding the Trolls

Just don’t. The best tactics for handling trolls is to hide them, unfollow them, and ignore them. If necessary, say something positive, like: Our feed is meant to be a safe place for everyone.

How to Avoid Digital Marketing Mistakes

When digital marketing goes wrong, it tends to do so for these reasons:

1. Lack of authenticity.

2. Being tone deaf to the issues, or being tasteless.

3. Not getting to know your audience well enough.

4. Engaging with online negativity.

5. Marketing your brand in avenues where it just isn’t a great fit.

As long as you steer clear of those basic pitfalls, your brand will  navigate the digital marketing landscape with grace and dignity.

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