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43: Top 5 Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford Make in 2021

Written by Michelle Toivonen Director of Strategic Marketing

As we jump into 2021, many businesses will have to choose how to spend their marketing dollars very carefully. Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen more than my fair share of small to mid-sized marketers break the bank with bad marketing decisions. This year feels critical for many clients, so here’s some free advice on the top 5 marketing tactics you cannot afford to get wrong in 2021!

Listen to this episode of the Plus Podcast to avoid these painful marketing pitfalls in 2021. 

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Mistake #5: Spending on Ad Fraud.

Estimates for marketing dollars spent on fraudulent ad clicks are expected to exceed 26 billion dollars by 2020. Locally targeted, and well-managed display ads have a place in many campaigns; however, you need to know what you’re doing — or pay someone who really does in order to get what you’re paying for — and not a bunch of bots clicking. There is an alternative way to use online ads to capture your audience online called Targeted Display Ads. I think it’s easier, more direct and there’s NO ad fraud as these ads are not shown except when your targets are actually online. It’s this simple:

  1. Buy a list (it can be targeting names, zip codes, neighborhoods, other businesses. All that matters is that you have a list of addresses you want to hit.)
  2. Let us match the home/business addresses to their IP addresses.
  3. Give us your ads and we will serve those ads to those people when they are online. No fraudulent ad traffic = no wasted ad spend.


Mistake #4: Missing the boat on Targeted OTT (over-the-top) display advertising.

It’s all the rage and for good reason. Most viewing audiences are streaming content -- and that’s where you can place OTT video ads. If you go to market, you’ll find CPMs are higher, but so is your ability to target your audience. Again, we offer a more targeted version than most. Our OTT (over-the-top) video is a video asset that is played either pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll of other in-stream video content on an IP-enabled device. And OTT inventory is among the highest-quality video spaces available for digital advertising. OTT provides consistent access to many well-known producers, such as CNN, Hulu, ESPN, and PlutoTV. OTT’s premium ad space can help optimize your advertising efforts by maximizing variability and increasing your reach, allowing your full message to get in front of the audience. OTT is generally shown on a Connected TV (CTV). This can be a Smart Television with built-in apps, or through an external device connected to a TV (such as an Amazon Firestick or other streaming device). Again, our Targeted OTT Ads are different. We will display ads only to those IP addresses matched to locations on your list. Want to tighten up your spending and be certain that your videos are seen by only those folks? Targeted OTT is how to do it!


Mistake #3: Spending time and money on Social Media without confirming it generates business that results in sales.

It’s just sooooooo rewarding to see all those clicks and thumbs up. But does any of the time and effort you’re spending on social media translate into sales? Maybe. There are some businesses that absolutely must be seen and heard, regularly, on social media. However, if you’re wondering if your efforts are really paying off, there’s a way to find out. You can upload your Facebook and Instagram ads to our digital+post campaign dashboard and track your results in those social media outlets. This method begins with a list -- and most of our clients currently add this option to a mailing list. We will find the social media profiles for folks on your list and serve them ads as part of a targeted marketing campaign. Our dashboard will let you know if the folks on your list are also clicking on the social media ads. I think it’s the best method available now to understand your target audience’s online social media behavior.


Mistake #2: NOT spending (time or money) on excellent content for better results with organic SEO.

This is not new information, but I think it’s one of the most frequent, and second most costly mistake a marketer or business owner can make. Why do you need fresh, relevant, and engaging content published over many different channels? Because Google ranks your website based on perceived relevancy. How does Google decide if your site is relevant? From the clicks received by people who click through an email, video, podcast, social media post, or ads to get to your website. This is why we focus so much on long-tail advertising tools and techniques. We’re more interested in engaging your most targeted audience to increase your odds. If you need help with a better understanding of how our marketing tools can help you boost your organic SEO results, contact our Strategic Marketing team.


And the #1 worst possible Marketing Mistake you can do in 2021? Spend ANY marketing dollars without a plan to capture the data you need to track response rates and sales conversions.

Marketers now have access to the same online marketing tools that large companies and agencies do. With the right tools, they can scale advertising to fit their needs, and track their campaign results. With tools available now to help you gain visibility into channel attribution and match back your target audience to conversion rates, there’s no excuse not to do better and spend smarter with each campaign. If you need help to strategize the best methods to capture relevant data and discover where your best lead generation is, contact our strategic marketing team today. 

If you need smart and fast answers for marketing in 2021, contact the strategic marketing team at


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To learn how we can help you achieve your marketing goals with our mailing, data, strategic marketing, email marketing, and online advertising goals, please contact us at or give us a call at 1.800.686.6666.

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