By Cassy van Eeden

Whether you’re starting a digital marketing agency or you are working to become an integrated company, it’s better to know what the biggest mistakes digital marketers have made in the past, so that you don’t make them yourself.

Mistake: Taking on too much

Often when we discover that we are good at something and that we are getting good results, we tend to over-commit ourselves out of excitement. While this is problematic in any context, it is especially relevant to digital marketing.

Christopher Mills, director of iMod Digital, says that spending more than a decade in the digital marketing industry has taught him to never bite off more than he can chew. “I’ve seen far too many marketers taking on too much work at once,” he says. “This naturally leads to missed deadlines and low quality output.”

Solution: React quickly

Hopefully, you will realise that you have taken on too much work early enough to do damage control. Rather than producing mediocre work and missing deadlines, admit that you’ve over-committed yourself as soon as possible.

“Communicate with the parties involved to ensure that they are aware of any delays and whether they can manage the delays,” says Mills.

He adds: “Rather take on less work that you know you can output brilliantly. From that, more and more manageable work will come your way.”

Mistake: Not having a plan

If you head into digital marketing without a plan, you’re almost destined for failure. Everything needs to be planned and prepared for in order to meet deadlines and reach targets.

Co-founder and CMO of Internet Marketing Inc, Brent Gleeson, says, “The lack of an organised, cohesive strategy will lead to wasted time, money and opportunity.”

“Digital marketing takes time,” says Mills. “In order to launch a great campaign, one cannot avoid preparation and research.”

Mills explains that neglecting planning and preparation “may reduce the amount of time spent on a project, which, in turn, may result in the project being cheaper for the paying party, but it won’t necessarily result in a great campaign”.

Solution: Have a plan

This one’s obvious.

Mistake: Failure to collaborate

It is sobering to realise just how little marketing and communications professionals are willing to ‘play nice’. Graham Warsop, founder and chairperson of The Jupiter Drawing Room, said at the 2015 Integrated Marketing Communication Conference in Cape Town that it is time that everyone leaves their egos at the door and work together towards a greater good for the client.

“We could all make more money if we’d just acknowledge that we have different strengths and decide how we could rather collaborate better,” says Elizabeth Sosnow, MD of BlissPR.

Kevin Barber, founder of Lean Labs, argues: “Healthy collaboration is important for agencies who want to win the best clients and deliver truly remarkable projects.”

Solution: Integrate. End of story.

Learn to work with others. Open yourself and your agency up to collaboration.

“If you have a client who also uses an ad agency, then why not approach him or her and brainstorm how you can better serve a client together,” says Sosnow. “Or invite an agency to joint-pitch your next new business lead. I bet you’ll build – not lose – budget in the end.

Are you a digital marketer? What mistakes have you made that others can learn from? Let us know in the comments below.