Ashley Zeckman

It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again: 4 Tips for Improving Marketing for Small Business

Marketing Deja Vu Getting You Down?

At some time or another we have all experienced that eerie sense of familiarity where we’ve “been there” or “done that” before.  Whether it is an actual memory or simply a “brain fart”, deja vu is an interesting experience.

Let’s assume for a second that deja vu is real.  If you found yourself in a situation you knew for certain you had experienced before that had ended badly would you have the tools necessary to change your course of action?  Many organizations have faced and continue to deal with “marketing deja vu” or ending up in the same situations over and over again.  What can you do to avoid making the same marketing mistakes more than once?

*Speaking of deja vu: If you are looking for additional tips on improving your marketing strategy be sure to reference the posts from the TopRankBlog archive that appear in this post.

4 Tips For Avoiding Marketing Deja Vu

#1 – Learn From Your Previous Marketing Mistakes

The best way to avoid repeating mistakes?  By learning from each experience.  Do not expect that you will have different set of outcomes from the same actions.  We must remember that marketing mistakes can mean a decrease in current customer base, as well as the loss of potential new customers.

3 Tips for Learning From Your Marketing Mistakes:

  • Mistakes happen, the worst thing you can do is avoid dealing with the problem
  • Move on but don’t forget the lesson you learned
  • Don’t let frustration get the best of you

We All Make Mistakes:  20 Social Media Marketing Do’s & Dont’s

#2 – Create A Structured Marketing Process

Errors can in large part be attributed to lack of process.  A structured process provides a framework and guideline for accomplishing your marketing goals.  Marketing process improves your ability to:

  • Plan effectively for future marketing needs
  • Implement & Scale your marketing plan
  • Test, implement, and refine marketing tactics

Implement A Process: Practical Tips to Make Your Blog More Useful & Interactive

#3 – Don’t Rationalize Bad Marketing Decisions

One of the biggest mistakes we can make as marketers is to rationalize bad decisions.  It is important that we accept and face the fact that we didn’t make the best choice.  Once we’ve overcome the hurdle of admitting fault it’s time to take action:

  • Focus on why a particular marketing tactic didn’t work
  • Determine how your team can improve going forward
  • Debrief other team members so they can avoid making the same mistakes

To Be Avoided: 4 B2B Social Media & SEO Blunders to Avoid

#4 – Ask for Help & Advice to Improve Your Marketing Plan

Pride should never get in the way of improving your marketing strategy.  Some of the best ideas come from where you least expect. Suggesting collaboration with other team members and influentials can:

  • Help you come to a conclusion for next steps faster
  • Remind you of mistakes they may have made in the past that you will want to avoid
  • Provide a fresh set of eyes that may have a different perspective

Get the Help You Need: 4 Tips for Becoming A Better Influencer

Take Action

You may have heard some or all of the tips listed above prior to reading this post.  However, I want you to ask yourself:  How many of these tips has my team actually implemented and stuck with?  A good starting point to get on the right track to avoiding ‘marketing deja vu’ is to ask yourself and your team a few simple discovery questions:

  • What are 3 instances in where your marketing team has made the same mistake more than once?
  • Did you expect different outcomes each time the mistake was made?
  • What were those expected outcomes?
  • What have you done to rectify these mistakes, or adapt your process to avoid them in the future?

Remember, if you can’t answer these questions on your own perhaps you should try asking other team members.  Or you may want to consider or contacting an agency like TopRank Marketing to learn how you can attract and engage current and prospective customers by avoiding common marketing mistakes.

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.


  1. Avatar NewClientsEachMonth says

    Thanks for the great post!  I agree, having a structured process in place is critical as you grow.  Mistakes still happen but much less often.  

  2. Amen to #3 especially.  I have sat in on many marketing-gone-wrong pit parties.  Own up to your mistakes, learn from them and move on.  Thank you for an excellent post.

  3. Learn from your mistakes. This applies to everything, from our personal life to business. That is the essence of committing mistakes, the lesson that we learned from it.

    Thanks for sharing Ashley.

  4. I would have to agree that it makes a lot of sense to have a plan. It’s also ok to ask for help, or hire assistance. I think that sometimes spending the money to have some expert advice can sometimes end up saving more money than you would spend if you keep making mistakes.
    It’s always good to go back an review mistakes to make sure that they dont’ happen again. A good way to avoid common mistakes is to compare your business to similar businesses and see their success and failures. I think it’s also very important that as a plan is progressing, to have the awareness and ability to modify a plan if it isn’t working for the business.

  5.  Starting a small business for novice is quite challenging. At the first stage, a lot of business owners might have encountered minor or major mistakes. Tip number 2 is great advice. Once you’ve accepted and learned from your  marketing mistakes, let it go and just focus on how you can improve your business from there.

  6. Great post!

  7. All of us have mistakes yet and i think the most important thing we should care about is learning from previous mistakes. Repeating wrong things has the same result which is failing 🙁

  8. Avatar jeanii roonit says

    I continuously livelihood on upcoming to your parcel again retributory in containerful you have posted new list.
    New Jersey SEO

  9. One thing we’ve learned about marketing is that it should sometimes be less planning and more action.

    The right strategy and approach are very important, however sometimes the end result depends more on how the end results are tactically handled.