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The Top 10 Things People Are Getting Wrong in Digital Marketing – The Professional Opinions

The Top 10 Things People Are Getting Wrong in Digital Marketing – The Professional Opinions

When exactly did digital marketing take off? Was it in the early 2000’s – ergo the birth of social media – or is it a recent field of marketing only tapped into by those who dare?

The reality of Digital Marketing – wherever and whenever it came about – is that it is an integral part of our everyday lives now. Billboards, magazines and other print still have their time and place – but digital marketing has proved to be the tool that almost all businesses need – not only to survive – but to thrive.

Since there is no user manual on how exactly one should go about their digital marketing strategy, it has been a trial and error exercise for many establishments – businesses with in-house marketing teams and digital agencies alike.

We approached some of the best names in the industry to let us know what they see as the biggest mistake business, entrepreneurs and corporates are making when implementing their digital strategies.

  • The opinions expressed herein are not those of Digital Results. Responses have been collated and accredited to each respondent.

Biggest Digital Marketing Faux Pas – A Word From Industry Specialists


“Manage your digital ROI expectations. A good understanding of what people are searching online for is a pretty good start for any business. From there it’s all about the keywords, message and creative strategy. When it comes to the follow through be exceptional, consistent but above all be relevant, Google loves relevancy.  “

Nikki Wilson – Creative Account Director – Brand Moon Marketing Agency



“The most common mistake we see is a heavy reliance on paid media. We advocate that brands instead look at their owned platforms first, as well as their CRM communications, before defaulting to paid and rented channels. Once a brand has the ‘brilliant basics’ in place – a slick website with killer SEO, lead generation and engaging email and SMS communication – then only do we look to broaden our net with paid strategies.”

Megan Hollis – Head of Strategy & Innovation – Techsys Digital


“While staying ahead with the latest trends are extremely important, a common mistake in the digital marketing arena is that brands want to own and use them all, but forget to ask ‘Is all of this applicable to my customers?’ Get to know your target market first and then cultivate digital concepts that will create hype with your specific audience.”

Brandon-Lee Fredericks – Mid-Level Strategist – Techsys Digital


“A mistake we see often in Digital Marketing is brands under-using their own data. By utilising data that brands are pulling from their own platform, issues like targeting the wrong audience and not understanding your consumer’ journey can be avoided. We encourage regular reporting, optimisation and implementation of learnings to ensure that ROI for brands is always improving.”

Bronwyn Jack – Strategist – Techsys Digital


“Digital marketing often makes the mistake of foregrounding business objectives rather than consumer objectives in the brainstorming phase.  We need to frame each campaign from a customer-centric vantage point, so that we are tapping into the customer’s needs and desires.”

Steve Van Wyk – Strategist – Techsys Digital


“The biggest mistake we see is that business often get so caught up in the technical side of digital marketing that they forget their customers are people and not robots. We see over and over again that building digital strategies on key consumer insights tends to lead marketers towards more effective marketing tactics. Digital marketing is a people centric tactic, not a technology centric tactic.”

Mike Saunders – CEO – DigitLab

mobile speed

“Not taking mobile speed performance seriously. 53% of mobile users leave sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load! A holistic digital marketing strategy needs to focus on mobile performance as a top priority as it impacts revenue from multiple channels. Consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on your site’s primary content hubs.”

Tyron Love – Senior SEO Manager – Jellyfish


“Damaging your brand’s online performance: The biggest mistake we see when dealing with SEO and a new site is the lack of a planned SEO Migration –  No this does not mean your hosting company 301 redirects the dev site to the client site – this means that careful planning to retain your SEO rankings and credibility with Google remains intact when you have re developed a new site to keep up with the ever changing world of digital. This lack of Migration planning in the SEO world is a huge problem, because once your new site goes live without it – the damage is done.

So take the time to plan a proper SEO migration to retain SEO rankings and credibility (you won’t be sorry!)”

Charlotte McEndoo – Senior Digital Performance & SEO Analyst – BlueMagnet


“Underestimating The Time And Work Required For Digital Marketing Success.

We see this one all the time especially with small and medium enterprises. Business owners think they can save the business money by doing the marketing themselves or delegating it to someone in the business. Anyone can learn how to setup an AdWords campaign, optimise a web page, write a captivating blog or engaging social media post. But, to do it well and do it consistently is far more difficult.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success, he explains the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, means practicing a specific task for 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. Based on this, in a typical business context, digital marketing needs to be someone’s full time job. If not, then either digital marketing or other critical business tasks get neglected.

Hiring an agency gives businesses access to a team of experts who easily outperform most self-taught individuals. It’s not just wasted budget and lost revenue at stake, businesses put their reputations at risk when they don’t dedicate enough to their digital marketing. It’s crazy when you think about it, as a business owner, why would you not focus on your expertise and pay a marketing expert to do what they do well?”

Pierre Nel- Business Unit Director – Ever

meeting with clients

“The Orphaned Campaign:

The biggest mistake I feel currently being made in the digital marketing industry is the lack of involvement from clients in their own digital marketing campaigns. This is especially true of Social Media Marketing. Marketing a business online is best done with the cooperation of the owners, or role-players in the business since they have years of experience with their target market demographic and also know their own sales process. The digital marketing strategist could harness this knowledge and create much more engaging campaign content and avoid common sales obstacles the client company already knows about in real world terms. The problem is that a lot of the digital marketing industry is seen as “set it and forget it”. On-going involvement between parties and communication is key when a campaign runs.

Adwords Ads unrelated to a Destination URL: In terms of Adwords, many new clients often have never heard of Quality Score and how that affects the cost of their Adwords Campaign. Often a client’s website is not at all optimized for Adwords but they have been running their own campaigns for a while through Adwords Express. Ads created often have little connection the pages they click through to and this confusion leads to a drop in conversions and more expensive ads.

Getting the SEO and UX balance right: Many SEO’s and their clients still become hung up on word counts, creating enormous SEO articles to rank for keywords. But this approach means that you could rank and send potential new clients to a page which is not user friendly, but reads like a novel.   You will often find extreme SEO measures can impact conversion rates so there needs to be balance in terms of the user experience.”

Michael Smit – General Manager – SEO Pros

BONUS! Being human-less 

dead bot

“If eyes are the windows to your soul, then digital is the window to your brand.

That’s why as a brand, why not show you have a soul! Even though AI, Bots and virtual reality are creeping into our lives faster than we can say ‘Sophia’*, we’re not in an episode of ‘Westworld’ just yet. Brands still need to engage with users on a human level. Users can smell a Bot a click away. Create trust within your audience and engage with them by sending real responses, have genuine conversations and humanize your brand! Whether you are in the consumer / retail space or Business to Business, the same mindset applies. Behind every screen, there is another human yearning for your brand’s content and authentic voice. Yes, the machines have risen, but don’t fall into the trap of human-less engagement!” *Sophia: The world’s first robot citizen. A social humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics.

Dana Jacob – Digital Campaigns Analyst – SYSPRO Corporate

Twitter: @SYSPRO

Instagram: @syspro_corporate

Facebook: @SYSPROglobal

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