Jack-o'-lantern on whiteThis Halloween, I don’t need zombies, ghosts or the current presidential campaign to induce a good scare. These five preventable marketing behaviors are enough to keep me awake at night—and to derail the most promising marketing efforts.

Read on, if you dare…

(5) Reactive decision-making. Market leaders do just that—lead. They proactively listen to their customers (internal and external), recommend the right approach and then stay on plan with marketing activities. Constantly rethinking campaigns or introducing new directions at the eleventh hour only serves to frustrate team members and reduce marketing’s capacity to execute activities.

(4) Brand mismanagement. Your company and product brands represent the single most valuable marketing asset, and one that requires constant stewardship. From online reputation management to simply policing how the logo is used, it’s critical to mind the details to maintain your investment.

(3) Ignoring the data. In the “olden days” of marketing (the early 1990s), we wished for more convenient access to measurements to back up our decisions. Now that data points abound, why are we still relying on our gut feelings to chart our course? Regular monitoring of metrics like audience behaviors, conversion rates, and cost per inquiry, lead and sale are a must.

(2) Failure to follow up. With all our methods for communication—and the personalized approach of marketing automation platforms—there’s no excuse for leads that linger untouched or unmonitored. Period. Unlike consumer marketing, in B2B our universe of potential buyers is a finite community. Even the coolest inquiries will buy at some point; if you’re not nurturing those relationships, your competitors will.

(1) Working without a plan. Flexibility is one thing; marketing without a roadmap is a surefire way to increase risk, drive up costs and miss opportunities. I am constantly astounded at the companies I encounter, large and small, who operate marketing “on the fly.” Few organizations can sustain long-term results without a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Have a terrifying example of your own? Post your comment here or Tweet me @ThinkSpringMktg.