Sometimes it's easier to tell a company what not to do in marketing. With more and more platforms and outlets than ever before, it's confusing for brands to understand what  the best use of their time and money is. Here are five marketing no-no's to live by whether you are a new brand or one that's been around for decades.

1. Car wraps

Unless you are a car wrapping company or an exterminator, car wraps are the worst.  Most companies that attempt to do a wrap have no understanding of how to make it look high-end or clever, which means this expensive marketing tool can actually do more damage to a brand than good. 

Bad wraps peel and bubble, and can make a brand look incredibly cheap. This is especially damaging if you have a high price point service or product offering. They do, however, work for consumer-packaged goods that are already established in the market place.

For example, a Red Bull truck is hard to miss and makes sense since it's "on brand" from a marketing perspective. But for the most part stay away from this marketing tool.

2. Aggressive telemarketing

Ask yourself: Have you ever reacted positively to a cold call? Whenever I get one, I always think, "Who the heck responds to these?" But someone must, or else they wouldn't keep doing it.

Telemarketing can be a counterproductive marketing element and frankly, a real turn-off. If you are trying to make a name for yourself, you definitely don't want that name to be "Annoying."

3. Groupon

As with any of these tools, there is a time and place. When you are a new brand trying to create visibility and awareness, especially if you are a b2b or b2c volume business, utilizing a platform like Groupon or LivingSocial can get you lots of eyeballs quickly.  But to what end?

Clients of these platforms constantly complain that while they got a great initial bang, their margins suffered immensely and their "deal" customers never returned.

In our digital and technology driven marketplace, there are many other options when trying to launch a brand. Crowdfunding platforms like Crowdfunder, for example, are implementing a VC component to equity funding.

As consumers, we know existing brands, like your local restaurant or gym, go to Groupon to die. It has become commonplace for consumer sentiment to be primarily negative when we see discounts on brands we know. This is, of course, with the exception of heritage brands looking to make a marketing splash--so long as the discount isn't too steep. 

4. No irresistible offer

So you're spending all of this money on marketing, but you have no conversion tool? 

Do you know what a conversion tool is?

Most marketing companies throw terms like this at you to make you feel like you need them. The truth is, with a very simple white paper or 10-tips automated pdf you can exponentially increase your conversion to your database.

And if you aren't doing that by now, you are behind the times. Now, don't mistake an irresistible offer as just a newsletter. In fact, if you are using the word newsletter in your conversion tool, you just lost me.

We are so tired of getting newsletters in our inbox, so make sure whatever it is you're offering has value. If you are a fashion brand, offer 10 percent off or free shipping for your first order. If you are a b2b, offer the top-10 tips relevant to your customers.

Think of it like dating...you wouldn't ask for a goodnight kiss until you spent some time with the person or took them out for a nice meal, right? It's the same with marketing. You have to finesse your audience and give them what they want so you get what you want.

5. Not trademarking

I know I'm biased on this one because I'm a lawyer, but protecting your brand is the most important thing you can do for your company, and not doing so is our No. 1 no- no. Think about it: You've spent all of this time and money building your logo, your website, and printing collateral. What if someone turned around tomorrow and told you they owned your brand name, and you had to start over from scratch? 

It would be pretty painful, right? The saying penny wise and pound foolish absolutely applies here, so do the right thing and protect your brand.

Whether you are a new brand or a global one, image is everything and making sure your image targets your core audience and speaks to them where they are is of the utmost importance. Having a deep understanding of your brand's core values and your core audience's demographics and psychographics is the best first step toward understanding where you should market your brand.

Published on: May 25, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.