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Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working and How to Fix It

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You’ve been trying to do your own marketing, but your marketing isn’t working. It seems that no matter what you try, you don’t get the results you’re after.


Because your marketing process looks like you’re playing a slot machine; you throw your money and resources at an idea and then you hope that it’s a winner. And you repeat this process over and over.

the entrepreneurs trial and error process why marketing isn't working

Most entrepreneurs don’t know that there’s a marketing process. But, without a process to follow, you’re making all kinds of mistakes that are preventing your marketing from being successful.

What’s the Marketing Process

Marketing campaigns are really recipes for connecting and converting customers. Unfortunately,

a lot of marketing experts drop you into the middle of the process thinking that it will be easier for you to get results without knowing all the pesky details.

the marketing process to use if your marketing isn't working

It’s really a recipe — there are no shortcuts. You have to follow it step by step and in order. If you don’t follow the process in order, you’re not going to get the desired outcome.

And even if you follow the process, your results aren’t guaranteed.

But you won’t be able to debrief your results if you can’t pinpoint where in the process you need to optimize.

The best way to illustrate what I’m talking about is to bring in real stories from real marketers about the times their marketing didn’t work and what they did to fix it.

why your marketing isn't working

Here’s exactly what I asked them:

Based on your experience, what’s the biggest reason your marketing failed or didn’t work as expected? What did you learn and how did you fix it?

Not Doing and Using Market Research

Everything starts with market research. And, market research can include anything from conversations with potential customers, surveys, polls, and yes — even web analytics.

If you don’t collect data, it’s hard to track results. And if you’re not tracking results against your data, it’s hard to adjust and optimize.

Not Tracking Results

Gerrid Smith, from Joy Organics, gets right to the heart of the impact that tracking and measuring results can make in your marketing.

When you have a marketing process, you automatically have this “proof of work” that gives you the ability to test your marketing and track your results.

If you are not tracking and measuring your marketing efforts, it’s going to be very difficult to determine whether they lead to successful marketing or not. In fact, you may not even realize when your marketing is failing.

This is why it’s important to have a system in place that can track and measure your results. Unfortunately, we faced a lot of issues due to a lack of tracking and measuring systems.

But now due to having experience we have selected the best tracking and measuring system for our marketing such as website analytics, lead generation tracking, social media metrics, and email marketing metrics.

Therefore, it is recommended to make sure you are using at least one of these tracking and measurement systems so you can accurately assess the performance of your marketing campaigns.

gerrid smith Joy Organics why your marketing isn't working

You can see why tracking and measuring are important — and then funneling what you’ve learned back INTO your marketing process so that you can make changes.

Not Being Agile

Edward Mellett, from Wikijob says it perfectly — you have to be able to make changes and adjust

One of the most common reasons marketing campaigns fail is because they’re not agile and it’s the same issue we faced.

Now you may think about what is meant by an agile marketing campaign. Simply, an agile marketing strategy is one that can quickly adapt to changes in the market. This might be changes in consumer behavior, technology, or even the economy.

So, we have learned when our marketing failed that when our marketing strategy isn’t able to adapt to these changes, it’s likely to fail.

The reason for this is that the market is constantly evolving, and what may have worked a few years ago may not work today. So now we try our level best to make sure that our marketing strategy is agile, and can quickly adapt to changes in the market.

Market research also plays an important part in setting your goals and objectives.

Setting Objectives That Were Unclear and Unrealistic

One of the reasons our marketing strategy failed was because of unclear objectives.

At the beginning of our business journey, we didn’t set clear and realistic objectives.

If your goal was to get 10,000 leads in a single month but you only get 1,000 then unfortunately your marketing campaign is unsuccessful.

By learning from our mistakes we know the importance of setting clear objectives.

To set clear goals, it’s essential to have complete information about the audience. Like what are their needs and what they expect from you.

So we try to fix this issue by developing clear goals and understanding of the audience. We can only provide good services and can lead our marketing to success when we become able to satisfy our audience.

Kyle Basett, Altitude Control

kyle Basett Altitude Control why your marketing isn't working

Targeting a Broad Market

Market research is the best way that you’re going to make sure that you’re targeting the right potential customer.

I remember when I first started my home soundproofing business. I was confident that I could offer my niche services to a mass market and be successful. But I quickly learned that wasn’t the case. The biggest reason my marketing failed was because I was trying to reach too many people with my message. I didn’t have a clear target audience in mind, and as a result, my message got lost in the noise. I learned that it’s important to focus your marketing efforts on a specific group of people, and to craft your message in a way that resonates with them. Only then can you hope to be successful.

Ludovic Chung-Sao, Zen Soundproof

Not Choosing an Ideal Customer

The biggest reason my marketing failed was because I didn’t have an ideal customer profile.

I didn’t know who my target audience was, what pain points they had, or what solutions I could offer them.

As a result, my marketing message was all over the place and didn’t resonate with anyone. I learned that it’s essential to have a clear strategy before starting any marketing campaign.

Once I identified my target audience and what they needed, my campaigns became much more effective. If you’re struggling with your marketing, I recommend taking some time to develop a clear strategy. It will make all the difference in the world.

Thomas Curry, Moving Feedback

Now, let’s move to creating the offer.

I love using the word “Offer” instead of product or service because an offer incorporates EVERYTHING; the product, the service, the package, the people, where you can buy it, and ultimately the customer experience.

An Offer that Doesn’t Connect with the Customer

Market research helps you choose the right customer. And, choosing the right customer, will help you develop an offer that they want and are willing to pay for.

Another thing that came up with our marketers is how important it is to focus on customer experience.

Not Offering a Customer-Centric Experience

One of the reasons why our marketing campaign failed was that the service we provided was not focusing on the customer experience but rather what we thought the customer needed.

That is one of the biggest problems any company can fall into and that’s why it is essential to gain customer feedback, understand consumer behavior and constantly stay up to date with the latest trends and latest technological advancements to make sure you’re offering a focused customer experience and tailoring your services to the needs of your target audience.

It took us a while to adapt and evolve, but we ended up using social listening to gain the feedback we needed and adjusting our services to meet the needs of our consumers.

Denise Hemke, Checkr

Denise Hemke from Checkr why your marketing isn't working

Not Making the Buying Process Easy for Customers

The main reason why our marketing failed is due to the difficult buying process. In the beginning, we were inexperienced and did not have an idea that customers always prefer those brands whose buying process is easy and simple. Because we are living in the modern world of technology and advancements. Obviously, everyone prefers the best but simple buying processes. So now we have made our online selling system quite simple and attractive for customers to retain their loyalty and make our marketing successful.

Alex Savy, Comfynorth

Not Choosing a Marketing Strategy

Choosing a core marketing strategy can eliminate so many mistakes, everything from what channels you’re going to choose and what message you’re going to share, and how you’re going to share it.

No one talks about this, but there are three marketing strategies; content marketing which is an inbound or pull strategy where you’re using content to pull customers in by educating them and helping them choose the best offer.

Then there’s direct marketing where you’re solving a specific problem with a specific offer. This is often a push strategy because you are sending coupons or selling via email or webinars.

And finally, there’s advertising, another push strategy where you are using other people’s audiences to generate leads and paying for it.

Choosing one of these strategies will help you identify exactly WHAT you are going to use as your marketing message.

Here are some real examples of what happens when you don’t choose a core marketing strategy.

Pitching for the Wrong Reasons

The most significant marketing lesson I’ve learned is to pitch for necessity rather than luxury.

No matter what product or service you’re trying to sell or who your target customers are, the goal should be to convince them why their lives are incomplete without your service.

Even if our target customers are privileged and rich, talking about how your product can enhance luxury can only work sometimes.

For example, if one is trying to sell an expensive shoe, it should be about how the soles can grip high steep angles, provide comfort for long hours, etc. Rather than being about how it might look elegant when paired with one of their expensive suits. One needs to be opportunistic, smart with words, and believe in his product to successfully carry out this mission.

Kurt Uhlir, kurtuhlir

Sending the Wrong or Ambiguous Message

One of the biggest reasons for marketing failure is that the message that you want to convey can be interpreted in more than one way.

For instance, the message on working out to improve one’s health can backfire if you use a plus-size model and show her transformation.

This can be misinterpreted as body shaming and your marketing falls flat.

Hence, identify your message and craft a marketing strategy that delivers the message directly, without any space for misinterpretations. This is where in-depth research can come in as it will show how to tackle the message without it facing any backlash from the market.

Arthur Worsley, The Art Of Living

The Messaging Wasn’t Cohesive and Uniform

Sometimes, campaigns can get too sporadic when you want to include too many ideas that you think are great. While unique ideas can be impactful and may garner the reach you were hoping for, it’s crucial to first ensure your core message is clear. Once you have this in place, the execution can follow. This way, your campaign presents a uniform message and a coherent approach to the audience.

Asma Hafejee, CMR Surgical

Choose Tactics and Channels

After choosing a specific strategy that tells you exactly what type of messaging you’re going to use and what channels you’re going to use.

I love these examples because they illustrate this point so effectively.

Diversifying on Social Media Didn’t Fit Our Brand

Spreading our marketing efforts on every social media channel was one of our biggest mistakes.

It wasted our financial resources and left us chasing deadlines because we couldn’t reach our target exposure in any of those platforms we engaged in.

It taught us that online diversification of marketing content was not for us, so we needed to change our approach. 

Micro-branding was the strategy we pursued to bounce back and save our marketing campaign. We dropped some of our social channels and chose only two where we could yield the most conversion. Doing so enabled us to exert our time and effort on fewer outlets where our success was guaranteed. It was way better than casting a wide net and spreading our content across every platform with less chance of getting noticed.

Sam Tabak, RMBH Charities

Operating on the Wrong Channels

Marketing is a prominent component of any business. If handled properly, it can boost the company’s productivity. Thus, contributing heavily to boosting company growth and intensifying net dividend. But if not addressed properly or if any mishap occurs, it would plummet the company’s growth. Once I also encountered a marketing downfall. I used the wrong channels to endorse my services thus not getting enough clients for my business which eventually resulted in a lack of patrons. When I learned of this matter, I promptly made adjustments by discontinuing the wrong channels and using the right one which eventually generated decent and satisfactory clients promoting the company’s productivity.

Sandeep Bhandari, Askanydifference

Thinking You’re Going to Get Immediate Results

I like to say that marketing is a lot like farming. You plant seeds, you nurture them and you simply trust in the process and that you’re going to get the results you’re after.

The key to successful marketing is choosing your strategy and tactics and then implementing consistently and tracking your performance.

Creating Unrealistic Expectations

We had unrealistic expectations from marketing in the beginning based on the things we picked up from the internet.

Even reputable sources cannot predict all the nuances of the specific niche and product.

We adjusted our expectations based on our experience, and are working on optimizing the process and maximizing the results in a more realistic timeframe. It is important to emphasize that this is an ongoing improvement, not a one-time thing.

Kristina Gligorovic, Localizely

Giving Up Too Quickly

As Léa Soller from Digiberries Paris explains:

Sometimes marketing doesn’t work because our clients give up too quickly.

We often tell our clients that marketing takes 6-12 months to produce results. Yes, you will see some indicators of success along the way, but it takes time to really gain the momentum you are looking for in marketing, especially SEO. 

That’s why in marketing, persistence is relatively important. We advise our clients and prospects not to give up marketing after the first month. This is because they will not get their money back in the right way. Give marketing time, it will pay off years later.

Fuel the Fire

Anyone who has done marketing for a company can relate to the fact that marketing budgets are often the first to go when it comes to reducing spending.

Having worked my way up from the lowest levels of sales and marketing to the C-level, I can tell you that it’s hard to get approval for budgets that aren’t based on having followed the marketing process.

Inadequate Budgeting

Honestly, the marketing budget is often arbitrary. Instead of basing the marketing budget on a percentage of revenue, our marketers base the campaign budget on either what is available or on a budget we are comfortable with. But is it enough to see results? The truth is, no. 

Very low budgets are problematic for the following reasons:

– Your campaign doesn’t cost enough to last long.

–  Your spending is too low to make enough “frequency”.

– Your campaign may not generate enough traffic and may not see sales. 

The third is particularly important. You must spend enough to really see a meaningful effect. The real strategy is to balance your campaign objectives with the budget you have.

Kane Jason, Ace Infoway

How to Increase Your Marketing Success

If there’s ONE thing I want you to get from this it’s to follow the marketing process. Think of it as a recipe and take your time during each step. I use a few shortcut marketing rules. And here they are:

Marketing is about choices and tasks based on research. Choose your goals, choose your customer, choose your strategy, choose your message, and choose your channels. Only then, can you start DOING.

Implement your messaging on your channels and measure. Remember you will fail 99% of the time. But there will be that ONE thing you do that does slightly better than all the rest.

THIS is where you start optimizing. Tweak and measure. Tweak and measure.

Give yourself time. The time you give yourself will depend on how long your selling cycle is. If it takes a year for a customer to go through the buying process — you have to give it a year.

Use your results as part of your market research. Rinse and repeat.

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