How to Not Fail at Marketing

Marketing is a crucial aspect of any business, as it helps to attract and retain customers. Any business out there knows that marketing is needed in order to drive awareness and sales. But, businesses also know that marketing is a huge big hairy beast and sometimes it feels like you are spending a lot of time and effort battling this beast.

You aren’t the only one.

Despite its importance, marketing can also be a source of failure for many companies. There is so much information out there and so much can go wrong! But don’t worry – all is not lost. There are ways that we often see marketing “fail”, but there are also ways we’ve seen businesses come out of these failures to turn the ship around.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the ways in which marketing can fail within a company or organization and what can be done to try to catch it or reverse it before it gets too catastrophic and costly.

So what are the top reasons why marketing fails in organizations?

  • No foundation.
  • Lack of strategy.
  • Not understanding the target audience.
  • Lack or misappropriation of resources.
  • Underrepresentation of data and metrics, or skewed data and metrics driving decisions.
  • Not having enough fun or enough experimentation.

So let’s get into it, and how each of these “marketing fails” could be avoided.

No (or no strong) foundation.

The biggest reason we see marketing fail in businesses is the fact there are no foundational marketing tactics and strategies in place. We aren’t saying you need to understand every single marketing strategy out there, or have a large marketing team, but there needs to be an understanding of what marketing strategies and tactics work and could work for your business and industry. You wouldn’t build a foundation to a house without the right supplies, tools, and understanding – your marketing strategy is no different. This foundation is what all the rest of your marketing will be built upon so make it strong!

Avoid this by taking time to understand (or finding someone who understands) marketing strategies and tactics: There should be a focus on your industry, business, and your needs and capabilities and not a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.

Lack of strategy and focus.

One common reason for marketing failure is a lack of strategy. Many companies fail to plan out their marketing efforts, resulting in a scattered and disorganized approach. This can lead to a lack of focus, inconsistency in messaging, and ultimately, a lack of results. It can also lead to frustration and an overspending in many areas. This generally manifests itself in areas like: chronic overspend in PPC, an uneven social media ad budget, no consistent cadence for output, marketing roles as revolving doors, and lumping marketing and sales into one position or job role when the activities aren’t quite the same. None of this is overtly bad, but it causes undue stress and it can absolutely be avoided!

Avoid this by developing a clear and comprehensive marketing strategy: This should outline the specific goals, target audience, and tactics to be used. This document can be so helpful and works really well when marketing roles change or new employees come into a marketing position. It helps to align every person and department that needs alignment in marketing, and is a way to keep everyone moving forward.

Not understanding who you are talking to (or who you want to talk to).

Another reason for marketing failure is a lack of understanding of the target audience. In order to effectively reach and engage with potential customers, it is essential to have a deep understanding of their needs, wants, and behaviors. Without this information and research, marketing efforts are likely to miss the mark and fail to resonate with the intended audience. Again, this can cause frustration and resources to be wasted in areas that won’t really create good ROI.

Avoid this by understanding the target audience: Conduct market research to gain insights into the needs, wants, and behaviors of the intended audience. This understanding of your audience gives such insight into how and where to talk to them and can help connect authentically with them! This authenticity creates relationships with your audience in a way they enjoy and connect with – which is such a win!

Lack of, or misdirected, resources.

Marketing can be deemed as a “failure” because of a lack of resources too. Many small businesses, in particular, struggle to allocate sufficient resources towards marketing. This can lead to a lack of consistency in marketing efforts and a failure to effectively promote the company and its products or services. But if the other failures above are corrected, you will find that resources can be allocated to the right areas. Your audience is on LinkedIn? You need to spend time creating marketing content like PDFs, infographics, and tactical information on that platform (which takes time to think about and create!) Is your audience on YouTube? Better be ready to spend some serious time recording and editing videos – you get the idea. Know where your audience is and make plans to allocate resources to execute the strategy effectively.

Avoid this by making sure to allocate sufficient resources: Prioritize marketing and allocate the necessary budget, time, and personnel to support marketing efforts.

Not understanding metrics and what they mean, and using those to drive decisions.

Marketing can also fail due to a lack of measurement and evaluation, or even not understanding metrics and then using those to drive marketing resource allocation. Without tracking and analyzing the results of marketing efforts, it is impossible to determine what is and is not working. As a result, companies may continue to pursue ineffective tactics and miss opportunities for improvement. To prevent this, it is essential to establish clear metrics to measure the success of marketing efforts and to regularly review and assess the results.

Avoid this by understanding, measuring and evaluating results: Establish clear metrics to track the success of marketing efforts and regularly review and assess the results to make smart and informed decisions that help facilitate growth and drive revenue.

By following these steps and being proactive about addressing potential pitfalls, companies can set themselves up for marketing success.

Of course, no plan is foolproof and there will always be challenges and obstacles to overcome.

However, by being mindful of common causes of marketing failure and taking proactive steps to prevent them, companies can significantly increase their chances of success.