Why Marketing Fails

Marketing works. Except when it doesn’t. So when you miss your marketing goals, it pays to dig into the real reasons behind the shortfall. (Hint: it’s almost never that the goals were too aggressive.) Here are five ways marketing can go sideways on you.

Unless you have unlimited resources, you have to focus on your best and most likely prospects. That often means excluding everybody else. But too much marketing casts a wide net, when a majority of those reached are not prospects at all. Look at your best customers or clients. Then build your marketing to attract people or companies just like them. 

Marketing and sales are mostly the same thing. And just telling people what you offer is neither. Persuade me of the need, then persuade me that you’re the best choice to fill that need. Make me want it, show me why you’re the best source, then make it easy for me to get it from you. Whatever it is. Then repeat.

Probably because of social media, it’s easier than ever to believe that you don’t have to invest in marketing. It’s also wrong. It takes both time and money to market well (translation: get results). Most companies, regardless of size, invest too little of both.

It’s true that some media don’t have the reach or impact they once did. But there are smart solutions. You can use those media better than others are using them. Or you can come up with marketing ideas that are off the beaten path. Either way, you have to look beyond what everyone else is doing. When was the last time you tried something new?

It’s all about engagement. Think entertainment, but entertainment with a goal. You have to make the audience want to find out more or share or follow or take a next step. It’s been said many times before: you can’t bore anyone into buying anything. Look at your marketing. If it was a competitor’s, would you be jealous? Would you wish it was yours? If so, good for you. If not, it needs work.

Of course, there are a lot of other reasons marketing might not work as intended. But if you’re getting all of these five right, there’s a very good chance you’re meeting — or beating — your goals. If not…well, there’s your homework.

(If your marketing needs a boost, consider Idealogy’s Out of the Box Day, a chance to get you or your team out of the office and into creative high gear. You’ll come out the other side with new ideas, new marketing messages and new energy.)