What to Do If Your Marketing Isn’t Working

What to Do If Your Marketing Isn’t Working


When sales goals go unmet over a period of time, the marketing department (or whoever’s supposed to post to Facebook) usually catches the heat. Remarkably, many business owners wait until they’re experiencing a consistent decline before taking their marketing efforts seriously. While it’s important to master the product and/or service being provided, there should be some emphasis placed on marketing. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean people are going to come.

Before we explore the issues that may be holding you back, let’s define what we mean by “marketing” for the purpose of this article. We’re defining it as: the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. The process should take the product, price, placement (distribution method) and promotion into consideration to develop the best possible strategy. If you believe your marketing isn’t working, essentially what you’re stating is that there is a breakdown in the process of delivering your goods and services to your customer.

The More You Know

When it comes to figuring out if your marketing is effective, there’s only one real metric: leads. If you are not receiving enough leads to support your goals, your marketing is indeed failing. Thankfully, knowing is half the battle and we can now explore some of the issues that may be causing your problem.

Who Are You Trying to Reach and Attract?

Traditional marketing methods such as advertising or direct mail require a more generic message in order to appeal to the masses at a reasonable price. However, studies have shown that targeted, and sometimes even personalized, messaging is far more effective. Develop a persona for each different type of customer you have, and develop messaging that would appeal to them, and only them. Yes, you may have 10 different personas. Yes, you will need to develop 10 different types of content. You will find that your messages are better received and more effective. One size no longer fits all.

What is Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

Most business owners are well aware of what makes them unique compared to their competitors and usually highlight a specific feature or benefit that’s a little better than the other guy’s. But what happens if you have to prove your uniqueness without comparing yourself to a competitor? What promise are you making your customers? Why did you open your doors in the first place? That is your USP. Regardless of how many competitors come and go, your USP is the real reason people do business with you.

What Are Your Goals?

While the number of consistent new leads is important, it’s not the only metric you should measure. To figure out what metrics are best to measure for your company, assemble your team and ask them what’s important from a departmental standpoint. For example, your operations manager may want to know how many packages were mis-delivered each month. Your customer service manager may want to know how many calls were received from unhappy customers to see if there are any particular trends. Production may want to know how many items were reported damaged in shipping. As CEO, you may want to know what the gross sales were for the month. Once your team has offered their input, you can choose the top 10 or so suggestions and those are the metrics that you measure consistently. That’s not to say those are the only metrics to monitor, but they will be the ones that will help you keep your finger on the pulse.

Are You Doing Enough to Make a Difference?

Companies oftentimes believe that doing “a little” marketing is better than not doing any at all. That’s true, to an extent. While something is better than nothing, you may not be doing enough to get noticed. Depending on your goals, you may need to execute several different marketing tactics simultaneously to get the attention you desire.

Do You Have the Budget to Support Your Goals?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not possible to produce $1M in revenue with a $1K budget. Okay; it’s possible, it’s not probable. You need a budget that will support a sustainable, scalable and repeatable marketing process that delivers results year after year. Generally speaking, marketing budgets can range from 7 to 12 percent of annual projected sales. Start-ups may need to be a little more aggressive with budgets, going as high as 30% of projected sales.

Now What?

So, we determined that your marketing wasn’t working due to a lack of leads. We’ve explored a few of the issues that may be causing the problem. We’ve set goals and determined a budget. Now what? Here are three steps to help get your marketing back on track:

1. If you have an in-house marketing team, ask them what they think. If you have nurtured an environment where open and honest communication is encouraged and welcomed, they will be your best source to figure out exactly what you should do next.

2. If you’re doing what you’ve always done, STOP. You must be creative with your marketing. Consumers are more informed than they have ever been. You’ve got to bring your “A” game.

3. Get outside help. A marketing consultant and/or firm will offer you a fresh and creative perspective. They can also introduce you to new and relevant technology that can help you and your staff work smarter to achieve your goals.

When you address the issues that are causing the breakdown in your marketing process in a responsible and consistent manner, you will most certainly see an increase in your business. Ultimately, that is the goal.