5 reasons your marketing isn’t working (and how to fix it)

  • Marketing
  • 3rd June 2021
Written by Adam Barrett Brook

Marketing drives growth. Like calories. You put money in, and it drives leads. It’s a simple equation but one which, just like losing weight, can be a hard-fought win.

So, what happens when your marketing stops working? How can you fix it? And why has it become ineffective in the first place?

Like diet’s you need to start at the beginning. The triggers that drive you to eat something are the same triggers that customers use to buy your product. The very first thing you your Slimming World coach will tell you is to recognise the trigger that leads you to eat two chocolate biscuits instead of one. The second step is to learn how to fix it. Marketing is just the same – identify the customer triggers and make them more effective. So, whilst the slimmer tries to stop eating biscuits, you’re trying to make them eat more. It’s a cruel world out there. It really is.

At the SME Partners, the very first thing we do is take a step back and look at where your triggers might be leading your marketing astray. We’re the slimming world of marketing. The weight watchers of your marketing budget. So here’s where we start…

You don’t understand who your customers are,
Who is your ideal customer? This really is the exam question. If you don’t know it, don’t worry. There are tonnes of ways to find it out – from analytics, to surveys, to Mintel reports. When you know where they are, where do you find them? Are they in Costco stocking up on bulk buys, or browsing the aisles of Waitrose? Are they frequent buyers or once in a blue moon? The more you can find out about your customers, the more effective your marketing will become. Take a bag of skittles, you know like the red ones best, but you have to go and buy the whole damn packet. Effective marketing means you’re not buying the whole bag of skittles, you’re just finding the red ones.

Your product doesn’t make your customers life better,
Sometimes, business owners get way too close to their product. You know and we know it. We’ve been there too. This is particularly true of the tech world where endless features will be added to an app or platform to fulfil a supposed customer need. If we’d had a pound for every time a CEO has come up to us and said we need an app. But why, CEO, does the customer need the app? The key to a successful product proposition is to ask how does your product make life better for your customers?

Your brand identity doesn’t look trustworthy,
Brand marketing. Ah that old gem. If we had a pound for every CEO that said they didn’t need brand marketing and then ended up getting royally shot down by some disgruntled customer on twitter. Perception matters. More so than at any time in history. Because your brand is everywhere, and your customer is everywhere, and everyone has more of a voice than ever. If your brand doesn’t look trustworthy they are not going to buy from you. It’s that simple. To fix it you need to be everywhere talking to that customer, and look like your marketing hasn’t been knocked up in Microsoft Paint.

You favour one marketing channel over another,
But I do PPC? What more do I need to do? Well, the simple answer is you need to do more. A lot more. There’s a reason multichannel marketing is so trendy. It works. You can’t just invest in a PPC & SEO agency and then not deal with content outreach and PR. Or neglect your customer database in favour of Google. The customer journey is fragmented. Customers leap between channels, eventually converting to a sale. Your marketing needs to touch all points of the customer journey and be front of mind, so just when they’ve forgotten about you, up you pop with the perfect product at the perfect time. A clear multi-channel marketing strategy where you spread your marketing budget between channels, and pull different levers at different times, is key.

You’re chasing short term profit vs long term revenue,
Marketing spend should account for 10 / 15% of your turnover. No ifs, no buts. Having a marketing budget and targets set into your profit and loss, will allow more accountability to yourself and your investors. Marketing can be all about short-term profits but it doesn’t give a sustainable growth or build a long term brand. For that you need long term consistency and budget. Most importantly ask yourself what your long-term goal is for the business? Is it to grow to sell? Is it to be a world-renowned brand? Is it to change the world with your product? Is it a lifestyle business to earn a living? It could be one or all of these things, but if you have an idea of where you are headed your short and long term decisions become much easier.

The SME Partners is led by Sonia & Claire. Hello. We have 40 years experience in marketing between us. For a friendly, no obligation chat, to see how we can help your business launch, optimise and grow, leave your details here and we’ll be in touch.

You can read a few of our case studies here