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10 Reasons Your Marketing Might Not Be Working…


I wrote this a while back and never sent it out, but as I was looking at it…I realized it probably has a lot of utility right now. 

Here are ten reasons your marketing might not be working:

Lately, I have been having a lot of conversations with my prospects and clients about how they can grow their audience or market. This is a topic that plays right into revenue generation, but ultimately without some sort of consistent marketing effort, you aren’t ever going to maximize your revenues. 

So that got me thinking about some of the ways that organizations get stuck delivering their marketing message inconsistently. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it should be a good starting point for you to examine your own marketing efforts.  

1. Wrong Market: This may seem like either the smartest thing I will say or the dumbest, but if you aren’t delivering the right value proposition to the right market, you are going to be less likely to deliver anything consistently. 

2. Poor Value Proposition: If you have been around me for any length of time, you have heard me reference my 3 questions to drive your strategy. The first and most important one is what value you provide and want to provide to your market. Yet, in too many instances, we never fully flesh out our value propositions…which leads to poor response to the efforts we make, which leads to a lack of consistent message delivery. This becomes an endless cycle.

3. Inconsistent Delivery: Duh! But you would be surprised. In business, as in life, things get in the way. If you have a lot of demands on your time, you can find yourself really struggling to deliver your marketing message consistently. One of the biggest errors you can make is being haphazard in your message delivery. 

4. Poor message alignment: This ties into having the wrong market, but in my firm we discuss the “revenue engine.” This means that four key areas are in alignment: strategy, operations, sales, and marketing. The key to alignment is that all 4 of these areas are working in the same direction. It is pretty easy for sales and marketing to not be on the same page with their message or for your strategy to be inconsistent with the efforts of sales and marketing. 

5. Too many messages: Have you ever seen a bad piece of direct mail? One where the entire back of the postcard is filled from top to bottom with text? I’m sure you have and that means that the company is trying to tell you too much. Or, have you ever been on the receiving end of a conversation where the person is droning on and on and when you try to shut them down, they say something along the lines of, “just one more thing.” In either case, if you have too many messages you are trying to deliver, all of them are likely to get lost. 

6. Jumping around from message to message: If you have too many messages you are trying to deliver, do you want to make it worse? Ok. Go ahead and try to deliver those messages at random, all over the place, with no rhyme or reason…see how effective that is.

7. Not allowing your message to gain traction: This is the partner to 5 & 6. But all too often, we don’t allow ourselves enough data to make good decisions about the utility of our message. If you have one data point, you can’t really make much of a decision, but if you have 10…maybe? Too often, we can find ourselves making one message, getting one set of feedback and changing our message to reflect that feedback instead of taking the position that we need to have a sample of data before we know anything.

8. No call to action: A lot of marketers and advertisers came up in the world of impression marketing and affinity marketing…which is the kind of stuff that a show like “Mad Men” focuses on, but in the world of sales and business services, you need some sort of call to action to make sure people know what you want them to do. Do you want them to call a number? Text something? Buy? Ask them to do it! 

9. Your marketing is reactive, not proactive: I wrote about the smart companies that market heavily in a recession on my blog recently. This is again what I am talking about here. You can’t have your marketing and messaging be a  reaction to some external event, you will always be behind. Instead, you need to always have a set marketing strategy that you are consistently focusing on and testing for validity. This will enable you to try to ensure that you are attacking the market and not allowing your team to sit on their heels. 

10. No follow-up mechanism in place: This could be stated as a silo mentality in your organization; a poor sales pipeline; a poorly thought out marketing process….whatever. What this really comes down to is that you don’t know what you are going to do once you have set the marketing wheels in motion and so you deliver your message and then sit around and wait. That’s terrible. 

These are just a few of the ways that you can find yourself losing traction and consistency in your marketing. Next time we will get into some solutions. 

Is there something that I obviously should have included? What do you think about this list? 

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