Why Your Marketing Isn't Working and How to Fix It - DIYMarketers (2023)

You’ve been trying to do your own marketing, but your marketing isn’t working. It seems that no matter what you try, you don’t get the results you’re after.


Because your marketing process looks like you’re playing a slot machine; you throw your money and resources at an idea and then you hope that it’s a winner. And you repeat this process over and over.

Why Your Marketing Isn't Working and How to Fix It - DIYMarketers (1)

Most entrepreneurs don’t know that there’s a marketing process. But, without a process to follow, you’re making all kinds of mistakes that are preventing your marketing from being successful.

What’s the Marketing Process

Marketing campaigns are really recipes for connecting and converting customers. Unfortunately,

a lot of marketing experts drop you into the middle of the process thinking that it will be easier for you to get results without knowing all the pesky details.

Why Your Marketing Isn't Working and How to Fix It - DIYMarketers (2)

It’s really a recipe — there are no shortcuts. You have to follow it step by step and in order. If you don’t follow the process in order, you’re not going to get the desired outcome.

And even if you follow the process, your results aren’t guaranteed.

But you won’t be able to debrief your results if you can’t pinpoint where in the process you need to optimize.

The best way to illustrate what I’m talking about is to bring in real stories from real marketers about the times their marketing didn’t work and what they did to fix it.

Why Your Marketing Isn't Working and How to Fix It - DIYMarketers (3)

Here’s exactly what I asked them:

Based on your experience, what’s the biggest reason your marketing failed or didn’t work as expected? What did you learn and how did you fix it?

Not Doing and Using Market Research

Everything starts with market research. And, market research can include anything from conversations with potential customers, surveys, polls, and yes — even web analytics.

If you don’t collect data, it’s hard to track results. And if you’re not tracking results against your data, it’s hard to adjust and optimize.

Not Tracking Results

Gerrid Smith, from Joy Organics, gets right to the heart of the impact that tracking and measuring results can make in your marketing.

When you have a marketing process, you automatically have this “proof of work” that gives you the ability to test your marketing and track your results.

If you are not tracking and measuring your marketing efforts, it’s going to be very difficult to determine whether they lead to successful marketing or not. In fact, you may not even realize when your marketing is failing.

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This is why it’s important to have a system in place that can track and measure your results. Unfortunately, we faced a lot of issues due to a lack of tracking and measuring systems.

But now due to having experience we have selected the best tracking and measuring system for our marketing such as website analytics, lead generation tracking, social media metrics, and email marketing metrics.

Therefore, it is recommended to make sure you are using at least one of these tracking and measurement systems so you can accurately assess the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Why Your Marketing Isn't Working and How to Fix It - DIYMarketers (4)

You can see why tracking and measuring are important — and then funneling what you’ve learned back INTO your marketing process so that you can make changes.

Not Being Agile

Edward Mellett, from Wikijob says it perfectly — you have to be able to make changes and adjust

One of the most common reasons marketing campaigns fail is because they’re not agile and it’s the same issue we faced.

Now you may think about what is meant by an agile marketing campaign. Simply, an agile marketing strategy is one that can quickly adapt to changes in the market. This might be changes in consumer behavior, technology, or even the economy.

So, we have learned when our marketing failed that when our marketing strategy isn’t able to adapt to these changes, it’s likely to fail.

The reason for this is that the market is constantly evolving, and what may have worked a few years ago may not work today. So now we try our level best to make sure that our marketing strategy is agile, and can quickly adapt to changes in the market.

Market research also plays an important part in setting your goals and objectives.

Setting Objectives That Were Unclear and Unrealistic

One of the reasons our marketing strategy failed was because of unclear objectives.

At the beginning of our business journey, we didn’t set clear and realistic objectives.

If your goal was to get 10,000 leads in a single month but you only get 1,000 then unfortunately your marketing campaign is unsuccessful.

By learning from our mistakes we know the importance of setting clear objectives.

To set clear goals, it’s essential to have complete information about the audience. Like what are their needs and what they expect from you.

So we try to fix this issue by developing clear goals and understanding of the audience. We can only provide good services and can lead our marketing to success when we become able to satisfy our audience.

Kyle Basett, Altitude Control

Why Your Marketing Isn't Working and How to Fix It - DIYMarketers (5)

Targeting a Broad Market

Market research is the best way that you’re going to make sure that you’re targeting the right potential customer.

I remember when I first started my home soundproofing business. I was confident that I could offer my niche services to a mass market and be successful. But I quickly learned that wasn’t the case. The biggest reason my marketing failed was because I was trying to reach too many people with my message. I didn’t have a clear target audience in mind, and as a result, my message got lost in the noise. I learned that it’s important to focus your marketing efforts on a specific group of people, and to craft your message in a way that resonates with them. Only then can you hope to be successful.

Ludovic Chung-Sao, Zen Soundproof

Not Choosing an Ideal Customer

The biggest reason my marketing failed was because I didn’t have an ideal customer profile.

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I didn’t know who my target audience was, what pain points they had, or what solutions I could offer them.

As a result, my marketing message was all over the place and didn’t resonate with anyone. I learned that it’s essential to have a clear strategy before starting any marketing campaign.

Once I identified my target audience and what they needed, my campaigns became much more effective. If you’re struggling with your marketing, I recommend taking some time to develop a clear strategy. It will make all the difference in the world.

Thomas Curry, Moving Feedback

Now, let’s move to creating the offer.

I love using the word “Offer” instead of product or service because an offer incorporates EVERYTHING; the product, the service, the package, the people, where you can buy it, and ultimately the customer experience.

An Offer that Doesn’t Connect with the Customer

Market research helps you choose the right customer. And, choosing the right customer, will help you develop an offer that they want and are willing to pay for.

Another thing that came up with our marketers is how important it is to focus on customer experience.

Not Offering a Customer-Centric Experience

One of the reasons why our marketing campaign failed was that the service we provided was not focusing on the customer experience but rather what we thought the customer needed.

That is one of the biggest problems any company can fall into and that’s why it is essential to gain customer feedback, understand consumer behavior and constantly stay up to date with the latest trends and latest technological advancements to make sure you’re offering a focused customer experience and tailoring your services to the needs of your target audience.

It took us a while to adapt and evolve, but we ended up using social listening to gain the feedback we needed and adjusting our services to meet the needs of our consumers.

Denise Hemke, Checkr

Why Your Marketing Isn't Working and How to Fix It - DIYMarketers (6)

Not Making the Buying Process Easy for Customers

The main reason why our marketing failed is due to the difficult buying process. In the beginning, we were inexperienced and did not have an idea that customers always prefer those brands whose buying process is easy and simple. Because we are living in the modern world of technology and advancements. Obviously, everyone prefers the best but simple buying processes. So now we have made our online selling system quite simple and attractive for customers to retain their loyalty and make our marketing successful.

Alex Savy, Comfynorth

Not Choosing a Marketing Strategy

Choosing a core marketing strategy can eliminate so many mistakes, everything from what channels you’re going to choose and what message you’re going to share, and how you’re going to share it.

No one talks about this, but there are three marketing strategies; content marketing which is an inbound or pull strategy where you’re using content to pull customers in by educating them and helping them choose the best offer.

Then there’s direct marketing where you’re solving a specific problem with a specific offer. This is often a push strategy because you are sending coupons or selling via email or webinars.

And finally, there’s advertising, another push strategy where you are using other people’s audiences to generate leads and paying for it.

Choosing one of these strategies will help you identify exactly WHAT you are going to use as your marketing message.

Here are some real examples of what happens when you don’t choose a core marketing strategy.

Pitching for the Wrong Reasons

The most significant marketing lesson I’ve learned is to pitch for necessity rather than luxury.

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No matter what product or service you’re trying to sell or who your target customers are, the goal should be to convince them why their lives are incomplete without your service.

Even if our target customers are privileged and rich, talking about how your product can enhance luxury can only work sometimes.

For example, if one is trying to sell an expensive shoe, it should be about how the soles can grip high steep angles, provide comfort for long hours, etc. Rather than being about how it might look elegant when paired with one of their expensive suits. One needs to be opportunistic, smart with words, and believe in his product to successfully carry out this mission.

Kurt Uhlir, kurtuhlir

Sending the Wrong or Ambiguous Message

One of the biggest reasons for marketing failure is that the message that you want to convey can be interpreted in more than one way.

For instance, the message on working out to improve one’s health can backfire if you use a plus-size model and show her transformation.

This can be misinterpreted as body shaming and your marketing falls flat.

Hence, identify your message and craft a marketing strategy that delivers the message directly, without any space for misinterpretations. This is where in-depth research can come in as it will show how to tackle the message without it facing any backlash from the market.

Arthur Worsley, The Art Of Living

The Messaging Wasn’t Cohesive and Uniform

Sometimes, campaigns can get too sporadic when you want to include too many ideas that you think are great. While unique ideas can be impactful and may garner the reach you were hoping for, it’s crucial to first ensure your core message is clear. Once you have this in place, the execution can follow. This way, your campaign presents a uniform message and a coherent approach to the audience.

Asma Hafejee, CMR Surgical

Choose Tactics and Channels

After choosing a specific strategy that tells you exactly what type of messaging you’re going to use and what channels you’re going to use.

I love these examples because they illustrate this point so effectively.

Diversifying on Social Media Didn’t Fit Our Brand

Spreading our marketing efforts on every social media channel was one of our biggest mistakes.

It wasted our financial resources and left us chasing deadlines because we couldn’t reach our target exposure in any of those platforms we engaged in.

It taught us that online diversification of marketing content was not for us, so we needed to change our approach.

Micro-branding was the strategy we pursued to bounce back and save our marketing campaign. We dropped some of our social channels and chose only two where we could yield the most conversion. Doing so enabled us to exert our time and effort on fewer outlets where our success was guaranteed. It was way better than casting a wide net and spreading our content across every platform with less chance of getting noticed.

Sam Tabak, RMBH Charities

Operating on the Wrong Channels

Marketing is a prominent component of any business. If handled properly, it can boost the company’s productivity. Thus, contributing heavily to boosting company growth and intensifying net dividend. But if not addressed properly or if any mishap occurs, it would plummet the company’s growth. Once I also encountered a marketing downfall. I used the wrong channels to endorse my services thus not getting enough clients for my business which eventually resulted in a lack of patrons. When I learned of this matter, I promptly made adjustments by discontinuing the wrong channels and using the right one which eventually generated decent and satisfactory clients promoting the company’s productivity.

Sandeep Bhandari, Askanydifference

Thinking You’re Going to Get Immediate Results

I like to say that marketing is a lot like farming. You plant seeds, you nurture them and you simply trust in the process and that you’re going to get the results you’re after.

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The key to successful marketing is choosing your strategy and tactics and then implementing consistently and tracking your performance.

Creating Unrealistic Expectations

We had unrealistic expectations from marketing in the beginning based on the things we picked up from the internet.

Even reputable sources cannot predict all the nuances of the specific niche and product.

We adjusted our expectations based on our experience, and are working on optimizing the process and maximizing the results in a more realistic timeframe. It is important to emphasize that this is an ongoing improvement, not a one-time thing.

Kristina Gligorovic, Localizely

Giving Up Too Quickly

As Léa Soller from Digiberries Paris explains:

Sometimes marketing doesn’t work because our clients give up too quickly.

We often tell our clients that marketing takes 6-12 months to produce results. Yes, you will see some indicators of success along the way, but it takes time to really gain the momentum you are looking for in marketing, especially SEO.

That’s why in marketing, persistence is relatively important. We advise our clients and prospects not to give up marketing after the first month. This is because they will not get their money back in the right way. Give marketing time, it will pay off years later.

Fuel the Fire

Anyone who has done marketing for a company can relate to the fact that marketing budgets are often the first to go when it comes to reducing spending.

Having worked my way up from the lowest levels of sales and marketing to the C-level, I can tell you that it’s hard to get approval for budgets that aren’t based on having followed the marketing process.

Inadequate Budgeting

Honestly, the marketing budget is often arbitrary. Instead of basing the marketing budget on a percentage of revenue, our marketers base the campaign budget on either what is available or on a budget we are comfortable with. But is it enough to see results? The truth is, no.

Very low budgets are problematic for the following reasons:

– Your campaign doesn’t cost enough to last long.

– Your spending is too low to make enough “frequency”.

– Your campaign may not generate enough traffic and may not see sales.

The third is particularly important. You must spend enough to really see a meaningful effect. The real strategy is to balance your campaign objectives with the budget you have.

Kane Jason, Ace Infoway

How to Increase Your Marketing Success

If there’s ONE thing I want you to get from this it’s to follow the marketing process. Think of it as a recipe and take your time during each step. I use a few shortcut marketing rules. And here they are:

Marketing is about choices and tasks based on research. Choose your goals, choose your customer, choose your strategy, choose your message, and choose your channels. Only then, can you start DOING.

Implement your messaging on your channels and measure. Remember you will fail 99% of the time. But there will be that ONE thing you do that does slightly better than all the rest.

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THIS is where you start optimizing. Tweak and measure. Tweak and measure.

Give yourself time. The time you give yourself will depend on how long your selling cycle is. If it takes a year for a customer to go through the buying process — you have to give it a year.

Use your results as part of your market research. Rinse and repeat.


How do you fix a failed marketing campaign? ›

7 Ways to Correct a Failing Marketing Strategy
  1. Give it more time. ...
  2. Differentiate it. ...
  3. Make a more valuable offer. ...
  4. Retarget to fit your audience. ...
  5. Segment (and AB test) your strategy. ...
  6. Align your individual tactics. ...
  7. Try a new strategy (or scale up).
21 Aug 2017

Why is marketing not working? ›

Lack of focus on segmentation and targeting prospects. Not using the proper media to reach your potential customers. Message not following audience expectations. No consistent follow-up activities.

How do you fix a marketing strategy? ›

10 Simple Ways to Fix and Improve Your Marketing Strategy
  1. Test Your Website. ...
  2. Create a Consistent Brand Story. ...
  3. Check Your Language. ...
  4. Optimize Content for Search Engines. ...
  5. Blog More Frequently. ...
  6. Use an Editorial Calendar. ...
  7. Promote Your Business on Social Media. ...
  8. Use More CTAs.
20 Nov 2019

How do I revive a dying business? ›

Below are 6 things you can do to help turn around a failing business before it's too late.
  1. Assess your Situation. ...
  2. Assess your People. ...
  3. Develop your Plan. ...
  4. Innovate, Pivot and Change Direction. ...
  5. Define your Niche and Focus. ...
  6. Rethink your Marketing Strategy.
17 Aug 2017

How do you revive a dying brand? ›

Steps to Revitalize Your Brand
  1. Rebuild everything around the customer. Your customers are extremely vital to the success of your brand. ...
  2. Tell your origin story (or any other powerful one) ...
  3. Reboot/rename your brand. ...
  4. Go against the grain. ...
  5. Give freely to your community.

What are five keys to a strong marketing strategy? ›

Keys to Effective Marketing
  • Segment Your Target Market. All your existing and potential customers fall into groups characterized by their needs and wants. ...
  • Target and Position to Your Target Market. ...
  • Promote your Product or Service. ...
  • Monitor and Evaluate Your Strategy. ...
  • Create Your Marketing Plan.
6 Jan 2020

What is the biggest challenge in marketing? ›

Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing activities has remained a top marketing challenge globally year-over-year. In our survey. 28% of marketers saw it as their top challenge in 2021 while 21% of marketers expect to see this continue to be their biggest issue in 2022.

How do you know when a marketing strategy isn't working? ›

  1. You're Not Measuring Success In The First Place. ...
  2. You're Attracting The Wrong Audience. ...
  3. Leadership Hasn't 'Bought In' To The Narrative. ...
  4. People Are Asking For Clarification. ...
  5. You're Not Seeing Conversions. ...
  6. There's No Engagement From Your Audience. ...
  7. Your Business Isn't Getting Traffic.
2 Sept 2020

How do I know if my marketing is working? ›

How to Know Whether Your Marketing is Working
  1. Data and Analytics. Measuring sales or web traffic is the most cut-and-dry way to see the general results of your marketing efforts. ...
  2. Surveys. If you want to know something, sometimes all you have to do is ask. ...
  3. Focus Groups. ...
  4. Tracking KPIs.
21 Aug 2019

Why digital marketing is not working? ›

You don't understand the digital world and how your target audience engages. There is no true rule book or guide to digital marketing. This isn't just because digital marketing is so new, but because digital marketing efforts have to be in line with how your target audience engages online.

What are the 4 types of marketing strategies? ›

What are the 4Ps of marketing? (Marketing mix explained) The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives. The 4 Ps were first formally conceptualized in 1960 by E.

Why do marketing strategies fail? ›

They don't have concrete goals

Many marketers fail simply because they don't know what they're working towards. Your company can avoid this by setting concrete goals. When each member of your team knows exactly what they need to accomplish, they're more likely to do it.

How do I restart a failed business? ›

  1. 7 steps to restarting a small business. ...
  2. Don't let fear control you. ...
  3. Identify your limiting beliefs. ...
  4. Cultivate a growth mindset. ...
  5. Get in control of your emotions. ...
  6. Turn your “shoulds” into “musts” ...
  7. Ask yourself the right questions. ...
  8. Make a better plan.

What to do if business is struggling? ›

Help for Struggling Businesses
  1. The 'do it yourself' approach.
  2. Ask the government or local councils for advice.
  3. Seek advice from charities and organisations.
  4. Look into peer-to-peer funding or crowdfunding.
  5. Meet with your bank or lender.
  6. Try talking to an insolvency practitioner or company turnaround service.
  7. Related News.
21 Apr 2022

How do you rebuild a failed business? ›

10 things you should do to save a failing business
  1. Change your mindset. ...
  2. Perform a SWOT analysis. ...
  3. Understand your target market and ideal client. ...
  4. Set SMART objectives and create a plan. ...
  5. Reduce costs and prioritize what you pay. ...
  6. Manage your cash flow. ...
  7. Talk to creditors, don't ignore them. ...
  8. Organize your business.

How do you revive sales? ›

Consider these five courteous ways on how to revive a sale and reconnect:
  1. Use your content as leverage. ...
  2. Bring new features to their attention. ...
  3. Put the focus on your prospect. ...
  4. Start networking. ...
  5. Change your routine.
20 Sept 2022

How do you market an old product? ›

6 Marketing Strategies for Selling Older Merchandise
  1. Discount the merchandise — and advertise the sale. ...
  2. Try Craigslist. ...
  3. Partner with a daily deal site. ...
  4. Set up a secondary shop on a marketplace, such as Amazon, eBay or Proxibid. ...
  5. Use a remarketer. ...
  6. Donate the merchandise.
16 Oct 2014

When an advertising campaign fails to achieve its objectives it is called? ›

When an advertising campaign fails to achieve its objectives, we call it waste. The major objectives of advertisement are to attract attention, to arouse interest, to create a desire, and to induce to action. If an advertisement fails to arrest our attention, it becomes a waste.

Why do marketing campaigns fail? ›

One of the most common reasons marketing campaigns fail is a lack of creativity. If your campaign is dull and uninspired, it's not likely to capture attention or generate results. To create a truly successful campaign, you need to be creative and think outside the box.

What would you do to turn around a failed social media campaign? ›

But unfortunately, there are no trophies just for showing up with social media marketing.
5 Ways to Turn Around Your Struggling Social Media Marketing Campaigns
  1. Track Your Metrics. ...
  2. Think Visually. ...
  3. Utilize Infographics. ...
  4. Leverage PPC Advertising. ...
  5. Get Conversational.
16 May 2017

What would you do if a social media campaign did not perform well? ›

Sometimes, it can turn out that the campaign didn't perform well because your marketing messaging unintentionally offended people. In that case, accept responsibility and apologise for the error publicly. This can help rectify your brand image and avoid future marketing campaigns from being adversely impacted.

What are some examples of bad marketing? ›

Top Failed Marketing Campaigns
  • American Airlines - free first-class travel. ...
  • Coca-Cola - changing the formula. ...
  • PEPSI - Kendall Jenner Ad Outrage. ...
  • Colgate - frozen dinners. ...
  • SONY - WHITE VS. ...
  • 8 .
4 Mar 2019

What are the 3 main advertising objectives? ›

Advertising has three primary objectives: to inform, to persuade, and to remind. Informative Advertising creates awareness of brands, products, services, and ideas. It announces new products and programs and can educate people about the attributes and benefits of new or established products.

How you know a campaign is not successful? ›

Track the correct metrics

Website traffic is often a great indicator of the strength of a site but it also shows where the site is weak. As an example, when the goal of your site is to get leads and you do not get them, your digital marketing campaign is not effective.

Why do advertisements fail? ›

Too much product knowledge often leads them to talk about features that prospective customers don't really care about, or answer questions no one is asking. UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS. Advertisers often claim to have what the customer wants, such as “highest quality at the lowest price,” but fail to offer any evidence.

What are some of the reasons that an advertising campaign might fail? ›

8 Reasons Why Your Marketing Campaign Failed
  • You Didn't Identify the Proper Persona. ...
  • You Had Insufficient Research. ...
  • You Didn't Have Correct or Realistic Success Metrics. ...
  • You Created the Wrong Message for Your Audience. ...
  • You Delivered Content at the Wrong Time of the Buyer's Journey. ...
  • You Didn't Give the Campaign Enough Time.
5 Jul 2018

Why do e marketing efforts fail? ›

While there are certain elements that can cause failure in e-commerce marketing efforts – lack of visibility, improper targeting, poor messaging and the like – often there are larger, more systemic issues underlying the utter lack of positive results.

How do you create a successful social media campaign? ›

To make sure your campaign is as successful as possible, you need to plan and strategize the campaign in advance.
  1. Set social media campaign goals. ...
  2. Create buyer personas. ...
  3. Choose your social media channels. ...
  4. Have a social media calendar. ...
  5. Research the right tools to boost productivity. ...
  6. Carry out competitive analysis.
7 Jun 2022

Why do social media marketing fail? ›

One of the biggest reasons why social media campaigns fail is because of poor execution, i.e., efforts are not focused or measurable, there is no roadmap for content creation, the content is of poor quality or it doesn't connect with the audience, or they're released through the wrong platform.

How do you revive sales? ›

Consider these five courteous ways on how to revive a sale and reconnect:
  1. Use your content as leverage. ...
  2. Bring new features to their attention. ...
  3. Put the focus on your prospect. ...
  4. Start networking. ...
  5. Change your routine.
20 Sept 2022


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