8 Reasons Why Marketing Plans Fail

You put time, expertise, hard work, budget, and passion into your marketing campaigns. With seemingly perfect ingredients for success at your disposal, why do some campaigns fail? You could be making a common Modern Marketing mistake, without even realizing it. The good news is most Modern Marketing mistakes are, for the most part, rectifiable. Here are the top eight mistakes Modern Marketers make, how to avoid them, and how your marketing may improve after taking corrective action.

1. You Lose Sight of the Customer Along Their Journey

Problem

You wrote a terrific ebook and acquired leads. You’ve surely built enough trust to entice leads to purchase the next time they need your product or service, right? Unfortunately, one or two or even three positive touchpoints with an audience member isn’t enough to do the trick. It can be easy to assume your customers will come back to you on their own whim and, as a result, you may not be following up on your leads to the extent required to turn them into customers.

Solution

Ensure each lead has multiple touchpoints with your brand. Quality leads often require six to eight touchpoints with a brand to convert. If a lead strays off course in the buyer journey, follow up and guide them back to your brand. Use informative content and personalization to remind them how you can fulfill their needs. The key to success is to ensure each communication is consistent. Remember, each interaction with your audience is an opportunity to impress your customer. Every time your lead comes into contact with your brand, they should be welcomed with a positive experience that feels familiar.

Result

After a number of consistent touchpoints with your brand, a lead will begin to feel comfortable, aware, and trusting of your brand. You’ll be top of mind the next time a need arises and they’ll be more likely to become a customer.

2. You View Customers As One Entity

Problem

You group your customers together as one instead of as individuals. When you market your brand, you market to the whole as opposed to personalizing your marketing to the individual personalities and demographics that make up your audience. You may even have a buyer persona that defines what your ideal customer is like, but the dilemma is that no two customers are the same. While you may fulfill a single need for your customers, what drives them to purchase may vary greatly.

Solution

Creating two to four customer personas is key to ensuring you’re efficiently marketing to the unique people that make up your audience. Persona profiles group individuals together, but they define very specific traits of individuals, guiding you to personalize your marketing to those traits. Once you have a handle on your personas and their marketing preferences, you can further personalize your marketing to the individuals that inspired those personas. Marketing automation technology makes this simpler than ever and we’ll discuss more about that below.

Result

Personalizing your marketing to personas and individuals will build emotional connections with and loyalty from your customers. They’ll understand you took the time to get to know them and benefit from marketing that resonates with their needs. If you know what motivates your personas and target your marketing to those motivations, leads will be more likely to buy.

3. You Segment Your Marketing Across Different Channels

Problem

Each marketing channel fulfills a different purpose, so you strategize for each marketing channel individually. You may run different campaigns on different channels or use different strategies altogether thinking each channel reaches different personas. The reality is that most people will be exposed to your marketing through a variety of channels, even if they spend more time on one over the other. In fact, the majority of transactions take place over at least two devices.

Solution

Move toward an omnichannel marketing strategy. Integrate your marketing across all channels, including print, digital, outdoor, mobile, etc. Use a consistent message and optimize the way it’s delivered through each channel. Connect your marketing through CTAs that drive audiences to your other channels.

Result

Omnichannel strategies reach customers at different checkpoints along the customer journey. Publishing your marketing messages on multiple channels increases the number of touchpoints you have with leads. When audience members experience a consistent message across different channels, they’ll find your brand relevant and begin to trust your marketing. You’ll be more likely to reach those six to eight touchpoints required to convert a lead.

4. You’re Unaware of Your Customer’s Relationship to Technology

Problem

When creating your personas, you may not have specified their tech IQ. You don’t know which technology they use and how apt they are at using this technology. You may not know where or how they consume content, or, you assume the answer without conducting the proper research. This is understandable, because there is so much that goes into building a persona. But, knowing where your audience stands in the tech world and how they interact with that tech to get information is key to understanding the best way to deliver your marketing messages.

Solution

The simplest way to solve this is by researching how your personas use technology and why they’re more fond of certain tech. You don’t need to overhaul your persona profiles, but adding this information will help your team market your brand wisely. Use these technology insights to shape your marketing strategy.

Result

Knowing which tech your audience uses and understands will help you reach them where they’re at. You’ll be able to deliver content to their devices, whether they stick to desktop, mobile, wearables, etc. You’ll also be able to cater the type of content to their preferences. If they enjoy experiencing brands through mobile apps, you may be able to put out a cool app that piques their interest. If they prefer communicating via text message, you could send out CTAs straight to their messaging inbox.

5. You Use Outdated Technology Services

Problem

Technology changes rapidly and it’s tough to keep up with all of the latest marketing tools. It’s even harder to decipher which ones are more likely to help your marketing team succeed. Because of the overwhelming nature of the technology sphere, you may not be aware of the advancements in tech that make not only marketers’ lives easier, but your customer experience, better. Since tech changes so rapidly, you may be consciously choosing to stick with what you know. When you have a problem, you aren’t looking to tech to solve it (we get it, it’s intimidating!).

Solution

Audiences move fast and your marketing needs to keep up. Spend some time researching what marketers are currently using to fuel their campaigns. Understand what needs you have as a brand, and in your research, aim to discover how new tech could fulfill those needs. If you find that new tech could enhance your marketing, take the time to gradually implement it into your strategy. To avoid falling behind in the future, stay current on what new technology is available.

Result

By having a constant eye on tech’s relationship to marketing and understanding the needs of your brand, you’ll more quickly and efficiently pinpoint which tech is right for your brand. Using tech like marketing automation will increase your ability to personalize your marketing, thus making your customers happier. Marketing automation will also increase the number of qualified leads you can touch and could help you expand your marketing reach. Certain technology will help you streamline your internal communications and external strategies, saving time, budget, and resources.

6. Your Strategy Consists of Either Outbound or Inbound Marketing

Problem

Outbound marketing has been around for a long time, and as a result, your brand is solely using proven outbound strategies. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you’re gung-ho for the currently hot practice of inbound marketing and ditched the old-school outbound marketing strategies to make way for new methods. It’s understandable why you may be choosing to stick with one or the other, but in doing so, you’re limiting your marketing reach.

Solution

Combining inbound and outbound tactics is the ideal way to execute on a holistic marketing strategy. Create great content, build audience relationships, and garner quality leads through inbound marketing. Expand on your hard work by advertising and promoting your content through outbound marketing tactics.

Result

When outbound and inbound marketing work together harmoniously, you’re taking advantage of the strong points in both marketing strategies. You’ll create engaging content that sparks the interest and fulfills the needs of relevant leads. You’ll follow up with leads throughout the buyer process and ensure they stay connected with your brand. To ensure you reach targeted audience members, you’ll use outbound advertising to bring people into the buyer journey that match your personas. You’ll expand your reach using consistent, informative content that’s beneficial to your ideal audience.

7. You Track Data, But Not the Right Data

Problem

In today’s marketing landscape, you know you’re supposed to be tracking data and looking at analytics insights. You feel the pressure to deliver relevant, promising numbers to your superiors, so you find and deliver numbers that look positive on the surface. The downfall is this data may not accurately reflect your results. In turn, you may not be able to make the proper adjustments to your marketing.

Solution

Define the key performance indicators that speak to the successes or shortfalls of your marketing. Ensure your team has the tools and bandwidth to accurately track those numbers. To do so, you’ll need experts on hand who understand data patterns and what they reveal about your marketing. The whole point of collecting data is to eventually make positive improvements, so the KPIs you choose should reveal actionable information that could lead to positive changes for your brand.

Result

Once you’re properly tracking the right data, you can deliver numbers to the C-Suite that actually mean something to your brand. Further, you can make positive changes from the insights those numbers deliver. For example, if you’re tracking the KPI cost per lead, see how the cost compares for different elements of your marketing. Then, focus on putting more of your dollars to the most successful strategy. The result could further lower your cost per lead, increasing your overall profit. By focusing on collecting actionable data, you can bring more than numbers to the C-Suite. You can show how the insights from that data are leading to positive changes for your brand. And, for some brands, proven success may lead to a larger marketing budget.

8. You’re Rooted in Traditional Marketing, But Don’t Expand Beyond

Problem

Marketing methods have changed rapidly in the past few years. This has a lot to do with widespread information and data. But, because of how fast these methods have changed, your team may be stuck in the traditional marketing ways of planning, planning, planning. And sticking to that plan no matter the cost. But marketing has moved on from that method. Modern audiences expect rapid, up-to-date content—and a lot of it. Traditional marketing tactics could be hindering your chance to satisfy the needs of your audience.

Solution

With the amount of information available and the increased access to it, marketing is more timely than ever. To answer to this, marketers need to be agile and incorporate agile marketing into their strategies. You should still plan, but you also need to plan for disruption. You need to be flexible and ready to change scope if needed. You need to respond and act quickly. Respond to customers promptly. Respond to crises. Respond to industry updates and changes. Respond to your individual brand data. Responding through your content is key to ensuring you get these up-to-date messages out to your audience.

Result

Your marketing will improve through agile marketing. You’ll be competitive with other Modern Marketers. Your audience will appreciate your willingness to respond quickly to their needs. Reacting swiftly to a crisis, comments, or any type of change that’s relevant to them, will help build trust.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the scope of some of these tactics, know there’s no simple solution to these problems. It takes time, resources, and a whole new way of thinking. It may even take overhauling your outlook on marketing and your strategies. If you find that you’re making more than one mistake, focus in on one or two that could lead to the most positive results for your brand. Work to improve those first, and go from there. Even little steps in the right direction could lead to some desirable results.