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Why Isn’t My Marketing Working?

July 2018

Many companies go into marketing with the best intentions. They know they are losing market share, perhaps to a younger company that “gets” digital marketing. Maybe they’ve noticed the continual downward spiral of their traditional marketing.

In fact, 2017 marked the first year that digital advertising spend surpassed television. Read that sentence again. I’ll wait.

You’ve probably had agencies tell you traditional marketing is dead, o no longer effective. That’s not entirely true. And we’re a digital agency. We should be pushing that mantra. The thing is, it really depends on your industry.

Except for billboards. Those really are dead.

Traditional marketing, even direct mail, still works exceptionally well in some (admittedly older) industries.

Manufacturing Still Needs Traditional Media

If you run a factory that makes fasteners, and an agency tells you that you need to be “killing it on Instagram,” you have our endorsement to laugh—and run screaming. It would likely be a complete waste of your time and money.

Is There Any Digital Marketing That Works for Manufacturing?

Sure. LinkedIn ads and Messaging, whitepapers, email marketing, directory listings, blogging, and webinars. But SnapChat? Good luck with that.

What About the Rest of Us?

If you own a hair salon, a pet store, a real estate agency, or a trendy restaurant, and are not on Instagram, you are probably wondering why your sales are continuing to tank. See? It depends.

How Do You Know What Strategies Will Work?

By closely examining and reflecting on a few key items:

  1. Your Goals
  2. Your Expectations
  3. Your Budget
  4. Your Timing
  5. Your Patience

Your Goals

Marketing goals should line up with the company’s stated financial goals. If the company needs to increase sales by 2.5%, then that is your number one marketing goal. Not how many likes you want to get on Facebook.

Your Expectations

Be realistic. Don’t make up goals that are ludicrous, like increasing sales by 300% in the next 30 days. Or that you want a  functioning eCommerce site built from scratch in the next two weeks—for under $1,000. Or that you want all of your products to be in position one on Google, “but not waste any money into SEO or PPC.”

Sadly, these were all real examples. Don’t be these people. If you genuinely don’t know what’s possible, ask, don’t demand. You just make yourself look like a fool, and will burn bridges.

Your Budget

Know how much money to set aside. Don’t know what is normal? Successful companies put 7–10% of their revenue into marketing. Wildly successful companies put upwards of 20%.

Want to know what your competitors are spending? You should know. Ask your marketing agency. If you don’t have one, you can get a rough, but not 100% accurate view by going to Spyfu and typing in their URL.

Your Timing

If you have a limited timeline, and a big ask, know that you will be charged more. Why, if the work is the same? Because agencies always have a backlog of other client work to do, and if you are in a rush, we need to put off other paying clients—some of whom may be worth a lot more to us.

Never make up an arbitrary deadline. If you don’t really need it in record time, don’t ask for it. You’ll get a better price and far better quality.

Your Patience

This goes hand in hand with the previous items. If you aren’t patient, continually calling, emailing, or texting the agency won’t change the number of hours there are in a day to work. Trust me, we’ve tried.

But this applies to more than project completion of say, a landing page, or a website. Patience also applies to results. While it is much faster than even three years ago to see results from SEO, it is still a slow process. Expect to see real change in your numbers in three months—not three weeks.

Same goes for content marketing, like blogging. It takes time to build an audience. Don’t have the patience for that? Then you’ll need to cough up a large amount of money for PPC (pay-per-click search ads) or other paid engagements. There’s no other way around that.

Asking for a viral video doesn’t work, either. Viral is a thing that either happens or it doesn’t and no one has cracked that code consistently.


Not all marketing works for all industries

Not all media channels are relevant to all industries

Your marketing needs to take into account five elements:

  1. Your Goals
  2. Your Expectations
  3. Your Budget
  4. Your Timing
  5. Your Patience

Having read all this, if you are still confused as to what will work for your company, reach out to us. We’d love to talk. No pressure.

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