Why doesn’t Marketing work

Everyone is keen to tell you about why Marketing works, but no-one really wants to discuss why it doesn’t. I thought I’d start off by sharing some thoughts on reasons I see Marketing fail.


This is the big one, and before I go into this, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Marketing isn’t advertising. Marketing, by definition is activities designed to facilitate the transaction which results in the exchange of goods or services. This means it is so much broader, and as a Marketer, I find myself drawn into product, compliance, distribution, Customer Service and Experience, e-commerce and much much more.

When I talk about alignment, I’m talking about alignment between your Brand and the rest of the business. For long term success, there needs to be strong alignment between the brand proposition (the promise you make your customers) and other aspects of the business including price, quality, service, and customer experience just to name a few. If these things don’t align, you get a disconnect and that results in unhappy customers and your brand suffers. The key to success is ensuring that the business delivers on the brand expectation. There is no point exciting customers with high end imagery of your company’s products and pitching them as the best on the market if your strategy is to be the cheapest lowest cost producer and the product is in fact inferior to competitors.

Marketing won’t solve this problem, but working with good people will drive questions that will identify areas of conflict or misalignment which then allows you to address them.

Media choice and measurement

This is another big reason marketing can’t work. To be successful, you need to be relevant. And this means targeting the right customer at the right place, at the right time, with the right message. Many media businesses want you to spend with them and they’ll wow you with figures. But what you may not know is that those figures need to be taken in context. So what of they have 100,000 visitors a month, if only 5,000 are in your target audience, and your ads don’t show to any of them.

Similarly, how you measure is equally important. In the digital space there is more granular tracking available than ever. But what you may not realise is that even this measurement isn’t perfect, so if you don’t view it in the context of your overall results, you could be missing the forest for the trees.

Creative approach

This is a really hard one to solve. Creative people want to keep the message simple, but as a business owner your world is more complex. You want to build a brand, drive consistency, educate someone on a product, and then drive a sale all at once. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but the challenge is creative becomes so complicated that it all becomes too hard for the user. Alternatively, the message can be great, but it fails to consider the target audience. Or sometimes it is really creative but loses the key message in the process.

The solution in all of this, believe it or not is the consumer, although solving this isn’t quite as simple. We’d be happy to have a confidential discussion about your needs and challenges to see if we can help you take your Marketing to the next level and drive long term sustainable growth!


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