There’s no guarantee of a marketing plan’s success. Fortunately, there are aspects within your control that can make it more likely to get the desired effects. The first aim is to figure out why your efforts are not working as expected. Here are some frequently seen reasons for failure and how to fix them:
1. It Doesn’t Have a Well-Defined Strategy
The problem could be that marketing professionals threw together the plan haphazardly rather than taking the time to develop a clear strategy. You can’t expect a marketing plan to pay off unless there’s a strong and effective method behind it.
If the marketing plan does not have a good strategy, it’s time to start from scratch and choose your desired business goals. Whether that means selling more items or attracting a higher percentage of millennial customers, set goals and stick to them. Next, decide what tools, channels or resources you’ll use to meet those aspirations.
Laying out the details of your marketing plan in this way gives team members a path forward, ensuring all their actions directly connect to outcomes that help your business. Having your strategy in place from the start also informs professionals which metrics to track so they can compare a campaign’s results with their expectations.
2. It Doesn’t Entice Customers
Another issue associated with failing marketing plans is that they don’t provide sufficient appeal to customers. Perhaps you want to get more email addresses from potential customers and think the best way to do that is to offer them something for free. That’s a valid conclusion. However, your customers need something valuable in return for taking action. If they don’t perceive that something useful is in it for them, many will ignore a campaign altogether.
Begin addressing this shortcoming by looking at data to confirm which incentives people responded to most favorably in the past. Maybe audiences primarily comprised of businesspeople preferred free access to a webinar, while another group was more likely to provide emails if your company promised physical gifts for doing it.
You can also ensure your marketing efforts cater to customers by listening to their feedback. Perhaps a large percentage of people say they’d be more willing to fill out a form for an email list and receive a free trial if there were not so many fields to complete. Your audience has to agree that whatever you’re asking of them is worth their effort.
3. It Doesn’t Address Audience Pain Points
Besides convincing customers that your company gives them something valuable in exchange for conversions, your business must also come across as able to tackle some of the struggles that the audience regularly faces. Factoring these pain points into a marketing plan is a practical way for a business to convey that it understands the audience and wants to make things easier.
Otherwise, people get the impression that a brand is not relevant to them, and they believe it is not worthwhile to learn more about a company’s offers. Getting to the heart of an audience’s pain points means learning what matters to them the most. For example, a single mother raising a 2-year-old may have pain points related to money and time shortages, plus a general feeling of being under too much stress.
When a company aims to speak to people in that demographic, it could call attention to a product’s monetary value and user-friendliness, plus ways the offering makes life more convenient. Potential customers must conclude that doing business with a company and engaging with a marketing campaign will make life better for them somehow. If they don’t feel that way, they probably won’t respond to your campaigns in desirable ways.
4. It Doesn’t Include Applicable Business Data
Before data was so readily available, many marketing professionals relied on their gut instinct to help marketing plans pay off. There’s no harm in continuing to rely on those things to some extent. However, if your company does not have a data-backed plan as well, that’s a likely reason for its failure.
For example, a marketing team may decide that Facebook is the best channel for reaching a certain age group. That could be true, but does your available data support that claim? Rather than examining the information and expecting to see certain conclusions in it, aim to keep an open mind and don’t move forward with any part of your plan without reviewing the associated data first.
You can also get valuable insights after optimizing a business map for the intended viewers. For example, activating or turning off layers as needed helps people focus on particular aspects that could help them make smarter decisions for the marketing plan. Similarly, color-coded sections of a map could reveal which areas to target in an upcoming campaign.
5. It Doesn’t Feature Realistic Goals
An earlier point mentioned how crucial it is that your marketing plan has strategies that connect to business goals. What if the things you want to achieve are too far out of reach? Another issue could be that people can’t achieve goals because the milestones aren’t detailed enough. In that case, employees may have various interpretations of what it means for a marketing plan to succeed or fail.
An often-implemented fix is to create SMART goals. Those are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. If marketing professionals feel confused about what the goals are, they’ll lack clarity about whether they’re making progress or not. Similarly, if the hopes for a marketing plan are so clearly out of reach that teams know they can never reach them, morale will plummet.
It’s not enough to merely set a goal to increase sales. Aiming to improve sales within a particular product category by 10% within six weeks is a better example because it creates the framework for success. Next, your marketing plan should include information about the tactics used to meet the goal. For example, email marketing is the best method for attracting sales leads and converting them to prospects. However, it’s best to get permission from recipients first.
6. It Doesn’t Have Sufficient Resources
Many marketing plans fail due to a lack of resources. Money often comes to mind as the most necessary resource. It is vital, but even a well-funded marketing plan could become a failure without enough team members working on it. Without enough time, talent and money devoted to it, a marketing campaign is far more likely to end in failure.
The first step to fixing this matter concerns showing the willingness to either scale back a campaign to suit the available resources or ramp it up after putting more into it. When company leaders expect marketing teams to work miracles without enough time, money or help to achieve those goals, the associated employees could start harboring resentment. Some may even decide to look for positions elsewhere.
Decision-makers can also get a clearer idea of the marketing budget required by looking at similar past campaigns. Which aspects of those cost the most, and how challenging or straightforward was it to keep them at or under the amount allotted for expenses? Answering those questions based on data and experience makes it easier for people to make confident and accurate decisions about providing adequate resources of any type to improve the campaign.
Taking Decisive Action Gets Results
These reasons are not the only culprits behind failing marketing campaigns, but they’re among the most common problems. Rather than panicking and thinking the worst about a faltering marketing plan, you now have practical suggestions for turning things around. Committing to solving an identified issue is essential for getting better results through a series of conscious and collective efforts.
About the author
Lexie is a web designer and neuromarketing enthusiast. She enjoys hiking with her goldendoodle and checking out local flea markets. Visit her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.