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Why Marketing Fails
- 6 reasons (or maybe just excuses?) why your marketing doesn't work

If marketing is meant to be so wonderful then why doesn't it deliver on its promise? If we understand why our marketing doesn't work then can we piece together a better way of of getting more customers? Is it time to 'get back to basics'?


Let me be specific about the main reasons why marketing activities might fail in your business.  The list is simple.

Most of the problems for the growing business are those which can be called 'transactional' - in other words, things like making customer contacts, getting orders, meeting the right people.  Despite this fact, most business support and advice either refuses to deal with delivering the practical hands-on support required or is stuck in its big business roots, which tends to be pre-occupied with administrative issues.

Keep It Simple Stupid! We all seem to have an ability to complicate things without realising that simplicity, clarity, and focus will bring us the profits we seek.

 

Action Point: Test Your Marketing Effectiveness

Score yourself in the following test. Be honest - and always recall specific examples of actions carried out, rather than imagining 'hoped-for' situations. Focus on something real, or even better, get someone else to score your business (a customer or a supplier would be in an ideal position to score you and give you some fascinating feedback at the same time).

Mark a percentage score for each of the following questions

1. We are totally committed to our marketing and sales plans (if we have them in the first place!)
0%  -  10  -  20  -  30  -  40  -  50  -  60  -  70  -  80  -  90  -  100%
In Your dreams             On a good day                          Got It!

2. Customers know exactly what they get if they come to us!
0%  -  10  -  20  -  30  -  40  -  50  -  60  -  70  -  80  -  90  - 100%
In Your dreams             On a good day                          Got It!

3. Customers know why we are different from the rest.
0%  -  10  -  20  -  30  -  40  -  50  -  60  -  70  -  80  -  90  - 100%
In Your dreams             On a good day                          Got It!

4. We make everything simple and easy to understand for our customers and for ourselves.
0%  -  10  -  20  -  30  -  40  -  50  -  60  -  70  -  80  -  90  - 100%
In Your dreams             On a good day                          Got It!

5. Decision-making is easy because we are clear about what we are trying to do.
0%  -  10  -  20  -  30  -  40  -  50  -  60  -  70  -  80  -  90  - 100%
In Your dreams             On a good day                          Got It!

Come back to this test once you have learned more about seeing things through the customers' eyes - the difference will be a revelation to you.

How did you score?  I have yet to come across a business that, in it's heart of hearts, couldn't find a way to improve in most areas.  Most people get that familiar comment that I used to get in my school reports, 'could do better'. 

A few thoughts

CONSIDER

A growing number of people feel that marketing (as it is commonly presented) is failing to deliver.  Are you part of that number?  Do you come out of marketing seminars and resent the intellectually fascinating but unearthed, disconnected way that the subject relates to real actions and results?  Is this you?

SO WHAT?

As most marketing books claim, a new way of looking at things, a ' new paradigm' is required.  What is needed is a way of finding and satisfying customers that is simple yet effective!!!

PROBLEMS WITH SALES AND MARKETING

When you listen to the comments that people make when talking about marketing, you can hear that it is help that they are actually seeking.  The following are pretty standard comments:

It is only the last comment that concedes our own role in sorting out our business - most businesses look everywhere except to themselves to see how they can run a better business.  Adopting 'bright marketing' principles will make your business more effective, more efficient and more profitable.

CONNECT

As the British Telecom adverts say 'It's good to talk'.  Your customers should be treated like friends, trusted and trusting friends.  Try treating them as such. 

Randomly select say ten names from your customer database.  Commit to contacting them all in the next week.  However, when you contact them this time, try doing it as if you actually care - be more compassionate or loyal than you usually are.  Use a more personal means of communicating - a personal phone call or a hand-written letter or postcard will always be more powerful than a faceless email.  See if you don't notice the difference when you start making more effort to communicate with your clients.  You don't have to phone up to sell - you can phone for a chat ('I was just thinking about you...' or 'I just realised that it is simply ages since we...')

SUMMARY

Think 'customers' all the time - look at your business through their eyes.  Try and make it as easy as possible for people to do business with you.  Customers are not some academic abstractions; they are real people with real needs and unless you can relate to them and their needs then you will not do very well in business.

 

about the author

 Robert Craven is a keynote speaker and author of the best-selling business books ‘Kick-Start Your Business’ and ‘Customer Is King’. As MD of The Directors’ Centre www.directorscentre.com, the consultancy for growing businesses, he works with ambitious owner-managers to break through constraints on business growth. He can be contacted at rc@directorscentre.com +44 (0)1225 851044.

Robert Craven©2007, Capital Magazine.

publication details

First published in Capital Magazine - April 2007.

 

 

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