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The Reason Marketing Doesn’t Work


One of the most difficult aspects about digital marketing or marketing in general is that when you enter a relationship with a client, you aren’t just building them a website or campaigns, you’re actually becoming part of their business.  We realized quickly as an agency that what makes marketing so challenging is the fact that, well, people are challenging and businesses are operated by people.  Just like other professions, the longer you do it, the more you start to see red flags just from the first meeting.  Here’s 4 reasons why marketing isn’t working for you.

Initial Interest Spike vs Long Term Interest

When someone opens a business, they are almost always super excited and that excitement radiates into their families, friends, social media and communities.  During this first season, you will get more than normal traffic because it’s so new.  Everyone is going to want to check out what you are doing and what’s going on.  It’s very common to see this type of traffic curve for new businesses.

Here you see, the business had no traffic because it wasn’t there.  Then there was an “announcement” about the project so people began to look.  Then the big fanfare “GRAND OPENING” happens and traffic explodes only to taper off as people lose interest.  You were doing some marketing but you didn’t have a longer term plan so traffic drops right off.  Then what happens?  You decide you need to market to get more traffic so you do and then this happens.

Suddenly more traffic so you decide it’s working and you don’t need to keep spending only to start the whole process over.  The better way to handle this (and your stress level) is to have a structured plan for marketing from the beginning.  Each business will have different needs.  Sometimes there’s a season where you have planned to spend nothing and let that initial traffic get going first.  If you have a plan and stick with it, the curve tends to be more like this.

Marketing will always have some variability, but this type of traffic is much more stable and reliable.  Marketing budgets should be reasonable and always included in your yearly plan.

Your Business Is Stuck In The Past

This reason drives us all crazy.  It’s like the person in your family that can’t even use a cell phone trying to talk to you about technology, it just doesn’t relate.  Many of us have watched Mad Men and gotten a screen adapted version of what advertising/marketing was like in the late 50s and 60s.  During that time it was easier for agencies to influence customers because there was just so much less information available.  Now, we have so much information that it’s the consumer that influences the marketing more than the other way around.  There’s a principle that you already know, but many business owners ignore.

Visitors will almost never spend more than a few seconds on your site the first time.  They also don’t want to give you information about themselves for nothing.  New users won’t invest time figuring out how to navigate and use your site if it’s the least bit difficult, they will just move on.

You do it too.  You search Google and when it isn’t on the first page you don’t go through 4 more pages or results looking.  You want pages to load fast.  You want pages to be easy to use and have information where it should be.  This is exactly what your customers want.  We have met with businesses who spend more than 15 minutes on average with a customer in the store or showroom in order to have a good chance at closing.  This same client was getting an average time on the website of 92 seconds. This is roughly 13.5 minutes less time than needed for a sale.  So, if you are approaching your website sales the same as your in-house sales, get ready for failure.  It’s best to see it as 2 different businesses selling the same product.  They each have to have processes that yield conversions or sales.  If you haven’t spent any time figuring that out before you shift to online, you’re really going to be disappointed.  The goal of a website is traffic that leads to sales or revenue but you have to get people there.  Then, you have to get them to come back over and over and over.  Past success offline almost never has a direct correlation to success online.

Your Company Has Terrible Processes

Traffic and numbers mean nothing if your business isn’t making money.  Imagine having amazing marketing that drives potential customers to you but you never answer your phones or email.  It doesn’t matter how many qualified leads you are getting if you’re not able to sell them on your product or service.  There have been so many times that we get a campaign built and marketing going full force only to get negative feedback from the client that nothing is happening.  When we begin to investigate 9 times out of 10 there’s a weak link in the staff or processes of the company.  Once that is fixed, then suddenly everything connects and business grows.  The best leads are only as good as your sales staff or the employees interacting with the customers.  If your staff treats customers like a burden or ignores them, you will eventually lose the majority of your traffic no matter what you do.  Make sure that before you invest thousands in digital marketing, that you are able to both handle increased traffic and customers.  The best digital marketing company in the world can’t fix all your internal and staff issues.  This is where we come back to the idea that who you hire to develop your website or market for you is more than just an outside company that does digital stuff.  Instead, they need to be able to understand your business and pain points so that when the problem isn’t marketing related, they have some sense of how to help.  Sometimes great marketing and low revenue will help you find out just where your business is broken.  Here is a great article about business process by Kiss Flow.  When have you set out to do something in your life without a goal in mind?  No goals means you can’t judge progress.

The Market Doesn’t Want You

This one is tough because we know that sometimes a business can be very successful only to be pushed out of business later.  Here’s an article about 12 brands that were super popular but now are dead.  Here’s one that makes sense:

Records, tapes and CDs all had long stretches of relevancy and lifespan.  Then, we all know what happened, everything moved to digital.  It doesn’t matter how great your product is, if no one wants it anymore, the business is doomed.  There are definitely room in markets for luxury items.  Generally these brands have established names and reputations.  If your business doesn’t, charging a premium is likely to cause you all kinds of stress.  We have had marketing campaigns where the CTR was huge, the site or product traffic was great but it yielded almost no revenue.  This is the market saying “something is wrong”.  Sometimes the market might actually want you but you aren’t being authentic.  Don’t believe me?  Look at this case study we did in social media:

We were doing social media management for a client and this would be what we would typically see on the posts we made for them:

Here’s what we would typically see when they would post (note that the images would just be cell phone taken images of employees, generally for like birthdays etc.):

Almost 2x the number of people reached and 5x the engagement.  The public knows if you’re using 100% stock images on your website.  The public knows if what you are saying isn’t authentic.  If you can’t just embrace your own identity, the market won’t engage and then, no revenue.

Bottom Line

The most important take away here is that not everyone is ready to pour money into marketing. When you dive in before your company is ready then you end up with all kinds of frustration and disappointment.  This is why we always insist on a consultation before we begin anything.  What we are looking for is that moment where you lean in closer to the table and finally give us your “bottom line”.  This usually consists of you telling us why the business started in the first place and what legacy you want to leave as a company.  Once we all know this, we can begin to create your digital identity instead of just a website or marketing campaign.  Often times if the numbers are good when it comes to leads and traffic but revenue growth is low, it’s time to take a look internally to see what’s broken.



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I’m a beagle mom obsessed with all dogs. You can typically find me on the weekends taking my pooch out to the park or driving around with our heads out the window. I’m also nerdy and spend much of my free time playing D&D and getting excited about the next Marvel movie.


I am a God-fearing mother! I love me some cats. My family keeps me going, I love to be in the sun and just really enjoy life wherever I am and no matter the situation!


Mom of 3 and Nana to one grandbaby so I’m obsessed with my little family whether it be at the baseball fields or on the lake my kids keep me on the go 24/7. Anytime we get away from the kids we love to travel.