My marketing plan isn't working: now what?


Marketing is more science than it is art; and an imperfect science at that. Something that might work at one point in time may no longer be effective a year down the line.

An approach in one sector of the market may not deliver the results it did previously. And that is all perfectly OK, as long as you adapt your approach to these changes.

The question is: but, how do I do that? The answer lies in asking questions. Scientific discovery, after all, is about asking questions and maybe asking them from a different perspective.

Mike Lieberman of Square 2 Marketing says the best place to start is to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

This comes down to analyzing five key areas:

Who are you targeting? Only by having a clear idea of exactly who you’re targeting can you craft messages that effectively appeal to that audience. So, be clear who you want to target and know details such as they're demographics, buying behaviors, and likes and dislikes.

Differentiate, don’t imitate. It is easy to fall into the trap of sounding or saying the same things as your competitors. You need to stand out and convince your potential customers that yours is the right product or service they need.

Your marketing has to build your prospects pipeline. Business prospects lead to sales. Unless you’re clear about how many leads you need to convert into sales you don’t know how many prospective customers you need to reach. Start by understanding these numbers so that you’re working towards the right marketing goals.

Spread the range of tactics. Sticking to only a few marketing tactics may be limiting your potential to reach your potential customers, and therefore sales lead. Expand the range of tactics you use to ensure you reach the full spectrum of prospective customers.

What are the right tactics? It doesn’t make sense to use the same tactics if they’re not delivering the results you need. If social media campaigns are delivering greater results than direct advertising used to, shift your focus and spend to be where the market expects you to be.

Key takeaway: Marketing is not a static activity. Something that used to work very well may not be delivering the same results. Adapt your tactics to the media that deliver the right results.


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    To me targeting is everything we can have the most creative campaign but if we're communicating with the wrong audience then we're waisting our time. That's why online marketing is so helpful especially programmatic media buying. It's no longer about WHERE we're marketing but rather WHO we're marketing to that matters.
    For small start ups marketing can be costly and it's difficult to know what will work before you've tried it. I have little to no marketing budget and with so many options out there it's hard to know what will be effective without the costs of trial and error.Any advice on where to start?
    Start with channels that you know are going to bring you a return. If you're in retail then make sure your website is up and running and that you're plugged into Google Business Location so that users can find you on mobile location searches etc. It doesn't cost anything and is effective.
    Your best bet with no budget is too look at setting up social media pages even if you dont have a website initially. And then doing some networking by looking forpeople in your industry and try & connect with them.
    I am in the same boat TheTastyChef and although I am fairly confident on social media which is all I can afford to do until my business picks up it seems that it simply isn't turning into any leads. I see so many businesses that market this way and it seems to be working for them what am I doing wrong? Are there any guidelines anyone could share to point me in the right direction?
    Another way is to look for a mentor within the industry and let them guide you in terms of your challenges. You would be surprised how industry leaders won't mind giving advice and guiding start ups!
    I agree- networking is key. Attending industry events is pertinant.
    Thanks Yavi I have set up both a one page website as well as a facebook page and use my instagram to market the business. Perhaps I am just not being patient enough but it simply isn't creating any business which makes me think I'm doing it wrong and that I need to change tactics. I do realise it won't happen overnight but also don't want to waste valuable time and energy if I should be doing something differently.
    Using social media orgnically won't turn over leads straight away you'll need to add some media spend. Reason for this is that with tools like Facebook Ad Planner you're able to target effectively and are able to create lead ads which drive responses directly to your inbox. Unfortunately using social media to simply post organic content from a page isn't going to be very effective to start off with- you need media spend. But the good news is that you know have to spend too much.
    I hadn't even considered finding a mentor! Great idea thanks.
    Thanks @jndub I will look into the paid facebook ads. Glad to hear it works though and it won't break the bank.
    Marketing is exactly that - a science & it needs to be treated as such. I mean that you need to look at your target market (who is your client - age gender low or high LSM where do they live what's their spending power and how they buy) then look at what 'turns them on' to obtain loyalty - is it discounts lovely incentives VIP experiences etc.) & deliver on that. Then ensure that you discern yourself from your competitors by looking at service standards - this becomes your advertising points I found this article on the ways marketing is changing and what I found interesting is that consumers seem to be demanding better content that is easier to digest. Long gone are the days of long winded ad campaigns - now it needs to be quick catchy and authentic to be seen. Can anyone think of really punchy/effective and current campaigns out there worth having a look at for pointers?
    Startups are in fortunate position to be able to try new things and building a brand ... not many people get the opportunity to build a brand so use it as an opportunity to be creative and think deeply about how you want to position this brand going forward.
    Your marketing efforts all have to answer 1 question : will this make me money either directly or indirectly? If the answer is not yes don't do it or at least not at that particular time (maybe later)
    Its imperative that you dont try to do too many things at once. Start with one or two things - make it work andthen move onto the next few things. Then when you have all the right things for your business then aim to continuously take those things to the next level. Its not how much you do its how well you understand your target audience and how well you engage with themm to build loyalty & advocacy
    As a start-up its easy to also then do one theme of marketing and not change things up regularly - dont fall into this trap. Do simple but fun/interesting/relevant things that your target market will see as fresh innovative and engaging. I recommend reviewing your marketing efforts every 6 months as a start-up
    True! It is a really exciting and creative proccess and the benefit of doing this for yourself is that you have to truely evaluate what you want your business to be. I have found that through the marketing process I have honed my vision for my company.
    I have noticed group-focused marketing isoversaturating the marketplace and people are getting sick of it instead craving individual attention. So I think relationship marketing is the solution for this; rather than focusing on any one group start paying attention to individuals. You’ll gain stronger individual buyer relationships earn more standout reviews and ultimately appear more personable and approachable as a brand.