“Why doesn’t my digital marketing work?”  I get asked some variation of this question a lot. It usually comes from a potential client who has spent a lot of time and money, either on their own or working with another agency or “expert”. They generally have had little or no success generating the kind of traffic and leads they were expecting or hoping for. It is usually not for lack of trying.

I’m not saying that there aren’t good agencies and true digital marketing experts out there. There are some very talented ones who have a proven track record of bringing great results to their customers.

The problem lies in the fact that there are also a great many “experts” who know little to nothing about marketing. They know how to use Facebook and boost a post, so that makes them an expert in their minds. Knowing how to use new technology does not equate to marketing savvy.

Most traditional marketing practices still apply today, just as they did in the past. The difference is, the way we use these marketing concepts has changed because the way people absorb information has changed. Here are some reasons why I have seen digital marketing efforts fail.

Lack of Customer Profile

I won’t get into this in great detail since I have covered this topic before, but one of the first things I ask a client, is “Who is your customer?” Let me be clear here, the answer is NOT “Everyone”.

If you want to be successful in your marketing efforts, knowing who your target audience is and having a solid profile of that audience is crucial. Without it, you are just aiming everywhere hoping to hit a target somewhere along the way. Not a great plan. Narrowing down the “aim” of your campaign to those customers who are most likely to buy your product is one of the best ways to drastically improve your results.


Lack of a Defined Message

Not having a defined message is also an easy way to have your campaigns fail. Again, without a well defined message, we are using a hit or miss approach to marketing and that message is going to miss more often than hit.

Have a marketing message that shows how well you know your customer’s need or desire and that you have the answer to fill that need. Understand what makes your product stand out from your competitors and share that difference in your marketing materials.

Don’t get caught up in a lot of confusing technobabble or flowery wording. Just tell them what you can do to solve their problem, fulfill their desire or make their life easier in a plain and easy to understand manner.

Here are a few examples:

  • Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. (Tastes great and doesn’t make a mess on my hands)
  • So easy a caveman can do it. (If a caveman can do it, surely I can, as well)
  • No battery is stronger longer. ( I don’t have to worry about my batteries dying quickly)

Even if you are not a huge company with a huge marketing budget to build these slogans in the mind of your customer through constant repetition, you can be more to the point with your marketing.

Perhaps you sell used cars.

People often have a stereotypical view about buying a used car and how difficult it can be. Carmax uses a simple statement on their website. Up front and in bold letters they state “Experience clear and simple car buying and selling.” This tells me that I should not have as much difficulty buying or selling a car, if I go work with them. Simple, but effective.


Not Looking at the Whole Picture

Another reason many digital marketing campaigns fail is that marketers often fail to look at the whole marketing picture. There is no defined goal. Using each marketing channel as its own entity without creating a plan that makes them all work together is not very effective.

You need a clear and organized plan and a quantifiable goal if you really want to make your marketing efforts work together in support of one another. Always, think of the overall plan, when creating new marketing materials.


Working in the Wrong Areas

This one goes back to the target audience. If you are not sure who your target audience is, you are likely using marketing channels that are reaching the wrong audience. Just as advertising baby food in Car and Driver magazine is not going to be the most productive strategy, running ad campaigns on a platform that your audience does not use, is just a waste of time and money. Find out where your audience is and market to them there.


Lack of Follow Through

Another reason many marketers are getting poor returns on their marketing initiatives, is that they do not follow through with potential customers. If you are having people sign up for an email newsletter, but rarely send out a newsletter, that defeats the purpose.

Another problem I see frequently is that marketers will not respond to comments on their social media channels. The number one reason cited is that they just don’t have the time. If you are running ads on Facebook, someone needs to be monitoring them.

When someone comments, you need to reply. This is a good opportunity to build a relationship with that prospect and maybe even throw in some extra details about your service. If you do not have time to monitor these ads, find someone within the company who can or hire someone to do it for you. Customer relationships are important, even before someone is actually a customer.

These same relationships also need to be nurtured all the way through closing a sale and beyond. If you have a relationship with someone, they are more likely to come to you the next time they need a service like yours.



As you can see, the most important thing you can do for your digital marketing efforts is to have a plan that has an intentional and focused message directed at a well-defined audience.

If this all sounds too familiar to your situation and you need help with your digital marketing efforts, contact us today and let’s discuss how we can help set you on the right path.