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5 most common reasons your marketing isn't working

5 Most Common Reasons Your Marketing Isn't Working


In this blog, I'm talking about how marketing is an integral part of customer experience.

To explain that, let me first begin by saying that most customer journeys start because of a need or a desire. Let me give you an example of what I mean by that. A client of mine is a wedding photographer. Now, her ideal clients are couples who are planning their weddings. So, do couples who are already married need a wedding photographer? No. For couples who are not even in a place where they're thinking about getting married, do they need a wedding photographer? No. So couples who have maybe recently gotten engaged and are now starting to plan their wedding have a need or a desire for someone to capture their love on camera on one of the biggest days of their lives. This couple's need and desire only arose when they got engaged or started planning out their big day.

The need and desire phase of a customer journey is typically not something you can control for brand new clients. Still, it is something that you can influence later on once clients enter into a journey with you. You can check out my recent blog on customer journey mapping and find out a little more about that.


Understanding the client search process

The next phase that comes after that need and desire phase is the discovery phase. This is where clients actively search for solutions to their needs or desires. So take, again, my client, the wedding photographer. Couples who are planning out their wedding and are looking for a professional photographer to capture their special day, they're either going to ask friends who've recently gotten married for a referral for a photographer, or they might do a search on Google for photographers in their geographical location.

They might search 'photographer'. They might search 'wedding photographer'. They might even go on social media and run the exact same searches. So by you showing up in your business with a website or on social media, because you're marketing, you are getting discovered. Clients are discovering you. This is where being consistent with your branding and having effective marketing come into play with your customer experience.

It can take anything between five and seven times for someone to see your brand or your marketing message and remember you. And, it can take a prospect client anything up to 17 engagements with your brand before they buy from you. So just because you offer a fantastic product or service doesn't mean that clients will flock to you or buy from you when they discover you. Even if you have exceptionally transformative results, it doesn't mean that they're going to buy from you.


Why you need a marketing strategy

If you are winging your marketing or are leaving your efforts to chance or guesswork, you are far less likely to stand out amongst your competition. You are more likely flushing your resources down the drain and not getting as many sales as you should be in your business.

So, if you don't have a marketing strategy, or you are unsure how to articulate your message in a way that resonates and lands with your ideal clients, keep listening. I get it. I understand how overwhelming and frustrating it can feel when you're burning the candle at both ends trying to get and keep clients. That's why I've read all the books. I've done all the courses. I've joined masterminds. I've hired coaches. I wanted to learn from copywriters, marketers, branding experts, customer experience thought leaders. I wanted to learn from them and add those learnings to my own years of experience in sales and leadership roles to help my clients transform and grow their businesses in a sustainable and customer-centric way.

From that learning, here are the five most common reasons your marketing isn't working and that you're struggling to get and keep your ideal clients.


1. You think that the customer journey you've created is about you and your business.

The customer journey you create is not about how many clients you put through it, how cost-effective you make it, or how much automation you can introduce to save time. It's not about how you add value to the customer proposition.

Your customer journey is about how easy it is for your clients to do business with you. That starts from them being able to find you easily, right the way you through until they've finished their journey with your brand, and they've closed the loop as such. It's about whether you delivered on your promise. Did your business do what it said on the tin? Did it do that without making your clients jump through hoops?

It's also about emotion. The emotion your customer experienced because of the sum of those two, the ease and the function. As in, how easy it was to do business with you, and it did what it said on the tin? The sum of those two create an emotion, and that's where the experience comes from as it relates to your business.

So the journey is about delivering quality products or services that have relative costs in an easy way. That's what your customers want. They don't care about your processes on the back end or that there are delays because your systems are down. They don't care if you're sick. They simply want their need, or their desire met. If it's not about you, I'm sorry to tell you; it's about them. If you are only ever on your website or on your social media platforms talking about yourself, about the work that goes in behind the scenes to deliver your product or service, you are making a mistake.

What the client wants to know is that you can take them from where they are now to where they want to get to. Essentially, the client gets a sense from you that you can help them solve their need or desire, so that you take them from, "This is where I'm at. This is where I want to get to," and that you can and demonstrate you are the one who can help them get there.


2. You make yourself the hero of the story instead of the client

The second most common mistake that most businesses make when they're crafting their website, their social media captions, their emails, and everything else is that they make themselves the hero of the story, not just as it relates to customer journeys, but the hero of the entire story. There's a great book called Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. If you haven't read it yet, let me suggest that you do. Donald Miller talks about a seven-part framework, which outlines how great stories are told in this book.

Essentially, if you consider any captivating movie you've seen where you were emotionally connected with the lead character, maybe you cried, or you laughed alongside with them or for them, or perhaps you read a book and the book you felt it was unputdownable. Again, maybe you laughed or cried. If that was the case, that was likely because the story or the movie or the book that you read or watched or followed the seven-part framework that Donald Miller calls out.

How I like to describe this is, imagine if you go to the dentist with a toothache, you go because you have a need or desire to get rid of that pain. You enter into the journey with the dentist, and the dentist becomes the guide. They're the expert. They're the authority. They are the leader of the journey because you don't know how to fix the pain, right? So you tell them the problem, they'll check it out, and they'll direct you as to what's the best course of action to get rid of the pain.

It's precisely the same thing for your clients engaging with you in your business. When they engage with you in your business, they are the lead character, and you are the expert, the authority and the guide. They want you to give them the solution to their need or desire, and they don't want to hear about your problems. It's all about the client.

When people are marketing, they often demonstrate so much authority, expertise, and guidance that they don't talk about the lead character at all, the lead character being your client. They either don't talk about them at all or as much as they should. So when potential clients are reading or seeing the words, they're not resonating because they don't resonate. They don't click to book a call with you or buy from you. They don't feel like you get them, and they might even find that you come across as arrogant because it's all about you.



3. You are not consistent and persistent with your marketing

The third mistake that business owners make is not being consistent and persistent with their marketing. A client of mine told me recently that until she started her work with me, she used to post about once every six weeks on her social media and then sit back and wait for clients to come knocking on the door or call. What she found, and she admitted, was that she was waiting and waiting and waiting some more. She didn't realize the importance of being consistent and persistent in her marketing.

Having a plan of action with your website, your social media and marketing generally means that you're showing up with intent. The best way to achieve success and sales in your business is to become consistent and persistent intentionally. People get to know you, like you and trust you. Suppose you regularly show up and add value, inspire, inform, and entertain your ideal clients. In that case, they will be far more ready to buy from you when you put an offer on the table.

They will remember you and may even refer others to you because they'll trust you. So many people are on social media, posting regularly, hoping for likes and followers. When really a few followers are all, you need to grow your business in a scalable and sustainable way. When you're showing up posting about your customers instead of yourself, that's how you're going to win them over.


  1. You don't have a sales funnel

The fourth mistake that businesses make is that they do not have a sales funnel. What is a sales funnel? So a sales funnel is a proven technique that helps businesses generate leads, close sales, and increase revenue.

A sales funnel is where you attract clients at the discovery phase with your marketing message. Then you bring them through a sequence of events, maybe on email, for example, so that they go on a journey as such that leads them to be offered your product or service. Sales funnels can form part of your overall customer experience strategy.

Some of the biggest mistakes that people make with this are:

  1. They don't think it through enough, or when they do think about doing this, what happens is that they're not sure how to develop it.
  2. When they start to think about setting it up, all of a sudden, it seems like too big a mountain to climb, so they often get so caught up in overthinking it that they don't make any progress.
  3. They get caught up too much in what their clients want from them, so they end up listing loads of needs and desires instead of explicitly referring to one that will resonate.
  4. They use industry or company jargon, or TLAs as I call them, three-letter abbreviations. So when they're describing the offers they have, the transformation that their clients will go through, what ends up happening is clients are thinking, "Oh, my gosh. What are they talking about? I have no idea, and so they're not going to be able to help me." That's how your clients will feel, and this is something I'm always talking to clients about; use simple language.
  5. Interestingly, the average reading age of the global population is 12-years-old. So if you are using words in your funnels that a 12-year-old wouldn't understand, then you're losing your clients. Let me tell you, 12-year- old's won't know what a TLA is, so avoid the TLAs.


5. You ignore the clients that don't buy

The fifth mistake businesses make when it comes to marketing is that when then they go to sell to clients, and those clients don't bite the first time around, often later, what happens is they end up ignoring those clients completely, or they might only get in touch with them the next time they're trying to sell, which is a little bit like, "Would you like to marry me? Would you like to marry me? Would you like to marry me?" Eventually, the client will say, "No, no, no. Okay. I've had enough now, and I'm leaving."

In other cases, what happens is they sell to clients, and the clients never hear from them again. So businesses are not nurturing existing clients. Clients can start to feel like they're just another number when that happens, and they're just another sale. They don't feel valued.



So you can create an email marketing campaign that nurtures your ideal clients that helps them get to know, like, and trust you even more. You can give them value by educating and inspiring them. Those are the five most common reasons your marketing isn't working. If you're making any of those mistakes, then you're missing a trick about how to get and keep your ideal clients.



The final point I'd like to share with you is that marketing alone is not enough for getting and keeping your ideal clients. If you put loads of effort into attracting your ideal clients, and then the experience is poor, those clients will market for you; yes, they will, but not in a good way. Only one in 26 unhappy customers will complain, and the other 25 will just leave. People who are unhappy or have complaints will tell between six and 18 others. So imagine spending all of your time and effort on your marketing and having clients who counter what you're doing because the experience is poor. How frustrating would that be?

So if you're going to spend time and effort getting your marketing right, make sure you've got your customer journey polished.

If you found this blog helpful, please feel free to share it.

Deirdre Martin is a business mentor that specialises in brand, marketing, sales and customer experience. She is a keynote speaker, business award winner and bestselling business author. For a FREE business breakthrough call, go to Deirdre’s calendar and find a time that works for you. Follow on LinkedIn!

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