Why most marketing campaigns don’t work.

It’s our view here at iMARVEL! that marketing is a necessary element of building long term sales and winning new customers. However, many SMEs say that they would hire a sales person over a marketing person. This by no means a scientific explanation but  we suspect that decision makers feel that a sales person can deliver quicker results.


We try to break down the difference between marketing and sales like this;

  • Marketing Activity goes to people and creates interest and customers. It’s pull.
  • Sales Activity finds people who are interested and makes sales. It’s push.


So here is the problem. Many marketing campaigns don’t work because the are actually a sales campaign disguised as a marketing campaign.


Both sales and marketing have the same goals, create customers and sell your products and services.Sales is concerned with converting prospects into customers. Marketing on the other hand creates, leads, enquiries and prospects.


Sometimes, marketing campaigns don’t work but not for the reasons you may suspect.


All too often marketing is generated from a knee jerk reaction. We see this a lot in small businesses. A bad result on the management accounts can trigger direct mail, e-blasts and a massive marketing initiative. If this is you, stop doing it. A good campaign needs preparation, solid messaging and a strong strategy. All those elements need time. You are wasting money. Marketing campaigns very rarely can be executed to grow sales and acquire new customers on a short term basis, particularly in B2B.


Many campaigns have been written off as a failure without giving them sufficient time to get rolling and when they do get rolling, particularly with digital campaigns you need to tweak and adapt them as you go.


Marketing campaign also fail when the messaging and audience are not fully considered. You fail to target when your questions are too broad. How can we get more sales? is broad. How can we get more sales from veterinary surgeries? is a targeted question. Targeting forces you to think about the needs of the customer, what will interest the customer and how they would prefer to buy (which then feeds into your sales process).


There are thousands of businesses have amazing marketing which generates huge numbers of enquiries but their sales process and marketing is disconnected. They lose leads to competitors because they can’t buy online, you can only buy online, the product information is confusing or the ordering process is bureaucratic. Those businesses have fantastic marketing but poor sales process.


If you could double your sales through marketing would you do it?
It’s said that half of all marketing works, the question is, which half. This comes from a throw and stick approach. Throw money at lots of different marketing activities and hopefully some of it will stick. The throw and stick approach works, it’s just awfully expensive! You spend money you don’t need to and lose out on new customers because you didn’t connect with them. If the 50:50 rule is 100% true then it’s not just that your spending money you don’t need to, your losing 50% of your sales.


Targeting allows you to decide your ideal prospective customer and tailor messages to them. Instead of mailing 10,000  brochures at £1.25 per unit and getting a 2% response rate, through targeting you could send 2000 tailored mail packs at £3.00 per unit and get a 20% response rate.

Why do most marketing campaigns fail? They are rushed, bland and not connected to the sales process.