21 Reasons You’ll Fail at Marketing 13

I don’t know what it is about Marketing, but everyone on earth seems to think they can do it. And yet I see so many people NOT doing it or wasting thousands of dollars and not getting results.  I see business owners try the same things over and over, small businesses fail at marketing wasting more money, more time, and more energy. If I had 1/10th of what business owners waste on stuff that doesn’t work, I’d be the most successful marketing consultant on the planet.  And yet, so many business owners would rather go it alone and try and fail and try again and fail again rather than reach out and get professional help. I don’t get it.

I know there are those out there who will always try to do it themselves so, so in the spirit of not getting it, here are the top 21 reasons why most small business owners fail at marketing:

  1. Guessing – Great marketing isn’t an accident. It takes research, educated decisions, testing, tracking and measuring. Guesswork will leave you customer-less and broke.
  2. Doing what everyone else is doing- Every business is different and your marketing mix should be too.  Following the crowd isn’t going to help you stand out from the competition!
  3. Listening to sales people Marketing is a long term strategy, not a special advertisement, publication, or website; but every sales rep you come in contact with will try to convince you otherwise. Marketing is a process – a long term strategy, there is no magic pill and don’t let a slick sales person try to tell you otherwise.
  4. Not asking questions –Question EVERYTHING about your business and ask everyone you come into contact with as many questions as possible to learn, grow, and constantly improve.
  5. Doing nothing – It’s simple, if you don’t Market your business, you will fail.
  6. Putting all your eggs in one basket – Marketing is like investing, the more diversified your strategy, the better off you will be. Don’t invest all your time and resources in one medium or on one marketing tool – mix it up.
  7. Not tracking results – How the heck are you going to know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t track the results? If you’re not tracking you’re guessing, and we covered that in #1!
  8. Assuming you have all the answers – Yes, I know: you know your business better than anyone. But do you know marketing?  I mean do you REALLY know how and where to reach potential customers and convince them to buy from you?
  9. Not talking to your customers – No one knows your value – or faults – better than the people who actually buy from you. Talk to your customers – often. It’ll provide valuable insight and ideas.
  10. Ignoring your competition- If you don’t know how you’re different from your competition how are potential customers supposed to? Knowing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses will help you differentiate.
  11. Not setting goals –Goals keep us on track; they give us direction. Without them you’re wandering aimlessly and most likely wasting a lot of time and money.
  12. Not building an email list – I don’t understand how anyone can market a business in today’s world without an email list! Email is the easiest and most inexpensive way to stay in touch with customers and prospects.  If you aren’t building a list you’re missing out on huge opportunities.
  13. Not having  an opt in form – Emailing current and past customers is a great start, but what about the people who visit your website, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages and then go away never to be heard from again? Wouldn’t’ it be nice to engage the serious window shoppers in some way? An opt-in form is the way to do it!
  14. Selling all the time.  We’ve all met the slick schmoozy salesy types, right? And how long does it take you to high-tail it in the opposite direction? Don’t be one of those. An effective marketing strategy eliminates the need to sell all the time… really!
  15. Assuming because you have a great product or service you don’t need a marketing strategy – Sure, some products and services might market themselves, but that’s rare. Real marketing success takes strategy, planning, and work.
  16. Assuming that just because you have a good product or service you don’t need a referral system- Again, there are some products and services that people just love to talk about, but building a successful business solely on organic referrals and “buzz” is rare.  Getting solid referrals, consistently takes planning and solid execution. .
  17. Assuming anyone with a pulse is your client- Repeat after me:  “NOT everyone is a potential client for me”. Now look in the mirror and repeat that every day! Find your niche – that segment of the population you are born to serve and you will uncover a gold mine!
  18. Not building relationships – I can’t stress enough how important this is. Hiding behind your computer screen, desk, or counter isn’t going to get you the level of success you want. You have to get out there – mingle, be helpful, connect people, and build relationships with the right people!
  19. Spending all your time networking in the wrong places –Not every networking group is right for you. Find the ones that will help you get where you want to go and avoid the ones that won’t.
  20. Ignoring the internet – Facebook and Twitter may not be right for your business, but chances are your target market is going somewhere on line for information about your product or service.  Your job is to find out where they’re going and be there!
  21. Not hiring a professional- If you want to build an addition onto your home would you do it yourself or hire a professional?  I mean, you know your home better than anyone, right? So why not do it yourself? Ridiculous, right? So then why would you try to “add on” – or grow – your business yourself?  Hire a professional who has the right tools and knows the ins and outs of growing a business.

So what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
 Want to share?? Please do! Leave your comments here.


By the way, if you liked this post, I’d really appreciate your Retweet!!! Thank you. :-)

About the Author Carolyn Higgins is the President and founder of Fortune Marketing Company. You can follow her on Google+. Read more »

RATE THIS ARTICLE 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars

How to make faster, more informed business decisions

LivePlan: Online Business Planning Software

Your business is up and running, and now you’re laser-focused on growth. And you’re smart: you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the financial health of your business. But, you don’t have time to run reports or analyze endless spreadsheets.

What if you had an easy-to-use financial dashboard that gave you a visual overview of all your key business numbers? What if you could set up budgets and sales forecasts without sacrificing critical time away from your business?

This is where a powerful, yet easy to configure business dashboard comes into play. Click to learn more about how a business dashboard can help you grow faster and make smarter, more informed decisions.

Click to continue
  • http:/seedsclub.averagepersongardening.com Mike the Gardener

    Great list! I completely agree about diversification and then of course tracking results. How could you possibly know if something is working or not if you do not track the return.

    • http://www.FortuneMarketingCompany.com Carolyn Higgins

      Thank you Mike, glad you found it helpful! I agree, tracking is one of the most important tasks of marketing!

  • Pingback: 1/25/12 News: Small Business Social Media, Small Business Loan FAQ, Choosing a Small Biz Mobile Carrier | Bizjama

  • Pingback: Business Blitz: Are You Selling to the Right People?

  • Vino

    How about the customers’ satisfaction? Measuring how satisfied your customers is makes you realize how successful your marketing program is.

    Also, it would be nice to tackle the faults on handling repeat customers and switchers. It would be very helpful to have an informative tip about this.

    But in a nutshell, this list is very helpful to marketers. Nice work!

    • http://www.FortuneMarketingCompany.com Carolyn Higgins

      Hi Vino, Good points. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Tim Metzner

    20. (b): Thinking that just “being there” is enough. Amazes how many people think that just throwing up a website, facebook page, twitter account, or even some google ads is all it takes. In many cases you’d be better off doing nothing online than using the “set it and forget it” approach.

    • http://www.FortuneMarketingCompany.com Carolyn Higgins

      Tim – Absolutely, I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for the comment. – Carolyn Higgins

  • http://phoenixonesales.com Bill Simmel

    GREAT List- This should be required reading for any budding entrepreneur or future small business owner. Too many small businesses fail due to many of the reasons outlined here.

    • http://www.fortunemarketingcompany.com Carolyn Higgins

      Hi Bill – Thank you!! – Carolyn

  • Robb Doyle

    Great tips, all good advice. Hope this gets through to those who read it.

    • http://www.FortuneMarketingCompany.com Carolyn Higgins

      Thank you Robb! I hope so too. – Carolyn

  • Pingback: Eight Creative Marketing Ideas to Make Your Business Stand Out « THE Imperial Evergreen BLOG

  • Pingback: Eight Creative Marketing Ideas to Make Your Business Stand Out | Five Star Web Solution

  • Pingback: More Creative Marketing Ideas « J2 Marketing

  • Pingback: Small Businesses Need Marketing Help, Why They Don’t Seek It Out - Social Republick

  • Piolo pascual

    Every country had its unique attitude. This doesnt holds true all the time and in every nation

  • http://www.lcmarket.com Lisa Cohen

    Carolyn, thank you for writing this article and crystalizing thoughts that alot of us in marketing thinks about. Marketing is changing so quickly these days, and we are all trying to create the buzz about the next new product. When we started Milton’s bread in a handful or warehouse club buildings, we would demo several times a week. It was important to have that one on one moment with the customers, and they created the excitement about the product. Never underestimate the importance of that one on one moment. I look foreward to reading more of your articles.


  • http://www.verizon-fios.350.com/Verizon_FiOS.htm Bennet_Marky

    I agree with what you said. Many of the small business organizations go with the guessing games. They simply guess a particular strategy and never care about adopting new innovative techniques. Even researching, testing, tracking; all these things never come in their minds.