4 Reasons Why Marketers Continue Implementing Ineffective Strategies

scrolling on laptop

Digital marketing is a relatively fast-paced industry. It’s continuously changing. Strategies and tactics that have worked 3-5 years ago will most likely not work today.

But there are ways to make sure everything you do today won’t go to waste tomorrow—focus on your customers. Unfortunately, that’s not what most marketers are doing.

They stick with their guns. They continue to use their old-school strategies and tactics that worked last decade, but the rest of the industry have moved on since.

Here are 4 primary reasons why marketers continue doing what they do despite knowing they are ineffective.

4 Reasons Marketers Continues Using Ineffective Tactics

1. Don’t Know Any Better

Digital marketing is a relatively new field. It is growing and constantly changing. Most marketers learn from schools and by observing other organizations.

However, the people teaching marketing in schools are used to the traditional ways of marketing. These are successful marketers in their time.

But the internet has changed the way people buy. The traditional way of marketing, which is to interrupt people, no longer works.

Yes, there is a movement for being “creative” and applying “experiential marketing,” but these are still a form of interruption. They catch people’s attention and that’s it. It’s also not sustainable.

Organizations no longer control the buying process. By the time people talk to your organization, they are already 70% done with the buying process.

The best way to approach modern marketing is to be part of that buying process organically. How?

Create content and address the different stages of the experience cycle. Use the 5 stages of awareness to come up with different content so you can target a bigger audience that those who are already familiar with you.

2. Use the Wrong Examples

One of the best attribute humans have is their ability to learn from others without experiencing/doing that same thing.

In digital marketing, this involves learning from other organizations. But, what they do does not necessarily mean it will be successful for you. Why?

Because of two primary reasons: first, that organization you’re looking up to probably also doesn’t know any better.

The other reason, and why they seem successful to you, is most of the time they are a known, bigger brand than you. That means they have immediate brand recognition and bigger budgets to execute these kinds of things.

You don’t have access to their internal data. So, you think that what they are doing is bringing in great results for them, but in reality, they are in the same boat as you — groping in the dark.

It just seems successful from your perspective because a big brand is doing it.

If you’re a small business or have limited budgets and you start thinking of doing all these grandiose things, you’ll just end up in frustration.

If you want to learn from other organizations, look at those in a similar industry and size and offering as you are. Don’t simply copy what big brands do.

3. Need to Increase Sales

Organizations that use email marketing are mostly B2C organizations. In recent years, they become mostly the eCommerce ones.

eCommerce organizations don’t have traditional sales teams. That business function is assumed by the marketing team.

So, on top of their regular “marketing” activities, they now need to meet sales quotas.

The added sales responsibilities is one of the biggest reasons why marketers only send out promotional emails disguised as newsletters in order to achieve their results.

In addition, managers in eCommerce roles do not spend time on the ground. They only want to increase revenues and don’t look at developing relationships as a viable strategy.

Developing relationships with customers is deemed as a long-term strategy only suitable for big brands with big budgets.

However, study after study have shown that taking care of your customers and nurturing a great relationship with them have great benefits — both short- and long-term.

It’s a known fact that it’s easier to get additional revenues from existing customers than from a new one. But a lot of organizations don’t spend time developing relationships with their existing customers.

Instead, they spend an enormous amount of time and money acquiring new customers yet they spend almost zero time with their existing ones. These new customers eventually leave the organization — resulting to a high customer churn rate — because they are taken for granted. According to a Bain and Company study, 60-80% of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them.

If you don’t spend time developing relationships with your customers, and continue sending promotional items, you’re only sending a signal that you don’t care about them. They’ll soon realize that all you care about is their money.

4. Don’t Know What Tools to Use

Most marketers enter their organizations and get handed down a set of usernames and passwords.

They don’t get the luxury to go-through the selection and buying process. For bigger organizations, IT (wrongly) does this for them.

This results to a lot of marketers not knowing what tools are available in the market.

If they do know, they are only familiar with the known-brands which cost an arm and a leg. They, then, remove it from their list since it is out of their budget.

But apart from the availability of tools, a bigger problem marketers face is they are not familiar with what to look for.

These features are very important to know since not all email marketing software are the same. Some offer automation while some don’t. Some have the ability to edit the code manually, while some don’t.

The only way to get through this hurdle is to stay updated with what is happening in the industry.

Over to You

Digital marketing is a fast-paced industry. The only way you can keep producing results is to always read up on what’s happening and the developments in the industry.

Also, make sure that you actually practice and test these strategies/tactics.

If you blindly implement them, you could end up wasting a lot of resources for your business or clients. Then again, as long as these are directed and focused towards end-users and customers, these strategies would most likely give you great results in the long-run.

So again, focus on your customers. Make sure you are adding value to their lives. That will ensure that whatever investments you make today will still matter tomorrow.

What strategies and tactics to you think will still work this decade? Which ones won’t? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Holistic Digital Marketing Strategy and Why You Need One

board with post it notes

Have you ever tried selling something? What was the first thing you did? Who were the first few people you tried selling to?

Your family. Your close friends. Maybe even your relatives.

Then you posted on your social media accounts to go beyond your close circle.

You created Facebook page for your product and started posting and selling there.

Then, nobody seems to respond to your posts except your family and friends.

Sure, you get likes every once in a while. But you still haven’t sold anything outside your own circle.

You’ve hit a wall.

After going through your list of potential buyers (friends and family), you don’t have anyone else to sell to.

But you believe in your product so much. You don’t want to just give up. So, you research online and find that advertising might solve your problem.

You run some ads on Facebook. But after a couple of days, you still haven’t made much progress.

Doubts creep in.

You start thinking that maybe your product isn’t that good. Maybe you’re not meant to sell. You’re just not good at it.

You’re not alone.

Majority of small and medium businesses are in the same situation as you. While there are revenues coming in, they aren’t enough to warrant hiring new people or investing in other activities.

A lot of big brands also started out like that. Apple started selling to their family and friends. HP, which also started in their garage, sold to their inner circle first.

But they found a way to get more customers to grow their revenues. To scale. To become who they are today.

What they did differently

What the successful brands did differently is that they applied a holistic strategy — one that allowed them to continuously sell and grow their business.

They became successful because, in one form or another, they used a holistic strategy and not just string together a couple of activities.

When it comes to digital marketing, that holistic strategy means having a way to fill your marketing and sales funnel automatically.

Let me explain that below.

The Marketing and Sales Funnel

Your marketing and sales funnel, or simply funnel, is a visual framework that allows you to see how every activity ties in together, and what metrics you should keep an eye out for.

The funnel is composed of 3 parts: prospects, leads, and customers.

1. Prospects

These are people who may or may not be interested.

Following the story a while ago, these are people whom you spoke with initially to share more about your product.

In digital marketing, these usually comprise your website’s visitors and engaged audience on social media.

Activities you need to focus on at this stage should convert these prospects/visitors to the next stage.

2. Leads

Leads in digital marketing are people who are somewhat interested, more engaged, may or may not be ready to buy now.

After your initial conversation, you’ll find out if they are the right fit for you or not. You learn more about them, what they like and dislike. You get some feedback so you can further improve your product, messaging, and approach to selling.

The key indicator for leads (vs prospects) is that these group of people gave their contact information to you. You have the ability (and hopefully, permission) to reach out to them about what you do and what you sell. You know a little bit about them through your interactions with them.

The activities you should be focusing here are to nurture these people — through education — to buy from you later on.

3. Customers

These are people who have bought from you. People who were willing to trade in their hard-earned money for your product (or service).

They didn’t do it because you’re the one selling it (maybe if it’s your mom); rather, they bought from you because they believed in you and how it can benefit their life.

To be successful in business today, you don’t end a relationship when someone pays you. You continue this relationship, get to know them more, ask for feedback. You can ask your best customers for referrals, give them exclusive perks for being loyal, and many more.

How Does the a Holistic Strategy Fit in with the Funnel

As you noticed, the typical journey of an entrepreneur moves from talking to the prospects, to leads, then to customers. This is the same for other big, successful businesses as well.

The only difference is that they don’t stop doing one activity in exchange for the next.

A holistic strategy allows you to create a sustainable business.

The Problem: Non-scalable Activities

Let’s go back to our story earlier. When you first got your product, you were so excited. You believed in it so much. You started selling to your inner circle. Some bought. Some didn’t. But that didn’t stop you.

You went beyond your inner circle. You reached out to your acquaintances. You spoke with people you don’t know, started running some ads, and got a few inquiries.

While this approach goes through the funnel (prospecting, lead nurturing, closing), whenever you switch to the next activity, you stop doing the other one.

And that’s what’s hurting you and your business.

You didn’t spend time on activities that are sustainable. Those activities that do the hard work for you, even if you’re taking a vacation.

The Solution: Scalable Activities

Scalable activities in digital marketing are things you do that yield results now, tomorrow, and years into the future.

Compare this with non-scalable things, where once you stop doing them, results stop coming in.

Typically, advertising is a non-scalable activity. The moment you stop pouring in money, results will stop coming in. A great example of a scalable activity is blogging or content creation.

Below are steps you can take to make sure that you invest in scalable activities, while at the same time, bring you quick wins as well.

1. Start blogging and create content

This activity supports the entire funnel — from prospects, to leads, to customers. You can create content to attract people who don’t know you, provide more information about your product, answer FAQs, and provide user guides.

Use a content pillar approach when creating content. It’s an efficient and effective way to repurpose your content. And don’t forget to share them on social media and in your email list.

If you don’t have any content to attract new people, engage with your audience, and help existing customers, where would this leave you?

You’ll plateau quickly, just like in our story.

Why?

Without content targeted to the different stages of the funnel, the only thing you have left is your product. And when you’re left with something you can’t change, you start discounting just to be able to sell. Lower and lower. Until you don’t make a profit anymore.

In addition, when you lower your prices, the only people who will see it and/or take notice of it are already the people who know you. Remember the funnel? If you don’t fill the top of the funnel with new prospects, you won’t get new leads and customers. What will end up happening is your existing customers will see the discounts. They will switch over to the lower price and, eventually, you will lose all your margins.

Finally, look at your business from a larger perspective. There are a lot of people who don’t know you, care about you and your product. If the only thing you post on your social media accounts are how awesome your product is, eventually, no one’s going to listen to you anymore.

As a sidetone, this is one of the reasons one organic posts by Pages on Facebook keeps declining. Marketers keep abusing the platform. Users get irritated. This leads to a bad experience for them. And Facebook doesn’t want that.

The funnel has stood the test of time for a reason — you keep filling the top with new prospects. This will give you the chance to test your messaging, get more feedback, and more importantly, grow your business.

Your strategy has to consist of address the 3 parts — how to get more prospects/visitors, how to get more leads, and how to get more customers. Jumping from one stage to another or simply focusing on one is ineffective.

2. Create landing pages

Landing pages allow you to capture contact information. And from our definition above, that’s the way you generate leads for your business. It’s composed of two parts: (1) a copy that explains what you’re offering and (2) a form that people fill-in.

You can use this across the entire funnel as well. You just change the contents of it depending on your goal.

For example, you can have a white paper on a specific topic that you can use as your lead generation offer. Here’s an example of me doing just that.

(Insert image CTA of downloading white paper)

Most businesses only have a contact us page as their sole landing page. This is also the reason why they aren’t growing.

Landing pages typically have a 1% conversion rate. For every 100 visits you get to your contact us page, you only convert 1 of them. How often do you think people visit your contact us page? Now imagine the amount of traffic you need to reach your goals?

So, what do you need to do? Create more marketing offers and put them on landing pages. Distribute them on social media, add calls-to-action (CTAs) all over your website like the example I have above.

3. Setup lead nurturing campaigns

Lead nurturing is a marketing activity that moves a lead from one stage to another. It does this by sending (mostly) automated content usually though email that educates the lead about the company, its products/services, and how it can benefit them.

Lead nurturing campaigns always add value.

The only way to add value is to be helpful. Being helpful is not about talking about your products and your promos. It’s all about the customers and how you can help make their lives better.

If you’re selling computers, you don’t focus on the specs like the memory and screen size. Apple is a great example of a company that focuses on the benefits you get when you buy one of their Macs.

There are two problems with creating lead nurturing campaigns. First, you need to know the product/service in detail in order to craft the correct sequence and copy.

Next is it takes hard work. You need content — the helpful and educational type. Unfortunately a lot of marketers don’t invest in knowing what they are selling.

This is the main reason why the only emails that gets sent out are promotional emails and discounting. There’s not even an ounce of copy except for variations of “buy one get one” or “hurry, we have a sale that ends on (insert date here).”

So, What Are You Going to Do Next?

Whether you are new in digital marketing, or an expert, it’s essential that you apply a holistic digital marketing strategy. While you may choose to “focus” on one aspect of the funnel, the fact that you know that there’s a next part in the strategy will help you develop better campaigns.

By using a holistic digital marketing strategy, you can avoid problems most organizations are facing today — declining sales despite tons of promotions. If you have a way to continually fill the top of your funnel, convert them into leads, and nurture them into customers, results will come in.

And as a bonus, you’ll know which parts of your funnel is not working, then find a way to fix it!

Are you using a holistic digital marketing strategy in your organization? Let me know in the comments below.

The Strategy That Will Solve All Your Business Problems: Focus

focus-magnifying-glass

Focus is one of the essential strategies that is lacking in startups (and businesses) today. Grabbing every opportunity that comes along your way might lead to short-term gains, but it will eventually become your downfall.

Your business has a purpose. It stands for something. It has a vision. Written or not, regardless where that came from – your personal ambition that you turned into reality or it was handed down to you by your boss or the company you are working in right now – there is that objective the company wants to achieve.

(Look, if you do not know what it is, find out about it. If there really isn’t one, make one. If you do not care, sorry, you are not fit to be in that role right now if you do not see the value of having a vision.)

Focus separates the successful companies from those who are not. Companies that have a clear vision of where they are going, even if they do not know how, are on the right track.

The main idea behind the strategy of focus is the constraint on resources. Whether that is in the form of cash or capital, time, manpower or skills, you have limited resources. Without focus, you will grab every opportunity that presents itself. As mentioned above, that might lead to short-term gain because of its newness. That will eventually bring you down because you are confusing your customers and noncustomers. You are confusing your own team as to which direction you are heading.

Yes, there is such a thing as a pivot, but that is a major overhaul of the company’s strategies and operations, not simply trying out something because there is an opportunity to earn money from it.

So stop what you are doing right now and find out your purpose. Focus on opportunities and activities that contribute to that goal, and kill all other ideas that detract from it — no matter how shiny it is.