3 Reasons your Marketing Plan isn't Delivering Results

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By Callie Sierra


If you’ve developed a marketing plan for your business, you’re already ahead of the game. In fact, recent research revealed that 85% of small business owners feel like they’re ‘winging it’ at least some of the time, noting marketing as one of the big issues that keep them at awake at night.

The life of a business owner often includes developing products and services, managing finances and hiring the right talent, which leaves little time to create a formalised marketing plan. Instead, marketing is based on general ideas and adhoc campaigns, which almost never turns out well.  

Yet, a well thought-out and documented marketing plan has the potential to set your business apart from the competition. If your current marketing efforts aren’t delivering the results you expected, it might be time to reassess your marketing plan. Start by considering these three common reasons that marketing plans fail to deliver.

Three Reasons your Marketing Plan Isn’t Working

1. It’s based on assumptions

All too often, business owners base their marketing plan on previously conceived notions and assumptions. For example, you might presume that a specific campaign will appeal to your target audience based on what you believe their needs to be, but you don’t have any research or data to back it up.

Assumptions aren’t always bad; in fact, if you’re highly experienced, they can be very valuable. However, if the majority of your marketing plan is based on gut feeling, it’s effectiveness will be questionable.

What to do: Your research. Spend the time to research the market, the industry, your customers, and the competition. While it’s impossible to know everything, the more informed your marketing strategy, the more effective it will be. And don’t underestimate the value of speaking directly with your customers and prospects; they’re oftentimes your most useful source of information.

2. You’re trying to be everything to everyone

One of the fundamental rules of marketing is that you can’t be everything to everyone. While appealing to a broad audience may seem like it will maximise opportunity and limit risk, it has quite the opposite effect.  

When you try to target an all-encompassing audience, you tend to overly generalise your offerings, services and brand proposition in an attempt to be something to everyone. Your messaging becomes so vague that you end up becoming nothing to anyone. To get potential customers to connect with your business, you need to show them that you understand their unique needs and offer a solution that’s specifically suited to them.

What to do: Don’t try to do everything; do what you’re best at. Focus on what unique value you provide as a business and translate that into a clear set of offerings designed for a specific target market. The more you can align your offerings with the unique challenges of your customers, the more impactful your marketing strategy will be.

3. You’re focused on you, rather than the customer.

One of the biggest marketing mistakes business owners make is placing the business at the center of their marketing efforts, rather than the customer. While your global locations and incredible product features are no doubt impressive, at the end of the day, clients are most concerned about solving their own problems.

Your marketing strategy should focus on delivering an experience for clients that moves them from a state of confusion to a state of achievement. Get to your know customers, what challenges they face, and focus on providing the solutions to their problems.

What to do: Start by spending the time to get to know your customers better. Reach out to several clients, ask them questions and learn what keeps them up at night. Then, align your marketing plan to the needs of the market. Center your marketing messages around how your business helps clients overcome their challenges and excel in their professional roles.


Marketing can play in an invaluable role in driving brand awareness, generating leads and driving revenue for your small business. The key is taking the time to do your research, learning more about your customers and focusing on the core benefits your business delivers. If you do the preparation, you’ll stand a better chance of creating a marketing plan that delivers results.

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