Shocking Reasons Why Most Digital Marketing Strategies Fail. (And How to Avoid It)

key takeaways 1) Successful digital marketing strategies require clear goals and focus on ROI.
2) Incohesive branding and indiscriminate marketing can hurt reputation and ROI.
3) Gathering and utilizing metrics is critical for optimizing marketing strategies.
4) Outsourcing to specialists can generate better results than in-house teams.
5) Adapting to new trends and technologies is essential for staying ahead of the competition.
BY ronita May 09 2023

Shocking reasons why most digital marketing strategies fail. (and how to avoid it)

Digital marketing strategies can be one of the strongest assets to spur on a company’s growth, but not all strategies are created equal.

Many digital marketing strategies tend to fall short of their potential and can even cause companies to lose money when they are not correctly adjusted to the business or its market. 

Appropriate market targeting, combined with realistic, long-term goals, should produce a winning digital marketing strategy -- capable of increasing your ROI; in some cases up to 950%.

So, why is it that some strategies leak money, and others increase ROI rather staggeringly? And how can you determine the right course of action for your business? Read on to discover the secrets behind leading digital marketing strategies.

What Does Success Look Like To You? 
Before we dive into the deep stuff, let’s take a minute to think about where you want your business to be. ‘Success’ is a largely subjective term, but for the purpose of this article when we refer to ‘success,’ it will be in relation to the achievement of your company aims and goals.

With that in mind, what does ‘successful’ mean to you and your company? What does it look like to have a successful business? How does that vision differ from your current business? What are your main goals, in order of importance? Write it all down, because if you embark on a journey without a clear destination, you could end up anywhere, or even worse nowhere

Digital Marketing Failure

Common Markers of Success
Return on Investment (ROI) is the most common metric used in determining the viability of any investment, so having this aim is a highly measurable goal. Your monetary input can be contrasted against the financial gain from the strategy to provide an accurate representation of its direct value. Obviously you want to strive for a positive ROI, however a negative ROI is a useful indicator that something does not align within your marketing strategy.

Another common goal for measuring is bringing in a set number of leads, or clients, regardless of the ROI. The idea behind this type of strategy tends to relate to increasing brand awareness or expanding into new markets. Once you are known, and your name is passed by word of mouth, your business should start to pick up an increased amount of organic sales later down the line. It is important to bear in mind that this is a long-term strategy; fame is not gained overnight.

Return clients are often overlooked within marketing strategies but the fact is, the converted customer is far more likely to buy from you than someone new. This means that you can market to repeat clients with a far lower budget than you would need to expose your business to -- and convert -- new clients. That isn’t to say new clients are unimportant; far from it, but those who have bought from you before should not be forgotten so easily.

Why Do Most Digital Marketing Strategies Fail?
Now we know where you’re coming from and where you want to go, let’s take a look at where so many strategists all too often go wrong.

Lack of Clarity
Digital marketing strategies require a clear, overarching view of the big picture. Marketing strategies consist of ideas and instructions that are -- or should be -- engineered with psychology in mind (also known as neuromarketing) to help you obtain success. There are several aspects to this, including email marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), advertising and more.

It’s important to note that it’s not all about tactics -- it’s the “why” behind them that determines whether strategies are worth the investment. Keeping the big picture in mind is vital to ensure alignment between both your marketing and business strategies; without this clear focus, you will waste time and money ticking all the boxes rather than focusing on the tactics that best propel you to where you want to be.

We’ve met several business owners who unfortunately don’t have any idea on which marketing medium brought in the most revenue in the last 3 months. It’s important to ensure you have access to the data, or you have data tracking set up.

Using every trick in the book is a waste of time and money; what brings about success is the ability to focus on the key directives that best evoke your goals.

Incohesive & Inconsistent Branding
In addition to having a clear focus of your goals and success markers, your branding needs to impress this clarity to your clients. Consistent branding is a clear sign you know what you’re doing, and that inspires trust.

Too many companies consider branding to stop at their logo, but that is simply not the case. Again, there is a great deal of psychology that goes into the development of a brand that speaks for you. Branding incorporates your logo, font, tone of voice, colour palette, USP and -- most importantly -- who you are and what you’re about. It is a complicated concept to sum up into one cohesive package, which is why branding is all too often incohesive (read: unsuccessful). Those who understand the value of branding consult an experienced branding agency not only for branding but for brand refreshes -- because this is a fast-paced world and we have to work at staying relevant.

In the current climate, we have more people using the internet than ever before -- largely out of necessity -- which means now is the perfect time to up your game and gain their return custom before the waters recede back to normal and they are lost forever, never having known the value of your service.

Spamming is Not Marketing
Opting for cheap, indiscriminate marketing campaigns often do more damage than good. People who are marketed to -- especially without opting to be -- will lose faith in your brand, earning it a poor reputation.

Unscrupulous efforts such as sending unsolicited emails, cold calling, or posting irrelevant backlinks, will eventually earn you a blacklisting from email service providers, networks -- and even a Google penalty that will sink your website from its results.

You must understand your target market, and choose appropriate ways to approach them.

Failing to Harness Metrics
The data we can gather from our websites and various online channels is the most valuable and reliable way to learn who your target audience truly is. What type of people are visiting your website? How long do they spend there? What pages do they exit from most recently? Which pages are encouraging the most conversions? What is your most popular product?

And if you’re on social media, what type of engagement are you getting? When you change your marketing strategy or advertising, how does this impact your followers? How does engagement change?

This is an excellent tool that will not only optimise your website and channels to best appeal to your audience, but also allows you to track the progress of your various marketing campaigns. At the end of the day, this is the most accurate way to track your leads, conversations and ROI.

In-House Only
You can achieve a great deal with an in-house team, however it is often far less efficient and less productive than outsourcing to trained experts, and will fail to generate the same amount of ROI as you would see from dedicated and experienced external teams. This is because external agencies specialise in getting results in their targeted areas.

Outsourcing to specialists allows your staff to stay focused on their own roles, without spending time and resources on researching and training them in a new industry. After extensive training, they will be able to generate an acceptable strategy at best, but for an excellent strategy you need to bring in the experts who deal with companies like yours on a daily basis and stay on top of technological trends.

A specialist approach will always reap more rewards than that of a generalist.

Not Investing Effectively
Whether you invest too much, too early -- or on the flip side, if you don’t invest enough, challenges may arise later down the line. If you opt for the cheapest option, the quality is going to be lacking; in a website, this will result in frustrated clients and lack of quality leads 

At the same time, however, you need to know when it is appropriate to invest in the best. If you are just starting out, for example, it’s advisable not to invest too much, as your company has yet to be tempered by your market. On the other hand, established companies are expected to have professional, user-friendly sites, and judged poorly when they fail to meet this expectation.

Investing Too Early
At the beginning, your company may start out with big, rather unrealistic dreams. Only once these are tempered down into more achievable aims will you truly know who you are and what you want to do; that’s just the nature of business. You’ll be shaped by your audience, competition, and by the changes that occur within your brand and through your clients. The longer you observe your morphing identity, the clearer your brand will become. And if it’s still unclear to you, you’ll have enough tangible data by then for a branding company to mould you into something brilliant.

One thing we would suggest would be to sign up to Google Analytics from the very beginning; the more data you have gathered, the more reliable that data will be, and the clearer it will predict your ROI among other metrics.

Investing Too Little, and Opting Out Too Early
Conversely, if you are an established company but opt to invest too little into your marketing strategies, you will not meet your potential in the modern world. If you were happy to settle for that, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.

In order to fly with a strategy, you must resist the temptation to clip its wings. An excellent strategy is progressive by nature; just as it takes time to build up a tower from its foundations, the results of strategic campaigns often take a few months to show effect. Strategy encompasses the foundations of your business and channel energy through the most effective routes to get you from A to B.

There is no such thing as a quick-fix when it comes to crafting a lasting strategy.

Going Head-to-Head with Competitors
Being laser-focused on taking your competition down is not going to help you. There will always be another competitor, so instead of concentrating on their business, keep your focus on your own. What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)? This is key if you plan to rise above the competition.

Incohesive Channels
All of your online (and offline) entities should be in line with your branding. They should look the same, and send the same message, enabling a viewer to subconsciously identify you. Different channels may have slightly different approaches to best suit the platform, but your overall look and message must remain consistent if you are to inspire trust and a sense of professionalism.

In the age of change, brand consistency is key.

Failing to Adapt
Your website, your marketing strategy -- even your branding, must adapt as time goes on. We live in a fast-paced world and your target audience will develop different needs and priorities as the world evolves. For example, millennials are more concerned about the environment and our impact on it than any previous generation has been, therefore carbon offsetting and environmental restoration are all trending. Harnessing key trends allows you to surpass -- or at least match -- your competitors.

New technologies and approaches are just as important to embrace. Scalable websites were an example of this; mobile devices are used more and more, so mobile-friendly websites have gone from being a trend to becoming an essential part of your online presence.

Keeping on top of the trends, technologies, and new social media platforms will keep you a step ahead of the rest. But if you’re planning to do it without a dedicated agency, you are going to struggle to find the time necessary to catch the horse before it bolts.

Are You Going to Succeed or Fail?
By now you’ll have learned some helpful tips and tricks on how to succeed and compete in this modern world. It can be complicated and confusing trying to keep up with the changes, which is why dedicated agencies like ours exist. With the right approach and dedicated specialists, you’ll be able to succeed in this realm while you focus on what you do best.

Digital marketing strategies can go very right or rather wrong, but even failing strategies can present learning opportunities that you can apply to your future strategies. A specialised agency of experts is always recommended if you’re really serious about building a solid digital marketing campaign, for the simple reason that it is what they live and breathe. After all, you will always generate better results from a specialist rather than a generalist.

If you want to try your hand at accomplishing all the above by yourself, the pointers above will help guide you towards success; but if you want guaranteed ROI and a killer digital marketing strategy then simply contact us today at Grow.


Ronita Almeida

Marcomm Manager
As an expert in data analysis and account management, Ronita ensures all digital marketing campaigns at Grow hit their KPIs and targets. With a passion for success and an intrapreneurial spirit, she is always brimming with new ideas and opportunities to excel.

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