Why Some Marketing Strategies Excel and Others Struggle


  • Research shows that marketers with effective marketing strategies deliver significantly higher contribution to the sales pipeline, earned revenues and ROI than marketers without the same strategies.
  • Unfortunately, the research also shows that 29 percent of marketers do not produce an annual marketing strategy and an additional 25 percent develop ineffective strategies that fail to deliver financial benefits.
  • Fortunately, the failures occur due to a short list of common reasons that can be avoided with planning.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

The Top 5 Reasons a Marketing Strategy Fails

Marketing research results share that effective marketing strategies deliver double-digit improvements to the sales pipeline, revenue attainment and Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

However, the research also finds that about half of marketers struggle to develop an effective strategy. Their struggles and missteps stem from a shortlist of causes. Here are those causes along with prevention techniques.


Failure to Align

Even an otherwise effective marketing strategy becomes severely degraded if it does not directly align with the company's priorities. That means aligning with the Corporate Growth Strategy.

The Johnny Grow marketing strategy framework is a simple but effective 3 step model that clearly shows this alignment.

B2B Marketing Strategy Framework

When correctly done, short-term marketing achievements roll up to current company objectives such as revenue growth and even long-term objectives such as market share growth.


Poor Customer Intelligence

No marketing strategy is better than the customer intelligence it's built on.

Most marketers believe they know what their customers want when making purchase decisions. And most are partially correct. Unfortunately, their inaccuracy lies in dated analysis, anecdotal occurrences, plenty of assumptions, personal bias and treating all customers as a single homogenous group. In the immortal words of Mark Twain, "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so."

Even minor inaccuracies create major degradations in strategies and downstream effects in personalized messaging, relevant offers and campaign conversions.

A better approach is to apply Voice of the Customer and similar techniques to develop data-driven and fact-based customer intelligence. The data can be used to calculate the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), create customer segments, update the 360-degree customer view and deliver customer insights. Ideally, the data will be integrated and managed in the CRM system.

Customer Insights Integration to CRM

Only with this data-driven intelligence can marketers prioritize customer pain points, perform white space analysis, position solutions that solve for the customer and accurately identify the best customer and market growth opportunities.


Insufficient Budget

Strategies and budgets express marketing priorities and vision more so than anything else. But they need to be aligned. When the budget is not aligned with strategy or doesn't properly fund the strategy the strategy will fail.

Some budgets are cost schedules. They merely allocate expenses over a period. Other budgets are investment schedules. They show what investments are needed to drive the strategic objectives and achieve forecasted results. Clearly the later approach will decrease the risk of marketing strategy failure. You may want to consider additional marketing budget best practices.


No Direct Route to Results

When marketing strategies fail to find the most direct route to the most important objectives, the organization adopts a piecemeal or random pursuit and the strategy fails.

Strategy is a process, not an event. So, you need to compare alternative scenarios and measure the results. To visualize that process we use a proprietary model we call the Predictive Pyramid.

Revenue Growth Predictive Analytics

It's an interactive dashboard that compares different ways to reach your goal. The pyramid is needed because no marketing program, method or best practice operates in isolation. Each has cascading effects that impact others areas and those impacts must be considered when making tradeoffs.


Failure to Measure

We all know what gets measured gets managed. However, many marketers fail to implement marketing dashboards or other analytics that measure progress with real-time information reporting. Without these measurements you cannot detect variances that require timely course corrections.

Marketing Dashboards

Failure to measure is common if the strategy is a one-and-done exercise. But strategy is a verb not a noun. When it is little more than a static document, and not an actionable roadmap, it doesn't work. Strategy documents that are WORN (written once, read never) are destined to fail.

See the 5 reasons Marketing Strategies most often fail and the Best Practices to prevent those failures.

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