Marketing is Broken – Here’s Why…

If you’re not already seeing a decline in your marketing results, there’s a good chance you will soon. Here’s what’s wrong and how to fix it…

By Jamie Hutchinson

Fri June 21st 2024

Marketing is Broken - 5 Things We Need to Fix

Are you finding it hard or harder than it used to be to generate sales leads and sales enquiries?

You’re not alone.

Marketing is in a real mess.

Many business owners are reporting a decline in response rates to their marketing, across almost every industry.

Less web traffic, lower engagement rates, fewer sales enquiries and as a consequence, declining revenue.

If you’re not already seeing it, there’s a good chance you will soon.

So why are the old marketing techniques, which have worked perfectly well for the last five or ten years, just not working as well as they used to?

Our research has revealed 5 common themes which help explain why marketing is becoming so difficult.

1. Trust Has Been Compromised

Marketing, particularly online marketing, is at breaking point.

We’re swamped with click bait, spam and unwanted, evermore intrusive advertising.

You’ve probably experienced it yourself. You’re trying to use a website and ads just keep appearing, no matter how many times you close them. Sometimes a full video just hijacks the page and starts playing.

It’s not as if anyone has ever said, ‘Oh ok, I was reading that article, but now it’s turned into a video for some shampoo so I’ll just watch that instead.’

The amount of chatter and noise out there, particularly online, is deafening for people. As a result, people have become very good at tuning marketing out. And when this happens, people tend to tune everything out, so the good stuff, the interesting stuff, also gets tuned out too.

Trust has been damaged and as marketers, we’ve got some making up to do. We need to stop shouting over each other for people’s attention and get back to treating prospective customers like real people.

2. We’re Focused on the Wrong Metrics

We’ve been misled. Business owners have been encouraged to focus on the latest shiny social channels and tactics, instead of being focused on what the customer actually wants.

We’ve become obsessed with ‘vanity metrics’. Likes and shares and retweets and clicks and views. It’s easy to get something clicked on or liked, but, as a business owner, you can’t take clicks or likes to the bank.

So now we have a situation where lots of the metrics that business owners and marketers are working hard to improve, are actually quite artificial metrics and not the ones that actually matter.

It might not be the most popular view, but you know, there’s a reason that social media is free.

Some better metrics to focus on may include: number of repeat orders, number of referrals, average spend per customer, customer satisfaction levels, sales conversion rate etc.

3. The Fear of the New

Did you know, that statistically, you’re more likely to get arrested than to change your bank account?

People have always been scared of change, but politically, socially and economically, we’re living in quite dark, cynical times, and in times like this, people look for comfort in familiar things – and they’re much less likely to try something new.

Look at the film industry, the only big films getting made are sequels, remakes and formulaic franchises – because new is risky, and risk isn’t welcome anymore.

It was hard enough to encourage people to try new things before but in these uncertain times, we need to make our products and services as easy to try and as risk-free as possible.

Behaviour change is harder than ever before but good marketing removes all risks for customers (both perceived and real).

4. Attention Black Holes

We all know what a black hole is, it sucks everything towards it and destroys it.

The same is happening with attention.

Just a handful of very powerful tech companies currently absorb most of the population’s attention, leaving a few precious scraps of attention for everyone else to fight over.

The smartphone has changed everything. Over 60% of web traffic is now mobile. And when sat obsessively on their phone, people split 90% their time across the same few apps. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. TikTok. Repeat.

With everyone carrying a tiny supercomputer in their pocket which gives them instant access to all of their friends, family, celebrities, sports stars, politicians etc. it’s no wonder that people are quite happy to let everything else just pass them by.

As business owners, we need to appreciate that it now takes something truly remarkable to break through the noise and attract someone’s attention.

5. The Content Tidal Wave

We’ve been swamped with content.

Everything is on demand.

Unlimited choice.

You want to watch a film? No problem, here are 10,000 to choose from.

You want to listen to some music? No problem. Would a million albums suffice?

And at the same time as this explosion in entertainment content, there’s also been an explosion in business content.

There are countless free e-books, reports, whitepapers, guides, and mediocre downloads constantly being cranked out by marketing departments.

When it comes to content, are you creating genuine value for people? Or are you just adding to the noise?

Now I know this paints a pretty gloomy picture but it’s important to be a realist, especially when it comes to business. In these cynical times, I believe, more than ever, that we need to get back to marketing that truly connects with people. Marketing that inspires, delights and educates. Marketing that works.

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