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Most marketing fails before it starts — here’s how to fix it

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How to establish a new martech role

Most marketing fails, and often before it even starts.

Marketing is pivotal to the success of every business. If your marketing fails, the business will follow suit. Ensuring the success of your marketing must be the absolute highest priority of any business. Far too often, however, it’s disregarded and completely overlooked.

When marketing fails

Given that marketing organizations have notoriously limited resources, both restrictive budgets and small teams, there is no room for failure. Marketing is a mission-critical function. Forget fluffy KPIs, witty taglines and artistic imagery. Delivering revenue and results is all that matters. 

Not surprisingly, there are a handful of consistent reasons why most marketing is doomed for failure even before it starts. Understanding these root causes will help you become a better marketer, prevent fighting a losing battle, and guarantee the success of your marketing.

Top 5 reasons marketing fails before it starts

Here are some of the top reasons marketing fails from the beginning. You most likely will recognize one or more of these from your past experience or present situation.

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Unrealistic expectations

Despite a lack of budget, time, skills, or experience, most marketers overestimate the success of any campaign and believe that it will generate record-breaking results, even if it’s something they’ve never done before.

Forecasting and projecting are both areas where marketers notoriously struggle, either in ignoring to consider them or creating them with no basis in reality, account of past performance, or consideration of potential risks.

Unrealistic expectations don’t exist solely within the four walls of the marketing organization, however. Management and other functions, like sales, often have assumptions about the effectiveness of marketing. Understanding these expectations — and setting realistic ones — is key to success in marketing.

Lack of focus

The biggest reason that marketing efforts fail is a lack of focus. Most marketing teams are either far too ambitious or fail to push back when being pulled in many directions. Trying to do too much, especially with too few resources, is a recipe for disaster. Jerry Weinberg refers to this as the “Law of Raspberry Jam”: the more you spread it, the thinner it gets.

Doing less creates more results. It’s imperative that every marketing initiative has full support to maximize its impact and chance of success. I’ve written before about the need for ruthless prioritization in marketing and there are so many benefits accrued from a narrow focus. Not only is it easier to get results, it’s also easier to measure and manage.

Weak support

Marketing can’t succeed without the requisite support. Great marketing requires a skilled team, sufficient budget, and a realistic timeframe, among other needs. 

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Many marketing teams are underfunded and lack budget to execute on the demands placed before them. Other marketing teams are stretched too thin given the limited headcount.

Regardless of the reasons — and there are a multitude — marketing can’t operate in isolation. 

Focused on the 2%

Results often don’t happen immediately, a fact that makes marketing hard to quantify. Typical conversion rates for most marketing fall around 2%, which means that 98% of prospects won’t convert right away. That’s fine as long as you’re expecting this and can nurture those prospects accordingly. However, despite this universal truth, most marketers fail to plan or develop the nurturing required to realize the true results of their efforts and investments.

Additionally, measuring only the immediate impact fails to account for the true impact that marketing generates. Success in marketing isn’t just about instant gratification, it’s also about long-term growth.

Excessive or nonexistent planning

There are two camps marketing teams fall into when it comes to planning: excessive planning and nonexistent planning. The former maps out too many details and restricts the ability to iterate and optimize in flight, an essential ingredient of successful marketing. The latter is more common, where teams simply figure it out as they go and bet on serendipity and hope for success.

Neither approach is a tenet of successful marketing. Planning must be done and plans should outline the what, but not the how, in order to provide room for optimizing, adjusting and iterating, to maximize the chances of success.

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5 rules for successful marketing

Now that you know some of the main reasons why marketing fails before it starts, let’s address these issues head on. Here are five principles to ensure your marketing succeeds every time.

Define success

It’s been said that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. If you want to be successful it helps to first define what success looks like. 

How will we be better off at the completion of this campaign or initiative? 

How will the organization be closer to achieving their goals as a result?

Work backwards from your answer to identify the critical elements and ignore everything else. The more clearly you can define success the easier it will be to separate the essential from the nonessential.

Do less

The key to more results is doing less. Focus is one of the most powerful elements of marketing, and the more focused you can be the easier it will be to execute, manage and measure your impact. 

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Focus requires prioritization, which is a challenge for most marketing organizations. I’ve written about the need for marketing teams to prioritize ruthlessly which in today’s increasingly complex landscape is more important than ever before.

Focus and prioritization are fundamental at the strategic level. On the tactical level, testing and validating are the most efficient and effective ways to maximize results with the minimum resources. Testing is a marketer’s most powerful tool, and it enables you to get more results by doing less.

Read next: Why testing is a marketer’s most powerful tool

Reuse & recycle

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and yet marketers love to do just that. Stop creating the new, and reuse — or repurpose — existing content, assets, plans and more. Too often we chase innovation for the sake of something new when repeating what worked in the past is easier and more certain. New is the enemy of good.

One of the biggest mistakes in marketing is achieving great success and then moving onto something new and different instead of repeating what has already been proven to work.

Before launching any marketing initiative, take an inventory of what existing materials and assets you have that can be reused or repurposed to save time, money, and effort. 

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Align & synergize

Success in marketing is a team effort that requires alignment, synchronization and synergy. You must help your team get on the same page to understand the mission and row in the same direction. Imagine chaperoning a tour group and having stragglers who keep getting stuck behind, get lost and confused, or go down their own path. It’s your job to keep everyone on the team charging full-speed ahead towards the destination in lockstep. Keeping everyone aligned and moving together requires a clear mission, shared goals, and continuous accountability.

The same is true organizationally, outside of your team. Marketing must communicate and collaborate with sales and senior leadership to express the needs, direction, and gain support. The success of the marketing function is directly correlated with how connected and aligned it is within the organization.

Have a process

Marketing is neither an art or a science; it’s a process. Treating marketing as an event that happens and then is over is the wrong way to think about marketing. The process of marketing never ends and therefore we must design and execute marketing with this in mind. 

Every marketing initiative must consider what happens both during and after: optimization and nurturing. Any effort that doesn’t allow for both of these will always produce a subpar result.

The key to marketing success

Marketing is filled with challenges, some of which cause it to fail before it even starts. Fortunately, these causes are known and preventable. If we want marketing to deliver revenue and results then it’s imperative that each of these causes be taken seriously. Raise these issues internally and create conversation to acknowledge and address them. Accepting the status quo is not an option. 

Likewise, remember and apply these principles to significantly increase the likelihood of success for your marketing initiatives. These principles are timeless and universally applicable no matter the type of marketing activities involved. Even embracing just one of these principles can have a positive impact on your team, your effectiveness, and the success of your marketing.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Tim Parkin is a consultant, advisor, and coach to marketing executives globally. He specializes in helping marketing teams optimize performance, accelerate growth, and maximize their results.
By applying more than 20 years of experience merging behavioral psychology and technology, Tim has unlocked rapid and dramatic growth for global brands and award-winning agencies alike.
He is a speaker, author, and thought leader who has been featured in AdAge, AdWeek, Inc, TechCrunch, Forbes, and many other major industry publications. Tim is also a member of the American Marketing Association, Society for the Advancement of Consulting, and an inductee to the Million Dollar Consulting Hall of Fame.

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

As we march closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, CMOs and marketing leaders need to prepare for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. Election years have always posed unique challenges for advertisers, but the growing dominance of digital media has made the impact more profound than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that will shape the advertising environment in the coming months and provide actionable insights to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

The Digital Battleground

The rise of cord-cutting and the shift towards digital media consumption have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape in recent years. As traditional TV viewership declines, political campaigns have had to adapt their strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time: on digital platforms.

1713626763 903 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy1713626763 903 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 65.1 million by the end of 2023, representing a 6.9% increase from 2022. This trend is projected to continue, with the number of cord-cutters reaching 72.2 million by 2025.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 62% of U.S. adults do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription, up from 61% in 2022 and 50% in 2019. This data further underscores the accelerating shift away from traditional TV and towards streaming and digital media platforms.

As these trends continue, political advertisers will have no choice but to follow their audiences to digital channels. In the 2022 midterm elections, digital ad spending by political campaigns reached $1.2 billion, a 50% increase from the 2018 midterms. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, this figure is expected to grow exponentially, as campaigns compete for the attention of an increasingly digital-first electorate.

For brands and advertisers, this means that the competition for digital ad space will be fiercer than ever before. As political ad spending continues to migrate to platforms like Meta, YouTube, and connected TV, the cost of advertising will likely surge, making it more challenging for non-political advertisers to reach their target audiences.

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To navigate this complex and constantly evolving landscape, CMOs and their teams will need to be proactive, data-driven, and willing to experiment with new strategies and channels. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing media consumption habits of their audiences, brands can position themselves for success in the face of the electoral advertising onslaught.

Rising Costs and Limited Inventory

As political advertisers flood the digital market, the cost of advertising is expected to skyrocket. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will likely experience a steady climb throughout the year, with significant spikes anticipated in May, as college students come home from school and become more engaged in political conversations, and around major campaign events like presidential debates.

1713626764 529 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy1713626764 529 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

For media buyers and their teams, this means that the tried-and-true strategies of years past may no longer be sufficient. Brands will need to be nimble, adaptable, and willing to explore new tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Perfect Storm

The challenges of election year advertising will be particularly acute during the critical holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have historically been goldmines for advertisers, will be more expensive and competitive than ever in 2024, as they coincide with the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

To avoid being drowned out by the political noise, brands will need to start planning their holiday campaigns earlier than usual. Building up audiences and crafting compelling creative assets well in advance will be essential to success, as will a willingness to explore alternative channels and tactics. Relying on cold audiences come Q4 will lead to exceptionally high costs that may be detrimental to many businesses.

Navigating the Chaos

While the challenges of election year advertising can seem daunting, there are steps that media buyers and their teams can take to mitigate the impact and even thrive in this environment. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

Start early and plan for contingencies: Begin planning your Q3 and Q4 campaigns as early as possible, with a focus on building up your target audiences and developing a robust library of creative assets.

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Be sure to build in contingency budgets to account for potential cost increases, and be prepared to pivot your strategy as the landscape evolves.

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Embrace alternative channels: Consider diversifying your media mix to include channels that may be less impacted by political ad spending, such as influencer marketing, podcast advertising, or sponsored content. Investing in owned media channels, like email marketing and mobile apps, can also provide a direct line to your customers without the need to compete for ad space.

Owned channels will be more important than ever. Use cheaper months leading up to the election to build your email lists and existing customer base so that your BF/CM can leverage your owned channels and warm audiences.

Craft compelling, shareable content: In a crowded and noisy advertising environment, creating content that resonates with your target audience will be more important than ever. Focus on developing authentic, engaging content that aligns with your brand values and speaks directly to your customers’ needs and desires.

By tapping into the power of emotional triggers and social proof, you can create content that not only cuts through the clutter but also inspires organic sharing and amplification.

Reflections

The 2024 election year will undoubtedly bring new challenges and complexities to the world of digital advertising. But by staying informed, adaptable, and strategic in your approach, you can navigate this landscape successfully and even find new opportunities for growth and engagement.

As a media buyer or agnecy, your role in steering your brand through these uncharted waters will be critical. By starting your planning early, embracing alternative channels and tactics, and focusing on creating authentic, resonant content, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of election year disruptions.

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So while the road ahead may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the brands that approach this challenge with creativity, agility, and a steadfast commitment to their customers will be the ones that emerge stronger on the other side.


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Tinuiti Marketing Analytics Recognized by Forrester

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Tinuiti Marketing Analytics Recognized by Forrester

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By Tinuiti Team

Rapid Media Mix Modeling and Proprietary Tech Transform Brand Performance

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Tinuiti, the largest independent full-funnel performance marketing agency, has been included in a recent Forrester Research report titled, “The Marketing Analytics Landscape, Q2 2024.” This report comprehensively overviews marketing analytics markets, use cases, and capabilities. B2C marketing leaders can use this research by Principal Analyst Tina Moffett to understand the intersection of marketing analytics capabilities and use cases to determine the vendor or service provider best positioned for their analytics and insights needs. Moffett describes the top marketing analytics markets as advertising agencies, marketing dashboards and business intelligence tools, marketing measurement and optimization platforms and service providers, and media analytics tools.

As an advertising agency, we believe Tinuiti is uniquely positioned to manage advertising campaigns for brands including buying, targeting, and measurement. Our proprietary measurement technology, Bliss Point by Tinuiti, allows us to measure the optimal level of investment to maximize impact and efficiency. According to the Forrester report, “only 30% of B2C marketing decision-makers say their organization uses marketing or media mix modeling (MMM),” so having a partner that knows, embraces, and utilizes MMM is important. As Tina astutely explains, data-driven agencies have amplified their marketing analytics competencies with data science expertise; and proprietary tools; and tailored their marketing analytics techniques based on industry, business, and data challenges. 

Our Rapid Media Mix Modeling sets a new standard in the market with its exceptional speed, precision, and transparency. Our patented tech includes Rapid Media Mix Modeling, Always-on Incrementality, Brand Equity, Creative Insights, and Forecasting – it will get you to your Marketing Bliss Point in each channel, across your entire media mix, and your overall brand performance. 

As a marketing leader you may ask yourself: 

  • How much of our marketing budget should we allocate to driving store traffic versus e-commerce traffic?
  • How should we allocate our budget by channel to generate the most traffic and revenue possible?
  • How many customers did we acquire in a specific region with our media spend?
  • What is the impact of seasonality on our media mix?
  • How should we adjust our budget accordingly?
  • What is the optimal marketing channel mix to maximize brand awareness? 

These are just a few of the questions that Bliss Point by Tinuiti can help you answer.

Learn more about our customer-obsessed, product-enabled, and fully integrated approach and how we’ve helped fuel full-funnel outcomes for the world’s most digital-forward brands like Poppi & Toms.

The Landscape report is available online to Forrester customers or for purchase here

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

Understanding convergence 

B2B and B2C ecommerce are two distinct models of online selling. B2B ecommerce is between businesses, such as wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers. B2C ecommerce refers to transactions between businesses like retailers and consumer brands, directly to individual shoppers. 

However, in recent years, the boundaries between these two models have started to fade. This is known as the convergence between B2B and B2C ecommerce and how they are becoming more similar and integrated. 

Source: White Paper: The evolution of the B2B Consumer Buyer (ClientPoint, Jan 2024)

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What’s driving this change? 

Ever increasing customer expectations  

Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels.

Forrester, 68% of buyers prefer to research on their own, online . Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels

Technology and omnichannel strategies

Technology enables B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms to offer more features and functionalities, such as mobile optimization, chatbots, AI, and augmented reality. Omnichannel strategies allow B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints, such as websites, social media, email, and physical stores. 

However, with every great leap forward comes its own set of challenges. The convergence of B2B and B2C markets means increased competition.  Businesses now not only have to compete with their traditional rivals, but also with new entrants and disruptors from different sectors. For example, Amazon Business, a B2B ecommerce platform, has become a major threat to many B2B ecommerce businesses, as it offers a wide range of products, low prices, and fast delivery

“Amazon Business has proven that B2B ecommerce can leverage popular B2C-like functionality” argues Joe Albrecht, CEO / Managing Partner, Xngage. . With features like Subscribe-and-Save (auto-replenishment), one-click buying, and curated assortments by job role or work location, they make it easy for B2B buyers to go to their website and never leave. Plus, with exceptional customer service and promotional incentives like Amazon Business Prime Days, they have created a reinforcing loyalty loop.

And yet, according to Barron’s, Amazon Business is only expected to capture 1.5% of the $5.7 Trillion addressable business market by 2025. If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can compete and win in this fragmented space, too.” 

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If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can also compete and win in this fragmented space

Joe Albrecht
CEO/Managing Partner, XNGAGE

Increasing complexity 

Another challenge is the increased complexity and cost of managing a converging ecommerce business. Businesses have to deal with different customer segments, requirements, and expectations, which may require different strategies, processes, and systems. For instance, B2B ecommerce businesses may have to handle more complex transactions, such as bulk orders, contract negotiations, and invoicing, while B2C ecommerce businesses may have to handle more customer service, returns, and loyalty programs. Moreover, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses must invest in technology and infrastructure to support their convergence efforts, which may increase their operational and maintenance costs. 

How to win

Here are a few ways companies can get ahead of the game:

Adopt B2C-like features in B2B platforms

User-friendly design, easy navigation, product reviews, personalization, recommendations, and ratings can help B2B ecommerce businesses to attract and retain more customers, as well as to increase their conversion and retention rates.  

According to McKinsey, ecommerce businesses that offer B2C-like features like personalization can increase their revenues by 15% and reduce their costs by 20%. You can do this through personalization of your website with tools like Product Recommendations that help suggest related products to increase sales. 

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Focus on personalization and customer experience

B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to understand their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, and tailor their offerings and interactions accordingly. Personalization and customer experience can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, as well as to improve their brand reputation and competitive advantage. According to a Salesforce report, 88% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.

Related: Redefining personalization for B2B commerce

Market based on customer insights

Data and analytics can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to gain insights into their customers, markets, competitors, and performance, and to optimize their strategies and operations accordingly. Data and analytics can also help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to identify new opportunities, trends, and innovations, and to anticipate and respond to customer needs and expectations. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable. 

What’s next? 

The convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce is not a temporary phenomenon, but a long-term trend that will continue to shape the future of ecommerce. According to Statista, the global B2B ecommerce market is expected to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027, surpassing the B2C ecommerce market, which is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2027. Moreover, the report predicts that the convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce will create new business models, such as B2B2C, B2A (business to anyone), and C2B (consumer to business). 

Therefore, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to prepare for the converging ecommerce landscape and take advantage of the opportunities and challenges it presents. Here are some recommendations for B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to navigate the converging landscape: 

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your customers, competitors, and market, and identify the gaps and opportunities for convergence. 
  • Develop a clear vision and strategy for convergence, and align your goals, objectives, and metrics with it. 
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure that can support your convergence efforts, such as cloud, mobile, AI, and omnichannel platforms. 
  • Implement B2C-like features in your B2B platforms, and vice versa, to enhance your customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Personalize your offerings and interactions with your customers, and provide them with relevant and valuable content and solutions.
  • Leverage data and analytics to optimize your performance and decision making, and to innovate and differentiate your business.
  • Collaborate and partner with other B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses, as well as with other stakeholders, such as suppliers, distributors, and customers, to create value and synergy.
  • Monitor and evaluate your convergence efforts, and adapt and improve them as needed. 

By following these recommendations, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses can bridge the gap between their models and create a more integrated and seamless ecommerce experience for their customers and themselves. 

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