3 Reasons Marketing for Small Business Fails

An Inside Look Behind the Origin of Our Unique Approach to Marketing, & Our Best Small Business Marketing Ideas Right Now


We Just Can’t Help It:  We’re Obsessed with Marketing for Small Business

We’re serial entrepreneurs, and we just can’t help but be obsessed with marketing for small business.  So much so that we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out why even the best small business marketing ideas can fail, and we built a structured system to market a small business that improves the chances of success (reducing the chances of failure).

“We Tried It and It Didn’t Work”

It’s the number one thing we hear from prospective small business clients.  “We’ve tried marketing and it didn’t work.”  Everyone has a horror story.  And even the best small business marketing ideas can fail.  Why?

We delved deeper into that common experience and concluded there are 3 primary reasons marketing for small business fails:

  1. Ready.  Fire.  Aim.  We often buy media to advertise before we’ve given enough thought to what we want to say.  Messaging ends up being an after-thought, and it’s actually the key to results.
  2. We Make It Hard for Customers to Engage.  We don’t put ourselves in the shoes of the customer and experience the journey from awareness to purchase as they will.  As a result, we leave too many obstacles for customers; professional marketers call this “user experience.”  We call it your Digital Footprint.  And we’ve written extensively about it here in our Local Marketing Blog.
  3. We Don’t Track, So We’re Really Just Guessing What’s Working & What’s Not.  Today’s technology easily allows us to track every aspect of marketing.  Yet we don’t use it.  That means we’re not making data-driven decisions; just following gut.

There Is a Better Way to Market a Small Business

All of our clients are really good at what they do.  They’re experts.  And they’re also smart enough to engage professional marketers with the same systematic approach to market a small business that they use to be successful in their respective fields.

Failed marketing for small business is often hap hazard, lacking goals and a cohesive plan.

We started with a basic marketing formula.  It basically argues that you need a clear picture of WHO you want to talk to, WHAT you want to say to them, and WHERE AND WHEN you should talk to them so that they can absorb what you’re saying and respond in  meaningful way.

Marketing Formula

Even though it’s a formula, it allows every small business to build its own strategy using this framework.  It’s NOT one-size-fits-all, by any means.  No two businesses are exactly the same.

Take a deeper dive into our basic marketing formula with our “Marketing 101 Series.”

And Since Marketing is Both Art & Science, You Need a Structure to Execute Your Strategy that is Data-Driven & Anticipates Iteration for Success

When we took our deep dive into why marketing for small business most commonly fails, we realized that salespeople were often creating unrealistic expectations for success.

That’s what led us to create our Bullseye Marketing Method.  It’s a fancy name for a unique structure that starts with what’s PLAUSIBLE, tests it to see what gets TRACTION, and then works to OPTIMIZE what’s working to get the best MARKETING ROI — or bang for your buck — on an ongoing basis.

Which led us to also create models to track and calculate Marketing Return On Investment (ROI) that are adaptable from client to client.  Since every business has different factors that drive profitability, we needed a flexible way to do the math.

Here are the factors we identify to build our ROI model:

  • Accurate Lead Counts (Actionable Leads)
  • Closing Rate
  • Average Sale (Revenue)
  • Gross Margin

By incorporating these variables into the model, along with the marketing investment, it’s fairly straightforward to calculate the ongoing Marketing ROI.  This makes it possible to market a small business with greater accountability.

Our Best Small Business Marketing Ideas Right Now


We also get asked a lot about “what’s hot” right now?  What’s the trendy thing that’s blowing everyone away?

We know enough to know that what works in one situation doesn’t always translate to success everywhere else.  Thus, our systematic approach…

Since our unique Bullseye Marketing Method always starts with the most plausible ideas, here is an overview of things we’re often gravitating towards lately:

Keep in mind, as professional marketers we’re constantly developing and testing new strategies and tactics.  So this is kind of a moving target.

It’s very true that marketing has become more complex over the last decade, and that complexity is definitely accelerating.  That’s why we believe the most successful, growing small businesses need to concentrate on execution and work with experts like us to focus on the marketing function.

We’re Here to Help

If marketing a small business is your challenge today, let’s talk.  We invest in our clients long before they ever invest in us.  And we’re always willing to have a free initial consultation.

If you’re not there yet and you’re just trying to build up your own expertise so you can feel more confident in the decisions you’re making as a small business owner, subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter about local marketing.  That way, you’ll gain access to new articles as they get published in our Local Marketing Blog.

We appreciate your visit today, and look forward to talking soon.

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After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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