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  Whether you’re a startup in Lagos or a Small business in Aba, effective marketing is essential to attract customers, build brand awareness, and drive sales. Marketing is the heartbeat of any business. However, despite investing time and resources in developing marketing strategies, businesses discover their marketing does not yield results. This can be frustrating, especially when significant resources and time have been invested. Why this happens could be attributed to some factors, ranging from marketing to the wrong audience to inadequate measurement of results. Understanding these reasons is important as it will help you understand where you have been getting it all wrong with your marketing so you can refine your strategies and achieve your business goals. That is what this article seeks to help you do. It will share with you the top 10 reasons why your marketing efforts may not be paying off and provide practical insights to help you identify and address these issues.
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You Don’t Have Clear Marketing Objectives

One of the primary reasons your marketing is not yielding results is the absence of clear, well-defined objectives. Without specific goals, your marketing efforts lack direction and purpose. Permit me to quote Myles Munroe here who said “When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse becomes inevitable”. Being clear on your marketing objectives is the first step you must take if your marketing will yield results. Are you aiming to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or boost sales? You have to be clear about this. When you are clear about your marketing objectives, it will determine the other aspects of your marketing efforts.

You Have A Poor Understanding of Your Target Audience

Have you ever seen a Toyota Camry advert? I bet you have. However, have you ever seen a Lamborghini advert? Chances are you have never seen one. It then begs the question why? They are both cars but they are not targeting the same audience. A Toyota Camry is designed as a utility vehicle for just about anyone but a Lamborghini is designed as a luxury vehicle for the crème de la crème of the society. Understanding your target audience is fundamental to successful marketing. Many businesses in Nigeria make the mistake of targeting too broad an audience, leading to diluted and ineffective campaigns. As a business, if you don’t know your target audience yet, you will need to conduct thorough market research to identify your ideal customer’s demographics, interests, and pain points. When you have done this, tailor your messages to address their specific needs and preferences to make your marketing more impactful.

You Are Selling Products Not Results

Customers don’t buy products or services, they buy solutions to their problems. They buy results or benefits. When your marketing efforts fail to communicate clearly and convincingly the value or benefit of your product or services, you will struggle to attract customers. Many entrepreneurs make this mistake. They spend so much time highlighting and marketing the features of their products, how great they are, and how advanced their technology is. But, fail to emphasize or they underemphasize the benefits the target customer gets from buying their products or services. There are three pillars of a strong value proposition – the most pressing problem of your target market, how your product solves this, and how it is different from every other available alternative.

Your Marketing Message Lacks Personalization

Today’s consumers expect personalized experiences. Making use of generic marketing messages that speak to everyone and no one in particular can feel impersonal and irrelevant, leading to poor engagement. If you think back, you will recall the number of times you have listened to someone speak to you and you wondered how many other persons he was speaking to or you just felt he wasn’t speaking to you at all. So, your target audience wants to also feel like you are speaking to them in particular and no other person. Use customer data to personalize your marketing efforts. If you have a broad-based audience, divide your audience based on demographics, behaviour, and preferences and deliver tailored messages that resonate with them. Personalize your email marketing campaigns, product recommendations, and targeted ads, you will shocked at how they can significantly improve your marketing effectiveness.

You Have an Inconsistent Branding

Consistency is key to building a recognizable and trustworthy brand. If your branding is inconsistent across different platforms and marketing materials, it can confuse and undermine your credibility, alienating potential customers. Take a look at the MTN brand for instance, you can easily recognize it anywhere you go simply because of how consistent they have been with their branding. So, as much as possible, maintain a consistent brand voice, style, and messaging across all platforms. Ensure that your logo, colours, fonts, and overall design aesthetic are uniform across all channels to create a cohesive brand identity that resonates with your audience.

You Are Not Effectively Using the Digital Marketing Channels

In today’s digital age, some online marketing channels can significantly increase your marketing results if you use them effectively. However, many Nigerian business owners are ignorant of these, struggle with selecting the right platforms or fail to use them optimally. So, understand this, each digital platform has a more effective way of using it. Whether it’s social media, email marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO), each channel requires a unique approach. Analyse which channels your target audience frequents the most and tailor your strategies accordingly. For example, Instagram requires more visual materials than text, Facebook on the other hand requires a combination of both but more text, and Twitter is simply text-based. If you are also utilizing email marketing as part of your marketing channels, your communication must take a personalized tone for it to be effective.
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Your Content Quality Is Poor

When it comes to marketing, content is king. Content here refers to all the information you use to promote your business and educate your audience. It covers texts, images or graphic designs, videos, sounds etc. When your content is of poor quality, it can significantly hamper your efforts. High-quality content not only attracts but also retains your audience, encouraging them to engage with your brand and take desired actions. Whatever content type you are using per time, ensure that your content is valuable, engaging, and relevant to your audience. If you don’t know how to create high-quality content for your marketing efforts, you can enrol to be trained in any reputable training academy or hire someone skilled in it to handle it for your business. It is an investment that will never stop bringing in returns for your business.

You Sound Desperate

Think about this for a moment. You are a beautiful-looking young lady. You step out one day to the streets and you meet this young man who approaches you and professes his love to you. You acknowledge his advances and let him know you’ll consider them and get back to him later. Then, an hour later, your phone rings and it is him. He wants to know if you have considered his proposal. You say no and he begs you to please consider it as he loves you so much and won’t want to lose you. Another hour later, he calls back again. Now, I can imagine you cringing already reading this. That’s how most of your target customers feel when you come at them desperately with your marketing. When you come off to your target customers as being desperate or too needy, they feel trapped and begin to second-guess themselves. You don’t want this to happen with your target customers.

You Lack Or Have Poor Customer Engagement

If you use any of the Nigerian banks, you have received an SMS from your bank on your birthday. However, a large number of bank users in Nigeria often feel like their banks don’t engage with them or don’t attend to their requests promptly. So, it is common for you to see people ask the question, “Which bank has the best customer service?” What they are simply asking is which bank has more responsive and engaging customer service. As a business owner, engaging with your customers and target customers is important towards building relationships and fostering loyalty. Many businesses make the mistake of pushing out promotional messages without interacting with their audience. Your customers want to feel heard. Don’t just make posts on social media and run. Respond to comments under your posts. I have seen many businesses ask to be messaged on social media or WhatsApp and it takes those days to respond to the messages. That is a poor customer engagement approach. Give your customers the impression that you value their messages and as such treat them with urgency. Engage them in conversations, listen and show that you value their feedback. Personalized interactions can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Your Marketing Budget Is Inadequate

I don’t think I need to spend so much time on this. Marketing requires investment, and an inadequate budget can limit the reach and impact of your campaigns. While it’s essential to be cost-effective as a business, cutting corners can lead to subpar results. If you want results from your marketing efforts, it’s essential to allocate sufficient funds to key areas like advertising, content creation, and tools for analytics. Evaluate your budget regularly and adjust it based on the performance of different strategies to ensure you’re getting the best return on investment. Investing in quality over quantity often yields better long-term results.

You Ignore Analytics and Feedback

In 2022, Sterling Bank of Nigeria ran a marketing campaign during the Easter period with the caption “Like Agege Bread, He Rose. Happy Easter.” This campaign was not welcomed by the Christian faithful who the campaign was targeting. They felt it was an insult and insensitive to the essence of Easter. The bank had to take down the campaign across all its platforms and issue an apology. As a business owner, measuring the performance of your marketing efforts is critical to understanding what works and what doesn’t. Now, measuring here is not just about the number of sales you get from your marketing efforts. Like the Sterling Bank’s campaign, it also includes the way your campaign is perceived. Understand this, marketing without analytics is like driving with your eyes closed. Many Nigerian businesses overlook the importance of tracking and analysing their marketing efforts or ignore valuable feedback from their audience. Utilize tools like Google Analytics, social media insights, and customer surveys to gather data on your campaigns. When you have this data, analyse it to refine your strategies and make informed decisions.

Not Adapting to Market Changes

The business environment is constantly evolving, especially in Nigeria. Staying stagnant can cause your marketing strategies to become outdated. What worked yesterday may no longer work today. So, be proactive in adapting to new trends, technologies, and consumer behaviours. For instance, the rise of mobile internet usage in Nigeria means more people are now getting their news and information from their phones than from all other sources. Ignoring this and instead focusing all your marketing efforts on placing adverts in print media such as newspapers, as used to be the case, will come back to haunt you. Stay informed about market changes and be ready to pivot your strategies accordingly.
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Marketing is a dynamic and complex process, especially in a diverse market like Nigeria. If your marketing is not yielding results, it’s important to take a step back and identify the underlying issues. By addressing these common problems highlighted in this article you can refine your marketing strategies and start seeing the desired outcomes. Remember, successful marketing is about continuous learning and adaptation. Keep testing, measuring, and tweaking your efforts to find what works best for your business. With the right approach, your marketing strategies will begin to yield the results you’re aiming for.
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This article was first published on 27th June 2024


Ifegwu-Mbonu Victor is a Personal Growth and Leadership Trainer who provides training and coaching to individuals and organizations.

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