Why 90% of Businesses Fail With Their Marketing

A common objection that we often hear from businesses when discussing marketing is that “We tried it before and it didn’t work”.

Let’s assume we’re talking about Adwords here. They assume that because Adwords didn’t work for them, Adwords doesn’t work.

Rarely do they consider that Adwords works brilliantly and would have worked well for them also, it’s their approach and strategy that didn’t work.

Let me share with you if I may a couple of the key success strategies and you’ll quickly see why most advertising fails for most businesses and how to ensure that whatever you do in the future “Does Work”.

Let me start with this statement:

“Consistency breeds familiarity, familiarity breed confidence and confidence breeds sales”

If you don’t believe this statement then stop reading, nothing I say will help you. If however this statement is a bit of an Ah ha moment, then you’re already 90% of the way to better results.

Key Strategy 1:  Effective Frequency – Understanding repetition is key.

The following was written by Thomas Smith of London in 1885 in a publication called Successful Advertising. Written over 130 years ago, it’s every bit as relevant today as it was then:

  • The first time, people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
  • The second time, they don’t notice it. 
  • The third time, they are aware that it is there. 
  • The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
  • The fifth time, they actually read the ad. 
  • The sixth time, they thumb their nose at it. 
  • The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it. 
  • The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.” 
  • The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something. 
  • The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it. 
  • The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads. 
  • The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product. 
  • The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value. 
  • The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time. 
  • The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it. 
  • The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future. 
  • The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product. 
  • The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product. 
  • The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully. 
  • The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.

Most businesses quit after one or two showings of an ad. I hear this all the time, “we tried it for a month and it got no results”. I’m not surprised is my response to that!


When constructing your marketing plan be sure to give the following activities the prominence they deserve and demand if you wish to succeed.

Consistency  – Repetition – Frequency

A Rule of thumb:

A test needs at least 60 days, maybe longer if the products you’re marketing are “High Ticket” items. We need to establish trust with the prospective client, that takes time and repetition, neither can be rushed.

Key Strategy 2:  Multiple Channels.

We have already established that “Consistency breeds familiarity, familiarity breed confidence and confidence breeds sales”, let’s take this to the next level of success!

80% of businesses will use one channel for an insufficient amount of time and declare the result a failure.

15% of businesses will run ads long enough to become somewhat ROI positive and keep going with it.

The remaining 5% of businesses will run ads consistently across multiple channels, e.g. Adwords, Facebook, Email, SEO etc for extended periods. These are the 5% of businesses that control 90% of the market – Every Time.

In any market there are the large majority who struggle and a small minority who clean up – you get the point!

So here’s the take away…

Successful businesses approach marketing as a long term, low risk investment. Steady returns over an extended period, building trust through repetition (as well as great copy and a bunch of other things too).

Unsuccessful businesses approach marketing as though it were a Casino, fast gains for little or no effort.

Which are you?

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