How to Improve Your Small Business Marketing: Lessons from Failures

Running a business is not easy. As a small business owner, you deal with a lot of competitors, low budget, and finding customers. To find customers, you have to get noticed. To get seen, you need to create a fantastic marketing strategy.

Many small businesses fail to grow their business as a result of bad marketing. If you are one of them, you already know the power of marketing.

But, failure is not such a bad thing. You can learn a lot from it. The mistakes you have done can serve as a reminder of what not to do and a guide on what you should change.

Here are the top five lessons from failures.

Focus on your target audience

Not reaching the right target audience is one of the reasons your marketing strategy has failed.

A good example of this is RIM (Research in Motion), the manufacturers of BlackBerry. They didn’t care about their consumers and their needs. As a result, they had to accept what RIM gave them.

Launching the BlackBerry Storm, in 2008, showed that they didn’t understand their consumers at all.

Lesson Learned: You should always listen to your customers and focus on what they want and need. Learn what they like and what are their interests and hobbies. It will help you identify their expectations and create products/services that are suited to their needs.

Evaluate your current marketing strategy

Incorporating bad or wrong marketing strategies can greatly affect your success. If, for example, you create improper ads, your sales can go down fast.

That’s what happened to Pepsi when they aired their “Live for Now” ad. Their mistake was using social issues and people’s pain for making a profit.

Brands should never exploit people’s suffering for their purpose.

Lesson Learned: Before taking a step, think twice. Evaluate your marketing strategy. Is it proper? Thoroughly look at your current marketing strategy and its results, to see what you have done wrong.


If your current brand identity doesn’t help in promotion and selling your products, you should change it. Maybe the way you presented your business was wrong, or not attractive.

You can take McDonald’s example. They are known for selling unhealthy food, and when the documentary “Super Size Me” came out, their sales drastically decreased.

Trying to save their business, McDonald’s spent lots of money to rebrand as a business. They have changed the look of their restaurants, giving them a natural feel by including salads on their menu and using earthy greens colors.

Lesson Learned Rebranding can help you redesign your business in the eyes of your target audience. It will refresh it and tell people that your company has made some changes. That change might make people interested in your business.

Rebranding can be as simple as changing your logo design. Or it could be extensive as changing your overall brand’s persona. 

Be online!

Not being present online can also negatively affect your marketing, since most of the people are always online and the Internet is the primary source of information.

RIM learned this the hard way – they failed. The reason for their failure was not using social media platforms for marketing purposes. When they announced their first earnings report of loss, instead of creating a campaign against the negative attention, they did nothing.  

RIM’s Twitter sentiment during their announcement.

Another mistake they made was not communicating with their followers, although they had near 11 million fans.

Lesson Learned: If you want to have successful marketing, you have to use social media platforms to get maximum attention. These platforms allow businesses to promote themselves and get noticed easily without spending a fortune.

Constantly update your social media pages and interact with your target audience through posts, videos, messages, and ads to show your customers that you are always there for them.

Make the right partnership

Partnering with a brand from a different category is one of the top marketing strategies today. Most of the brands hire one or more brand ambassadors to promote their products/services online. But, partnering can also negatively affect your business if you make the wrong choice.

We can take Sears for example. When Sears partnered with Kim Kardashian to promote their clothes, they made a big mistake. Although Kim Kardashian is a celebrity, she was not suitable to be their ambassador. It was because no one believed that she would buy clothes from Sears.

Lesson Learned: When looking to partner with a brand or a celebrity, think about the credibility of the partnership. People have to believe that your partner/ambassador really likes and buys your products/services.

Don’t let failures define you. Grab it and use it to improve your marketing and grow your small business. As people say, “We learn from our mistakes.” We also grow from our mistakes.

Author Bio

Sabrina Jackson is a content writer with experience in web content, blogging, sales copy, and more. Her favorite pass time is trying out new and unique tongue twisters.

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