It’s usually pretty easy to know when your marketing and branding strategies and tactics are working as they should, but it may not be so obvious when they aren’t. That’s when the old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” often comes into play.

I think it’s most constructive to identify areas for improvement, and then focus on creating workable solutions to address those issues. So here are a few of my favorite signs to watch for that may indicate your marketing isn’t working:


  • It’s been two years or more since you’ve had a marketing audit.
  • You haven’t conducted SWOT (strengths/weaknesses / opportunities/threats) and PEST (political/economic / social/technological) analyses recently.
  • You either don’t have a well-defined marketing and branding strategy that includes opportunity identification, branding, positioning, and messaging or if you do, that strategy isn’t directly tied to your overall business strategy.
  • You don’t understand the importance of demonstrating thought leadership.
  • You’re not setting measurable marketing goals.
  • You’re not using some form of dashboard to help you judge the effectiveness of your marketing and branding efforts.
  • Your marketing strategy and tactics don’t evolve over time.

Sales/Marketing/Customer Experience Alignment

  • Your marketing, sales, and customer experience teams don’t have shared goals.
  • Your marketing team’s raises/bonuses aren’t tied to sales and customer experience metrics.
  • Your sales team has legitimate complaints about the quality of leads generated by your marketing team.
  • Your customers aren’t pre-sold.
  • You don’t have documented customer feedback.
  • Your new customers come primarily from only one source.
  • You’re finding the wrong types of customers.


  • Your phone isn’t ringing.
  • You’re not capturing leads.
  • You’re not getting enough leads.
  • You’re not following up on leads.
  • You’re not qualifying leads.
  • You’re not nurturing leads.

Digital Media

  • Your website is dated or doesn’t use a responsive design.
  • Your website isn’t helping to convert visitors into leads.
  • You’re hesitant to give out your website address.
  • You don’t understand the importance of mobile marketing.
  • Searching your business name on a Google doesn’t put you on the first page of results.
  • You don’t pay attention to your reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
  • You’re not investing in content.
  • Your content isn’t getting the number of clicks you expected.
  • Your content isn’t keeping your prospects engaged throughout the buying cycle.
  • You don’t understand search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, or remarketing/retargeting.
  • You’re not effectively using e-mail for marketing, sales, and customer service.
  • You’re active on only one social media channel.
  • Your company has only a handful of Twitter followers or Facebook likes.
  • Your company doesn’t have a robust LinkedIn presence.
  • Less than 10% of your website’s traffic originates from social media.
  • Your followers aren’t interacting with your content.


  • You’re doing everything manually.
  • You don’t have the right technology stack in place.
  • You’re not using some form of marketing automation.


  • Measurement isn’t part of your marketing analysis process.
  • People in your organization don’t trust the marketing numbers.
  • You’re only looking at website traffic and page views.
  • You don’t have visibility into your marketing ROI.
  • You don’t know how to identify and address your marketing gaps.
  • You’re not meeting or exceeding your marketing goals.
  • You’re not focused on continuous improvement of your marketing and branding or attaining marketing maturity.


  • You’re not achieving your overall company revenue or growth goals.
  • Your marketing budget isn’t right-sized for your organization and/or allocated properly.
  • Your profits haven’t increased.


  • You’re doing only one kind of marketing.
  • Your marketing team doesn’t have all the necessary skills they need to be successful.
  • Your competitors are killing you.

A final thought: “When your business isn’t achieving the targets you set for it, you need to quickly adjust your direction. More of the same is not an option. Doing what you did yesterday, only a little better, isn’t going to work either. And working hard, when your hard work isn’t getting the results you need, is a lousy strategy, too.” ~Jim Connolly