Why the most Small Businesses are failing at Marketing.

and How you can overcome this failure.

Source: Pexels.com / Unsplash

According to a speech of Felix Thoennessen, a german business coach who consults the participants at the german version of “shark tank”, 99% of products are actually on the market — the chance that you have an idea for a product that doesn’t already exist is very small. The conclusion of this thought: To be successful with your business, you need to have a good marketing strategy.

As I started consulting small businesses in my hometown and neighborhood i discovered that there is a big lag of marketing methods in contrast to medium sized companies and even the big players on the market. I followed up for a longer time developing a method for small businesses to make their marketing more efficient and more modern — Small businesses often don’t have the biggest budgets for investing in consultants, so it had to be service that is affordable and functional at the same time.

“It’s all about the target audience.”

In the last 40, maybe 50 years, the market situation changed a lot. More and more businesses showed up by time — often with the same products. For example I know more than 7 different fast food restaurants offering burgers, more than 10 automotive brands and so on. Conversely the businesses had to came up with clever marketing strategies to win the customers — and that’s the point. Focusing on the customers. I think, that this are the main problems of small business owners today, accordingly to marketing.

#1 You don’t know your target audience.

Knowing your target audience is the most important factor of success for business owners.

I hosted a workshop a few weeks ago with about 20 entrepreneurs and self employed people focussing on innovative marketing strategies that reach the target audience with alternative ways. As I asked “Who of you knows exactly your customers?”, 17 of the 20 participants raised their hands.

20 minutes later, the 17 people had to discover that they were wrong. They all believed “knowing your audience” means to know how old they are, where they live and perhaps which gender they have. Well, this is even nice to know — but for great marketing strategies you need to go deeper.

If you have the chance you should get to know as much as you can about your target audience. This points could be interesting:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Place of Residence
  • Relationship Status
  • Job Title (Position)
  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Do they have children?
  • Income
  • Products they already bought
  • … and all other things you could get to know about them.

For example if you want to open a bar, just knowing that your audience is 18+, female and male and living within a radius of five miles isn’t enough. With this information you can’t create effective marketing strategies that reach the target audience.

But if you know, that the most of your target audience is male, between 20 and 23 years old from the city your bar is located in, and they all are single, playing football, are earning between 1800€ and 2300€ per Month, it is more easy to create a marketing strategy for this (maybe the claim could be “ABC’s Bar — where the football players meet ladies and drink affordable drinks”…)

#2 You try every marketing method just a little bit.

You don’t have to be present on every marketing channel. Choose a few ones wisely and spread great content there.

I remember one of my first one-on-one coachings with a local business in my hometown. In the briefing before the coaching I asked about the marketing methods they are actually using, and this is the answer I got:

We are trying to reach our target audience nearly everywhere where we can. We are using Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, our Website, the Newspaper, the Radio, Flyers, Posters, Exhibitions (…)

I interrupted his sentence and asked him, which one of this methods is the most effective. “Unfortunately”, he began, “all methods we are using are not really effective”.

It is pretty simple explained: Advertising everywhere is an old-school-method that worked really good 20 years ago — but not today. We are living in a world of advertising. There is even so much advertise in our environment, that we aren’t able to realize it anymore. There are Posters on Bus stops, tons of advertises in TV and radio, thausands of mails in our inboxes. Being on the spot everywhere isn’t even a good decision — it’s the worst decision you can make.

My Recommendation: Choose two, maybe three marketing channels and be on the spot there. If you choose facebook, post there at least once per day at the time when your audience is online, and not only once per week. Deliver great content and make sure, you reach your audience’ pain points.

#3 You don’t think outside the box.

The best marketing strategies are unusual and reach the audience on a creative way.

Living in a 12,000-people-village, the local businesses are often using marketing strategies that seem pretty funny for me. For example there was a supermarket (it closed a few years ago) that gave free products on top if you buyed a special product. For example, if you bought a sixpack coca cola, you got a pack of toilet paper on top. And there was always the additional information “only one free gift per person” — like WHAT THE HELL? Do you know persons who says to themselves “Woah great! I needed toilet paper, and i got it for free because i bought a sixpack coke!”.

Reach your audience on an emotional level. Make your marketing inspiring, offer value and move your audience to experience more about your business and products you offer.


Marketing hasn’t to be very expensive. Au contraire smart marketing strategies can save you a lot of money and influence your target audience more than the usual marketing methods do. My recommendation for you: Rethink your marketing strategies and take the risk of trying something new and ending up the bad marketing methods.