27th October 2023

“Marketing just doesn’t work for us” …”We’ve tried everything and made little money from it all”… We’ve heard this so many times and in 99% of the cases it’s not that marketing has been the issue, but rather, people have fallen into the “Tactic Trap” and so their marketing has been ineffective.

So, what is the “Tactic Trap”?

Simply put, it’s when people turn on ‘magpie mode’ and keep on adding tips, tricks and tools to their marketing efforts without actually taking a step back to evaluate success. It’s a problem we see all too often and usually result in people feeling disheartened and sceptical when it comes to marketing as a whole. 

An example of falling into the tactic trap may be wanting to push a new product for your company. You invest in ‘boosting’ your Facebook posts as Meta suggested it. You then put a budget behind some social ads, which initially is quite large. After a couple of days, you aren’t experiencing immediate results, so turn the ads off. Whilst all of this is going on, you’ve invested in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) and have rushed some organic posts out. After a month or so, you look to analyse the campaign and feel that it wasn’t successful. Leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.

Falling into the tactic trap often results in overspend and underperformance. Never fear! There is a way to get out of it, or hopefully, never get there in the first place!

How to avoid the trap in the first place

It may sound like we’ve just been bashing the tactics mentioned above; that’s absolutely not the case. Many tactics are really powerful tools which can supercharge your marketing efforts. It’s about how you use them that’s the key.


You have to treat your marketing plan like a science experiment; only change one variable at a time. Doing this means you can identify what’s working  and what isn’t. For example, if you increase your product price but change your advertising costs at the same time, it’s impossible to deduce what has caused a drop in sales. We recommend changing one thing at a time and giving some time before implementing additional changes.


Another tip is to start small, especially with advertising buying. It’s so much more effective to start with a small ad spend on Meta, allowing time for Meta to complete the ‘learning phase’ and really target your desired audience. Rather than pushing a large amount of spend into the first week and then turning the advert off. In this instance, Meta never leaves the learning phase and so cannot optimise your adverts to the intended audience.


It’s really important to think logically about what you are going to do, but more importantly, why you are going to do it. Will the tactic used improve your reach or customer experience? Will it convert to a sale or lead? Will it reduce staff workload? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? If the answer to these questions is a no, the chances are it’s not a good route to go down.

We recommend thinking like your customer or client and think about how they may hear about you and gain awareness of your brand. Make a list and then consider the following: is it within your price range? Is there someone within the company who can do this? What would you measure to indicate success? What are your targets for this campaign (this should be measurable)?

How to get out of the trap


Nobody can be exceptional at everything. It’s really important to fully understand that. Just because your apprentice seems to live on social media, does not mean that they are superstars at creating exceptional social adverts, targeted to your target demographics with lookalike audiences. 

On the flip side, you may have someone within your team who has knowledge and experience of marketing, but are currently in a different position. Could they support you with analysing your current situation and making a plan moving forward?

If there are huge gaps within your organisation, it would be prudent to decide how you are going to address this. Are you looking to hire someone to complete marketing in house, or would it be more suitable to reach out to a marketing agency? Each option has their pros and cons so it’s important to do what is best for you and your business.


It’s astonishing just how many companies don’t have a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy is the keystone to all marketing efforts and acts as a roadmap; ensuring that you stay on track, and, on budget. 

Having a strategy also allows you to plan accordingly and avoid the temptation to take the scattergun approach. Creating structure allows you to generate sustainable growth in your business.

It’s also important to know that a strategy is not a static document; it will require revisits and possible amendments. We see all too often, people wasting time and money into a concept which just isn’t working because it’s in their strategy. We recommend revisiting your strategy every quarter to check on progress and make any amends (if needed).  


Sometimes people get so caught up in the moment that it’s difficult to identify what your company is actually paying for and how much it all comes to. It’s important to firstly identify all marketing tools you are using and whether you get value from them. Examples could be things such as a dormant MailChimp subscription, ineffective Meta ads or a CRM which has never been touched. 

Whilst we’re not saying to get rid of all of them, it’s important to understand if 1. You’ll ever need to use them and 2. You know how to.  It may be a case of planning how you will incorporate them into your strategy, or binning them altogether. 


We really hope that you’ve not given up on marketing; it’s a really important tool to help your business grow and reach new heights. The key is to acknowledge when there’s a problem and identify how you can resolve it. Hopefully, with the tips we’ve discussed, you won’t be one of the many companies which fall into the tactic trap.

Need help? We’re more than happy to offer our support and advice to help you break the cycle of ineffective marketing. Get in touch with us,  email or give us a call on 01642 924111

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