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David Mills
By David Mills on August 11, 2020

Single point of failure: 6 reasons marketing falls short or fails

Single Point of Failure: this is a concept in IT, business, and manufacturing planning that says: there are some things in our business that can shut us down. If they fail, we fail... As marketers, we are often subject to these single points of failure that stop us from getting things done. We get stuck, because of a single point of failure. Our marketing relies upon a single resource that is either expensive, hard to get, or slow to respond (this is a bottleneck point of failure).

Your Website may be a single point of failure (SPOF)  

A single point of failure (SPOF) is not only something that impacts complex systems like airplanes, cars, or spacecraft, and the IT systems that we rely upon for almost everything, it also applies in the world of marketing. For businesses, SPOF creates the greatest risk when it has the potential to interrupt mission-critical activities like sales, customer service, or marketing. If you aren’t successful, then the consequences are system-wide - i.e. the plane crashes, the spacecraft misses the moon, or the banking ATMs no longer work. 

SPOF planning for marketing

No matter how important your website was prior to 2020, today you are far more reliant on this single critical resource. Since customers now expect to answer their presale questions, get answers to questions, and make much of their purchase decision from your website, it has become a complete systems failure SPOF.  

It is a critical flaw in planning that allows a single component to risk a shut down of operations in any system, and that principle includes business and nonprofit operations. Websites clearly fall into the category of a potential risk posed. The risk- you don't meet your sales or service goals, and your competition gains ground or passes you by. The first step is to identify the website as a potential risk posed.

Here are additional risks caused by websites as SPOF:

  • Ad costs are wasted because people click and don't convert
  • Ad costs are wasted because continuity of content is detected by ad servers and ad costs rise
  • Google algorithms track poor time-on-page because the website does not appeal to visitors, and traffic is reduced
  • Google detects slow performance and reduces traffic
  • Software is not maintained and customers experience a security risk; the company is exposed to a liability action because of website software 
  • Website software is a DIY activity and updates are not kept up so that elements stop working
  • Prospective customers are frustrated by navigation or website processes and quickly give up and leave
  • Servers are poorly managed and the website is frequently down
  • The website provides a low-quality experience and creates a negative brand impression
  • The website does not include thoughtful content or search engine value and receives less traffic than competitors with less experience in the industry

SPOF for marketing is more than a website shut down, it also includes the incremental failure

Like an automobile that has a blockage in the system that supplies gasoline, the performance of a website can be disrupted incrementally without a complete shutdown. Many websites are "operational SPOFs" which are operating in a sub-par manner. They still work to some degree, but have significant issues that are disrupting traffic,  depressing brand impressions, interrupting customers, or causing prospects to leave prior to taking meaningful action. 

SPOF planning for marketing

To detect incremental website failure review these analytics: 

  1. Bounce rate- pages or blogs where people leave without action. This can also be seen by viewing the "exit" pages - pages from which people leave your website.
  2. Poor time on page - low visitor time on page. Page visits of less than 2 minutes are suspect.
  3. Spam links -  Toxic incoming links so that Google identifies your website with low quality or dangerous websites. This requires ongoing management since you don't control who links back to your website. 
  4. Competitive analysis of your website compared to competitors - your website is performing below your competitors. An annual comparison can help you identify if your website is causing you to work harder but win less.


The most frequent incremental failure is poor conversion rates. That is, people visit your website but do not become leads or customers. If the job of a website is to help people learn to buy well (i.e. from you), then helping them move along the buyer's journey is the most critical function. You may have such low expectations for your website that you don't even know that you have poor conversion rates.  As a result, you suffer the outcomes of perpetual low performance: ads cost more and produce less; you have to work harder to find and win customers; and your competitors consistently beat you in the market.

6 Reasons Marketing Falls Short

For many people website issues are at the heart of marketing failure.

  1. Website Updates: Marketers need to be able to quickly update their website, add landing pages, and launch campaigns without being dependent upon a developer.
  2. Hosting & Security: For instance, Godaddy is not only prone to hacks but it has been hacked.
  3. Tracking: You can launch marketing campaigns, but if you can't track the progress you don’t have any idea how it is performing. And the final customer outcome is only one part of the information that you need, what happened to all the other people that were reached?
  4. Team Communication: If someone else talks to a prospect but does not share that conversation, or track it in a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), then the experience and funnel are faulty. 
  5. Prospect Interest Undetected: Not receiving a timely alert of a prospect's interest leaves them in the lurch, and will likely lose the sale. Plus your competitors are reaching out quickly.,
  6. SEO: You can have great content, but if the SEO is not set up and included, no one will find you online and not discover what you have to offer.

SPOF planning for marketing

Published by David Mills August 11, 2020
David Mills