There is no doubt that buyers are in control and that they way they buy has radically changed - making it imperative to adopt and master Inbound marketing. But as with any change that involves people, process, and  technology - getting it all in sync is a challenge that takes time and effort to get right. 
We often work with marketers and executives who are frustrated they have invested a lot of time and resources into their website, but are disappointed it's not producing the qualified leads and customers they had hoped for.
They've done everything "right" - they've invested time and effort into SEO, AdWords, and content but, they haven’t seen results, or if they have, it hasn’t translated to more leads and sales. Does any of this sound familiar?
  • You have a website but you can't figure out why you're not getting leads
  • You're blogging but you still can't get any leads
  • You created an ebook or white paper but nobody is downloading it
  • You post on social media but nobody really cares or engages
  • You're doing all of the things people say you should do (email, blogging, etc.) and still, you can't get it to work and generate enough leads
If any of these sounded familiar then you’re probably making some common mistakes, which are impacting your results.

We work with companies that are marketing complex technology offerings. And this is precisely the type of sale that involves a significant amount of buyer research, is extremely information intensive and where the buyer expects to be able to find most of the information online. They get the buyer’s journey and how technology purchases are made.
So it isn't that firms we talk to don't understand the value of inbound - they do. It's just that most prospects I speak with haven't been able to see the results they expected.  This, however, is not uncommon. Over the course of one week I spoke with 6 firms, and after a bit of discussion the stories started to sound the same. Albeit the root of the problem was slightly different in each case, there was a clear pattern.

 #1 You don't understand your ideal customers
If you're producing content and it isn't generating enough leads or delivering quality leads, then quite simply you don't know what your ideal customers looks like, and you don’t know the characteristics that define them. This means you need to understand both the characteristics of the  company  as well as those of the individual  buyers  and  influencers . A shotgun approach simply won't work; you need to understand which prospects represent the best fit for your company. 
Although your products or service might fit well with companies of all sizes, it would not be a wise marketing strategy to go target all of them.  Identify a set of company characteristics and use cases that you can effectively target and that will benefit from the content marketing messages you will be producing.  You then need to understand the specific needs and challenges of the individuals in your target organization, so that you can produce content that will be valuable to them.  
To ensure success, make sure you have a go to market plan that is based on robust market segmentation and includes detailed buyer personas.
 #2 You don't have a clear value proposition and supporting messages
Taglines, vision statements, product features, and benefits aren't the same thing as a value proposition, which clearly answers the question  in your customer's mind   - "If I'm your ideal customer, how are you going to help me specifically why I should  buy from you and not your competitor?" Your value proposition must address what is in this for  me  and deliver and clearly position your uniqueness, the exclusive thing that you and ONLY you can offer them to differentiate your business from the competitor.  You must deliver messages that support and back up your positioning.  You will fail if your message sounds just like everybody else's', is too complicated or it's inconsistent.  
To ensure success make sure you don't focus only on your product or service but rather you want your customer to view it in the context of their needs and their available alternatives.
#3 You don't have an Inbound strategy
Random acts of marketing just won't cut it!  Documentation Matters!
A solid marketing strategy comes before tactics. This is critical to inbound marketing campaign success. You have to know who you are targeting and what you are going to say to get them involved. And, all elements of the campaign need to be completely thought through and planned out—including expected results.
This is a group effort that requires coordination, and, since content is king, you need to put in place a content calendar and make sure you have subject matter experts lined up to write or provide input. For example, you need to make sure your blog topics are tied directly to your campaign theme that you created during the planning effort, and the same holds true for email and social media.
Win or fail and learn - Set expectations up front, take time at the end to measure your inbound marketing campaign success. Did you hit your goals? If not, why? Make sure you document key lessons and areas for improvement next time. No campaign is perfect and an unsuccessful campaign can be an invaluable learning opportunity.  
An Inbound marketing strategy provides clarity, and clarity drives action and puts you on the road to success.
It's the gospel that buyer behavior has changed forever and Inbound is the now essential for survival and growth. While there are many reasons it fails to deliver on its promise, taking these 3 factors into account is critical to its success. With these common pitfalls taken into account, success will depend on marketing having the will and skills to plan and execute, as well as the proper resources to do the job.

 Take a deeper dive with these guides:
A Guide To Developing B2B Messaging
Content Mapping A Template For Success