The numbers are in, and your last marketing campaign has failed to meet expectations, perhaps even gravely. You’re confused and frustrated because you know your business and you know your audience. Perhaps you’ve even been in your field for decades, and you’re not sure why your marketing campaign failed.
The good news is that there’s not one massive blind spot that tanked your campaign, undoubtedly because you stay up to date on marketing developments. Unfortunately, that means the reason your marketing campaign failed is probably a confluence of factors which each missed the mark just enough to add up to failure.
In today’s post, we’ll go over the top 10 reasons marketing campaigns fail, and the reason your marketing campaign failed is likely in this list.
1. You Didn’t Actually Understand Your Audience
We can’t understate the importance of understanding your audience, or the fact that this understanding needs to evolve with your audience over time. We’re not saying you don’t have (or never had) a good grasp of your audience, but it may be that this time you didn’t understand the audience’s needs or wants in the context of your current marketing strategy. This extends to more than just reaching the audience on the right platform.
Re-evaluate the message of the campaign against the market research that’s been done. Is it answering questions your audience really has about your company or new product/service? Are you emphasizing the right points to appeal to the audience segment you’re marketing to? Was the campaign too generalized to be effective?
2. You Focused on Reach Instead of Targeting
This is the logical extension of our last point. This isn’t to say that focusing on reach is never a good idea, but targeting your audience must come before reach, even if you’re utilizing mass marketing. Otherwise, your brand message is extended to people it doesn’t really apply to.
Putting targeting before reach means that your reach extends to a qualified audience that’s more likely to offer leads and conversions even if you’re reaching a smaller total of people. Furthermore, it means putting the right kind of ad in front of an audience at the right point in their consumer journey to be useful.
3. You Didn’t Adequately Focus on Frequency
According to a recent study by Microsoft, customers need to be exposed to your message between 6 and 20 times in order to achieve a 30% conversion rate. Considering the ways that the consumer journey has fragmented, a frequency that may have worked 10 or even 5 years ago might not be effective enough today. In combination with appropriate targeting, however, even a small budget can become exponentially more effective.
4. You Didn’t Use a Clear Call-to-Action
The frequency won’t matter much if your message doesn’t work. Your campaign may have successfully offered a sense of urgency that inspired the audience to take action. However, if you used more than one CTA, or if the CTA was hard to understand, the audience is significantly less likely to follow through no matter how many times they’re exposed to it.
5. Your Creative Was Sub-par
Better creative is going to work out to better conversions. Creative is what makes your brand stand out from the rest in your client’s memory, and it’s the emotional link between your audience and your brand story. It’s tempting to think that any kind of creative will work as long as you hit the right people with the right frequency. Which leads to the next point…
6. Your Creative Didn’t Suit Your Audience
As the saying goes, “bad creative to a good list will always outperform good creative to a bad list.” This links back to really knowing your audience, because how you package your message could be the very thing that intrigues a customer or turns them off, whether it’s in B2B or B2C marketing.
7. Your Creative Didn’t Establish Your USP
As we said, we know that you know your business. Undoubtedly you’ve already keyed in to your unique selling proposition (USP) so that your business can effectively position itself in the market as a leader in a certain way. However, if your USP is unclear in the creative of your advertising, it increases the odds that your audience won’t understand why they should choose your brand. As we mentioned in our point above on the calls-to-action, that turns into a decreased chance that they’ll follow through. Having a clear USP is a vital component to your competitive advantage in the market
8. You Didn’t Integrate Your Marketing Message Effectively Across Platforms
Whether you just refer to it as integration, or if you differentiate between integration and synchronization, our point here is that in order to reach customers in the moment they look for you or otherwise achieve the right level of message frequency to be effective, your brand needs to be able to create strong touch points with its customers for its presence to be felt and its message heard nonlinearly. It’s vital that your brand doesn’t send mixed messages, even as it reaches to different segments on different platforms in different ways. This will also make nurturing leads easier and help grow conversions.
9. You Weren’t Tracking the Right Metrics
This may apply before or after the campaign, and in both cases the question you need to ask about the metrics you’re using is this: Does it help us make decisions? After a certain amount of data collection, the numbers can become noise, and worse, that noise can make a marketer feel good even though there’s no substance to it. The data you collect needs to be meaningful for your business and clearly indicate what’s working, what isn’t, and what you should be doing next.
For instance, tracking where your site visitors come from is, in many cases, a vanity metric. What matters more is where your customers and leads come from, and whether or not the conversion was assisted. If a customer saw an instream ad for your brand, then Googled your business name and went on to make a purchase, then you know a few things: the instream ad is working, as are specific long-tail keywords. Always remember there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to marketing, and that includes various metrics.
10. You Timed Your Campaign Poorly
We’re not referring to which time slots your ad runs in, although to be sure that’s important (and part of knowing your audience), but rather in a broader sense, as with seasons and holidays. To be fair, it’s come to be much, much more than that as well. The key, in this case, is relevance. More customers — both on the B2B and B2C sides of the market — are shopping in the context of experiences.
Your brand needs contextual relevance in the moment, and the easiest way to see that is with seasons. For instance, parents don’t need ads about winter attire in late June or early August, but they do want outfits, uniforms, and supplies for children that are headed to back to school. Similarly, college students will be turning to omni-channel retailers and home improvement stores to outfit the semester’s dorm rooms and aren’t ready to be worried about Halloween supplies or how to get home for Thanksgiving.
Remember, the reason your marketing campaign failed is likely a combination of these factors, rather than failing in one aspect completely. If your creative was sub-par without being obviously terrible and didn’t do enough to boldly establish your USP, while the campaign itself wasn’t well synchronized or operating on an effective cross-platform frequency, those little misses add up to a big failure.