8 Reasons Why Your Marketing Campaign Failed

February 6, 2017 Marcus Varner

After weeks of planning, strategizing, and creating your marketing campaign, it falls flat after it launches. What do you do now? Throw in the towel? Look for a new career path? Of course not. Failure is a reality of content marketing and we’re all bound to experience it at some point. What’s important is how you respond. Figure out what went wrong so you can make necessary adjustments.

We’ve compiled a list of eight reasons your marketing campaign may have failed, and how to avoid these mistakes the next time around.

1. You Didn’t Identify the Proper Persona

One of the most important questions you will ask yourself throughout a marketing campaign is, “Who is our target consumer?” Get this answer wrong, and success is all but impossible. Identifying the proper persona takes a lot of research. You’ll need to consider factors such as who your product appeals to, what solution your product is offering, and how much competition is in the market. Once you have a general idea of your market, you need to get more specific. Create a story, or persona, around your target consumer and get to know their interests, challenges, habits, and purchasing decisions. Knowing your persona will help you better target your marketing campaign.

2. You Had Insufficient Research

For the most part, marketers are a creative bunch who get the most thrill out of coming up with ideas and concepts for creative assets. Unfortunately, this may mean that research does not get the attention it deserves. Ample research is crucial to the success of a marketing campaign. Devote the time (and staff) necessary to learn about your consumer and the market space you’re stepping into. You should be looking at external and internal databases, as well as conducting your research through surveys and consumer panels.

3. You Didn’t Have Correct or Realistic Success Metrics

There are many indicators of a successful marketing campaign, including increased brand recognition, increased sales, improved consumer interaction, and increased conversion rates. If you look at just one of these categories, it may appear as though your campaign was a failure when perhaps it wasn’t as bad as you think. For instance, your campaign may significantly increase traffic to your website, but a greater number of visitors (even if it leads to more sales) may still result in decreased conversion rates. Look at all of the metrics of success before you launch a campaign and come up with realistic, attainable goals for your marketing campaign.

4. You Created the Wrong Message for Your Audience

Marketing is a field that is dependent on audience reaction. It doesn’t matter how creative or original an idea may be if it misses the target with your audience. When you are brainstorming and discussing strategies for your marketing campaign, make sure you are always keeping your consumer persona in mind. Your message and content should speak directly to their needs/interests/wants.

5. You Delivered Content at the Wrong Time of the Buyer’s Journey

Unfortunately, even if you create the perfect message, it won’t lead to success if it’s not delivered to the consumer at the right time. But when is the “right time?” Answering this question with any degree of certainty requires an understanding of your consumer and their purchasing patterns, which, of course, requires research. You should be tracking and analyzing consumer interaction to understand the buyer’s purchasing journey. If this journey takes place online, consider Google Analytics, heat maps, and other analysis tools. Understanding the buyer’s journey will give you a better idea of when you want your content delivered.

6. You Didn’t Give the Campaign Enough Time

When you don’t get the results you want from a marketing campaign it can be disheartening, to say the least. And the last thing you want to do is sink more time and money into a failing campaign. But at the same time, you need to ensure you give your marketing campaign enough time to succeed. The best way to do this is to set goals and timelines before the campaign launch. Start at your desired result and work backwards. This will help to ensure that your campaign is given ample time for success, and will also give you pre-determined goals by which to measure that success.

7. You Failed to Meet Regulatory or Brand Compliance Guidelines

Marketing compliance guidelines should be taken very seriously, as failing to meet these guidelines can ruin your reputation with your consumers and can lead to campaign failure. These regulations are always changing, and not everyone on your marketing team can be expected to keep up with all the ins and outs of these standards. However, everyone should maintain a basic understanding of these guidelines so that your campaign delivers a clear and honest message that is consistent with your brand.

8. Your Product Fell Short of Your Claims

Don’t over promise and under deliver. As great as your marketing campaign may be, if consumers buy the product and are disappointed in its performance, that word is going to spread quickly, and sales will drop. As a marketer, you may not have control over product quality, but you do have control over how to represent that product, which ties back into meeting regulatory guidelines. Make sure you understand your product and are not overselling it or making promises that you can’t deliver.

Any of these mistakes can significantly impact the success of a marketing campaign. However, if you understand the reason for your campaign’s failure, you can make the adjustments that are necessary to ensure success in your next campaign launch.

About the Author

Marcus Varner

Over the last 9 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront. His focus is always on breaking through the clutter while engaging audiences with brands' most foundational messaging. He currently oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content at Workfront.

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