7 Reasons That Lead To Failed Marketing Campaigns

Failed Marketing Campaigns

How many times did you think the marketing campaign that you put together was going to be a sure-shot success and it backfired? You had everything in place. Great product/service, the right message, marketing channels, perfect execution of the campaign rolled out. Yet your marketing campaign failed and you are left wondering why it did not work.

Marketing revolves around human behaviour, perceptions and emotions. While all the other required aspects can be fine-tuned and factored in precisely with the help of solid research, this is something that cannot be guaranteed. To add to it, many times businesses fail to look into the parameters that can be controlled to increase the chances of marketing success and end up with failed marketing campaigns.

In this article, you will learn about some common reasons that have led to failed marketing campaigns for businesses both big and small. It is always good to be aware of the pitfalls, as you can look out for them when planning your marketing strategies. Trying to tick all the boxes and performing due diligence can help you run effective marketing campaigns that are geared for success.

What does Marketing Campaign mean?

The word “campaign” is defined as “a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result.”

As per Hubspot, Marketing campaigns are organised, strategized efforts to promote a specific company goal, such as raising awareness of a new product or capturing customer feedback. They typically aim to reach consumers in a variety of ways and involve a combination of media, including but not limited to email, print advertising, television or radio advertising, pay-per-click, and social media.

Here are the 7 most common causes that have led to marketing fails for businesses.

  1. No Clear Objectives

You have identified your buyer persona for your offerings, are super excited about the creativity of your team and are all set to get your campaign rolling. However, there is one important strategic aspect you failed to give enough thought to. It is one of the most important question, “Why are you running your campaign and what is it that you want to achieve from it?”

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a clear and measurable objective for your marketing efforts. It is important to start with the end in mind. List out the clear objective that you intend to achieve through your campaign. Keep it measurable so you can assess the effectiveness based on the metric that you have chosen.

Examples of campaign objectives could be to increase online sales by 10%, or to get 50% of your online tribe members to download your new app, or get 20 new customers to sign up for your next course, or to build engagement on social media by 3x, etc.

Avoid the temptation to include too many different objectives that need to be achieved from a single campaign. It has been proven that most successful marketing campaigns have a single objective. Makes it easy to maintain focus as well as track the outcome of the campaign.

  1. Unrealistic Expectations

A common cause for marketing fails is setting unrealistic expectations. While having a measurable target is a good practice. Having very high expectations that are probably unachievable is setting up your campaign for failure before you can even start.

Who doesn’t like a good ROI? However, keep it realistic, achievable, and based on industry standards.

  1. Budget Constraints

The marketing budget is a critical component in the entire process. A good marketing campaign needs to have the requisite budget so that it can achieve the set objectives.

A marketing objective like branding that requires high frequency, multiple channels, and long duration, will not be able to get much traction in a limited budget. The reach and impact of the campaign will be minimal and may eventually end up being a wasted exercise.

Evaluate the marketing strategies that you can implement to achieve your objectives. Assess the budget available for the campaign and plan a campaign that can fulfil a realistic objective.

For example, if your objective is to reach new customers and you have a limited budget, there is no point in planning a large-scale multi-channel campaign that will require huge resources. With less money to spend you may have to cut corners which can negatively impact the campaign. Instead, check out other effective options, say an online strategy that will help you achieve a realistic objective in a cost-effective manner.

  1. Choice of Marketing Channel

This is an important factor that one needs to identify correctly. It is critical to understand where you need to distribute your content and message. In an attempt to make a big splash, huge marketing budgets are spent on marketing mediums that are not the best fit when it comes to achieving the campaign objectives.

Once you are clear on your target group, find out about the various marketing channels that will help you reach your target audience. More importantly find out where is your audience hanging out.  Decide if it should be multi-channel or should you tap into only one marketing channel?

Successful marketing campaigns have used the multi-channel approach rather than relying on one single channel. This approach helps in leveraging the strengths of each channel to gain maximum benefit.

  1. Ineffective Call to Action

You need to guide your audience clearly about the next step that they should take. Most marketing campaigns that fail, do not have a strong call to action that can be clearly identified by the potential customer. They are unsure about what to do next or what to expect next. In some cases, there are multiple call to action. This creates confusion in the mind of the audience leading to reluctance in moving forward.

A strong, single, and, clear call to action, will help increase the success rate of your campaign.

  1. Campaign Fails to Make an Impact

As the use of technology increases, studies show that the average human attention span decreases. Considering the amount of content out there that is vying for attention, your message has an extremely short span of time to get the user’s attention. As mentioned in my earlier article ‘Why every entrepreneur needs to be a marketer’, marketing is about the 3 R’s, sending the right message to the right person at the right time. If your message does not stand out, is not relevant and appealing to the user, it will be lost.

Understand the strengths of the marketing platforms you are using. Create customised messages in formats that work best on that specific platform. Pay attention to high-quality visually appealing creatives, customised content formats (videos, visuals), messaging that connects with your audience. Poorly executed campaigns that do not pay attention to details, fail to make an impact. In some cases, it even creates a negative perception of the business in the mind of the customer.

While it’s good to stand out by trying to give a creative spin and go against the tide, do it with caution. Many brands have received backlash from their customers while trying to do something different. They assumed their customers’ buy-in but it created the opposite effect resulting in negative publicity.

  1. External Factors

Very often the success of your marketing campaign is also dependent on external factors. Factors that are not within the scope of marketing.

A great example of this could be the aspect of Customer experience. Your campaign has led the customer to the final stage of purchasing the product. But due to a poorly designed check-out system, the customer decides to withdraw his interest. Many times, lead generation campaigns fail to generate the targeted ROI. Why? Because there are limited resources available to prospect the leads and close the sale. Or the sales team is not quick enough to connect with the prospect.

Discuss these external challenges with the relevant teams. Ensure that someone is taking charge of it before you go ahead and commence your campaign so that you can avoid any glitches in the process.

The post campaign stage is just as important as the planning stage.  While there is no set formula of guaranteed success that can be used across all campaigns, learning from best practices and oversights can help us avoid pitfalls. Keeping an open mind and continuous assessment and evaluation of strategies and results can help us improve our marketing wins and show us how to set up our marketing campaigns for success.

Would like to share a tweet I came across recently that reiterates the need to never give up and continually assess and fine tune our efforts every single time.

“Marketing is a humbling profession. Sometimes the idea you are certain is going to work, doesn’t work. Or the idea you know definitely won’t work, definitely does work. Or the thing that used to work, stops working. You constantly need to learn, re-learn, and sometimes un-learn.”

Matthew Kobbash

Jaya S Rebello

Founder, Collab Function. A marketing buff at heart, I find great joy in helping and empowering people to achieve their best. An ardent believer of lifelong learning, I love to learn and try out many new things. I naturally gravitate to the ones that I find interesting and love to share that knowledge. As often said, "Knowledge is most useful when liberated and shared."

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