Why do marketing campaigns fail?
After countless hours and investment, you launched your campaign and it failed. Maybe it was just a little flameout or maybe it was a complete dumpster fire. What now? Look for a new job? Absolutely not.
Failure is a reality of life and marketing. If marketing were an exact science, you wouldn’t need art, creativity, humor, or ingenuity to entice potential customers to buy from you. Marketing isn’t the only reason campaigns fail either! For instance—a great campaign to launch a new cruise route may flop in the face of a worldwide pandemic.
If only marketing were like a faucet. Turn it on and sales would flow to you in direct proportion. However, we know that’s not the case. The funniest or most creative ads in the world sometimes flop. Why?
I argue it’s because, holistically, we forget who we’re advertising to. Humans.
Humans are illogical and we make emotional decisions. Neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio said, “We are not thinking machines that feel – we are feeling machines that think.”
So how do you tap into those feelings and reduce the risk of marketing failure? Start by avoiding these top three common reasons marketing campaigns fail:
#1 – Poor Research or You Don’t Know Your Audience
Did you do your research about your ideal customers? Like any good comedian, marketing is all about knowing your audience and adapting to them! You have to read the crowd (link to stand up comedy blog).
Do you know your customer journey? This is the path they typically take before buying your product or service. Are you an impulse buy, or will they take months to research?
Your audience, clients, and potential clients have a problem they want solved. If you don’t address how you’d solve their problem, you’re irrelevant to them.
Knowing your audience helps you understand what people care about—and what content might relate to them. You may have the coolest idea for a social media contest, but if your core consumer doesn’t care about the prize, you’ve missed the mark.
Here’s an incredible blog from Hubspot for more info: “https://blog.hubspot.com/service/know-your-audience”
#2 – Wrong Messaging
Boomers don’t speak like millennials. Heck, as a millennial, I’m constantly Googling what common Gen Z phrases mean. I have no drip. This blog slaps.
Here are 4 questions to help you identify if the message was right:
- Did you jump on a bandwagon?
- Just because a hashtag is trending, does not mean the cause or issue aligns with your company values, goals, or mission statement. Worse yet, you tried to turn it into an opportunity to pitch your product.
- Were you authentic? Consumers know when a company is just trying to glom onto something.
- While modern companies often try to connect with important causes, jumping on the latest hot-button topics is a dangerous move. Many ad campaigns have failed because they take advantage of important social issues or politically-charged news events to try to sell their products.
- Did you rely on one media?
- As a realtor, you won’t sell houses by email marketing only,eventually there’s a handshake and a tour!
- In recruitment, if you’re only posting jobs on Indeed, how are you speaking to passive job seekers? Do you stand out from your direct competitors on Indeed or are you just another similar option?
- Did you have a poor offer, or none at all?
- Things like a free trial with limited features or 10% off a latte are not strong enough to cause action. Would you try a new coffee shop just because they’re offering $.40 off a latte?
- If you’re offering an incentive to your customers, set reasonable boundaries so both sides can benefit, but make sure you’re prepared to deliver on your promises.
- Were you all comedy and no sell?
- How many times have you seen an ad, laughed hysterically, and had NO IDEA who it was for?
- 2021 Example: Wayne’s World commercial for Uber Eats. Even though the voiceover at the beginning announces who the commercial is for, ten seconds in I forget as I’m whirled into my 90’s love for Wayne & Garth.
#3 – Wrong Sequence
Are you proposing marriage after the first date? Trying to jump in bed after you just learned their first name will get you arrested!
The latter may be popular in the nightlife scene, but that’s not how human connection is built.
In his book Intimate Behavior: A Zoologist’s Classic Study of Human Intimacy, author Desmond Morris explains the steps humans take from checking out someone’s body, to making eye contact, holding hands, and all the way to the private stuff. Human connection is built through a sequence, not hopscotching over key parts because you want to close a deal!
The same is true for businesses as they talk to potential customers. I’m not ready to sign a contract, or even hear about your cabinet brands, if I’m just starting to entertain the idea of a kitchen remodel. I want to know I’ll smile walking into my new space. Different things are important and each phase of the customers’ journey to doing business with you.
Bad marketing forgets we’re human. Whether you’re B2B, B2C, D2C or any other business model , always remember you’re marketing to H2H first.
So you had a failed campaign? Welcome to the club. Shake it off, do your research, and try again.
Amanda Davis works as a Marketing Strategist for Mid-West Family Madison with sales and project management experience. She has 5+ years of media experience in digital marketing and Out of Home. She also has experience in market research, technical training, and working with nonprofits. She is a strategic thinker that likes blowing things up just to see if the pieces fit better another way. She’s still negotiating if she can be paid in tacos, ammo, or concert tickets.