5 Ways To Turn A Failed Marketing Campaign Into A Win

With the right analy­sis and doc­u­men­ta­tion, mar­ket­ing cam­paign fail­ures can become gold­mines for shap­ing future mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

Kirsten Butzow By Kirsten Butzow from Pragmatic Marketing. Join the discussion » 0 comments

While a cam­paign fail­ure does take the wind out of your sails (and sales), it also presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn, piv­ot and come back stronger. With the right analy­sis and doc­u­men­ta­tion, mar­ket­ing fail­ures can become gold­mines for shap­ing future cam­paigns.

Not every mar­ket­ing cam­paign is met with the same suc­cess as Intel’s “Intel Inside” or Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” cam­paign. In fact, some­times even the most care­ful­ly exe­cut­ed cam­paigns are met with crick­ets. Why? What caus­es one cam­paign to catch on like wild­fire while anoth­er fails to even cre­ate a spark? There are a vari­ety of rea­sons — tim­ing, a change in the mar­ket, com­pe­ti­tion, to name a few. But, the two most com­mon rea­sons for mar­ket­ing cam­paign fail­ure are not tru­ly know­ing your mar­ket or cre­at­ing a prod­uct that doesn’t solve a true mar­ket prob­lem. Here are five ways to turn low per­form­ers into win­ning oppor­tu­ni­ties.

1. Get Out And Talk To The Market

If most mar­ket­ing cam­paigns fail because they don’t res­onate with the tar­get mar­ket, then it only makes sense to get out from behind the com­put­er and go talk to those peo­ple. What do they care about? What prob­lems do they have? How do they define or think about your prod­uct? Where do they get their news and infor­ma­tion? Maybe you had the right mes­sag­ing, but didn’t deliv­er it through the right chan­nels.

2. Redefine Your Market

You and your team like­ly defined the mar­ket dur­ing the prod­uct devel­op­ment phase, or at the very least pri­or to the ini­tial mar­ket­ing cam­paign. But it may be time to revis­it this to be sure you are in fact tar­get­ing the right mar­ket. The afore­men­tioned inter­views will help you deter­mine this. You might find there’s actu­al­ly a sub­group of the orig­i­nal group you were mar­ket­ing to that will be a bet­ter fit, or that the mar­ket has shift­ed alto­geth­er. Once you’ve reaf­firmed or refined your tar­get mar­ket, cre­ate three to five per­sonas for the type of peo­ple you want to reach. These per­sonas are not stereo­types, but arche­types based on facts and find­ings from research and inter­views. Your per­sona needs to have a name, age, occu­pa­tion, likes and dis­likes, favorite prod­ucts, hob­bies, news sources, etc. to estab­lish a clear pic­ture of who your prod­ucts are for. You need to have an under­stand­ing of their over­all goals or desired cus­tomer expe­ri­ence when they use your prod­ucts and ser­vices.

3. Dig Into The Numbers

As painful as it may be to review lack­lus­ter num­bers, don’t avoid them. These pro­vide a wealth of insight. You might bench­mark these against pre­vi­ous suc­cess­ful cam­paigns or sim­ply take note of what worked and what didn’t. The key here is to go beyond the sur­face. Don’t just look at your email open rate. Instead review what time that email was most opened. Did a cer­tain sub­ject line per­form bet­ter than anoth­er? What was hap­pen­ing in the news that day? What was clicked on most in that email? Did it include a call to action? Doc­u­ment what was effec­tive ver­sus inef­fec­tive and refer to this in plan­ning your next cam­paign.

4. Understand The Stages

Along every buy­er jour­ney there are mul­ti­ple stages. Your job is to iden­ti­fy what those stages are and cre­ate mes­sages spe­cif­ic to each. These mes­sages should address objec­tions buy­ers may have at each of those stages, but also artic­u­late your brand’s strengths. If you already have cus­tomers, find out why they bought from you and at what stage they decid­ed to make that com­mit­ment. Per­haps more impor­tant­ly, talk to poten­tial cus­tomers, those cur­rent­ly look­ing at your solu­tion as well as the competitor’s. What do they care about? What objec­tions do they have? Refine your mes­sag­ing and strat­e­gy accord­ing­ly.

5. Debrief With The Team

This ses­sion is not about fin­ger point­ing or plac­ing blame. All involved must feel com­fort­able con­tribut­ing to this con­ver­sa­tion. Check all egos at the door. Estab­lish a pos­i­tive tone. The goal of your team debrief is to iden­ti­fy the root caus­es behind what worked and what didn’t. Dis­cuss what the cam­paign suc­cess­es were and what can be improved upon. What did you dis­cov­er dur­ing your cus­tomer inter­views and mar­ket research? How can you more effec­tive­ly speak to and reach the per­sonas you’ve iden­ti­fied? Doc­u­ment what can be used in the future then cre­ate an action plan for revis­ing the mar­ket­ing cam­paign. Going for­ward be sure you are mea­sur­ing at inter­vals along the way so you can make adjust­ments or quick­ly piv­ot before you ven­ture too far deep into the mar­ket­ing cam­paign. Reg­u­lar check-ins and debrief­in­gs with the team can help you avoid spend­ing valu­able time and bud­get on inef­fec­tive strate­gies.

Kirsten Butzow

Written by Kirsten Butzow

Certified instructor, Pragmatic Marketing

Kirsten Butzow is a Pragmatic Marketing certified instructor with more than 20 years' experience as a product manager and marketing leader working with well-known technology companies, including Fujitsu, Pearson, Blackboard and most recently Parchment. She has held vice president roles for the past 10 years and has directed product management portfolios, developed and drove business plans and strategic product roadmaps, and led teams in excess of 100 people.

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