Marketing is important for a business of any size, but it’s not always fun or easy. Most teams go through some growing pains—we’ve had our own share. But with each failure comes the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct course.
When a client comes to us for marketing help, we try to understand as much about their current efforts as we can. Marketing campaigns can fail for many reasons; sometimes they are just happening on the wrong channels or at a bad time for the market. In general, though, failed campaigns can be tracked to three issues.
You don’t have a strategy and plan in place
Without a well-researched and documented strategy, it’s unlikely that your campaigns will be successful and efficient. A strategy helps your team create and track goals, design a roadmap to follow, and gives a sense of purpose to each action item.
A marketing strategy should align with your business goals.
Marketing goals work best when they are tied to the goals of the organization as a whole. Goals should include information about your audience, what products or services will be marketed, as well as what kind of messaging or highlights your team will focus on.
In tandem with the strategy, a marketing plan describes how the strategy will be implemented. It details the tactics that will be used to achieve the goals of the strategy.
Your team lacks focus
It’s believed that the phrase “in the weeds” originates from golf. When a ball veers off the course and into the turf, you’re literally in the weeds. When your marketing team is in the weeds, it’s for the same reason—the course is no longer clear, but your team is still swinging away.
It’s not necessarily their fault. When you’re in the weeds, you’re not focused on the big picture. Your only worry at that point is how to get back on course.
This is where a strategy is essential. Without a clearly defined strategy, with measurable goals, how will your team even know what the desired course is? If you do have a strategy, leadership must take control of the team’s direction. Dozens of side projects may crop up and distract your team from strategy, but it’s up to leadership to continue to see the full scope of the work that’s getting done and how it ties into the strategy.
You’re not sure how to measure success
Calculating the ROI of your marketing effort can take some work. There are several tools you can use to measure website visits, social shares, likes, email open rate, and the list goes on. But what are the metrics that really matter and what can be ignored?
55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success looks like. Think about that—more than half of us are not sure what a successful campaign really looks like. In my experience, when people cannot define success, it is because they have not set concrete, measurable goals.
You may craft a strategy around brand awareness, but that alone is not a measurable goal. How can you track something as illusory as brand awareness? Well, you could look at social followers, impressions, likes, and shares. You could look at web visits by source and how many are organic versus referral.
Set up the metrics that will be meaningful and realistic to your goals.
For instance, if you’re trying to drive sales, you should be tracking the total number of customers acquired, lead conversion rate, and revenue from those clients. Although each particular buyer’s journey is different, vanity metrics such as likes, shares, and impressions are less likely to add up to sales.
To put it simply, for a marketing campaign to be successful, you need a well-documented strategy, a focused team, and a way to track success. While it cannot guarantee every campaign will wildly exceed your expectations, it will help you account for any challenges you may encounter.