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Don't Panic! What to Do Instead When Your Marketing Campaign Doesn't Go as Planned

It doesn't matter how much time you spend on crafting your marketing campaign: You have no guarantee at all that your effort will pay off. Sometimes marketing just doesn't work the way you want it to.

If that's something you're going through right now, you're probably wondering whether further investment makes sense.

Instead of giving up on your marketing campaign altogether—or letting go your marketing team—because you aren't getting the results you were counting on, take the following six steps.

1. Start small and scale up

If you're not seeing any progress in a marketing channel, better to instantly cut the cord. That's why smart businesses start with the smallest possible budget, and only once they see tangible results do they begin to scale their campaigns. So, instead of wasting time dwelling on a failed marketing campaign, plan the next one with minimizing opportunity costs in mind.


When you're stuck in a campaign that isn't working, you won't be able to move forward. Admitting defeat might be the last thing you want to do, but you simply have to call it quits and try again.

2. Don't think of failure as just a failure

If the last campaign failed your expectations, looking at it in search of things that actually did work is a must: If you build a new campaign entirely from scratch, you're guaranteed to lose a lot of time and risk making the same mistakes again. You also have to learn what didn't work for you, so you can shift your focus and come up with strategies that actually might.

Give yourself room to experiment and learn from your errors. If you're dealing with tight budget that doesn't allow you that type of buffer, persuade management that a healthy marketing strategy requires it to learn and grow.

3. Communicate insights with the entire marketing team

This step is key especially if you're part of a large organization. When teams start to quickly grow, failures tend to be overlooked in favor of promoting that growth... and before you know it, mistakes repeat themselves and start having a serious impact on your bottom line.

When your marketing campaign fails, you need to explicitly tell your team why it happened. It's best to write all your insights down and keep them archived in team documentation (maybe a company wiki). Treat marketing as an investment: Even those failed campaigns offer you key learning milestones your entire team can benefit from.

4. Set new timescales and goals

Now that you've acknowledged defeat, it's time to rise from the ashes with a new idea. When developing a new marketing campaign, make sure to set a specific timeline for its execution. Every component of your campaign needs to have a deadline ascribed to it. Be realistic about these deadlines, and plan everything to accommodate your final launch date—which is also how you keep your team on track.

But you also need a set of clear and measurable objectives; without them, you won't know whether your campaign is working. Do you plan to generate new leads, or would you rather nurture the existing ones? Choose goals that are attainable and realistic.

5. Make the most from your assets and tools

Look back at your failed campaign to check whether the reason behind its failure was lack of specific tools that are essential to campaign execution. You can choose an all-in-one solution or equip yourself with a set of independent tools to make your campaigns work.

When choosing your tools, remember that they should enable you to manage basic marketing tasks, including landing pages, email campaigns, blogs, calls to action, and social media. You also need a proper analytics tool to measure those tasks so you can determine which ones are worth your attention.

6. Integrate your marketing channels

A common reason behind marketing failures is having your marketing channels work separately from each other. Your campaign will work only if your channels, as well as tools, are coordinated and integrated into a coherent strategy. Integration will boost the reach of your campaign, too. So engage everyone on your team (and even people outside of it) to create an integrated and well-coordinated and timed marketing push.

* * *

Marketing isn't foolproof. Even the best strategies might end up engaging very few customers. If you're experiencing marketing failure, get your team together and use these tips to get back on track with a revamped marketing presence.

by David Grover  |  October 6, 2016

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