5 reasons why your marketing campaign is underperforming

If you’re like most business owners, you worry about how to reach your target audience by the most cost-effective, but effective, ways possible. As such, you spend a great deal of your time and energy on marketing your business. But, how much of your advertising dollar is money well-spent?

While the figures vary by industry, you should be reinvesting about 8 percent of your total revenue on marketing. Many companies spend much more than that in terms of time and resources. You like to think that you’re a smart investor with your finger on the pulse of consumer trends. That’s why it’s so disappointing when your efforts don’t pay off.

Maybe your marketing campaign is not the problem, but how it’s implemented.

Why is your marketing campaign underperforming?

You’ve put in the time and energy, but your efforts just aren’t bringing the return you expected.

What went wrong?

Here are five possibilities and some guidance for how you can turn the situation around and find out why your marketing campaign is underperforming.

1. You’re spreading yourself too thin

Are you the type who wants to jump on every bandwagon, hoping to ride the next trend to market dominance? There are so many digital marketing platforms available, and so little time and money.

However, not all of them are right for every type of business. Using the wrong digital marketing platforms, or not using them the right way, leads to a couple of potential problems.

First, you’re spreading yourself too thin by trying to give equal time and attention to every possible avenue of boosting brand awareness.

Second, you might come across as amateurish or inauthentic. People can smell pandering from a mile away, even online.

How to turn it around: The key elements of effective marketing are format and relevance. Focus your efforts on platforms and audiences that are responsive to your brand and product line.

You can accomplish this by analyzing your ideal customer persona and creating content that focuses on their needs but producing it in a way that aligns with your company vision and goals.

Ask yourself:

  • What motivates engagement with my audience?
  • Are their needs focused on price or services?
  • Do they need to be convinced to buy my products or reassured that they’ve made the right choice?
  • What platforms best attract the attention of my core audience, and how can my content best use that format?

Cut loose any marketing platforms that don’t relate to that analysis and put your effort into a handful that advance your brand.

2. You have unrealistic goals and projections

It’s great to dream big. Reach for the sky, but have both feet planted on the ground. When you have unrealistic projections and goals, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration, not to mention all of the time and money you’ll lose in the meantime.

How to turn it around: Do the hard work of analyzing markets and consumer trends based on real-world reporting. That means using a combination of technology to parse data and deploying old school techniques like conducting customer surveys.

Use the data to identify, segment, and reach your ideal audience at various points in their journey.

3. You’re imitating rather than innovating

Sometimes imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. In marketing, it just makes you look stagnant and uncreative. There are millions of businesses out there, and you want to make yours stand out from the crowd.

How to turn it around: Every market and industry has an unfilled niche or unrelieved pain points. Differentiate yourself from similar companies by pointing out what you have that they don’t or how you can do what they do, only better.

4. You’re not testing your platforms

Sometimes, it’s the little things that count. You could have a great layout that showcases your brand, but forget to put your call to action (CTA) in the right place. Perhaps there’s a broken link, buttons that aren’t clearly labeled, or photos that don’t do your product justice. It looks and works amazingly in theory, but that didn’t translate well in a digital format. The problem in these cases is the lack of testing.

How to turn it around: Before you deploy any marketing idea, test it on a small but representative section of your audience. For example, a cosmetic surgeon I worked with increased engagement just by swapping out stock photos for images of actual customers. Another firm increased engagement just by changing the color, size, and location of their order button.

Change a small element at a time by deploying a test and control version of your pages, emails, and media to determine which get a favorable response and which fall flat before launching your full campaign.

Some ideas for effective testing include:

  • Various color schemes and page layout
  • Experimenting with different email subject lines
  • Creating content that’s skimmable, relevant, and informative
  • Creating a clear CTA that’s actionable; customers need to know what you want them to do with the information provided

Your A/B testing should contain a sample size that’s relevant to your target demographic, large enough to provide meaningful analysis, and conducted for long enough to indicate long-term trends rather than passing interest. This may take some time before you see results, but it’s worth it.

5. Lack of leadership or vision

Great branding is the result of successful team leadership. For your campaign to have momentum, your vision, team, and objectives must be focused and aligned with your broader mission and goals.

If you’re not clear about where you want to go, it will reflect in a marketing campaign that appears disorganized and unprofessional. When your team is scattered or not on the same page, it leads to internal disputes and chaos. Other outcomes of bad leadership include unrealistic deadlines, stressed out team members, and low company morale.

How to turn it around: Provide your team with the guidance and tools they need to carry forth your mission, create an environment that encourages open communication and collaboration, and give your team the bandwidth they need to display autonomy and creativity.

Final thoughts about why your marketing campaign is underperforming

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a great product will sell itself. The first step on the path to conversion is awareness. Using a combination of traditional and digital marketing techniques will get your company in front of a lot of potential customers.

However, you need to learn how to use the right platforms strategically to get a great return on investment (ROI. Plan wisely and make sure that you follow through. Then, you can breathe a little while you watch your marketing efforts bear fruit because you identified why your campaign is underperforming. Good luck!

This guest blog article was written by Heather Redding, a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Follow her on Twitter @heatheraredding.