Developing and delivering a successful marketing strategy can be difficult if you take all the factors into consideration. On one end, you have the products your brand needs to push to new markets and audiences… While on the other — you have to do justice to the people who use your products already.
Playing both sides successfully can be difficult for many marketing teams, and sometimes their efforts don’t bear fruit as anticipated. What can we do about a failing marketing strategy that seemingly only goes downhill with each passing day, before pulling the plug on our project?
Evaluate the situation
The most important thing you can do once you notice a failure in your marketing efforts is to breathe deep. We can notice these crises even into the largest international companies. And they always find a way to make things work in the end. Ask yourself and your team some fundamental questions about the marketing strategy you have developed. Why the feedback is so negative?
- Did you take your audience’s needs into account or did you create a content strategy without consulting anyone?
- What forms of media and offline promotion did you implement in your strategy?
- Did you go over the budget in your endeavors? Did you spend money sparingly and have some money leftover to make things right?
- Are you capable of doing small customer feedback queries in order to get a closer understanding of what went wrong?
- Did you get the approval of your CEO and executive board before pushing the marketing content on the market?
It is important to know where you stand with your project. While these questions are not easy to answer once things start showing cracks of failure. Don’t assign blame to anyone on your team. Focus on working together in fixing a common problem – project evaluations can come later.
Rethink your audience
The most common problem when it comes to a failing marketing strategy is a fundamental misunderstanding of the audience it was meant to move or inspire. How did you and your team go about targeting the audience you developed the content strategy around? If you don’t have the option of conducting additional research into your target demographic, take a look at the content you used to approach them.
You might be on the wrong track if you used:
- muted, bleak and colorless visual content
- with messages filled with despair to connect with family-centric groups and parents.
It will always be either the wrong audience or wrong message. This same example applies to every audience you may or may not target with your content.
Align with your company’s vision
Another common issue that marketing teams come across is the lack of understanding of their company’s vision and long-term goals. Taking a look at Coca-Cola, we can determine that:
- their motto is to spread love and joy around the world
- make people come together in happiness.
If they created anything that doesn’t revolve around this idea, it would surely be met with raised eyebrows and cold stares from both the audiences and investors alike.
Consult your board and CEO if you don’t have a proper understanding of your brand’s mission, slogan, and long-term milestones. It’s better to ask someone familiar with the brand than to quietly let the marketing campaign fizzle out and wait for the hammer to fall once the board realizes you made no progress.
An integrated marketing plan that involves experience-based phygital marketing will lead you towards complete alignment in your growth strategy.
Differentiate from the competition
Sometimes companies like to play it safe and take a peek at what their competitors or partners are doing. Taking a peek is always recommended, especially when talking about international campaigns which span over different media.
However, copying something from someone else’s playbook will likely result in failure no matter how hard you try to make it look original. The problem is that marketing content is served to people around the world in the same way for every brand. If your company is featured in the social media today, your time will come to an end in a week or two and you will be replaced by another company, and then another one after that.
Marketing content is an instant message system that allows you to send a message to the target audience to see, respond to and react upon – no more, no less. Using the same visual or textual layout and elements as your competition will leave a bad taste in the mouth of anyone who was thinking about using your product. Try to be as original as possible while still abiding by some set industry principles.
Keep going or switch things up
Once you have assessed the situation you found yourself in, there will usually be two choices you can choose from. You can either keep going with the strategy you have already created and done minor adjustments in your content in order to compensate for the previous failure or switch things up completely.
Depending on the state of your marketing campaign so far, you can backpedal to a certain point and start anew like nothing happened, apart from the time and money that went down the drain. This is still an acceptable loss given that your campaign barely bore any fruit so far.
Weigh your pros and cons, assess how much time and resources you still have on your hands and make the final call. The data you gather from a failed campaign is sometimes even more valuable than that which comes from a successful one, so make sure you have everything documented and ready for evaluation.
Learning from our mistakes is an essential part of life – even seasoned professionals make mistakes. Knowing when you are wrong and trying to amend for that mistake is a greater lesson than conducting a good campaign and learning very little from it.
Plan ahead and always take failure into consideration when talking about high-risk marketing strategies with unproven methods or content strategies. Having a plan B if things go south is just as important as having a marketing plan. So give it some proper thought while you still have some breathing room.