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How to Troubleshoot a Failed Marketing Campaign
How to Troubleshoot a Failed Marketing Campaign

How to Troubleshoot a Failed Marketing Campaign

Despite all the effort that goes into marketing campaigns, sometimes even the best of them fail to generate interest and sales with potential customers.

When this happens, you can sit around and feel bad about it, or you can learn from your mistakes and try to fix them next time. 

Here are some simple tips on how to fix failed marketing campaigns to improve your odds of success when you launch your next campaign!

Key Takeaway

To fix a failed marketing campaign, you need to understand what went wrong. If you can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong, take some time and brainstorm potential causes with your team or a mentor. 

Then go over each cause individually and discuss how it could be fixed. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for fixing a failed marketing campaign, but having a game plan will put you in a better position to save that sinking ship. You may even learn something from those failures. 

What is Marketing Campaign

A marketing campaign is a series of related marketing activities—usually including a mix of advertising, direct sales and promotion, public relations, and personal selling. Integrated marketing campaigns combine multiple disciplines to deliver a single message about your product or service in one place at one time. 

An integrated marketing campaign aims to make sure that you are communicating with your target audience on all relevant channels using all relevant messaging. 


This ensures that you’re delivering a consistent message from start to finish, which will help ensure that people understand what you do and why they should care. 

If executed well, it can also have a positive impact on brand awareness and customer loyalty. And it can boost conversion rates, making customers more likely to buy your products or services when they become aware of them.

Failed Marketing Campaign

How to Troubleshoot a Failed Marketing Campaign 1

Top 3 Marketing Mistakes

It’s not always easy to get it right when marketing your business. In fact, I’d argue that’s what makes marketing so difficult! There are so many factors to consider and approaches to take, that it can be hard to know what will work best.

The below are top three marketing mistakes, that many businesses and organizations make, that you should avoid. 

  1. Lack of consistency

Some brands are good at one-off efforts. They can launch a great campaign or put on a unique event and get some media attention, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to turn it into an ongoing marketing effort. 

Unless you’re truly a one-hit-wonder, your brand needs to establish consistent messaging across multiple channels in order to increase awareness and sales over time. 

For example, you might start with Facebook ads for a limited time period and then move to Twitter ads later.

You may also want to try paid search advertising on Google AdWords or Bing Ads. It’s important not only to be consistent with your message, but also with where you deliver it—and how often.

  1. Lack Of Knowledge About Analytics

How will you know what is working and what isn’t if you don’t have an analytics program in place to monitor your advertising? Your marketing campaign won’t be a success if you can’t measure its effectiveness. Online business owners need to rely on data to create better marketing campaigns, ensuring they are reaching their target audience and getting results. 

If you aren’t tracking your analytics, it’s time to do so. Tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot make it easy for small businesses to get started with free tools that provide valuable information about who is visiting your website and how they found you. 

Even if you hire someone else to handle these details for you, having an understanding of where your traffic comes from will help ensure your money is being spent wisely. 

When you first start out, it may seem like all forms of marketing are equal—you might even believe everything works. The truth is that some types of marketing work better than others. For example, when emailing potential customers about your product or service using sales copy doesn’t lead to increased sales, perhaps something else would work better.

  1. No Clear Goal

Have a clear goal for your marketing campaign. Is it to generate awareness? Grow your email list? Increase sales revenue? What is it that you’re trying to accomplish, and how will you know if you’ve succeeded? Defining a specific goal for your marketing campaign is imperative to its success. 

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Without one, you may waste money on efforts that aren’t relevant or effective.

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How To Fix A Failed Marketing Campaign

It is advisable for businesses and organizations to regularly evaluate their marketing campaigns in order to determine if there are improvements that need to be made. 

There are no do-overs once you’ve launched—so put yourself in a position to succeed by doing everything right upfront. And remember: even when things go wrong, there are ways to recover—but only if you take action quickly enough! You might also want to look at how social media influences marketing campaigns. 

  • Identify The Problem At First Glance

It may seem like your marketing activity was an utter failure because it did not generate any sales leads or achieve its intended objective. 

However, before jumping to conclusions about why it failed, you should first identify what exactly caused it to fall short of expectations. 

This could involve analyzing data about where and when your campaign was conducted, who participated in it (and whether they were qualified prospects), etc. By doing so, you can get a better idea of what needs to be improved next time around.

  • Evaluate Your Approach. 

Even if your marketing activity has been designed perfectly and executed flawlessly, it still fails due to external factors such as competition or changes in market conditions. 

To avoid repeating these mistakes again in future endeavors, make sure that you’re always up-to-date with industry trends so that you know how to adapt quickly.

  •  Understand Why People Participated

 Some people may participate in your marketing campaign simply out of curiosity or because they want to help out a friend. Others may have joined it simply out of obligation without actually being interested in what you’re offering. 

Once you understand why people participated, you can modify your approach accordingly and target only those who genuinely fit into your target audience profile

  • Ask Yourself If There Is A Need For Change

 When reviewing why your marketing activity failed, ask yourself if there is a need for change. If something worked previously but now seems to be ineffective, then maybe it’s time to try something else instead. 

On the other hand, if nothing worked at all then perhaps you just weren’t targeting the right people or promoting your product/service effectively enough.

  •   Be Objective

 While it’s easy to blame your marketing campaign’s failure on external factors, it’s important to remember that you can never control everything. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t do anything about, focus your energy and resources on areas that you can influence. 

With a clear plan of action in place, you will be able to execute a more successful marketing campaign in future endeavors.

  • Update Your Content With Something New

If a campaign fails, don’t let it die quietly. Put an additional effort into marketing with something new. After all, even if you can’t get people excited about your product, they might be interested in your perspective on why things didn’t work out or what you learned from mistakes along the way. 

Provide specific tips for marketing campaigns that did not succeed and ways to improve them. 

If possible, provide solutions for common pitfalls so others can avoid those mistakes in their campaigns. You could also share lessons you learned while doing research and interviews to gain insights on how companies should approach similar situations. 

If your original campaign is defunct, but there are still other related products or ideas floating around, consider expanding upon them. Instead of trying to save one thing, create something else entirely. 

It may help bring some excitement back into things! As always though – keep it relevant to your audience. 

  • Retarget to Fit Your Audience.

If your marketing efforts have already failed, you’re going to want to get creative with your marketing strategy. 

Retargeting is a great way to re-engage customers who’ve already left your website without making them feel too stalked. If your customers leave without checking out, consider using retargeting ads on other sites that may appeal more directly to their interests and needs. 

This can be done through Facebook or Google AdWords. For example, if they visited your eCommerce site but didn’t purchase anything, you could place an ad for an item they browsed on Amazon or another retailer site. 

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You can also use retargeting to reach people who have already purchased from you, by placing ads for complimentary products on websites they visit. For example, if someone has purchased a pair of running shoes from your company’s online store, you might follow up with an ad featuring sports bras or fitness accessories. Targeting these specific audiences in different ways will help give them a reason to return and make another purchase!

  • Segment (and AB test) Your Strategy.

One of your primary goals in developing a marketing strategy is to communicate with customers effectively and convey your brand identity. 

So, how do you know if you’re doing that? Well, one way is to segment your audience based on their interests and preferences (think: gender, location, age group, income level) and then use A/B testing (an experiment where two versions of something are compared against each other to determine which performs better) on your campaigns. This will help you see what resonates best with your target market—and what doesn’t. If certain elements aren’t working for you, try another approach until you find something that does work well.

  • Offer Free Advice on How They Could Have Avoided The Issue

By all means, offer any advice you can think of that may have helped them fix it. Take in their viewpoint and learn from their point of view. This is a great way to show people you’re on their side, even if you did fail. 

We can’t win ‘em all! Let them know they aren’t alone and encourage them to try again with some new tactics—and maybe offer any help you can give them! It doesn’t matter if your marketing campaign failed; what matters is how you handle failure when it happens. Remember: Failure isn’t final until you quit trying.

  • Align your tactics.

You might have a great idea and solid execution, but if your strategy isn’t properly aligned with your customers’ needs and goals, it won’t matter. Look at what you’re doing from every angle. What are you failing at? What do you need to improve? Once you identify problem areas, attack them like madmen. Then look again—and keep looking until you can’t find anything else wrong with your approach or product. Only then will you be ready for battle. 

If you find yourself doing well in one area, that success should inform how you address trouble areas. For example, if your Facebook ads are bringing in sales even though your landing page is poorly designed, don’t waste time trying to make up for a weak landing page design by creating more effective ad copy; concentrate on perfecting both elements instead of just one. 

The same principle applies when aligning individual tactics; don’t worry about optimizing an element unless there is already some existing success to build on.

  • Conduct Honest Research Into Why People Didn’t Take Up Your Offer

If you’re running an advertising campaign, then you can find out why people didn’t buy by having your surveys ask why they didn’t take up your offer. If you’re selling a product, finding out exactly why they didn’t purchase will help you craft even better offers in the future that addresses their needs. 

And if you’re asking for donations or support for a cause, conducting some research into why people aren’t donating is essential. You may be surprised at what you learn!

  • Move Onto a New Project And Don’t Look Back

Once a campaign has failed, it’s best to move on. Once you understand why your campaign was unsuccessful, you can begin planning for a better project next time. 

Never dwell on past failures and never repeat mistakes from past campaigns. Instead, look forward and always try to improve. Every failure is an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and your business. It may not feel like it at first, but every failure will make you stronger in future endeavors. So take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and start planning again! 

Before moving on to a new project, however, think back over what went wrong with your last one. What could have been done differently? How could you have spent less money? Is there anything you could have done to ensure that your marketing message was clearer or more engaging? By thinking critically about your last campaign, and asking yourself these questions, you can be sure that any future projects will be much more successful.

  • Make a More Valuable Offer
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When marketing campaigns fail, it’s because they fail to stand out. Sometimes a competitive landscape or limited time offer makes product promotion hard, but sometimes it’s simply because people don’t see what your product has to offer. If you want your campaign to succeed, make sure you consider all angles. In order to fix failed marketing campaigns, try making an even more valuable offer. 

For example, if you’re offering a free sample of your product for customers who sign up for email updates, try offering them something else instead: perhaps an exclusive discount on their next purchase? This will get customers excited about buying from you again and help them associate positive feelings with your brand.

  • Give It More Time.

If your marketing campaign is less than a month old, consider giving it more time. If things are looking bleak, it might just be a case of bad timing. 

Or perhaps you’ve come up against the stiff competition. In some cases, simply changing your approach can fix failed marketing campaigns. Just ask Zappos and Southwest Airlines, who both pulled marketing stunts that were initially considered failures but later turned out to have made their brands more popular. 

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How Many Marketing Campaigns Fail

According to Hubspot, 80% of small businesses that have an Internet presence run at least one marketing campaign. 

While some of these businesses report success, others fall flat. In addition, a 2014 Forester study discovered that more than 85% of marketing campaigns fail altogether. 

The vast majority—nearly three-quarters—of all marketing efforts are considered unsuccessful by their creators. 

And if you’ve ever attempted to create a campaign from scratch, you know how difficult it can be. 

A business owner might spend weeks or even months working on it before giving up in frustration and disappointment when nothing seems to work. 

Why does it happen? It happens because many people do not plan for failure; they only plan for success. They assume they will make money and build revenue without considering what could go wrong. There is no way to eliminate failure completely, but there are ways to limit its damage. 

What Metrics Would You Use to Understand Why a Campaign Failed?

You should keep looking back at past campaigns that succeeded or failed and try to learn from them so that you don’t repeat mistakes again. 

Every experience helps! What steps do you need to take: Having analyzed your previous campaign performance, let’s say you have found out that one of your marketing strategies didn’t work out well. 

Now what? Well, it depends on where exactly things went wrong. For example, maybe your product wasn’t quite ready yet or maybe you didn’t have enough budget allocated for promotion. 

Once you figure out what needs fixing, create a new strategy based on that. For example, if you find out that your product wasn’t ready yet and nobody bought it because of that reason, then maybe now is not the right time to promote it aggressively. 

Instead, spend some more time making sure that people actually want to buy your product before trying again. 

How Long Should You Wait?

When planning a new marketing campaign, it’s always good to have patience. Don’t expect immediate results after spending just a few hours or days on promotion. Sometimes it takes months and years for a campaign to bear fruit. So, instead of getting disappointed if your efforts don’t pay off immediately, give yourself enough time to see results – whether positive or negative – before taking further action. Remember, patience is key!


Proper analysis of your marketing campaign is one of the most important aspects of a successful campaign. If you aren’t sure why it was successful or not, then how can you optimize? Learn from your mistakes and move forward with a better campaign next time. And don’t forget to take into account new technology as well; there are so many great tools out there that make it easier than ever to learn about your audience. Do you have any other tips for marketers looking to improve their campaigns? Share them in the comments below!

Richard Odds

Richard Odds is a Digital marketer SEO expert, and a business strategy planner, Chief Editor at Mss Resource where I help small business owners and marketers generate more leads, new paying users, and optimize their funnels with data-driven Marketing & SEO tips that work.

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