You’ve done it. You’ve launched your marketing campaign. You took the time to research your target audience, decide on the channels to reach out to them and committed to addressing their needs. But those leads you expected to roll in, they have yet to materialize. What went wrong and how can you fix it, and fix it fast? A simple set of questions can help you identify deficiencies in your marketing campaigns and fix what is clearly broken. 

Who? 

The first step to troubleshooting your marketing campaign is to identify who you are reaching.  

Who received your promotion or who was exposed to your campaign? Do those people align well with who you identified as the target audience to start the campaign? Are these people who closely match your ideal customer? If you are not actually reaching the people you are trying to reach, or if you’re reaching people you don’t understand, your campaign will fail before it gets started.  

Looking under the hood to see who you are reaching ideally involves reviewing the demographics of the individuals who saw your campaign via the digital advertising service you used (e.g., Google Ads) or the platform you utilized (e.g., Facebook).  You can supplement this information with a review of the demographic information of users that visited your page through the campaign in Google Analytics. 

What? 

The next critical aspect of your marketing campaign is the message itself. Are you talking too much about yourself and not enough about your prospects? It’s not enough to talk about the amazing features of your offerings; you must connect the dots between those features and the problems they solve for your customers. It’s not enough to tell prospects that an umbrella is sturdy. Your prospective customer has to understand that they will actually save money purchasing a sturdy umbrella that can be used over and over again, as opposed to a cheap umbrella that will break the first time it’s used. 

What are some of the signs that your message is not connecting with your prospective audience?  A low click-through-rate is one.  If your ad is being displayed to the right audience (see “Who?” above), but your audience isn’t clicking on it, they may not find your messaging compelling. 

Your marketing message must line up with your prospect audience. Theoretically, when you identified your audience for your marketing campaign, you aligned your message with that audience’s needs. A review of that message as it relates to your audience’s needs will provide critical insight into why your campaign is performing the way it is.  

Where?

A marketing campaign is only as good as the channel through which it was delivered. How you reach your audience will significantly affect the efficacy of your campaign. Whether it’s through social media, email marketing, or display ads, the channel needs to meet your prospects where they are. If you’re targeting AARP members, Snapchat may not be the right channel. If you’re targeting sports fans, display ads on embroidery websites may not find your audience.  

One performance indicator to review in assessing whether you are on the right platform is impressions.  For example, if you have properly specified demographic parameters for your ad and selected an appropriate bid, but your ad has very few impressions, this may be an indication that the platform does not attract the audience you’re seeking. 

When? 

Next, identify the timing of your campaign. How long did the campaign run? Understanding this will not only help you identify what data is relevant to reviewing the campaign, but may highlight that the campaign didn’t run for long enough to attract the attention of your prospects – or that it ran too long and bored them. At what times and on what days did you run this campaign? Identifying this information will provide you with a baseline of data that will let you test the best times to reach your prospects and when they’re most receptive to your messages.  

Getting to Why

The various performance indicators noted above, are just that – indicators.  The more indicators you evaluate, the better your analysis will be as to why a particular campaign failed.  For example, as noted above, a low number of impressions can indicate that a platform is not the right place for your campaign, but if your competitors are outbidding you, it may mean that you need to spend more on the campaign.  Context matters and expert advice, like that of a virtual marketing assistant, can help in turning around your campaign’s performance and getting the results you were looking for.