Help! My marketing campaign didn’t go well

photo of sticky notes and colored pens scrambled on table

There is no guarantee that every marketing campaign is going to hit it out of the park. Let’s be real about this. No marketing campaign is perfect, no philanthropic campaign is, no development campaign is. But there are things you can think about to help you make sure you avoid these pitfalls and mitigate some disasters when it comes to your marketing.

Why campaigns go wrong

A marketing campaign has to be focused. It has to connect to who the client is and what the client is about. It can’t be wishy-washy. It can’t be all over the place. If you’re general in your message, the work you create is going to be general, too. And if you play in the general, then no one is going to be interested in what you’re doing. 

Why did your donor campaign not do well last year? How specific were you, really?

Now more than ever, people want to believe in a cause and they want to know a cause is going to add good into their lives. If you help your city’s youth, but it’s not clear what makes you different from the other youth organizations, then your campaign will suffer. If you’re just asking for donations for your hospital, but your marketing could be placed onto any random hospital and no one would know the difference; donors are not going to follow you. If you provide the kind of messaging for your HR company that is unfocused and unspecific, who is going to show up at your door needing your services?

Is your donor wall just like everyone else’s? Is your holiday giving video just like every other healthcare firm? Have you managed to stand out from the crowd, or do you look like everyone else? These are things you need to ask yourself as you build a message. It has to have focus.

The right messaging with your marketing

Your messaging campaign needs to be more than just a series of sentences strung together. It’s more than just a pretty brochure at year’s end. A messaging campaign has to have heart. It has to have a personality. It has to feel alive and vibrant. I know it’s a bunch of words, but these words are going to impact how you feel, how you work, how you email, how you market, and how you talk to people. They are a big deal because they lighten your load and bring people to you. 

Your goal is to inspire your customer, isn’t it? Your goal is to say, “Look at who you are at this moment. Look at what you have on the horizon. Look at what you are going to do.” The campaign needs to resonate with people. It needs to hit at the heart of your company and the heart of that company’s customer. It needs to do a lot with a little. If you read through your messaging, and it doesn’t feel like it really has some heart to it, then go back to the drawing board and start thinking through it again. Your message needs to connect to the heart of your customer. If you can do those things, then you are already off to a fabulous start.

Marketing without the audience in mind

Every marketing campaign has to have the audience in mind. If you don’t know who you are talking to, how can you build content with any specificity? Who are these people? What are they after? What are they about? What do they like? How do they buy? What do they respond to? What’s important to them? 

You might be saying, “I know my audience, it’s my client.” Yes, but what is this client about?

The construction company is different from the dance company, which is different from the tech firm. And you have to think about more than just one audience. Yes, you’re doing messaging for that HR group, but go deeper, who is the audience within this group? Well, it’s their customers, it’s their employees, and it may even be their shareholders. Your messaging campaign can be a catch-all for the audience, or it can be written multiple times to speak to multiple audiences. 

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