So, your campaign failed. You’ve invested weeks, even months into this exciting new venture and you don’t know why you aren’t seeing the results you expected. It happens to the best of us. Don’t let it get you down, because this is a great opportunity to learn and make your future efforts insanely successful! But how do you answer the question that’s been keeping you up at night all week?
What went wrong?
In the world of marketing ops, so many things can go wrong that it can be overwhelming to keep track of it all. First, it’s important to figure out whether it was a strategy problem or trouble in execution. After conversing with a number of my peers, we’ve discovered a number of commonalities that led to disappointing campaigns.
The Audience Was All Wrong
Key Indicators: Not a single person you contacted was a decision-maker; you don’t have pipeline associated with your campaign; you didn’t hit your SQL goal; sales was unhappy with the leads
Tips for next time: Loop in sales when selecting your audience. Tools like predictive scoring can help prioritize your leads and companies, but your SDRs know the top qualifiers better than anyone. If they have bandwidth, ask them to skim the list ahead of time and provide feedback. Chances are they’d rather DQ someone on a spreadsheet than after making countless phone calls.
The Stuff You Sent Wasn’t Engaging
Key Indicators: Lack of engagement; you didn’t hit your MQL goal
Tips for next time: Test test test! Focus on A/B testing the following factors based on the corresponding indicators.
A/B Test This
Low Email Open Rate
Subject Lines, Time of Day/Day of Week
CTA Wording, CTA Placement, Messaging
High Bounce Rate
Messaging, Landing Pages, Form Lengths
Engagement drops off early on
Frequency of outreach, multiple channels
You Had Bad Data
Key Indicators: High bounce rate; holes in your data; physical mailer returns; too many “I don’t work here anymore” automatic replies
Tips for next time: This is a great opportunity to leverage SDRs, Sales Ops, or a really good intern. Before sending out emails, mailers, ads, or any other piece of carefully-crafted marketing content (especially to high-potential accounts), give the list a human touch. A data provider is a great place to start, but if someone’s LinkedIn profile says they live in Denver and the address provided is in New York, you’ll know something’s off. Seriously. The list is key.
There Were Errors
Key Indicators: Typos; lack of populated data in a personalized email; etc
Tips for next time: As marketers, we’re always in a rush to drive more pipeline and demonstrate outstanding ROI. Mistakes happen. Luckily, as your team grows there will be more opportunity to add fresh eyes to everything. Utilize your awesome teammates to carefully review your emails, make sure all the links go to the right places, and check your Marketo setup for those easy-to-miss details.
Lack of Communication between Sales and Marketing
Key Indicators: Confusion in sales about how and when to follow up; tracking progress is difficult
Tips for next time: Hold a rollout meeting before introducing new initiatives. Include information about the messaging, audience, and end goals for the campaign. Sales will likely provide helpful insight during these meetings as well, so it’s a win-win!
The Timing Was All Off
Key Indicators: Touchpoints landed out of order; leads were confused about sales outreach
Tips for next time: Integrate anything you can with Marketo and/or your integrated CRM. Time banner ads according to lead status; set up RTP to deliver messaging consistent with the campaign for your audience; send direct mail pieces that have the same look and feel as your emails, and coordinate your emails with the delivery of those pieces. If your systems can talk to each other, you’ll have better control over orchestration and sales will be able to follow up at just the right time.
You Don’t Know How the Campaign Performed
Key Indicators: You can’t tie your campaign back to opportunities; you can’t compare the results of the campaign against your initial KPIs
Tips for next time: Before you begin, make sure you know your KPIs and end goals. Once you have those, set up your Marketo program ahead of time to track them. Leveraging program channel tags can play a huge part in this!
We’ve answered the question, “what went wrong?” But focusing on our failures won’t get your department any new pipeline, and it certainly won’t help morale! Now that we’ve made it this far, it’s time to shift gears and ask the increasingly-important question, “what went right?”
Sometimes, it takes a long time to see results. In Q1 of last year, we initiated a new program that involved multiple channels and coordination with sales. It was a huge investment and took months of planning. After a few months, the campaign was put on hold due to minimal engagement and disappointing results.
Last week, I was playing around in RCE and realized that the campaign had influenced three of our largest recent opportunities, resulting in over 2000% ROI! What a great way to start a Monday. So even if your program completely fails, don’t fret. You never know what kind of unexpected payoff you might have in the future!
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