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July 22, 2009 / jasonpinto

Down with the Ship?

I recently finished reading “The Sea Shall Embrace Them: The Tragic Story of the Steamship Arctic” — It was a great read; you can order it here.

The story has plenty of tragedy, cowardice, and courage.

As the ship started going down, a great majority of the crew ignored the law – or more importantly, their responsibility – to save the passengers ahead of themselves. Many pushed passengers aside, and ran to their hope of safety on the life boats. (Ironically, many of those sunk as well).

Let’s scale the “tragedy” comparison waaaaaaay back now, and think about marketing campaigns.

Sometimes they SINK.

A campaign might have started with a great idea… it may have used multiple channels. It may even have had a compelling offer.

But —- something happens. It collides with something bad (poor timing? a bad list?), and nobody pays attention.

The ads do not attract any attention…or no one clicks on the email… or no one types in their Personalized URL.

The campaign fail to bring in leads and responses, and it does very little to even  increase awareness for your product/service.

When it happens to you

Well — how do you react when a campaign goes bad?

We often have two paths to choose from.

—– The Blame Road

—– The Mirror Way

The Blame Road typically involves us looking around at our vendors or suppliers… or (ugh) other team members. We blame the designer. We blame the mail guy. We blame anyone whose name was associated with the marketing campaign.

We place blame — but the problem is, we don’t yet really know what caused the campaign to fare poorly.

Perhaps we take that course out of a natural instinct for self-preservation.  Oftentimes, it’s ugly.

That path can be wrong for a number of reasons. Here’s why:

– A marketing campaign that seems to fail is not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, the sales department may not be too happy initially.

But if we truly know that a campaign didn’t work, that’s a great start. So many people fail to measure their efforts, and thus are missing vital info.

Yes, even a campaign with poor results can be turned into an opportunity.

Rather than instantly blaming someone, analyze the heck out of the campaign.

Take an honest look at your data…. at the timing… at the message… at the consistency of the experience you provided to your target audience.  If you are not afraid to find out went wrong, then future campaigns will benefit.

Marketing campaigns should not be about pointing fingers – they should be about identifying ways to improve on past efforts.


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