The Biggest Reason Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail

Have you ever watched or played a basketball game where all players want to get their hands on the ball and score?


What does this have to do with failed digital marketing campaigns? A lot really.

When everyone in the team wants to score, that team almost always lose. There is no teamwork. Unless they get their act together and work as a team, they won’t win.

This holds true for digital marketing campaigns too.

Have you ever ran a digital marketing campaign that didn’t bring in the results you expected it would?

You’re not alone.

Digital Marketing in 2020

Digital marketing is prevalent in today’s world. It’s growing very fast in the Philippines. In fact, a lot of big brands are shifting their strategies to digital because the old, traditional, and offline methods aren’t working.

Globe, Smart, Jollibee, McDonald’s and many more shifting their resources — both budget and manpower — to digital marketing.

Because of this shift, marketers like you now spend a lot of time planning digital marketing campaigns, coordinating with external agencies, working with multiple teams inside your own organization.

Then, you launch your campaign.

You monitor the reports as they come in. After a few days, you stare blankly at the charts. Cursing or hitting yourself in the head.

“Why aren’t the numbers coming in?”

“What did I do wrong?”

It’s at this point where two groups of marketers emerge: first, and the majority of Filipino marketers fall into this category, they go back to their bosses, share the results, and claim the market isn’t ready.

The objectives set were too high. It’s not feasible.

The second group, on the other hand, takes these numbers to their bosses, share the results, and some proposed solutions to meet the targets. This comes in many ways — more testing and gathering customer feedback, launching smaller scale campaigns to gather data, and using a phased approach.

After reading the previous section, you already where you should fall into. But, it’s always easier said than done…

That is until you learn a system…a process…a methodology.

Instead of doing things randomly, you have a series of steps to do and accomplish.

The Problem: Main Reason Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail

In the Philippines, the biggest reason digital marketing campaigns fail is the lack of a holistic approach.

Almost every campaign out there involves selling. Buy me now. Here’s a discount. Want a coupon code?

As a consumer, aren’t you getting sick of seeing these kinds of messages? I’m sure you are as well. So, why keep doing them?

The Solution: Funnel Method / Phased Approach

Remember the teamwork I mentioned at the start of this post? Keep that in mind as we go through this article.

The funnel method uses a holistic view for launching digital marketing campaigns. Most of the time, campaigns are launched with a revenue goal.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, you must take note of the content and context of that campaign. This is where a lot of digital marketers in the Philippines fail.

Step 1: Review the 5 Stages of Awareness

If you read the stages of awareness, you’ll quickly realize that only a few people actually know your product. There are a whole lot more who are “experiencing problems” of what your product can solve. These people are in the problem aware and solution aware stages (vs the product aware).

If you’re like most marketers, you use your products in your ads (and other campaigns).

Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This only becomes a problem when you expect ALL your campaigns will bring in revenues.

The chart below shows the stages of awareness on the left and the marketing and sales funnel on the right.

Stages of Awareness Meets the Marketing and Sales Funnel

As a quick recap, here’s what they mean again:

5 Stages of Awareness

  • Stage 5 — Unaware
  • Stage 4 — Problem Aware
  • Stage 3 — Solution Aware
  • Stage 2 — Product Aware
  • Stage 1 — Most Aware

If you want to read more about this, I wrote about it thoroughly in a previous post.

Marketing and Sales Funnel

  • TOFU — Top-of-funnel
  • MOFU — Middle-of-funnel
  • BOFU — Bottom-of-funnel

What this chart tells you is that people at the top of your funnel (TOFU) are those who are unaware of your company or what you offer. They don’t even know they have a problem that you might be able to solve.

People in the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) are the ones who know they have a problem and is looking for alternative solutions. They may or may not know about your brand at this stage. In fact, they actually don’t care. All they want to know is if the solution you’re offering can help them.

Lastly, the people at the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) are the ones who have shortlisted their options. It’s at this point where they start looking at the other things like your brand story, history, other customer reviews.

To use the basketball analogy, the 5 stages of awareness represent the 5 roles on the court — point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center. They all have their roles to play in the game.

Step 2: Map Your Existing Campaigns

Using this simple matrix, map your existing campaigns to where they are in the Awareness Stages. Or to make it simple, just create a regular table on your notebook right now and start filling it up.

Sample Content Mapping Template | Printer Friendly

If you’re like most marketers, your campaigns will look like this.

Sample Content Mapping for Philippine Companies

Be honest with yourself. This is a prerequisite.

You need to know where you are right now so you can make meaningful decisions.

Basketball reference: This is like a training camp for the team. Imagine meeting for each other for the first time. You don’t know how each other play. You want to know who plays what role, who can shoot, who can run fast, etc.

Step 3: Determine the Appropriate Content for Each Context

Now that you have an idea of which segments your existing campaigns fall under, it’s time for you to start thinking about the stages where your content is lacking.

At this step, you think about two things: content and context.

You don’t create a campaign targeting people who are unaware to directly purchase from you. That’s a complete waste of time and money. Imagine trying to sell standing desks to Uber/Grab drivers.

You might think that that’s ridiculous, but a lot of marketers do this every day.

Remember that your goal is to simply move them from one stage to another.

That’s it.

If they move 2 or 3 steps down, that’s a bonus.

Basketball reference: Here, the team makes some plays. Now they know how each other’s roles and how they play, it’s time to lay out some strategies for winning games.

Sample Content for Each Stage

In general, here’s a list of content that works best for each type of context. Of course, these might be different depending on your specific industry. But for 90% of digital marketers, this will suffice 90% of the time.

For example, your primary product is a power bank.

  • Unaware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to make people realize they have a problem/pain point (that you can solve) without mentioning your products
    • Videos — fun, light-topic videos. For example, 11 creative ways you can use powerbanks
    • Articles — listicles usually work great. For example, 3 Celebrities Share Their Most Favorite Travel Companion (with the powerbank as one of them)
  • Pain Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to educate them on alternatives/substitutes to get rid of their pain
    • Educational/How-to types of content shine here. For example, How to Make Your iPhone Last All Day; or Tips to Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life; or Turning Off Bluetooth/Wifi Doesn’t Save Your Battery, Do This Instead.
      • One thing to note here is that you should not be biased to your own solution. When writing content for this, really explain the other options available. So apart from power banks, you share about charging cases, solar chargers, tips to extend battery life by dimming the brightness of your screen, etc.
      • Think of this as being helpful to the buyer. You’re giving him/her all the info they need. They will research about these things anyway, so why not give it to them instead, right? In the process, you become a trusted advisor.
    • The content here can also be turned into an infographic and video.
  • Solution Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to make them realize your company offers these products  and can benefit them the most among the other solutions out there
    • Comparison content between/among the other options works great here. For example, Power Banks vs Charging Cases.
    • Checklist/Quiz/Flowchart type of content also works great here. You can create a flowchart that has a title “How to Extend My Phone’s Battery Life.” Then the different solutions show up here like dim your screens, etc., then ultimately leading to getting a power bank if all else fails.
      • The one thing you need to keep in mind here is that you remain product/brand agnostic. You’re merely sharing more information that says your solution is best.
  • Product Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to educate them more about the product and its specs/details
    • Technical specifications, product information sheets, features list, warranties, etc. These are content specific to your product. If you’re selling 3 types of power banks, create content for each. Create a comparison among them as well.
      • One pro tip: use words/phrases that make sense. For example, 22,000 mAh might sound cool for those who are familiar. But it’s better if you phrase it to something like “Charges your iPhone X 8 times.”
  • Most Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to get people to either buy from you or get them to be brand ambassadors
    • This is the stage where you’re most familiar with — this is the time where you offer those loyalty rewards, discounts, and everything else that you normally talk about your products.

If you noticed, for each stage of awareness, the main goal is to move your leads down to the next stage. If after your unaware campaign they decide to purchase from you, that’s great. But don’t expect everyone to be like that.

Step 4: Watch Your Numbers Meet Your Goals

Based on the previous steps, you’ll notice that a lot of campaigns you see out there sits at either stages 3 or 4. Marketers expect revenue goals from these campaigns. Don’t be one of them.

Again, it’s not wrong to assign revenue numbers. But that should not be the main goal if your campaign is to educate.

In basketball, not everyone’s role is to score. There are those who have key roles to play. In fact, one of the key statistics tracked in basketball is the assists.

For those who aren’t familiar, it’s when Player A makes a pass to Player B, then Player B scores immediately. Player A gets the assist.

Some coaches refer to assists as the ability to make other players look good. Sure, scoring — driving the revenues for your business — sounds sexier. But, basketball (and marketing) isn’t all about scoring. Great basketball players make their teammates look good as well. And that’s how it should be in marketing. Your campaigns should all work together.

So, what are you going to do next?

Use a holistic strategy in your digital marketing campaigns. Don’t rely on tactics to increase your revenues in the short-run. Rather, think of the bigger picture and how to make everything work together.

You’re the coach and the digital marketing campaigns are your players. Not every one of them will score and bring your revenues. When you start forming your team, you don’t choose based solely on their ability to shoot three’s. You choose different roles to account for the different scenarios you might face. You don’t run the same play every time. Depending on the situation, your plays have to change. You have to adapt.

Do you have questions? Let me know in the comments below!

Ariel Lim

Ariel Lim

Management consultant / MBA / Inbound marketer who helps startups generate leads, create and execute strategies.

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