I hear this all the time and when this phrase pops out there are a few questions that spring to mind. So much can be learnt about your marketplace by the things that haven’t worked, or could have been better. If you have said this before, try asking yourself these questions and be honest about the answers – just by putting some thinking behind your less successful ventures into marketing you can learn a lot about your customers.
10 things to ask yourself if you didn’t get the result you wanted…
- Was it your usual audience you were trying the idea with? Age? Lifestyle? Location? Gender etc?
- Was the message you were going out with clear, engaging and did it have a call to action (something that made them want/need to respond)? So many people put out messages that just tell people something – there is no way their audience can show them how they feel.
- Did you confuse them with too many messages? Eg I am a quality plumber, no job is too small, or too big, I also cut the grass and fix fences…. – think about what this is really saying (AKA – I am really good at x but no one is employing me for this so I will do anything you ask; desperation doesn’t breed confidence)
- Was it the right message but wrong audience? Did you fall into the temptation of thinking one size fits all?
- Was it the wrong message but right potential audience? Ditto.
- Was it the wrong event/publication/advertising/medium for you? Had you done your homework and established whether the people attending/reading/viewing would be the right ones?
- Were you trying out a new idea with a completely new type of audience? This is a high risk strategy.
- Did your message get lost in amongst so many saying the same – did you blend in too well?
- Was your timing wrong? Seasonality? I once put out a mail drop only to hit a strike by Royal Mail, which critically moved the distribution date, meaning a lower than expected return.
- Finally, what do you mean by ‘it didn’t work?’ – No response? Some response but not as much as hoped for? Were you being realistic in your expectations?
If you ask yourself these questions BEFORE you commit you will save yourself a lot of time, money and effort. But they are still valuable questions to ask afterwards because it will mean that you will learn from the experience and build a better marketing strategy for the future.