10 Reasons Most Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail – Marketing Campaign Checklist

on Blog October 25th, 2017

What does Digital Marketing look like?

We researched 7 years worth of internet marketing campaigns and discovered some trends around why marketing fails. We hope this post helps you avoid the mistakes we’ve made.

Growing your small to medium-sized business today takes a solid understanding of how to operate at least one successful digital marketing campaign.

Sophisticated marketing teams run multiple marketing campaigns across a wide variety of channels, like the following:

  • Organic search
  • Social media
  • Paid advertising (digital like Google Adwords or Google Shopping and physical like a magazine or local circulation)
  • Events (sponsorships or hosting)
  • Personal Referrals
  • Channel partner referrals
  • Purchase lead lists
  • PR (industry specific PR is typically more about digital brand building than lead gen)
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Newspaper (yes, these still work in the right geographies)
  • Outbound sales leads

If you are an Owner or Marketing Manager of a small to medium-sized business generating $800k to $30M in annual revenue, and one or more of your marketing plans are failing right now, this post will help you and your team right the ship.

What Causes Digital Marketing Failures?

There are several reasons why a digital marketing campaign might fail, but we have found that 9 out of 10 campaigns fail because they did not create or use a marketing plan alongside sales team members before operating their campaigns. Consequently, marketing efforts fail before they’ve even left the ground. Digital marketing campaigns often fail due to a lack of the following:

  1. There is no vision, mission, or purpose behind why you do what you do that is used to influence the copy on your website
  2. A lack of understanding of the industry you are in and how to position yourself within it because no research was done
  3. A lack of understanding of your competitors – what they do, how they communicate through various platforms such as social media, and what you can learn from them.
  4. An inability to understand or communicate core differentiators
  5. There is no core marketing message based on core differentiators, target Personas, Ideal buyers, and the problems your solution solves
  6. A lack of clarity on what product or services you offer and how to position it to a defined Persona
  7. The lack of documentation of a tactical digital marketing plan that your team is clear on and are able to work together on in rhythm
  8. You are missing the ability to drive traffic to a website without converting traffic to leads, or
    driving the wrong traffic to your website because you don’t clearly understand what keywords you need to rank for in Google
  9. A misunderstanding of how to use modern software to automate elements or your lead nurturing
  10. Salespeople who know how to close business do not transfer that knowledge to marketing so sales funnels and sales pipelines do not get fully developed

Trust us – we’ve made these exact mistakes along the way, which is why we’re now able to pass on what we’ve learned the hard way to you. I’m sure there are more reasons to fail out there that we have not stumbled upon yet, but we’ll share our learnings with you when we do.

digital marketing success checklist fannit

What is a Marketing Campaign?

How do you run a winning campaign? While running a winning digital marketing campaign is an intensive and time-consuming process, there are some basics you can begin to implement to start your company towards the finish line, not the food trucks.


branding content development promotion


A marketing campaign is made up of a series of steps your marketing team must take in order to coordinate your efforts. Also, a great digital campaign takes a potential customer 50% to 60% of the way through the sales process, before handing them off to sales team members. Below I’ve outlined a basic set of steps you can take to operate a simple marketing campaign:

  1. Define your core messaging
  2. Identify goals of the campaign like obtaining X amount of leads or Y number of downloads
  3. Determine the target Personas you hope to engage in your campaign
  4. Determine the Primary & Secondary (sometimes tertiary) content offers you will use to educate your audience of target personas
  5. Decide which is the most appropriate channel(s) to obtain leads from and why. The Channel is the source of the lead outlined above. In many cases, it could be multiple channels in a single campaign.
  6. Make sure that any educational content is promoted through social media channels
  7. Pre-define your campaign’s conversion path (sometimes called a sales funnel), this informs the next step
  8. Outline your workflows in your marketing automation platform so you can nurture leads through a process THEY want to go down
  9. Identify ‘honeypot’ content offers that will attract ideal buyer personas
  10. Track all aspects of your campaign; software like Hubspot or Infusionsoft can help track these activities

Downloadable Toolkit: Launching & Measuring a Remarkable Inbound Marketing Campaign

Helpful Digital Marketing Tactics

When determining your digital marketing strategy, make sure to think about how your website can be used as the hub for all things digital marketing. This not only means driving traffic to your site, but also having a process in place to take leads down a sales funnel if they engage in your site’s content.


marketing tactics to avoid failure


The following outlines some tactics that you could be used to operate a successful marketing campaign.

Content Marketing

Your business needs to be producing fresh, relevant content on a regular basis. Preferably educational in nature with CTAs (calls-to-action) at the end. Good content helps your site rank for keywords, but also gives it’s readers a doorway into your business and educates them 50-60% of the way through the sales process.

Ebook: 10 Highly Effective Habits of Amazing Content Marketing Teams

Social Promotion

As you post your content, at least some of it should be promoted to your social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. This is why educational content is best, because educating people isn’t selling to them –f they like what you have to teach them, they’ll engage.

Ebook: 10 Ways to Drive More Targeted Leads to Sales Using Social Media Marketing


There are different paid advertising tactics and ecommerce seo strategies companies trying to sell products online, vs. a local home service-based business, or a regional business product/services solution provider. For ecommerce companies there is Amazon, but also Google Shopping and traditional Adwords. Here is a great article explaining what e-commerce is and how it has changed over the years.

For a local home service based business, there are main platform providers like Angie’s List and Yelp, but there is also still the traditional Adwords. Since the sales cycle for B2B companies is likely longer and more educational in nature, you might try using Adwords and Linkedin. However, the advertising that would likely get you more success would be Educational Offers, content that helps provide valuable education for your target Personas.

Ebook: 5 Ways to Generate Leads Faster and Reduce Your Cost Per Lead


Sometimes called Retargeting, this version of paid advertising is triggered not from a search by someone, but after a person has already been exposed to your product or services on your website. Have you ever seen an ad display while you are exploring the Internet? That’s remarketing.

Handy tip: Use Incognito mode on your browser if you want to explore the Internet without sites recognizing you. More details on this in future posts.

There is also a version of this called dynamic remarketing, which is where the content of the digital ad changes when content on your website changes. This works well for the Automotive Dealer industry where they change their vehicles out all the time.

LinkedIn Prospecting

Lately, LinkedIn has come out with some great tools like Sales Prospector to help you organize your networking efforts on LinkedIn. There are also a lot of tools like Dux Soup and Linkedeep that help you automate some prospecting activities. But beware, it’s very easy to spot a bot on LinkedIn. It still takes genuine human to human interaction to start meaningful conversations with a purpose. If you are ignoring LinkedIn as a place to network, you are missing out.

Email Marketing

Yes, email marketing still works, however it is usually done as part of an automated sequence AFTER a person engages with content on a website. A lot of the early emails sent to prospects are automated, but when engagement reaches a certain level, a live body reaches out. Sales is still a personal thing when marketing in the B2B space, and marketing for B2C is intense, especially if you’ve ever purchased anything on eBay or Amazon, you’re probably getting emails daily if not weekly.

Backlink Building (Off-Site SEO)

This is a critical tactic for building trust and authority for your website in the eyes of search engines. Trust and Authority are major factors in how search engines rank your site. A highly trusted and authoritative site means a better experience for people who land on it, because search engines want its users to have great search experiences on their platform.

Ideally, you have people who are writing about your offering on their websites and linking to your site. This means they are giving you credit for the content that can be found on your site. Getting to this level of digital marketing takes time and usually is reserved for bigger brands.

There are more sophisticated digital marketing tactics that include using elements of online PR, digital reviews, and video marketing using YouTube that I’ll go into further in future posts. B2B Guide to Effective SEO

Levels of Marketing Teams & Campaigns

As we’ve outlined, there are several reasons why a digital marketing campaign might fail. Running a successful marketing campaign online requires time and thought, and should never be rushed into. Below is a basic digital marketing maturity model you can use to determine where your marketing team is on their journey to become better.


strategy and digital marketing failures


Maybe you’ll see where your team fits and how you might get to the next level. We’re constantly learning how to do things better. A lot of companies, including Fannit, at one point, has tried to operate at a more sophisticated level than they had resources for (people or budget). BTW this is another cause of failure of a campaign.

If you’d like to learn how to become and dominant level marketing and sales organization, check out our B2B Sales and Marketing Playbook

Bonus! How to Get Sales More Involved

When sales team members are engaged in your marketing planning process, you are more likely to target the right type of higher quality leads, increase lead conversion, and improve sales closing rates. The marketing planning process is critical to (and an excuse for) talking with your sales team.

I hope you enjoyed reading my post and hope you found the information valuable. Please feel free to share this if you think someone you know could use the information. If you want to dig in even further, download our checklist below.

Tony Lael

I work with entrepreneurs, marketing and sales executives to help them realize the true potential of their business or group - it's about creating a marketing and sales system. Inside of Fannit, I help guide our team to build out our own systems through standard operating procedures and am responsible for revenue growth. I believe it’s important to bring joy and a splash of humor to your work, and always give my top level of attention and effort. Connect with me on LinkedIn >