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  • Writer's pictureDeJuan Wright

The 4 Fatal Errors That Destroy Marketing Campaigns

Updated: Jan 25

Launching a marketing campaign is one of the most exciting experiences that an entrepreneur will ever encounter. Regardless of if it’s your very first startup, or the 50th business venture you’ve launched—it’s always an exhilarating experience.

However, in the process of getting a campaign off the ground, entrepreneurs and brand managers often make many mistakes when it comes to launching and measuring marketing campaigns.

Questions like: ‘How much should we spend on advertising?,’ ‘Should we devote all of our budget solely towards digital marketing?,’ And ‘Should we purchase outdoor ads as well?’ Are certain to come up during those initial marketing meetings.

While those questions are inevitable for most marketers organizing a campaign; there are four common marketing errors that far too many brands make when launching a marketing campaign. These missteps have prevented many businesses from excelling as rapidly as they could have. They’ve also led to the demise of a myriad of others.

These are those 4 fatal errors that destroy marketing campaigns.

1. Failing to connect the brand’s name to a category

How many times have you seen or heard an advertisement for a brand, and by the time you got to the end of the ad—you had no idea which category the product or service was in?

This is a huge mistake for any marketing campaign because it leaves consumers confused. At best, they’ll remember your brand’s name. However, they won’t recognize just how your brand or product will actually make their lives better. Which is why it is imperative to connect your brand to a category in every facet of all advertising.

Even if your brand is first-in-category, you must emphasize that category in each touchpoint of your marketing campaign in order to generate brand recall whenever potential customers are in need of your product or service. One of the main goals for every marketing campaign, whether it’s direct-response or a PR campaign—is to increase favorable brand awareness.

It’s important to keep in mind that you always want to convey to your brand’s audience just who you are and which category your products or services belong to in all of your marketing materials. Consumers won’t know how your products or services will benefit them if they can’t identify its category.

2. Emphasizing Vanity Metrics

How many likes did your last tweet receive? How many new followers did your last Facebook ad garner? How many comments did your last Instagram post receive? If you know the answer to any of these questions off the top of your head—or, if you prioritize them—you probably emphasize what marketers call ‘vanity metrics.’

Vanity metrics are metrics that have no real bearing on the growth of your business or your company’s bottom line. They’re simply “cool” things you can mention to friends and those on your team in a conversation about your brand.

There’s nothing wrong with vanity metrics (be honest, we’re all a little vain, right?), but emphasizing them, or even worse—setting them as goals, is a surefire way to expend precious marketing resources on a nugatory objective.

3. Not Conducting A/B Tests

A pivotal part of any marketing campaign is measuring each iteration of your advertising. The best way to find out what’s working and what’s not working—while also giving your campaign a better chance to succeed—is to conduct A/B or split tests.

A/B tests are very easy to perform. The best way to describe an A/B test is to think of an email campaign with two different subject lines that you’ll run at the same time—but to different audiences.

If subject line (A), received an open rate of 85%. And subject line (B), received an open rate of only 15%, it would be best to continue the campaign with subject line (A) and discontinue subject line (B)—and it with another subject line that will perform better with your audience.

Failing to perform A/B tests is failing to optimize your campaign.

4. Not Choosing The Right Audience

Notice I said audience and not customers. Until someone purchases your product or service—they’re not your customer. The great thing about this is that while they may not be your customer now, they could easily become one. Especially if you narrow the audience you target by focusing on those that will be most interested in what you have to offer.

Understanding who, where, and how to communicate with your audience is the most vital component of a successful marketing campaign.

For example:

There’s a story of two college students that were both opera singers at a local university that street-performed for extra cash separately at different locations.

Both were great singers that performed beautiful classical music.

However, given their hectic college schedule, both could only perform one night a week for two hours. The only real difference between the two opera singers is where they chose to perform.

One of the singers had a brilliant idea to perform at the city’s airport. Figuring that at a minimum, her voice would get to be heard by 5,000 people during the two hours she performed there—which would give her the best chance of making a larger profit.

The other opera singer chose to perform in front of the city’s art museum (which at full capacity could only accommodate 500 visitors at a time) on Friday nights for two hours.

Which singer do you think made the most money?

If you guessed the opera singer that performed in front of the art museum, you are correct! That’s because she knew that her target audience was congruent with most people that patronize art museums. And from a psychographic perspective, they also tend to appreciate classical music and don’t mind paying for their appreciation of art.

So while the singer that performed at the airport had a much larger audience, her audience consisted of people that were in a hurry at the time (and many of whom were often angry and in a bad mood due to the traveling process).


Choosing the right audience for your brand and providing them quality and value where they are is paramount to a marketing campaign. If you’re a marketing manager of a startup, your campaign budget probably won’t be as high as your competitors that are established. Therefore, to quote the poet Todd Shaw, you must, “Get in where you fit in.”

In order to get the most out of your campaign budget—present your brand-item in front of those that will appreciate it the most. As a CEO or brand manager, consider yourself to be a great vocalist and your brand is the music.

Why not perform your beautiful music in front of a small crowd that appreciates your art and will pay you to experience it? Rather than performing in a busy airport full of people that don’t care to hear it.


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