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Marketing campaign planning mistakes

Author's avatar By Annmarie Hanlon 04 Sep, 2017
Essential Essential topic

Make sure you avoid these classic campaign planning mistakes

We’ve all seen it. The #fail where a company that’s big enough to know better, completely messes up.

The odd thing is that this continues to happen and I guess until the machines take over, that will continue. Whether it’s politics or business, rarely do organisations learn from their predecessors.

At Smart Insights we share best practice, hope that you find our content useful and can apply this directly to your organisations, so in this new guide we have explored 10 marketing campaign planning mistakes, with case study companies such as Absolut Vodka, Admiral Insurance, British Airways, Coca-Cola, HMV, Kodak, McDonald's, Southern Rail, Starbucks, and Waitrose, as well as the two primary candidates in the US presidential campaign and the recent Olympics.

The errors in all cases are fundamentally about a failure in strategy.

Some companies like HMV and Kodak missed the boat completely, believing that technology would not change their brand. They failed to plan and subsequently had to be reinvented after significant overhauls.

Other companies illustrate mistakes involving elements of a digital marketing plan. The missing aspects include the lack of brand integration, where clearly there are too many people managing the communications, but one person to coordinate or control is absent. The other extreme is over-protecting a brand to the point where the target audience is nervous about mentioning the name, resulting in fewer brand conversations taking place.

Understanding your audience is an area we’ve been talking about for years. We’ve created persona toolkits to ensure organisations better match the online experience to the targeted customer. Yet many well-known brand names have failed miserably in understanding their audiences, resulting in major political embarrassment and insult.

With the growth of social media, some newer mistakes are emerging. Such as not understanding data use, to not understanding content within social media platforms. I enjoyed watching the US presidential campaign and the near textbook-use of social media, by the now President Trump, in contrast to the inadequate management of social media, by team Clinton. If only the Clinton team had realised that social media contributed to the success of the last two elections in the USA.

It can be difficult for managers (and politicians) who have worked in traditional marketing for years, to ‘read’ social media and identify potential pitfalls. Whilst there is no guidebook to ‘what not to do’ we try to support our members with best practice. We know that the rules change frequently and that sometimes the issues are outside the marketing teams’ control, like the ongoing saga of #SouthernFail.

What does surprise me, are the companies with large budgets, over £10 million a year, who still continue to fail and make mistakes in a digital environment. Whether it’s not joining together or integrating the online communications or not connecting online and offline. This should give us ordinary marketers, on smaller budgets, hope for the future.

Author's avatar

By Annmarie Hanlon

Annmarie Hanlon PhD is an academic and practitioner in strategic digital marketing and the application of social media for business. Dr Hanlon has expertise in the strategic application of social media for business and the move from digitization, to digitalization and digital transformation for business. Her expertise spans consumer touch points, online customer service, the use of reviews, the role of influencers, online engagement and digital content. You can follow her update on Twitter https://twitter.com/annmariehanlon

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