5 things we learned from a failed marketing campaign

Not every campaign is an epic and runaway success. We try new things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. As a study from University of Denver found, failure is a better teacher and businesses that fail often succeed in end.

Recently we ran a marketing recruitment campaign asking university graduates to submit a video job application instead of a traditional CV. The thought behind this initiative was Millennials love technology and they are comfortable using it. So let’s create an application process that plays to their strengths. Ground breaking, right? Wrong. They didn’t care.

We thought they would jump at the chance to be part of something new and different, maybe even give them bragging rights on social media? We offered them fame by reusing  their videos for promotional purposes. Again, nope, they didn’t care.

We had 1,198 unique visitors in four days. At first we clung to hope, they’ll come back right? Especially since 96% of people will not convert on their first visit to your website. We figured they were just putting their videos together. They’ll be back. How many applications do you think we got? 100? 200? Nope, we got 3. And all were fake.

So what do you do when a marketing campaign isn’t going well? First you cry. Just kidding, we had a meeting with various areas of the business to get different and unique perspectives. We discussed what went wrong and how we could fix it. We came up with a new plan and implemented it. Three days and 428 unique visitors later, we still had no applicants.

Once we accepted we were not on the cusp of creating a world changing marketing campaign, we reviewed where, why and how we failed. And we learned.

The five things learned from a failed marketing campaign and how we will use these lessons to succeed:

1. We know how to create effective ads

In total the ads generated 1,626 unique visitors. So people liked the visuals and copy we created. Even though we didn’t get any applications, we managed to create ads that cut through all the clutter on social media and we got people to do what we wanted, click the ad and go to the landing page.

2. Gain new skills

We learned all sorts of fun new tricks, like web development and graphic design. We learned how to build a landing page with drag and drop interface, Unbounce, and implement basic coding. We became graphic designers by creating ads using Canva and we improved our copy writing skills.

3. Created brand awareness

Now more people than ever in Malta have heard of Red Executive and know who we are and what we do. Plus, we got a bunch of new followers on Facebook and LinkedIn, score!

4. Work as a team

We collaborated, listened and worked together to develop a new plan. We bounced ideas off each other. Team building is always a win!

5. We learned

Not every campaign we create will be a runaway success. But that’s OK, as long as we learned something from it, improved our skills and apply what we learned to the next one.

We will fail again and that’s OK. After all, many great business people have failed. British Inventor, James Dyson founder of Dyson company, the guy that makes those awesome vacuum cleaners, he developed 5,126 failed prototypes before success. Every failure taught him something. And according to Forbes he is now worth $4.5 billion.

Failure is not a bad thing; it just has a bad connotation. Failure is great, it allows you to learn what works and what doesn’t, expand your skills and get better at your craft.

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This post was written by Alyssa Jacobs, Marketing & Social Media Manager at Red Executive.

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