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Common marketing pitfalls causing campaigns to bomb

Brett Campbell, Claxon

“Imagine your grandmother’s secret banana cake recipe but without the bananas,” says marketer and entrepreneur Brett Campbell, as he outlines why some ad campaigns go viral and others flop.

Mr Campbell — a serial entrepreneur who co-founded digital marketing agency Claxon as well as a string of businesses including fitness franchise Fiit International — told My Business that “there are literally thousands of variables to consider when it comes to breaking down winning digital ad campaigns”, but that a common factor among those that fail to deliver is poor strategy.

“Every word, every image and every dollar spent is an opportunity to learn, listen and iterate your way to success,” he said.

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“Unfortunately for most businesses, just having a presence on one digital platform will not guarantee success.”

Mr Campbell suggested that the ease with which digital advertising can be put out into the open market creates its own set of potential problems.

“The significant advantage of digital advertising is equally its downfall: the ability to go from an idea to launch can happen in minutes,” he said.

“In the olden days of advertising (not so long ago), the marketing team had one opportunity to create the perfect billboard, magazine spread or radio jingle.

“They would create, refine, refine again, then cross their fingers and hope what they spent days working on would yield a response that allowed them to keep their jobs and create the next ‘wow’ idea.”

By comparison, Mr Campbell said that businesses and marketers today can be “testing thousands of variations of a particular campaign at any one money”, potentially leading to major oversights.

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Advertising is like cooking

“Imagine your grandmother’s secret banana cake recipe,” Mr Campbell mused, “but without the bananas.”

“Advertising campaigns without a sound strategy will flop faster than it takes to realise the bananas are missing.”

According to Mr Campbell, any digital strategy should consider and plan for these five variables:

  1. The overall strategy, based on business outcomes
  2. Brand reputation
  3. Brand uniqueness
  4. The actual offer
  5. Product positioning

Once these are factored in, he said the next step is to explore these main variables in terms of the particular campaign itself:

  1. Which platform is to be used, whether this is social, search or programmatic
  2. Best practice for using that particular platform
  3. The creative elements involved
  4. The actual wording, and how it will suggest, entice and ultimately sell to customers
  5. Data insights and which types of customers to target

‘The right message to the wrong audience will flop’

According to Mr Campbell, getting the messaging right is only one-half of the equation. He said that even the best of messages and campaigns “will flop” if it is targeted at the wrong audience.

“Advertising hearing aids to males aged 65 plus on Snapchat simply won’t work. The audience volume is not there,” he said.

A successful marketing campaign sends a relevant message to the people most inclined to hear it, and does so at the right time to make them receive it, take it on board and decide to act.

“With the current overwhelming amount of noise blasting the digital landscape, there has never been as important a time as now to ensure your message fits the market it is targeting,” Mr Campbell said.

Avoid the common pitfall: Complacency

“One of the most common pitfalls I see businesses run into when it comes to marketing online is not adjusting their strategy on the fly,” the marketer explained.

Referencing day trading, Mr Campbell said that “in many cases, businesses play the ‘set and forget’ game”.

“They cross their fingers, hold a magic crystal and hope the days and weeks of effort spend on coming up with their starting strategy will see them through,” he said.

“Unfortunately, this is only possible if you have in your possession a magical marketing unicorn.”

Instead, Mr Campbell suggested that “active management is the missing link for many businesses”.

“Applying an active and adaptive approach to your marketing will significantly improve results for most businesses,” he said.

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Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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