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Analyze Your Past Marketing Disappointments to Discover Opportunities

Lesson 7 from: Create a Marketing Plan & Grow Your Standout Business

Tara McMullin

Analyze Your Past Marketing Disappointments to Discover Opportunities

Lesson 7 from: Create a Marketing Plan & Grow Your Standout Business

Tara McMullin

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Lesson Info

7. Analyze Your Past Marketing Disappointments to Discover Opportunities

Lesson Info

Analyze Your Past Marketing Disappointments to Discover Opportunities

We're gonna start to gather more information all the information, all the ideas, all the research that we need to be able to finally drill down into each of those campaigns. Right now, we still have a very kind of bird's-eye view level understanding of what we're gonna be selling and when and what we're gonna need to do to actually market and sell those products and services throughout the year. Over the course of the next few lessons we're gonna be gathering the information we need, as I said, to drill down and look at what really needs to happen campaign by campaign. And then we're gonna lay out a whole schedule towards the very end but first, we have to do this research and so that's what the next two lessons are going to be all about. The next one here analyzing your past marketing disappointments and then identifying researching your target customers. So now comes the sad part of this CreativeLive class. Let's all just take a moment of silence for those marketing campaigns that ha...

ve not gone well. So we all have them, right? I know all of you have them, I have had them, I've had some this year, right? This is not something you eventually grow out of. How many brands, how many big brands, how many brands with billions of dollars to spend on marketing have marketing fails? Hashtag marketing fails, right? It's a thing. (laughs) Sometimes we get it wrong but if you just sit there as this man is and sob about your marketing failures, you're really missing out on the huge learning opportunity that a marketing disappointment or a marketing failure can be. If you want to really turn it into an opportunity, you have to ask yourself why. Why did this marketing campaign fail? Why am i disappointed with the results? Why did I get behind? Why didn't I get as much accomplished as I wanted to get accomplished? Why didn't this resonate with people the way I thought it was going to resonate with people? Big businesses do this, little businesses need to do it as well. The more analysis you can give to each of those disappointments, to each of those failures, the better off you'll be every single time you do a campaign in the future. Okay, now why do marketing campaigns fail? Well it's not because you're bad at marketing, right. How many of you have said at one point or another, I'm bad at marketing. (audience laughs) When you say I'm bad at marketing you tell yourself a story about what's possible for you, about what you're able to accomplish, and that story is BS. Everyone has the capacity to be good at marketing. Marketing is about communication. It's about interpersonal relationships. It's about connecting with another individual. You're all good at that so why would you ever say, you're bad at marketing? You're not bad at marketing. So let's wipe that one away. Your marketing campaign did not fail because you are bad at marketing. Your marketing campaign also didn't fail because no one wants what you're offering. Like one out of a thousand times that may actually be true but it is most likely not true about the product or service that you're selling and that's not why your marketing campaign failed. It also didn't fail because marketing is icky. (audience laughs) Ugh. Every time I see a headline or a blog post ran or someone trying to be clever that says, marketing doesn't have to be icky or sales doesn't have to be sleazy. I have a complete Liz Lemon eye roll moment because every time we reinforce that, we're putting that kind of juju out into the world. Marketing is not icky like I said it's about connecting person to person, brand to person, need with problem, goal with solution. That's not, there's nothing icky about that so let's not put that out into the world anymore either. It's also probably not because your price point is wrong. People say oh, you know I really, I have to charge this but no one wants to pay that. Now that's also BS. The vast majority of the time again, maybe one in a thousand times this is true, the vast majority of the time your price point is not wrong and if anything it's too low. It is also not because everyone hates you. (audience laughs) I just wanted to throw that one in there because I think sometimes when we get into that deep dark pit of despair like that poor man at the beginning of the lesson, you start to think my marketing campaign failed because everyone hates me, that's not true. Instead the reasons marketing campaigns fail are much more often because you haven't overcome all of the objections. People can come up with reasons why your product's not gonna work for them. Your service isn't the right one for them. You're not the right person for them. Your company it's not the right brand for them. So many different objections, right? It's our job, it's part of marketing to overcome those objections. Not just in the FAQ section on your sales page or in those one-on-one sales conversations you don't want to have to do anymore but really throughout the entire process of marketing this has got to be the number one reason I see marketing campaigns fail. That you just haven't overcome all of the objections and the more of this pre-planning and strategic work that you do around marketing, the less and less and less this becomes an issue because you're prepared for it. So that's the number one reason. You overcome all of the objections, every single marketing campaign is going to perform better for you. Next reason and probably next most important is that you haven't made the offer feel urgent. And when I talk about urgency in marketing what I'm not talking about is all that false scarcity that's out there. You know, a particular sales deadline, a particular cap on the number of people who can buy this thing. Now those things aren't necessarily bad and I use them myself but that's not the only kind of urgency that exists. There's also just our desire to overcome our problems. There's our feeling of urgency that comes every time we don't want to have another fight with our partners. Every time we don't wanna have another fight with our kids. Every time we don't want to have another marketing campaign that fails. That's real natural urgency and the more you utilize that in your campaigns, the better your campaigns will perform. The next reason is that the market has grown more sophisticated. And I really see this as being especially true in our micro and small business markets because our markets are changing very rapidly. There's so much information out there. I mean, even thinking in terms of like the car buying market, so not a small business market. Although there's small businesses involved for sure but buying cars now is completely different than it was even 10 or 15 years ago. 10 or 15 years ago, you'd walk in with some information about the car that you were going to buy. Maybe you looked it up in Kelly Blue Book. Maybe you did a little research on the Internet because yes, ten years ago the Internet did exist, child of mine. (audience laughs) You know but the experience of it was very, very different. You still had to do some negotiating maybe. I don't know about you but the last time I went in to buy a car, it took about five minutes. The price is the price because everyone knows the price, everyone can look up the price. You know exactly what's going to be in there because the Internet makes it obvious, right. The market has become so sophisticated in the car buying market that when you walk in to buy a car there's a good chance you know more about that car than the person selling it. Because they have to know about all of the cars, right? You only care about that one you're going to buy. I remember, this is not my current car but my last car was of Ford Focus Titanium. It's a hatchback with all the bells and whistles. Really, it's a ridiculous car but I loved that car and I was so proud of myself when I walked into the dealer because i walked in and I was like, I want the Ford Focus Titanium. This was the first year they were offering them, it was the brand new redesigned Focus, and I was upgrading from a Focus and from there I had upgraded from an Escort. So really, I'd had the same car for years and years and years but this was gonna be my fancy version. (laughs) And I knew more about the Titanium version of this car than the guy selling it because one, it was a brand new car and two, most people who want a Ford Focus don't want a fancy car, right? (laughs) They want like a Ford Focus for their kid going off to college. (laughs) So that's just an example of how markets become more and more sophisticated. Our people know more and more about what their needs are and what they want and that means that the way we talk about our products and services, the way we market our products and services, has to change over time. And so that's another reason I see campaigns start to fail is that actually, the thing that's worked maybe three times, maybe five times, maybe 10 times, can stop working when the market evolves and so that's something we want to think about and be prepared for as well. Marketing campaigns can also fail when the customer doesn't know that the offer is right for them. Now of course, that's not the customers fault, that's our fault. And what happens here is when we don't do the proper amount of brand awareness, when we don't do a proper lead generation campaign, when we don't help the customer better understand their own problem or their own goal, when we present the solution to the problem we think they have, they have no idea it's for them. They have no idea that the pain point that they're thinking about on a daily basis, the itch they're trying to scratch on a daily basis, is the one we actually solve. Maybe that seems like, well how could that happen? It's happened to you, trust me. (laughs) All right and the last one is your list is exhausted. In other words they've heard the same call to action, they've heard the same offer over and over and over again and you've not found anyone new to present that offer to. Earlier Melissa was saying how she can do a webinar about once a month because that's how long it takes her to reach the right number of new people to present that webinar to. What I see happening and that's very smart, that's perfect, good example, but what I see happening is people trying to do the same thing over and over and over again but never going out and actually finding the right new people. And so your list, your audience, can become really exhausted and they can actually just start to tune out of a particular offer. So I want each of you to consider the last marketing campaign that you ran that under performed. What is that marketing disappointment that you had most recently, maybe. I'm gonna go through a series of questions that I asked myself and this is in your workbook too so we're on page four now of the main workbook. I go through a list of questions that I use to think through why did this happen and how can I prevent it from happening again? So first of all, what questions did I receive about that offer? If I'm selling something and we're getting a lot of questions, email questions, questions on webinars, I want to make sure that I'm documenting each of those questions. And I can actually use them in the campaign in real time to help people overcome objections but mostly those questions are cues to me that I have not explained things well. Or that I've missed a part of the story that I'm telling or that I haven't tied their problem together with my solution. So every time I run a campaign, actually in the process of running a campaign, my team is helping me keep track of all of the questions that we're receiving. Now I know, sometimes you get radio silence, right? And you don't get any questions, we can we can talk about that in a little bit. But most of the time we're getting some sort of question. You're presenting your pitch, you're sharing your offer, and people have questions for you. Sometimes they have questions about how the products actually formatted, how it's delivered, what they're actually going to get. Sometimes they have questions about whether it's for me, whether they have time for it, why it costs as much as it does, so keep track of all those questions and ask yourself why are these questions being asked. Where is this not being explained? How could I better explain, how could I better answer these questions before they even come up? How can I work the answers to these questions into my marketing campaign so that I don't hit these questions and instead, I just hit eager buyers at the end of my campaign. That's the first question and this is by far the easiest thing to do. If you take nothing else away from this lesson, start cataloging the questions you get on your offers and start working the answers of those questions into your marketing campaigns from the beginning. The next question I ask is did people tell me they were going to buy later and why did they tell me they were going to buy later? This hits the urgency piece of the question, If you've got lots of customers or lots of potential customers who say to you, this sounds amazing but not for me right now. when are you offering this again? I'll be back in three months. I'll be back next year. I'll be back when. Right, have you gotten those before? Yes, we all have. The answers to these questions are the key to finding that natural urgency piece. I'll buy this when, how can you use that when to your advantage? I'll come back for this in three months, why don't they feel this problem more urgently right now and how can I help them feel more urgently? How can I show them what more they could accomplish if they started solving the problem now, instead of later. And I'll show you at the very end of class how we actually work that in to follow-up campaigns but this is something you want to start paying attention to. Again, if you can only fit two things from this lesson, this would be the second one I'd fit in. (laughs) Why do people tell you they were going to buy later and who was telling you they were going to buy later? Think through that, think through all those reasons that people gave you for putting off that decision and figure out how you could make the offer feel more urgent to those people. Next question, do your customers feel their needs have changed? Do your customers feel their needs have changed? One example of this, I already gave you the car-buying example, another kind of example of this is how digital products in the marketing space have actually changed. So the courses that people are selling you based on how to market your business, okay. You guys have all been, these classes have all been marketed to you, right? Five years ago, those courses we're all about social media. How do you use social media, how do you plan for social media, how do you strategize for social media to grow your business? A couple years after that, they were all about Facebook ads, right? How do you use Facebook ads to market your business? This year or let's say last year, they were all about webinars. It's the same thing, they're selling you the same thing but they're talking about it differently. This year it's all about sales funnels. God, if I hear the phrase sales funnels one more time. I mean look, what we're talking about here, it's sales funnels. (audience laughs) It is, right? It's sounds funnels but that's not what I'm talking about specifically 'cause pretty much if everyone's talking about it, I will talk about the other thing. But this is something that you do need to pay attention to because your customers, they're cued into that market. They know or they think they know what they should be paying attention to and if you don't use that language, you don't get as good of results, right? So how have your customers, how does their perception of their needs change over time? What cues is the market giving them now, that they weren't a year ago? Three months ago, five years ago. How has that market changed? How does the way people talk about the same problem or the same solution changed over time? Think through that, that'll help you anticipate changes in the future. The next question I ask myself is did great potential customers say they didn't get it or that they were looking for something else? Did great potential customers say they didn't get it or that they were looking for something else? You have a really good idea of who should be buying your product and if you actually look at your prospect list, the group of people who are looking at your sales page or who you've had sales conversations with over the last year, You could come up with a list of five, 10, 15 of those people who really would have made great, great customers or clients but they decided not to buy. Or they decided that they didn't get it or that they were looking for something else. They made a different decision for solving their problem. You want to ask yourself why? Was it a matter of that I didn't speak to the right problem? I didn't show them the right part of the solution? I didn't phrase things in the way this other person phrased them? Now I'm not talking about customers that are not the right fit for you. I'm talking about perfect customers. The ones you really would love to have worked with. The ones you know you could help. Those people that went elsewhere, why did they go elsewhere or why did they choose not to solve the problem? Because they didn't get it. If you think through that, again, you can look for ways, different ways to talk about what it is that you're offering. Blog posts you need to be putting out there, podcast episodes you need to be putting out there, videos, social media posts you need to be putting out there so that they more easily get it. So that they see, oh this is the right thing for me. It's not what this other person who's shinier and sparklier than I am. It's this is the right person, this is the right company. Next question I ask myself is how much effort did I put into finding the right people for my offer? How much effort did I put into finding the right people? Did I actually go out and get the leads I needed? Or did I just try to present the same old offer to the same old people? An important part of your marketing plan has to always be looking for the new people. Yes, there are opportunities lying in your audience right now. People who haven't bought yet who will eventually buy but if you only bank on those people, your bank account is going to have less and less money in it every month. Whereas if you're putting effort toward finding new folks every month or every quarter that need what it is that you're selling, your campaigns will be more successful. And so very, very often when I hear from a client or a member that they had a marketing disappointment, it's because they didn't put enough effort in to find those leads. So once you've asked all those questions, you can make a list. Maybe two things, maybe three things. It doesn't have to be a long list but what are the one, two, or three big reasons that your campaign under performed. And once you know those two or three things then you can make probably just a small adjustment to your next campaign to avoid that happening. So I'd love to hear from a few of you, as you were thinking through those questions, did you come up with one or two reasons why your last under performing campaign in fact under performed? Anybody want to share? Lisa, yeah? Hi, so one of the things I'm working on right now is a workshop and it's, I'm trying to pilot it because it's the first time I've offered it in this form even though I do this kind of work with my one-on-one clients all the time. And so I wanted to just focus on my audience as a warm, actual personal emails and then now my list which isn't big and so I'm trying to figure out because I really want to do it, I'm really committed to do it. Should I be doing the bigger broader reach to the world? Because I know that it's hard to do that pilot to a comfortable, or not it's not even the comfort level but just the testing of the first time you do it. And then also bringing new people so that's a bit of a dilemma I've had in terms of should I go for it in order to have enough people to make it work? Yeah so that would be the exception that proves the rule. (laughs) When you're piloting something like that, my first inclination is not to go out and find new people. It's to look at the people that you already have in your list. So that I would actually deprioritize as a reason why that campaign might be under performing and look at the other pieces of the puzzle. Okay, yeah. It's just I'm not getting a lot of questions so it's hard to know. Sometimes you can just say hey, was this the wrong time of year? There's been a couple of people I've talked to about that lately. We have a rock star at Coke commercial who's really struggling with a campaign we thought was going to be a no brainer right now. And I'm like oh man, I think it just might be summer and I hate giving that answer. That's why it's not one of the questions up here but sometimes it's you know, especially when you pair it with other things. There might be two things going on, one thing that might not be that big of a deal normally but you pair it with summer or you pair it with the week between Christmas and New Year's or you pair it with these times a year when people just aren't buying. Michelle and I were talking earlier about a lot of people having faced a slump earlier in this year and a lot of that just has to do with kind of global things that are making people feel uncomfortable, unsettled, just uneasy. You know it's not a matter of blaming somebody or you know a series of events but it does, you have to say okay, this could be a viable reason this isn't doing so well. What else could I do differently or how could I adjust this campaign so I can get through this period of time and move on to a time when it would be better to sell it? What are some other examples of campaigns that didn't go so well and why? Yes. I think mine really was the audience, not targeting the right audience. I targeted an audience on Facebook ads that actually converted really, really, really well but I didn't think far enough ahead to know, are they the right audience for my ultimate offer. So that's something that I need to go back and look at and I think too, my opt-in maybe, it's a quiz, and I think that maybe everybody like, they just want to do a quiz, they're not actually saying yes I want your thing. Do you have any thoughts on that, like a quiz being too broad of, more of a list a list builder than a lead generation. Yeah, so it depends on what the quiz is. So first of all I think you have nailed that analysis. Just because someone opts in for one thing, doesn't mean they want to buy this other thing over here and the more you plan that out so that you can actually say all right, when someone opts in for this it means they want to buy this other thing, that's good. Quizzes can go either way. Sometimes quizzes are just great list builders. They're great for kind of getting past that point where someone's really cold and you can get them to warm up to you and your brand a little bit more. And sometimes a quiz really does help people want to buy. So I'll give you two examples. One, there is a vitamin company advertising to me on Facebook right now called care/of and it's, well it's vitamin and supplements and they make these little personalized packs. So a little day pack and you answer a whole bunch of questions so it's basically a quiz. Then you go through this whole onboarding process answering this quiz of you know, what your health goals are, do you do this, do you do that, what do you want, and then it makes a personalized recommendation for you based on that quiz and then of course, it takes you to actually go buy those things. That works, that's an example of a quiz that is getting someone to say this is something I want. Even if they're not ready to buy right that moment. Another example, and one that I'm gonna draw on heavily throughout the rest of the class is from a company called Madison Reed. It's E-commerce hair color. So it's supposed to be you know, better ingredients, better results, that kind of thing and they are advertising all over Facebook right now. They also have a quiz and it's a color quiz, like find your perfect shade, right? And so they're gonna help you figure out exactly that first shade to try when you purchase their product. That's lead generation, right? If you're getting someone, if you're having a quiz that actually recommends a product that you sell essentially, that's good lead generation. (audience laughs) If it's a quiz that just tells someone what their personality is, that's the first step of the process. Ryan Levesque has made that kind of quiz really, really popular. Where you tell someone something important about themselves. That's awesome right, and it's great for warming up an audience but there's something that has to come between that and making your pitch. And if that doesn't line up right, if that story isn't right then yeah your mark campaign is gonna under perform. So I think you've done a great analysis. Great, thank you. Yeah, how about one more. Yeah, so last year I was trying to launch my course which is basically about putting together an editorial calendar for your blog. And I had done well launching it in the fourth quarter before but all year I had been working really hard to build my list, to build my list for a big launch. What I was focused on though was the numbers and not necessarily the quality of those leads. So it's a little bit similar to what you were saying. I was doing webinars to generate email opt-ins but I was going for anybody who would say yes to let me get in front of their audience and not being super discerning about whether or not their people were my people. And the other thing I just sort of realized right now is I think, you were talking about how the market has changed, I think people are over blogging. I think they're over the idea of, it's still valuable blogging is not dead but there's so many other shiny objects right now that people are like eh blogging, whatever. And so I think I need to change my message to be more generalized marketing or content marketing or something along those lines because I think when they see the word blog, they're like yeah, I blog it's fine. And they don't understand that I'm selling a much more sophisticated idea behind that. So I think those were my two biggie's there. Perfect, well they will understand better after we interview you in the next segment. So that'll be helpful. (laughing) All right, awesome, great analysis guys, very good. This is the kind of thinking that you have to do after every single campaign and it's actually not just the campaign's that under perform, this kind of analysis is really good for campaigns that over perform too. Why did this work so well? Where did I really hit the nail on the head? The better you can understand that, the more you can reproduce it in the future. Now you've got a campaign that is under performing, what can you do differently in the future? Well you might send out an FAQ email and case studies for follow-up. Maybe that helps people better understand that the problem they have is the problem your other customers have is the problem you solve. Maybe that FAQ email overcomes all those objections or those answers, those questions, that caused your campaigns to not do so well, You also might go and ask existing customers why they bought, and use their stories. Again, it helps the right people get it so that they know what you're selling pertains to them, Maybe, you reposition your offer to align with changes in the market, just like Lacey was saying. She's gonna offer the same thing, she's just gonna talk about it differently. She gets to keep doing the work she loves, she gets to stick with what's working but she just changes a little bit of how she talks about what it is that she does so more people recognize it fills their need. Maybe you try a problem oriented approach as opposed to a solution oriented approach. Or maybe you try a solution oriented approach as opposed to a problem oriented approach. If that doesn't make sense, don't worry we're gonna cover that soon but basically it just means sometimes you want to talk about people's problems and pain points and sometimes you want to talk about the solutions, Different people, different markets, new ideas, call for a different approach. And then finally, maybe you want to create a referral strategy to bring in new prospects. Now these are just a few ideas, just a few possibilities. Depending on how your campaigns have under performed in the past, you might want to try different things. Maybe you only want to try one or two things off of this list. I don't suggest trying to do all of them. That's not the point here, the point is just to give you some examples of things you might do differently based on why your campaign under performed but of course you can't know that until you do the analysis that we just did. Now I know that we have really started to get to a place where you might be starting to get a little overwhelmed, right? We have woo, not only have we created 12 months of marketing campaigns already and talked about why your marketing has failed and what you're going to do about it in the future but we've got a lot more to cover.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Tara Gentile - 12 Month Marketing Calendar
Tara Gentile - Implementation Month

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tara Gentile - Campaign Building Blocks
Tara Gentile - Create a Marketing Plan Workbook
Tara Gentile - E-mail Marketing Templates
Tara Gentile - Sales Page Templates

Ratings and Reviews


Tara, the information you delivered in this class is invaluable. I am in the launching stage of my business, and I know I need to market my business and services and I know I need to write a plan, but I didn't know how to do it. Instagram, content upgrades, Facebook, email marketing, webinars, blogging, etc. etc., I know it all. But I just couldn't get my head around how to truly use marketing campaigns for my business, and especially for my services, to reach my ideal client, help my ideal client and to reach my ideal income. You explained the why behind marketing campaigns and you showed us how to create a marketing campaign from A to Z. The whole sha-bang! You gave me the knowledge and inspiration in how to market my services, how many people I ideally want to reach and above all, a framework I can use time and time again to create a marketing campaign. I purchased the class right after seeing the live broadcast so I can use this class for planning all my next marketing campaigns. You clarified a lot and I am much more confident (and so much more less stressed haha) in creating a marketing campaign plan that works for my business and services. I learned a lot! Thank you! P.S. Love the hot seats.

Susan Best Jones

Tara, I love your creative live events I always learn so much and this time was the same. Perfect timing on this info, it is exactly what I need right now and I feel confident that I can do it! I joined CoCommercial and am excited about that. Thank you, Tara.


This class is well worth the time! Tara does an excellent job of not only providing a step by step system for creating a marketing campaign, but she provides clear context and insights along the way. This is important so that you're not just going through the motions and crossing your fingers that your marketing will work. She helps you understand the strategy behind the scenes so you can get the most out of the work you put in. I highly recommend this course to anyone considering doing their own marketing, or people who are already doing their own marketing and want to feel more empowered and get better results.

Student Work