The Top 5 Reasons Your Online Marketing Campaign Will Fail

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Here are my top five reasons (with both good and bad examples) why your online marketing campaign will fail, crash and burn. From poor execution to lack of creativity, these top reasons are critical to work around to ultimately lead to marketing success. For added fun, I’ve even included a social experiment below in red that I need your help with (but feel free to skip ahead to #1).

Marketing Campaign Failure

Don’t let your campaign crash and burn by making these mistakes!

As a side note, though this blog post is starting off as a typical top five list, it’s actually a creative experiment and “it don’t mean a thing” without your help.

So when you’re done reading, if you like the examples and the ideas, I ask that you please share the article through social media and add your own top reasons why an online marketing campaign will fail (in the comments below and on Twitter using the hashtag #ItDontMeanAThingIf).

Surely we can come up with more than five! So let’s get started…

Your online marketing campaign, #ItDontMeanAThingIf:

#1 It’s boring, plain, “Khao.” (Hangover 2 reference anyone?). Nothing is worse than something easily forgettable and a total waste of time and money. Don’t be boring like Stu…

To see how creativity can make or break a campaign, take a moment to consider how Rob Van Damme earned over 75 Million Views for the Volvo Truck ad below. 75 Million views is quite successful brand awareness metric for any marketing campaign, let alone one in the commercial trucking industry.

Even with the millions of dollars spent every year for advertisements in the trucking industry, can you even remember another truck advertisement? Certainly nothing like Van Damme comes to mind here… but while we try to think of something, let’s move on to #2.


#2 It doesn’t put the customer ahead of the product of service being marketed because the campaign has a narcissistic viewpoint that doesn’t inspire or make the customer feel unique.

Consider the difference between my new favorite advertisement by Honda (linked below) and any one of the countless, forgettable Youtube ads out there. What makes it special is the ability to toggle different displays during the video by pressing the letter R, leading to a unique, user-centric experience.

See for yourself at, and if you agree it’s the coolest advertisement you’ve seen in a while, then share the video because…


#3 You don’t tell your friends. Seriously… Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are all the new cocktail party. And while that analogy is deader than a doornail, friends are the cornerstone of social media and marketing effectiveness. Without them, campaigns are empty and social websites become lonely and one sided. And if your campaign is too introverted, it might as well not even exist.

So as a few core principles, have your brand say hello and reach out to customers once in a while and share things that friends in the space would actually enjoy, and give credit where credit is due. That’s how to build friends in the digital landscape, and ignoring these core principles is a great way to be a tree falling alone in a forest.

If the creativity, time and effort just isn’t there to build real customer engagement, and selling is your only goal, Adwords might be a better option. But whichever medium you chose…


#4 It’s not consumable. If your messages and ideas can’t be shared and translated through tweets, videos and blog posts, then you should probably start over. 140 characters is the new game in town and everything must fit in the palm of my hand.

Whether you’re using inbound marketing or advertising online or off, eventually prospective customers will be using the devices we all have in our pockets to check you out.

A great way to close the door on a new customer relationship is to send mobile users to desktop sites where buttons can’t be pressed and forms can’t be filled out, or by interrupting them with advertisements that are untargeted and don’t provide any entertainment value. The users must be put first and the content has to shape around them.

Think back to the Volvo and Hondo ads shown earlier and how they put the customer first, and use them as an example for your own creative.

Lastly, #ItDontMeanAThingIf:

#5 You don’t eat your own dog food (or better yet- drink your own champagne!). For instance, compare below the old Sitecore site with the new site (shown below) and tell me which brand inspires creativity and cutting edge website content management and marketing?

old sitecore Site

Old Sitecore Site…

New Sitecore Site

…New Sitecore Site 

If you picked the first, I have a bridge to sell you… (or maybe a website instead!).

While I can only guess what the improvements were from a conversion rate and SEO standpoint, I’m willing to bet they were substantial because brand consistency and trust are everything. You have to drink your own champagne (or why would anyone else?).

I know they say “the Cobbler’s children have no shoes,” but if you claim to be company focused on technology and cutting edge solutions and your website happens to look like it’s from 1995,  it’s time to get up to speed.

Ask yourself, if people in your own company won’t use your products to their fullest, why should potential customers? Eating your own dog food is critical, and like the new Sitecore site, it shows trust in your own product which speaks volumes.

It never hurts to have a shameless plug for your own product or service. 

So if you liked this post and made it this far, I’d be honored if you could share it with your friends and see what we can come up with for more examples of why an online marketing campaign would fail.

#ItDontMeanAThing with your help.

So CLICK HERE to Tweet and then share your top reasons below and on Twitter using the hashtag #ItDontMeanAThingIf and enjoy the video below:

Photo via 

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  • Hi Ryan,

    The friends advice makes it happen! Digging each tip!

    As a guy who gives away gobs of his eBooks to sow freely, to generate buzz and to help boost my reviews I assure anybody on social that your friends will make your campaign pop, so get to asking them for your help, now. More than a few will aid you, I promise 😉

    Ryan, love the feel to your blog, your posts and your generous style. I’ll share this on my social networks. Thanks so much!


    • Thanks for the kind words Ryan. What would be you top reason why a marketing campaign would fail?