Why Do So Many Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail? | Urban Element

Why Do So Many Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail?

04/06/2024 | Digital Marketing | 8 minutes

Entering the Complexities of Digital Transformation

Friday, May 17th, at our Marketing Roundtable, we posed the question: “Why do so many digital marketing campaigns fail?” Drawing on Urban Element’s 21 years in the industry, we had already identified several common reasons:

  1. Insufficient budget
  2. Misguided objectives
  3. Unclear positioning
  4. Weak, unclear calls to action
  5. Customer experience barriers
  6. Lack of differentiation
  7. Relying on a single channel
  8. Unrealistic expectations

Our peers echoed these points and added a few more:

“Great session, and thought-provoking. It was a safe space to share, and soundboard ideas that will have real impact and return in your marketing function”.

Desiree Culley LinkedIn

Moving Beyond Common Excuses

Let’s move past these common reasons, often seen as excuses, for why digital marketing campaigns fail. Tash and Jon, with a combined 50 years of sales and marketing experience, will be the first to admit that not all their campaigns have gone as planned or achieved global success.

So, if the above are not the real reasons, what are? In our opinion, the overarching issue is a failure to embrace or a complacent approach to Digital Transformation. For this discussion, we will focus on its impact on sales and marketing functions.

What is Digital Transformation in Sales and Marketing?

Digital transformation can be likened to a chameleon, adapting uniquely to each company, making it challenging to define universally. In simple terms, it’s about planning and integrating digital activities into all aspects of sales and marketing, revolutionising how we deliver value to customers. It also involves a mindset shift, urging organisations to continually question traditional methods, experiment with new approaches, and accept that not everything will work out. Sometimes, this means abandoning outdated sales and marketing tactics in favour of innovative ideas that are still evolving. To measure the success of Digital Transformation, calculating the ROI is important.

Key Areas to Address in Digital Transformation

The definition of digital transformation highlights several key areas for us to explore:

1. Planning and Successfully Implementing Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing covers a wide range of areas, but for us, the key six are the following:

2. Digital Data Reporting

This involves collecting and formatting raw digital marketing data into a digestible format to assess ongoing performance and return on investment (ROI). It encompasses the process of gathering data from various digital marketing channels such as social media, email campaigns, search engine optimisation (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. The raw data is then processed, analysed, and presented in reports that provide insights into the effectiveness of marketing strategies, helping businesses understand their market reach and audience engagement.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

In the context of digital data reporting, CRM systems are essential. They collect and store customer-related data, which can be segmented for targeted marketing campaigns. Integrating CRM data with digital marketing analytics allows businesses to track and measure the impact of their marketing efforts on customer engagement and conversion rates. This combined insight helps refine marketing strategies to enhance ROI and foster stronger customer relationships.

We still have clients who don’t have a CRM, which makes our reporting on marketing and ROI even more difficult.

We are fortunate to have a wealth of expertise in our combined networks so when it comes to an area where we are not the authority we can reach out.

In the instance of Digital Data Reporting, we sought the thoughts of:

Dan Sparrow – Linkedin
Rapid Indigo

“In our experience, the most successful companies invest in CRM software and also carry the legwork to embed its capabilities into the sales and marketing team’s operations.  Without the legwork, expensive software subscriptions will not deliver a return on investment, and the CRM fails to be a golden source of truth for customer data and sales activity.  We target at least a 20% improvement in sales performance when successfully adopting a CRM by supporting data-driven decision-making. 

For one of our customers, adopting a CRM supported them in their journey to double their output by allowing them to see instantly how they were performing against targets and prioritise leads for conversion. Here’s a testimonial from one our clients”:

Rhys Saunders, Managing Director of Lick Me I’m Delicious:

 ‘We’ve now got complete oversight of the business. Staff can see right away how we’re performing against targets and where we’ll be in 3-4 months’ time. It allows them to take initiative. Forecasting and staying on track used to be solely up to me: now everyone in the business can see where we’re at.’

In the autumn, we plan to explore and discuss these areas in greater detail. However, we believe the most significant barrier is a toxic digital culture.

3. Organisational Culture


Our definition of Digital Transformation mentions “shaking things up,” “mindset shift,” and “ditching old-school approaches.” This is challenging enough in areas where directors and senior managers are more comfortable, such as operations, finance, and HR. But when it comes to marketing, embracing digital change requires a particularly agile and open-minded business.

Upcoming Discussions on Culture and Digital Transformation

In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to explore why culture is the biggest barrier and why digital marketing campaigns truly fail. In June, we will share our thoughts and ideas on how to work towards a Digital First Culture at our Marketing Roundtable. Realistically, it may be more about getting digital marketing higher on the agenda during director, partner, and management meetings.

Join us at the June Marketing Roundtable, exclusively focused on culture, with special guest speaker and fellow Opendoorz member, Desiree Culley:

“Transforming the digital culture and conversations in your business is about these 2 business functions coming together and collaborating, instead of working in isolation.”

Desiree Culley – LinkedIn
The Holistic People Collective

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