Why Direct Marketing Programs Fail – Reason #1

A failure to set expectations-

The surest way to hang both you and your team is to set unrealistic expectations regarding the success of a given marketing program.  A campaign that garners 100 profitable sales will be viewed as a failure if it only hits 90 sales whereas setting expectations at 90 sales and hitting 93 will be viewed as more successful even if the profitability is lower than in the former example.  Sorry, this is the way humans work

In order to prevent this from happening, here are 5 things you need to do before you publish expected results;

  • (duh) Look at past campaign results.  What have been results in the past?  What type of trends do you see?  Pull this data in (however subjective) and use it to filter results (up or down)
  • Round down.  Publish 90% of what you think results will be.  Underestimating results slightly will help put a reasonable estimate in front of your client/boss – and help cover your butt
  • Understand why the organization needs a certain response.  If you know that the goal can not be reached with the program you are designing, show why and (more importantly) how you can reach the number. Be prepared to offer to pull the plug on the program if goals can not be met or get the team to agree to lower number  (maybe trade raw results for profitability)
  • Plan B.  When early results show lower than expected number, have an alternative plan/campaign in you back pocket.  If you were good about raising concerns early you can look like a hero when you say “I was worried this might happen, here’s a plan to make things better moving forward…”
  • Innovate – find ways to spice up the campaign with the caveat that these are tests and it will be hard to predict the results.  Get agreement to just “see what happens”. 

Keep all these points in mind and you will likely (note: I qualified my promise) have more satisfied clients and co-workers


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