3 Main Reasons your Promotions are Underperforming

Post by 
Raine Gaisford

here are several reasons why a promotional campaign can miss the mark however the most common reasons include the three elements we will be looking at in this article.


The Marketing Value Hierarchy


First described in my book Level Up: Your Strategy to Sustainable Marketing-Driven Growth, the Marketing Value Hierarchy dictates that no single marketing tactic is more valuable than another but that the maximum value of each tactic will be derived or unlocked when completed in its correct sequence.  

For example: One of our clients came to us for support with the optimisation of their website for search engines (SEO). As part of the development of their SEO strategy, we ran a comprehensive audit of their website and the data from paid search activities. We found that there were significant technical performance and user experience issues with their current website as well as errors in the paid search campaign setup. Our client had invested over $30,000 in the redesign and redevelopment of their website by a creative agency not 12 months prior and had spent over $40,000 in paid advertising, which had yet to deliver a single return.

The Marketing Value Hierarchy in this instance starts with a website audit and SEO strategy, followed by the redesign and redevelopment of a high-performing, user experience optimised website which satisfies technical on-page SEO requirements and culminates in the correct set-up of a paid advertising campaign and other activities as part of the strategy.

There is no point driving paid traffic to a website that isn’t designed to convert visitors after all.

Because the Value Hierarchy was not followed by our client originally, their investments were not only misused, but they needed additional funding to rectify the obstacles in the way to achieving their objectives.

So, before you start your promotions, or if you’re running promotions are they aren’t cutting through first evaluate whether the foundations of the Marketing Value Hierarchy have been satisfied including your brand & identity, website, and messaging.


Campaign Funnel


An effective campaign funnel has the ability to automate some or all of the buying journey of a target audience. It delivers different content at different stages of the funnel in order to create awareness, educate, inform, and validate a purchasing decision and typically culminates in a major conversion event.

To build an effective campaign funnel, it is vital that you have compelling content at every stage.

There are two key ingredients to producing great content:

1)     It addresses the right stage of the customer’s buying journey; and

2)     It delivers value by answering a question or solving a problem for the target audience.


A lot of promotional activities fall short because the content delivered targets too many stages of the customer buying journey at once and/or it focusses too much on a product or service and not enough on delivering value to the audience.

Let’s look at a simple example that most of us can either relate to or at least empathise with. Let’s say you run a cleaning business and you want new clients. You could run a campaign promoting “Professional Cleaners<Suburb>” but that would only resonate with people already looking for and comparing cleaning services. An effective funnel would also include those who aren’t looking for cleaning services because they haven’t realised the value a cleaning service would provide to them. The messaging or content at the top of the funnel might instead revolve around the number of hours a household could save, or the opportunity cost of spending time cleaning instead of with family or friends.

By including different content or messaging aimed at different stages of the buying journey, your cleaning service can attract clients looking to convert and those who weren’t.




Even after satisfying the Marketing Value Hierarchy and creating amazing content, your campaign can underperform if you’re wasting budget on the wrong audience. Each advertising platform will offer different targeting criteria and also varying levels of accuracy based on their targeting.

Take Facebook for example – it is estimated that 16% of all accounts are either inactive or fake. Facebook also only offers targeting based on a person’s personal demographics and their interests as perceived by the algorithm. This makes it difficult to accurately advertise to B2B audiences using Facebook targeting and often drives B2B advertisers to LinkedIn which offers targeting based on professional information. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is much more expensive than Facebook which puts B2B marketers at a disadvantage.

Google search is seemingly the most accurate but even those campaigns can fall victim to fake traffic. When it comes to any media platform ,it can be hard to know for sure that the data is accurate so it’s important to have measures in place – from testing to uploading specific lists and retargeting – to ensure you maximise the reach of your campaign to the right audience to avoid wasted spend.

So, when planning your next campaign - or evaluating current or past campaigns, - make sure to address the Marketing Value Hierarchy, the campaign funnel including the content plan, and the targeting as part of the funnel. Once you have mastered these three aspects of any campaign, you will certainly see an improvement in ROI.


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