Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Missing the Mark? Here's How to Tell

It can be hard to let go. But knowing when to stop that low-performance marketing campaign can save your business big time.

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By Adam Petrilli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Any meaningful digital marketing strategy takes a commitment of time and money to put together. That commitment can involve days, weeks or even months of brainstorming sessions, research, analysis, strategy building, testing and more, taking the skill and collaboration of some of your best and brightest to create something that helps your brand shine.

But even the best-planned digital marketing campaign can sometimes hit a lull, reaching a point where it no longer delivers value to your business or brand-building efforts. When that happens, the hard work you've put into that strategy can make it extremely difficult to pull the plug, even when it's pushing your patience and budget to the limit.

Still, there comes a time to let things go and make way for a new digital marketing plan. Here's a look at seven common signs it's time to break up with your digital strategy and start something new.

Related: Why a Good Digital PR Strategy Is So Important

1. The value isn't there

One of the top signs you should pump the brakes on your digital marketing campaigns is a lackluster level of value. Determining that value often comes down to a hard look at the numbers, such as what you're spending on ads, organic marketing, social media marketing efforts, etc., vs. what you're getting in return.

If your costs far outweigh the returns, or you're not breaking even on your digital marketing spend, it's probably time to reconsider your strategy.

2. Your campaign is going into overtime

The internet is a sprawling, complex organism. Implementing a multi-faceted marketing campaign across multiple digital channels, and making a measurable impression on your customers, can sometimes take time, not to mention a certain amount of patience. In fact, some strategies can take several months or more to really see the results you're expecting — or to get a good bead on how close you're getting to your digital marketing goals.

That said, when a digital marketing plan begins to linger on a little too long past the strategy deadline — failing to produce the timely, positive results similar campaigns are doing — it's time to hit the reset button.

Related: 6 Marketing Metrics Every Business Should Track

3. Strategy adjustments aren't making a difference

Ever scramble to salvage a failing digital marketing strategy? If you've begun tweaking different elements or adjusting marketing tactics to save a campaign, but the results aren't getting any better, pulling the plug is likely your best option.

In some cases, making key strategy adjustments at just the right time can turn a marketing plan around. But when those mid-game pivots don't make a difference, your time is better spent on other ways to support your brand and long-term business goals.

4. You've thrown the kitchen sink at it

Sometimes, the inability to give up on a digital marketing plan can lead to serious overreaction. This generally means that even after exhausting all ideas and digital marketing tactics in the book, leading marketers will continue to throw themselves at the problem, ultimately turning a poor-performing campaign into a counter-productive fiasco.

If you've tried everything in the online marketing playbook but still aren't seeing returns, there's no shame in shelving that strategy and moving on.

Related: 5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

5. Things are working in reverse

Seeing more red than green on your weekly digital marketing performance reports? Down arrows happen, but when those negative results start becoming a long-term trend, it's a pretty good indicator that your digital marketing strategy framework needs a refresh, if not a complete replacement.

Analyzing strategy performance thoroughly and often allows you to monitor negative trends closely and put a stop to digital marketing initiatives before they become a significant drain on your budget.

6. Other digital marketing strategies are getting

From search engine optimization and content marketing campaigns to email marketing and paid advertising plans, it's not unusual to have multiple digital marketing strategies running at once. And if all digital strategies but one are hitting the right notes and getting results, it may be time to cut bait on that underperformer and focus your efforts on something better.

In other words, don't let one bad apple spoil the bunch. When a bad campaign threatens to unravel what is working, stop it quickly.

Related: 4 Ways to Manage Your Next Brand Crisis and Come Back Stronger Than Ever

7. You're getting bad vibes

You may be proud of the marketing strategy you've put together. But no matter how much you believe in it, if it's getting a largely negative reaction from the public, it's probably time to pull the plug. Online negativity can spiral out of control fast, and the sooner you tackle that issue at the source, the sooner you can and should stop the bleeding and revisit the drawing board.

Upsetting your target audience is a sure sign your digital marketing efforts need a reboot.

Adam Petrilli

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO & Founder,

Adam Petrilli develops and executes winning strategies while inspiring teams to embrace change to promote business excellence. He thrives during challenging situations and in making high-risk decisions with a strategic revenue-focused perspective to generate growth.

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