The hidden campaign mistake we all make

Ah, what would marketing be without the C-word? 

Campaigns! Gotta love ‘em. Well, kinda. 

Actually, we already dropped a rant about campaigns

But this is different. 

Because there’s this one huge issue nobody talks about.

And this is something we can’t afford to keep doing in 2024. Literally, we cannot afford it. 

Based on the increasing gap between CAC and marketing budgets, this universal campaign mistake is too expensive for your marketing team. 

So let’s start here: 

What’s the typical goal of a B2B marketing campaign? 


Like, MQLs? Or demo requests? Typically some unit of demand, right? 

So the campaign is successful or not successful based on what level of demand was either captured, created or converted (although that last part is typically the job of Sales). 

Ok, sure, the cost of the campaign relative to those units of demand is important too. Cool. 

But irrespective of that success (or lack of success), what happens after the campaign? 

How else are we capitalizing on that investment of cycles and dollars? 

This is the problem – we aren’t. 

Campaigns are, by design, typically designed to give us one outcome, learn from that and then fire up other campaigns. 

In B2B Marketingland we’re so eager to “drive pipeline and revenue” that we forget that’s not actually at the core of the job. 

Our highest calling as marketers is to plan and execute initiatives that ultimately lead to compounding results in the pursuit of business growth. 

We realize others may not quite see it that way. 

But if we never get to compounding results, we’ll simply be stuck. 

Stuck in campaigns. Stuck in tactics. Stuck in executing one-offs that don’t help us enough next month and next quarter and next year. 

Stuck in the false struggle of marketing. 

Here’s the uncomfortable truth: 

The objective of a typical marketing campaign is inherently at odds with the real objective of marketing. 


By the way, this concept has been touched on in different ways before. 

Remember all that talk about dark social? Just drop content in where buyers already are. And let them spread it for you. 

Good old word of mouth. 

Yep, that’s one way to get to compounding results. But as with so many things in marketing – the tactic of doing dark social was romanticized, not the objective of getting to compounding results. 

Either way though, hopefully the point here is clear: 

We need to get out of the game of spending more. 

Spending more energy on coming up with new campaign ideas.

Spending more cycles on building out these campaigns.

Spending more money on getting campaigns out.

That’s so not the game. 

That’s the trap. 

Future winners in B2B marketing will have worked through a maturity model for getting to compounding results across key areas. 

The Low Friction Acquisition Assessment we recently shared provides a lens to see all marketing ideas through, including campaigns. 

Through our agency, we’re talking to a lot of marketers right now, and so many are already in campaign planning for the new year. 

It’s everything from ABM to “let’s do something fun.” 

(Oh, that last one is fun – it just tends to not live up to anyone’s expectations.)

But no matter what kind of campaign you’re planning, the bottom line is this: 

Your stuff has to be really freakin’ good right now. 

So good that it has the chance to be a part of getting your buyers to develop a habit of consuming what you deliver and share it. 

We’ll share more about compounding effects and how you get to it very soon, but for now we just want you to ask yourself this: 

  1. What should compounding results look like for our company? 
  2. How can our next campaign move us towards compounding results?
  3. What else can we do to get to compounding results through our marketing?

Again, we’re not so sure any of us can afford to keep doing campaigns unless we address this.

- Your partners in growth at Elevate Demand

PS: We decided to Google “our highest calling” just to make sure we were using it the right way in this piece, and we found that there are a bunch of different opinions about what that is even in religion so no wonder there’s disagreement about the highest calling of marketing :)