When planning and creating marketing campaigns, for ourselves or for our clients, there are a number of stages that we typically go through in order to help ensure their success that can be applied to suit any type or size of business.
Whether you’re thinking about launching your first marketing campaign or looking for ways to improve on your process as you embark on your next, the following steps could prove helpful in taking away a lot of the guess work and ensuring activity stays on track.
1. Pinpoint the Purpose of Your Campaign
It’s important you decide what exactly it is you are trying to achieve. What message are you trying to get across? What customer pain point are you trying to cure?
Perhaps you’re a new business wanting to raise brand awareness. Maybe your aim is to promote a specific product or service. Or your goal could be to build your customer database. Whatever your objective is, know it completely and let it be foundational and inform the decisions you make going forward.
Once you’ve decided on your marketing campaign objective, a great way to make sure it is the right one is to “SMART” it. SMART is a mnemonic that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound or Timely. Applying SMART helps put flesh on the bare bones of a broad objective. Getting this part right makes the rest of your marketing campaign plan easier and less complex.
2. Decide Exactly how you will Measure Your Campaign
It’s a good idea to allocate the appropriate metric(s) for each channel being used and define how measurement is done on each channel. You can also set benchmarks for each metric. Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) for each metric is also a necessity at this stage of creating your marketing campaign.
Before moving on to the next step, it’s worth considering what success means to you if – for whatever reason – your objectives are not achieved. Is reaching that 15% increase in sales the be-all and end-all of the campaign? Does an increase of, say, 12% have enough impact on the company to call the campaign successful?
Alternatively, you can set up benchmark points that will help you keep track of performance, monitor progression, and help determine any actions that might need to be taken during the campaign. Reaching and moving past checkpoints can boost the morale of yourself and your team as they witness their efforts bearing fruit.
3. Know Your Target Audience
At the heart of your campaign should be the people you’re trying to reach with your message. This goes beyond simple groupings such as by age, sex, or location. Audience segmentation can include more specific factors such as device usage, lifestyle, income, hobbies, purchase habits, job title, education, ethnicity, preferred web browser, preferred social media platform, religious belief and more.
Technology and years of analysing customer behaviour have made it so that you can really drill down to who exactly it is your marketing campaign exists to reach. Take advantage of this data when developing your marketing campaign. The stage of the customer journey (Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention Advocacy) your target audience is at is also important as it will influence the marketing message itself.
Once you’ve zoned in on your target audience, use its demographic make-up to re-evaluate the platforms you’ve been considering for the campaign and how you can take advantage of the specific features these platforms offer. Many digital platforms offer excellent user segmentation features.
4. Create the Content & Assets
A great place to start with creating content and assets for your marketing campaign is to think about your existing branding and how you’ve presented it to the world. To a certain degree, raising – or at least maintaining – brand awareness is at the heart of every marketing campaign whether stated in the objective(s) or not.
Although it’s important for the campaign to have its own visual identity, presentation, mission, and story, keeping brand recognition in mind when deciding on elements like colour schemes, tone of voice, logo, images, font etc. allows what makes your brand unique to come through in the final message. Some of these elements should be lines that run through every campaign. There’s a reason why we as consumers automatically associate certain colours with certain brands (yellow: McDonald’s. Blue: Facebook).
Because you’ve decided on the platforms that will present the marketing campaign, you can create content that best tells your marketing story through those channels. Take time to work on content that makes sense for the stage of the customer journey the target audience is at.
5. Launch Your Marketing Campaign
The story has now been written and it’s time to publish and distribute your work to the world. How and where this is done are very much determined by all the decisions you’ve made in the previous stages (audience demographics, measuring success, types of creative assets, story being told etc.).
What you can also do is look at past campaigns you might have been involved with, current and past channels your brand has used for promotion and how that went, and any emerging platforms you feel is worth experimenting with. Also consider the strengths and weaknesses of each channel and exactly how it will help you achieve your marketing campaign objectives.
6. Tweak, Track and Improve
Once your story is out there, you can continue to make changes and improve on what isn’t working by measuring the response of the audience to the campaign. While this is also possible for traditional channels (at a much higher cost and time frame), it is especially so with the digital marketing component of campaigns.
7. Measure and Analyse
So, what have you learned? Did you achieve your objective? Did your audience respond as anticipated? Was the campaign delivered within budget? Did you choose the right metrics and KPIs from the start with which to measure success? What was the return in investment?
These are all questions that can be answered using all the data your marketing campaign will provide. This data has to be analysed alongside goals, channels, and content as thoroughly as possible in order to have an in-depth understanding of how the marketing campaign performed.
More than just using it to measure success, analyse your data and let it inform your decisions for any future marketing campaigns. Your next one might be for a totally different product or have different objectives, but the lessons you’’ve learned will be invaluable to how you will approach it.
Knowledge from a well planned and executed campaign can also be used as assets across other departments of your business.