Anatomy of a marketing campaign: execution

 

In our last blog, we revealed a lesser-explored secret: focussed marketing campaigns rock hard (and can secure very healthy returns). So if your brain has been itching with intrigue ever since our Campaign Against Quiet Months, join us as we explain exactly how to make the magic happen.

It’s all in the planning

As with many things in business, creating a marketing campaign that hits the spot is a lot about the planning that goes in at the front end.

That’s why it pays to get a trusted group together to workshop and discuss ideas, or at least to give yourself a bit of brain space away from the distractions of the day-to-day grind. Either way, why not grab a piece of paper, work through these questions step by step and see what brilliant campaign ideas pop out the other end?

Question 1 – what’s it all about?

First things first, we need a purpose; a goal. Because if you’re about to invest your valuable time and effort into something, you need to at least know why you’re doing it.

So think, what do you want your marketing campaign to achieve? Are you looking to increase revenue over the summer? Increase brand awareness in a new city? Grow your social media engagement or email list? Or do you want to launch a new product or service?

These goals sound pretty broad, so let’s make them a little bit ‘SMARTer’.

Remember: a SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based, making it much easier to work out how you’re going to make it happen.

For instance, if it’s new product sales you’re after, you might write down:

“The goal of my campaign will be to make an average of 10 sales per month (Measurable) of my new product “X” (Specific / Relevant), through social media and local advertising (Attainable) during the six months from May and October (Timely).

You’ll find that gives you something more concrete to work from. It can be hard to pin down, we know, but it’ll pay off in spades when it comes to the hard(er) stuff later.

Question 2 – how will you know if your campaign has worked?

The thing about a goal is that you need to know when, or indeed whether, you’ve reached it. And for that you need metrics.

Sometimes the measurements you’ll want to use here are obvious and easy to collect; 200% more sales in a month, 500% increase in blog opens / click-throughs, likes and follows or 10 new leads in a month for example. But other times, they’re not so easy to establish.

Start by asking yourself, what does success look like to the business? And then try to define some KPIs or targets that make sense for each different element of your campaign.

Question 3 – Who is your campaign for?  

We hesitate to use the phrase ‘target audience’ because it’s often overused. But the point still stands. Understanding who it is you’re creating the campaign for is 100% key to all the other bits coming together.

It’s that simple!

Unfortunately working out exactly who your audience is, isn’t that simple! And even if you’ve done persona work as a brand before it’s worth revisiting just to tweak it in line with the specific campaign you’re planning.

Dive deep into your target’s mind. Where do they hang out online? What types of content do they consume and how do they use social media? What do they like doing? What is likely to get their attention? Do they like humour or are they drawn to simplicity? And importantly what are their ‘pain points’? What problems do they have that your product or service could help them solve?

Consider too, what stage of the buyer journey your customers are at. Are they aware of you at all? Are you one of a group of companies they’re considering? Or are they already at the purchase stage.

Believe us, this work, when done properly, will benefit you long after this one campaign is done and dusted.

Question 4 – What will the campaign look like? 

Now let’s talk about the creative stuff!

With all your answers from above in front of you, you can start to look at concepts.

Think of this marketing campaign as a little individual, related to its parent brand but acting as a free agent. Yes, there should be enough similarities with the visuals and creative so that brand stalwarts can see you’re still you, but this should be a great opportunity to have a little fun too.

The people in your team who are best placed to work on your concepts will depend on the goals you set out above. If your campaign will be social media heavy, bring your SM team in on creative workshops, while if it’s a local advertising route you’re taking, perhaps your sales guys and gals are the ones to chat to.

Don’t expect this to be a quick process though, you’ll probably go through plenty of iterations before you hit on design and copy concepts that everyone is happy with. And remember you’ll likely want a bit of variety too – think several billboard designs that work in harmony, or a variety of graphics, videos and text that will work across your social channels.

If you’re completely stuck for ideas or don’t feel you have the right resources at your disposal, why not contact a crack creative agency who can take all or part of the job out of your hands? Introducing fresh blood to the team for a one-off campaign really can inject something new and exciting into the mix.

You need to get ‘eyes-on’ for the prize

Question 5 – How will you get your marketing campaign in front of your audience? 

Based on what you learned about your audience in the last stage, it’s time to think about where you’ll place your campaign so they can’t help but notice it. Of course, your budget will play a part here too.

Best start, in our opinion, is the channels on which you’re already doing well. So if LinkedIn works like a charm but Twitter only attracts tumbleweed, concentrate on the former.

Don’t be afraid of using paid ads as part of the mix, done well they can put your carefully created campaign in front of a new audience to give it the boost you’re looking for.

Plus, don’t neglect your own corner of the internet. Take every opportunity to market your campaign on your own site: use campaign branded banners, create relevant blog posts and include mention in email newsletters you send out. You could even update your social profile bios and covers to reflect the temporary focus.

Remember you don’t have to be everywhere, just in the right places at the right times.

Question 6 – When will your marketing campaign get its time to shine? 

Flick back to your answer to question one, what did you put down for the ‘time-based’ part of your SMART goal? That should be your start point for working out the timescales involved in your campaign.

Now, grab a calendar, wall chart or even just a spreadsheet with dates on and start plotting out your start, end and what comes in between.

Think about the number of blogs, newsletters and social media posts your time and budget will allow, and work backwards, spreading them out for best impact. Next layer in any offline activities such as shop front window-dressing, press articles, banners or even guerrilla marketing tactics if that’s something you’re interested in doing.

Do some research to find out if there are any national days that are relevant to your campaign and note them down on your calendar too. There might be a way you can use these to get in front of a new audience.

Getting this down in one place will be invaluable when it comes to running the campaign, keeping you organised and even looking back when it comes time to review how it all went.

Question 7 – How will you make sure your marketing campaign leads to sales?

Of course, your campaign concepts can be attracting nothing but high fives around the office, but if your audience is left unsure about what’s expected of them then the whole thing will likely fall flat.

Luckily, we have a few suggestions that should help.

First up, calls to action. It’s good practice to include a call to action (or CTA as it’s known in the trade) on any piece or marketing or content you write. Treat it as a prompt to get your potential customer to take direct action. Think, “Buy now”, “Post a picture on social media with the hashtag X” or even “Send us your details and we’ll get back to you with a quote within 24 hours”.

In this last example you could then provide a form to capture the data you need. Offering a bonus download in exchange for your customer’s email, or offering them a waiting list spot for your new launch, could be a great way to gain valuable warm leads that you can put to good use later.

Finally, depending on your goal, a landing page that goes into more detail about your campaign can be a useful addition. Perhaps you could explain the benefits to your audience, provide extra information as well as let them know what you want them to do next.

If it’s one new product you’re selling, this might seem like overkill. But if you’re trying to change the world, you’ll need a place to make it happen!

Feeling inspired to get that marketing campaign out of your head and into the wild? In part 3 (coming soon) we’ll be looking at ways to measure your campaign’s success. And don’t forget, follow us on Twitter or Insta and we’ll let you know when it appears. BTW, want our award winning* SKIM7 newsletter? Do your stuff here.

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