Have you ever wondered how it is that most long-standing companies always manage to strike gold with their marketing campaigns; while the campaign you’ve shed blood, sweat and tears for, always lurks in the shadows and is never spoken of again? How is it, that the big dogs create marketing campaigns that are not only entertaining, but also elicits an emotional response from us? It’s quite simple.
It starts with the eyes. If you’ve read my article about how to create memorable concepts, you will realise that an emotional response to external stimulus (such as an advert or billboard) is an electrochemical process occurring in the brain. Sparing you the geeky details, campaigns that matter spark a visceral response such as joy, inspiration, compassion, (and every now and again) anger – which, depending on the strength of the reaction, causes us to remember, forget or act on that impression. Good marketing campaigns transcend the bombardment of an ordinary sales pitch, and they cause us to think beyond ourselves and circumstances. Campaigns that matter mean something to us, and it hits close to home. They tell a story, in a way that stories are meant to be told – filled with wonder and amazement, and they resonate with us spiritually, emotionally and physically. Campaigns that matter are extensions of ourselves – so when we think about developing a campaign, tapping into these factors would allow us to create campaigns that inspire and touch the lives of those who come into contact with them.
“So, Kyle,” you ask, “What is this campaign you speak of and how do I put one together?”. Well, my eager student – since you’ve asked so nicely, I’ll gladly share that information with you. I prefer to think of a marketing campaign as the military equivalent. A military campaign refers to a number of complementary operations aimed at achieving a single goal, usually constrained by time or geographic area. What it means, is that uncle sam usually sends a horde of b51’s at 06h00 to blow the enemy ( some country or the other) to smithereens. In the same way, a marketing campaign makes use of multiple channels within the campaign to achieve an objective such as driving traffic to your website or creating awareness about a particular event or project. A campaign is usually targeted at a specific audience over a set period, and it outlines the constraints of the project clearly to minimise loss and maximise its intended results. So what can you do to make sure your campaign doesn’t plummet into the rocky abyss, never to see the light of day again? let’s have a look:
A marketing campaign that matters
Define your goals
All right, stop, collaborate and listen! Defining your goals is the single-most important aspect of developing a marketing campaign that matters. Defining your goals for your marketing campaign sets precedence for all that is to follow. It sets the direction of your campaign and if not done correctly could cause your campaign to crumble in later stages of the campaigning process. Goals should be SMARTER:
Your goal should be Specific. For example, “the objective of our blog campaign is to increase traffic to our website”. The statement is clear, concise and to the point. A specific objective says exactly what we’d like to get done.
Your goal should be Measurable, which would alter our goal statement substantially. It would then sound like this: “We would like to increase traffic to our website from 1000 users to 1 million users.” notice how I mention the current state and the desired state? It is quite important that you do that because then we have a path from point A to B.
Your goal should be Assignable. You should be able to assign these tasks to your team members. No man is an island, especially while executing an extensive marketing campaign. Reeling in a team that you can delegate tasks to and manage allows you to control the marketing campaign from a better stand-point.
Your goal should be Realistic. Your goals should be achievable by human standards – we’re not machines, so we should consider all possible hiccups and setbacks as well as making it as easy as possible to execute while allocating sufficient resources to that particular task.
Your goal should be Time-bound. Moving back to our blog analogy, if we add a timeline to our project it would look like this, “The objective of our blog campaign is to increase traffic to our website from 1000 users to 1 million users after 90 days.”
Your goal should be Evaluated. So, once our campaign has run its course, it is now time to look at the results. We need to put sufficient analytics protocols in place so that we have results to look at. As with our blog in this case, google analytics provides detailed tracking of the number of users on our website, which is more than enough to conduct an evaluation of our objective.
Your goal should be Reviewed. After we have collected all of our reporting data, we then need to compare our original objectives with the actual results. Back to our analogy, we note that we have not received the required number of users – we’re 300 short. We also note that this is because we did not adjust for the amount of public holidays – which left us unable to market effectively. so we improve our marketing campaign structure so that we can account for this hiccup in future. This prevents us from making the same mistakes over and over – which could be very costly.
Define your audience
It’s one thing to sell a product and sell it well. It is another, however, to offer a product to an audience you know like the back of your hand. You don’t even have to sell your product. Knowing what your audience likes and doesn’t like allows you to craft your message, in a way, that resonates with them on a personal level. By extension, defining one’s audience allows you to get into their heads and create a tailored marketing programme that elicits a greater reaction because – let’s face it – we find it mind-boggling when people know exactly what we want and when we want it. After defining one’s audience make sure to interact with them to confirm one’s speculation about them – find out if, your representation of them is accurate because most, if not, all of the time we have coloured ideas about whom we think our audience is – which might not necessarily be the case.
Define the available resources
As our most precious resource, determining the amount of time we have to spend and to structure our campaign around effectively making use of this resource, allows us to not only reduce costs, but also increase productivity. Time is the most consistent guiding factor when embarking on a marketing campaign and with strict deadlines; our projects remain on track and in order. Calculating the time it would take to complete a task should never be an estimation. It requires a fair amount of planning and experience to calculate the time required for a task, so make sure that you are taking this into consideration when you start developing your marketing campaign.
Money is a limiting factor and should be taken into account with as much care, and as early in the process as possible. Because this is because we have finite funds available, which would dictate the outcome of the final product. With more funds at our disposal, we are able to reel in a larger team with better skills and better still, deliver our campaigns to larger audiences using more expensive channels. Fewer funds, however, do have some benefits over larger budgets. For one, it forces us to be creative and seek alternate methods of reaching our audiences. A smaller budget also allows us to focus a message more directly as the smaller-scale media channels are occupied by certain niche markets that could attract to your business more than a wider audience would.
Before you even think about executing a marketing campaign, you need the right group of skills to run with the project – and a cohesive group of skills, at that. Choosing a team that works well together ensures that the marketing campaign is executed as painlessly as possible. A cohesive team creates a working environment that is pleasurable, productive and promotes creativity. Furthermore, a good team is more flexible and can adapt to the campaign should it require any amendments. Lastly, a good team is supportive of its team members, sharing a strenuous load between all those involved. Two heads are better than one, after all!
Analyse the risks
I could write a whole book about how to pick which risks to take a gamble on, but that would be way too boring and geeky. Instead, I have summarised the main points i think would be most beneficial to you on your marketing journey:
Minimise costs, maximise profits
Just because you’ve bought a Ferarri Enzo, it doesn’t mean you should drive at 363 kilometres per hour (the car’s maximum speed for those of you who aren’t mechanically inclined). Much the same, just because you have a large budget, it doesn’t mean that you should pay all “willy-nilly.” Prioritise the funds that are available by importance. Furthermore, make purchasing decisions that adequately represent the channels you will be utilizing. For example, a television advertisement is far more costly than print media. Make sure that your spend is relative to the medium, as it leaves you with a buffer to do more – ultimately letting you reach more people.
plan, plan, plan
Planning is the life force of every project. Not only does it allow you to foresee any problems you might experience in the future, it allows you to take solid-footed steps toward goal completion in the shortest time. Everyone likes to seem as though they know what they’re doing – myself included. Very few people know what they’re doing – and those are the people who plan. A plan allows you to be more confident of your decisions because you have solid facts and data to justify them. A regular plan is like a rock in a fast flowing stream: One remains rooted in one’s objectives instead of being pushed around by the fast flowing current that is the media world. Planning allows you to create marketing campaigns that matter!
Choose your channels
Choosing the most effective means of transporting your message to it’s intended audience could mean the life or death for your campaign – but it doesn’t have to be one of the most difficult decisions you have to make. All of our planning and research comes into play, here. By defining the goals, audience, risks and resources you have available before-hand, choosing your channels should be a walk in the park. Most media channels only appeal to certain markets, so marketing to specific niche groups also becomes easier. Furthermore, you could be limited by a budget that means that you can now make informed decisions about the avenues your budget allows you to market to. The objectives of your marketing campaign or the risks you have outlined could also limit you to a particular type of medium. Consider all these aspects and your campaign could be executed as painlessly and as effortlessly as possible.
Now the fun begins! After all the tiresome planning and sleepless nights, We can finally bring our ideas to life! Yay! The work, however doesn’t stop there. There are still many aspects to consider when we enter the production phase.
Firstly, it is of vital importance that we cast a message that is consistent in both its design and it’s intention. We should – under all circumstances – ensure that our campaign is easily translatable between all our selected channels and that concepts are easily adapted between them. Nothing looks more unprofessional than an inconsistent campaign. It says, “These guys and gals are confused, and they have no idea what they’re doing.” This could hurt your objective and even destroy your campaign altogether so be very aware of how consistent your campaign is.
Secondly, make sure that your campaign is executed well. Choosing the right agency, the right skill all affect the outcome of your project. Make sure you only choose the best. Even if it means paying a bit more. in the long run, your pocket will thank you for it. Putting together a marketing campaign that matters means that you never settle for mediocrity. don’t settle my friend!
Lastly, stick to your deadlines. Your reputation is all you’ve got going for you if you’re starting out. Starting off on the wrong foot could mean the end of you, let alone your marketing campaign. That is all there is to it – there are no ifs or buts about it!
plan, execute, review, repeat
So you’ve delivered your final marketing campaign to the consumer market, and it’s been a few months; you haven’t heard anything, you don’t see anything – that’s all there is to it. Wrong! Growing and learning comes from reviewing your actions, your missteps and failures. Reviewing your work allows you to adjust and learn from your own mistakes so that in the future, you are more prepared, focused and experienced to deal with bigger and badder marketing campaigns. It lets the world know that you know what you’re doing – and that is the ultimate goal! Reviewing your previous campaigns guarantees that your next marketing campaign would be better and would yield better results – I can stake my life on it.
Marketing is a beast on its own, but it is a necessary evil if you’re aiming for growth and excellence. What makes it easier however is planning correctly, executing efficiently, reviewing your actions, and most of all, repeating the process; because it get’s easier with practice. Make sure that you have the right team by your side and that you partner with an agency who has experience – your marketing project would be easier to execute that way. Good luck on your marketing campaign and leave a comment below about your first marketing campaign – I’m sure there are many compelling stories to be shared!