A marketing campaign is a series of touches with your market to communicate a key message. The key word is “series” since it usually takes multiple touches for your audience to recognize your message and respond. Marketing campaigns can include many different media:
- Email, search, banners and other online marketing
- Direct mail
- Trade shows and events
- Print, radio and other “traditional” media
Note: You can download free campaign planning tools here.
Here are three sample campaigns:
|GENERATE NEW LEADS||DRIVE EXISTING PROSPECTS TO YOUR TRADE SHOW BOOTH & VIP RECEPTION||HIT YOUR MARKET WITH A SPECIAL OFFER|
|1. Use search to generate traffic to your website.|
2. Receive information request from prospect via landing page form.
3. Email the requested information.
4. Call the prospect; qualify the prospect further and determine next steps.
|1. Mail a postcard to attendees 3 weeks before the show; invite them to your booth with an intriguing incentive.|
2. Mail a special invite to key prospects and customers for a VIP reception. Ask them to RSVP by phone, email or URL.
3. Call key prospects and customers as a second effort.
4. Send an email to all confirmed attendees 3 days before the event.
5. Email the non-respondents one last time.
|1. Run banner ads on industry websites and targeted email newsletters.|
2. Send out a special email to your house list.
3. Create an intriguing story and tie it to your offer. Write a search-optimized press release and post it on your site; distribute release and pitch to a key industry reporter.
4. Run a series of paid search ads.
If you’re B2B, it’s always best to start with your company’s annual goals and develop campaigns to meet those numbers. For example, when you know how many new customers you need, you can calculate how many leads you’ll need, and then design campaigns to generate those leads throughout the year. With solid planning, a jolt of creativity and focus on measurement, you’ll be in a strong position for success.
|Best Case||Neutral Case||Worst Case|
|You plan and execute your campaigns to hit specific goals. You don’t always hit them, but you test and improve different elements; the ROI on your overall budget is above your goal.|
You focus on an offer and call-to-action, and you touch your prospects several times and follow up when appropriate.
You recognize the challenges in measuring results, but you do what you can; it helps you improve the next time around.
|Your campaigns aren’t the most creative or the splashiest, but you’ve hit many of your marketing goals. You don’t test, but your response rate is fine.|
You don’t know your ROI, but you know generally which campaigns work best. When you’re faced with ambitious annual goals, you have problems gaining budget approval.
Since you stick with the same campaigns year in and year out, it’s also difficult to figure out how to generate additional leads.
|Your marketing programs tend to be reactive — suddenly you’re low on leads or falling short of your goals and you launch a campaign to fix the problem.|
Since your programs don’t seem to work, it’s difficult to gain budget approval for future campaigns that could be better-planned and executed.
It’s a vicious cycle and you don’t know how to get out of it.
Marketing Campaigns Key Concepts & Steps
Before you begin
Your brand and pricing strategies play a significant role in your marketing efforts, so nail down those strategies before launching any major campaigns. If you sell through multiple distribution channels, don’t forget to create campaigns for each. You’ll also refer to your sales process to estimate revenue and ROI for each campaign.
Quantify your goals
- Plan your campaigns to meet your annual revenue and volume goals. For example, if you’re trying to generate 100 new customers, figure out how many leads you’ll need and when you’ll need them.
- Think about how you’ll use different media. For example, your sales team may be able to generate 30% of your leads through prospecting; the rest may come from telemarketing, email, direct mail, search marketing, webinars, trade shows and more.
- Identify all of the business goals that will need marketing support. You may need campaigns to generate and nurture prospects, to sell direct or through a channel, or to market to existing customers.
- Evaluate ideas and options: traditional sales activities, Internet marketing, telemarketing, direct mail, email, publicity and more.
Target your audience
- With more specific targeting, you can speak more directly to the prospect and raise your response rates in the process.
Deliver one or two key messages and your call-to-action
- If you include every detail about your product and company, it’s easy for prospects to become overwhelmed. Move a prospect just one step at a time.
- Be creative — your market is bombarded with messages daily, so grab their attention and engage them.
Plan to measure
When you measure your campaigns, it’s easier to gain budget approval the next time around. You’ll also know exactly which programs produce the highest return.
- Establish how you’ll measure each campaign. If there are variables you can’t measure, decide how you will account for those results.
- Identify how you’ll capture the data you need – unique phone numbers, unique URLs, etc.
Plan your fulfillment
- Your fulfillment processes can help or hurt your close rate, so be sure you outline your requirements. For example, if you’re running a campaign where prospects request a software demo, and it doesn’t arrive for a week, your prospects may lose interest.
Continually test and improve
- Even on a small campaign, you can evaluate your ad, your copy, your list or other factors before you spend your entire budget.
- Choose a subset of your list or two versions of an ad; test them in small quantities and choose the best one for rollout. Then you can test a second variable against the winner of the first test.
- Keep the testing cycle going and track your results over time. You’ll improve your response rates and your return on investment.
After Marketing Campaigns
Include your major campaigns in your annual marketing plan and budget, then implement your plans and strategies throughout the year: email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, publicity, online advertising, customer retention and more.