When was the last time you really thought about the answer to the question, “What does it mean to run a marketing campaign?” The answer might seem simple at first glance, but it is not something many people truly define.
Spoiler alert: we are going to go through a lot of these things later in this blog, but simply put, a marketing campaign focuses on accomplishing a very specific goal through multiple marketing channels that all contain the same message or story.
Another way to think about this is that a marketing campaign is something that you layer on top of your standard marketing strategy to accomplish a specific goal.
For example, you might do your standard marketing tactics and strategies and decide that you want to do a sale for 25% off. Your goal would be to increase sales and you would likely tell people about that sale through social media channels, email, and paid advertising. While this is going on, you wouldn’t stop doing everything else and only focus on this sale, but it would certainly be a major focus that you are adding on top of it.
Now that marketing campaign is defined, let’s talk about how campaigns fit into your strategy.
How are marketing campaigns a part of your marketing strategy?
Many people take the stance that the more campaigns that you are running, the better… but we will tell you to hold your horses a bit!
Marketing campaigns are great, but they are not something that you want to do all the time.
Let’s take the above example of a 25% off campaign. If you run that 25% off campaign over and over again, people will just get used to discounts and will never buy things from you at full price.
Not only that, but the only message they will see over and over again would be a discount and asking them to buy. Running campaigns on repeat can fatigue your customer and ruin the impact of all campaigns.
The key to running any type of campaign is balance. You need to find a good amount of campaigns to run that can make them still incredibly impactful but not wear out your customer. Always remember that campaigns are the cherry on top of your strategy, not the whole dessert.
Our Top 4 Tips For Successful Marketing Campaigns
1. Have a clear goal
The entire point of running a marketing campaign is to accomplish a very specific goal. If you do not do a good job of defining your success metrics, you will have no idea to determine whether or not that campaign was successful.
It is something we see often with business owners running campaigns. When their original goal isn’t being accomplished, they move the target or change how they define success so they don’t look silly running an unsuccessful campaign.
For example, you might have a campaign goal to increase foot traffic in your store. However. if foot traffic doesn’t increase, it would be easy for you to change the goal and say that it is now just “brand awareness”.
Don’t do it! Enjoy the process of running a campaign and learning from your mistakes. You will be much more successful in future campaigns because of it.
2. Lay out all your marketing tactics
Once you set your goal, it is time to pick the best ways to accomplish that goal.
The cool thing about marketing campaigns is that you get to use all kinds of different marketing tactics and tie them together into one cohesive message. This could even mean using two marketing strategies at the same time that you never thought would be cohesive.
For example, you have put out a few social media posts, run Facebook Ads, as well as email campaigns, but you might not have ever thought to do them at the exact same time using a similar messaging. We know for a fact that these two marketing tactics can be extremely cohesive from our work with our eCommerce clients, but you might not have ever thought to use them together.
Finding these relationships between marketing tactics is what really takes a campaign to a new level. That’s why it is important to lay out all your options, identify which ones are best for each possible goal, and find new ways to use them together.
3. Develop timelines that work together
There’s no better way to ruin a perfectly good campaign than with messed-up timing.
We cannot tell you how many times we have seen this happen. A campaign looks perfect on paper, everything is made beautifully, and it executes, but the timing was all wrong – either in your planning process or the actual roll-out of the campaign.
This can happen in a lot of different ways.
First, from the very beginning stages of planning the campaign. A lot of the time, you get an idea and want to execute it immediately. We totally get it – your ideas are worth sharing with the world – but let’s slow down a bit. We recommend putting your idea down on paper or discussing it with someone in the business. Plan out what all needs to be done, and then from there, you can decide the date of the campaign launch. It’s easy to get caught up in getting something out ASAP, but there is nothing worse than rushing to get content out and it being bad quality…because it was rushed and not well thought-through. And if you miss your mark on a timely campaign (like Black Friday), make a note for next year so that you provide yourself and your team ample time to prepare.
In terms of how you are launching your campaign and timing of it also matters. Maybe you are using email, social media posts, and social media ads in the example above, but the social media ads start too late. Maybe you are doing a webinar, but the follow-up email doesn’t get sent for some time afterward. Maybe you are giving current customers early access to a deal, but the Google Ad accidentally starts first. All these timing flubs can take away the impact a campaign would have had.
Because timing is so important, it deserves your undivided attention. Our recommendation? Buy yourself a paper calendar and mark down the timing of every little part of your campaign. This will allow you to visualize the timeline of what you are doing and make sure that there are no overlaps or surprises.
4. Make sure to review your campaign and be honest with the results
Once a campaign is over, it is easy as a business owner to just move on to the next thing and forget about it. However, you should try your best to take the time to review exactly what results you got from your campaign.
There are 2 things to remember when reviewing your campaign
First, remember that part earlier in this blog where we told you not to move the goalposts? Well, this is the part where it matters. If your goal for a campaign is to get sales, you cannot say that the campaign was really a success if you get a lot of engagement instead. Is it better than nothing? Yes! Can you use that idea the next time you want to do an engagement campaign? Definitely! But was your campaign a success? No.
Secondly, make sure you are honest. There are certain goals, like brand awareness, that are not easy to measure. You might be tempted to think that a campaign was more successful than it actually was. All that is going to do is set you up for failure in the future.
What are you going to do for your next marketing campaign? We hope that this blog inspired you to think about them a little bit differently and set your business up for major success!