Regardless of the size of your organization, marketing campaign implementation takes planning, coordination, and collaboration. Here are five steps to making certain you’ve got your bases covered.
Let’s start with what a marketing campaign is. Some people refer to each email blast as a campaign. Some refer to a campaign as a multi-channel series of activities to drive revenue results. For the sake of this article, let’s presume it’s the latter.
This is the biggest gap I’ve seen over different companies and programs. Without a robust planning step, you won’t be able to measure results and your campaign is likely to go off the rails. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t have a map?
Your campaign plan should have the following seven elements:
- SMART goals: Be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
- Smart Goal: We will create 50 new MQLs by the end of this month through this campaign. This goal is specific, measurable (50 new MQLs), attainable (depending on your organization), relevant (most campaigns are to drive new business opportunities), and timely (by end of the month).
- Not a Smart Goal: We want people to read our white paper. This isn’t specific - it doesn’t say who you want to read the white paper. There isn’t a measurement. How many people? It could be attainable - maybe two people will read it. Relevancy is questionable - how will reading the whitepaper result in sales opportunities. Last, there is no measure of time.
- Target audience: Who should you include in your campaign?
- A long time ago, we thought that the more people we included in a campaign, the better. This is no longer the case. Target a specific group of people, and tailor campaign elements based on who they are, what their interests are, and where they are in a buying process.
- Creative direction: what’s the “voice” of the campaign? How will the look-and-feel of creative support the content of the message?
- Don’t underestimate the importance of good creative! It needs to follow brand requirements and should also be visually engaging in a way that supports campaign content.
- Be consistent. Emails, landing pages, thank you pages, assets, social media, blog posts, etc., should all tie together visually.
- Marketing channels: How you engage with audiences is as important as the audiences you are trying to reach. Selecting specific channels will also help your creative teams to provide the assets you’ll need. Channels are endless, but here are a few to consider:
- Social media
- Paid advertising
- Paid social
- Referral programs
- Sales outreach
- Offline (event, direct mail, etc.)
- Email signature blocks
- Budgets: Build a complete budget for your campaign. This should include direct costs, like costs for paid channels, as well as indirect costs, like outside help to build campaign assets. This will help you understand the return on marketing investment.
- Develop a Project Plan Calendar: Work backwards from your launch date to establish a project plan. Include how long each element will take, whether there are dependencies between tasks, who is responsible for each of the tasks, and what are the due dates for each task.
- Develop a Campaign Launch Calendar: Not everything will go live at the same time. Often, you may seed the market through social media posts or may launch to customers first. Also, overlay this calendar with your project plan - you may find that you can work on later items while the first items have already launched.
The next step in marketing campaign implementation is creative development. Many marketing organizations rush to develop creative before they have built a campaign plan. Seeing written content, designs, and mock-ups brings your vision to life! Remember, though, your creative design and content are built to achieve specific results.
- Create a messaging plan: What takeaways do you want each audience to have? Are you building a linear story to bring people to a specific conclusion? What are the “chapters” in that story?
- Create a creative brief: This will be driven by your campaign plan, but ties everything together to give your design experts direction on assets you need and audience you’ve targeted.
As you’ve likely found, design opinions are everywhere. If you review designs with a group of people, be specific about what you ask. “Do you like this design better than that one?,” is a good start, but frame it based on the desired action. “Will our widget prospects respond better to this color scheme (image, layout, call to action, etc.) or to that one?”
Although you may categorize this elsewhere, I usually include user-experience within the creative area. What landing page will they go to, what form will collect data, what’s the post-form experience, will you send thank you emails, how will you forward leads to sales?
This is where you plan the specific elements for each of the marketing channels you plan to use. Here are a few questions and thoughts to consider in this plan:
- When will you launch the pop up / banner update on the website? On which pages?
- Who will you send emails to? How many emails and at what cadence?
- Do you have content and/or creative for your paid channels?
- What resources will your sales team need for their outreach? I’ve often created outreach email content that they can either use through HubSpot sales enablement, or through their email addresses.
Be certain to add time to develop these items within your project plan and campaign calendar.
Build and QC
I can’t stress enough how important QC is. We have a handy checklist that our team uses when we’re sending campaigns for others, but the short version is:
- Check how the email, landing page, or graphics render on desktop and mobile.
- Check every link to be sure it goes to the right place.
- Test your form to be sure it redirects correctly and you’re able to download the asset.
- Check that your data is flowing correctly.
- Have someone else proofread everything, including things you might not consider like button text, image text, etc.
Here’s where you start to see the results of your efforts with marketing campaign implementation. With all of your planning and cat-herding, you should be able to reach launch dates successfully with everything you need. I’ve found that regular checkpoint meetings in the weeks leading up to launch will help keep the project on track.
Now I’m going to say something that freezes the hearts of Marketing Managers: something will go wrong. No matter how well you’ve planned, how thorough you’ve been, something will go wrong. Don’t panic! Nearly every email campaign can be stopped. Creative can be updated. And you can stop an email send or send a “sorry the link didn’t work” email.
No campaign is complete without knowing how it performed! Since there are many things you can measure, consider which are the most important metrics for the campaign as a whole, then which might be appropriate for each channel or campaign element. Here are a few items I recommend:
- Number of new leads
- Number of marketing qualified leads sent to sales
- Number of, or amount of, any deals created based on the campaign
- Return on marketing investment
Yep - that’s it. Those four numbers are the “bottom line” for your campaign. Compare results to your SMART goals to assess whether the campaign was successful.
You may be an old hand at marketing campaign implementation, or this may be the first time you’ve considered this approach. Just remember that the most important steps in your campaign are goals and planning. If you’re new, start small with pulling these elements together for a smaller email or social media campaign. SmartSheet has a very useful template that you can download from their website to help you with planning and launching your campaign. You can download it here.
If you find this process too complex to implement or have too many projects you’re balancing, Measured Results Marketing has campaign experts that can help you get the most out of your efforts. Contact us today!