Planning a marketing campaign involves a lot of complex turns and curves. Believe it or not, trying to deliver a consistent message across different channels is not as easy as it sounds. For instance, a campaign that works on Facebook does not automatically work on Instagram. Marketing campaign planning requires attention to detail and intensive knowledge about the platforms and audience.
If you do not plan wisely, things can quickly descend into chaos and that’s the last thing you want when you are running a marketing campaign or a business.
What on Earth is a Marketing Campaign?
First things first, you need to understand what a marketing campaign is all about. It involves multiple pieces of content and/or events that are connected by a centralized theme. A campaign has clear start and end dates which allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy.
Since a campaign has different parts released on possibly multiple channels on different dates– you would really need effective marketing campaign planning before launching. A clear plan will ensure a seamless, efficient process.
Why Do You Need Marketing Campaign Planning?
If having a smooth sailing marketing campaign is not enough reason, here is more:
- Effective marketing campaign planning ensures that you are communicating one coherent message across different platforms.
- You can ensure consistency and build brand awareness which in turn can improve your revenue.
- It will save you time, money, and effort by improving your business performance with the help of your marketing campaign strategy. It allows you to work smart, not hard.
Skipping planning and strategy sessions is counterproductive. You may think you are saving yourself some money by just going straight to content production and launching your campaign without carefully planning your steps. However, it will be much more costly in the long run once things start to go out of hand.
Without planning, you will be busy alright– but not in the way you expect. Being busy does not build a business. Working smart does.
Marketing Campaign Planning that Works: How to Do It?
Here is how to make sure that your campaign does not turn into a cam-PAIN:
Determine what you are trying to promote.
There is no marketing if there is nothing to promote. You would need to be a genius, a magician, or a pretty darn good marketer if you are able to get revenue from nothing. But since not everyone is a miracle worker it is absolutely necessary for you to determine what you are trying to sell.
Most businesses run marketing campaigns to promote one of the following:
- New products, features, or services
- Blog post, video, or webinar announcements
- Brand message
Although it sounds like the easiest part of marketing campaign planning it is also the most important. This step will set the mood for the campaign.
Keep in mind that no matter how groundbreaking your marketing campaign is, if you are promoting the wrong thing or if you are promoting that is not relevant in the first place— then it won’t work. Imagine trying to promote audio cassettes when only a few manufacturers still make them because of the cornucopia of devices that can play music nowadays.
Develop a theme around the thing you are promoting.
Once you know exactly what you are promoting then it is time to build a theme around it. The whole point of marketing campaign planning is to ensure that every piece of content will have an overarching theme that ties everything together– you need to look at the big picture.
So how do you come up with a theme for your marketing campaign? You can follow these steps:
- Determine the product, resource, or brand message that you are trying to promote.
- List down your target audience’s interests and pain points.
- Determine what kind of things will hook your audience’s attention?
- Find the overlap between the brand and the audience’s interests.
The theme does not need to be extravagant. Just because it’s called the “big picture” or the “big idea” does not mean it does indeed have to be big. Just make sure that your theme connects all the pieces of the campaign you are building.
The key to both branding and effective marketing is the consistent quality experience for your audience.
Start brainstorming with your team.
Even if you think you can do marketing campaign planning with your eyes closed, it is still a good idea to discuss things with a team. You may miss some things that they can catch or they may have ideas that can improve your concept. Working with the team will put more perspective into the planning.
Here is how to make sure that you are productive during brainstorming:
- Get your team together and let everyone spend some time writing down as many ideas as they possibly can. You do not need to worry about the quality right now, you can always improve whatever you end up with during the brainstorming process.
- Next, each member of the team needs to read each idea out loud. Everyone gets to vote or score an idea.
- And then, identify which ideas had the most votes or the highest score. You can then work on improving those ideas into marketing concepts.
This brainstorming process is fast and simple, and it allows you to gather a lot of ideas in one go. You can even recycle some ideas for your next marketing campaign.
Determine which marketing channels to use.
At this point, you know what you want to promote, you understand your target market, and you have a theme.
Now, you need to know how and where you need to deliver your marketing messages for them to reach the right people. Here are the questions you need to ask for you to be able to determine the best platforms to create and share your content:
- Are there platforms where you have traditionally and organically done well? Check your data and see which platforms your people use the most.
- Which channels have the potential to help you develop a larger audience? Even if you have not done well in certain platforms, it does not mean that you’ll never succeed in using them. Look at your weak channels and try to build better resources to further improve your brand.
- Do you have enough time and resources for the channels you want to use? Although traditional or organic marketing can help you get new leads, paid marketing campaigns have the potential to take you beyond your expectations. However, there is no need to push your limits.
On top of these questions, you also need to determine what type of channel you want to go for— you can either go for hub-and-spoke marketing or for a single channel campaign.
This marketing model involves creating one central asset. It is usually a landing page where you will direct traffic from other sources.
For instance, if you are promoting a new service, you can create a marketing campaign for social media platforms and email which will contain a link to a landing page with an opt-in form. That makes your landing page your hub while your social media posts and email newsletters serve as its spokes.
Single Channel Campaign
This marketing model is nice and simple, and if done right it is also effective. A single-channel campaign is a good option for businesses that do not really need a big, elaborate campaign.
As the name suggests, it could be as simple as a series of related or connected social media posts on one platform. It can also be a series of email newsletters that directs readers back to a particular web page.
Which Platforms Makes Sense for Your Campaign?
Your business goals should guide you in your marketing campaign planning process. It includes your channel selection. For instance, if you plan on using a lot of visuals to increase brand awareness, Instagram is a great option. However, if you want to generate leads for your business, you will need to consider small business SEO, invest in PPC, work on your email marketing, and of course, keep your social media active.
You can ask these two questions to figure out which platform will work best with your plans:
- What do you want your target audience to do?
- How do you get them to take that action?
Set the goals for your campaigns.
Setting goals for your campaign can help you determine whether your campaign is working or not. Blindly creating content may not get you the results that you want.
Having goals for your campaign will also allow you to have the means to measure your progress. Here are some things to remember:
- Set a long-term goal or one overarching goal for your campaign. It can be to generate more leads, raise revenue, improve brand awareness, etc.
- Set metrics that you can monitor for each channel. One platform may be different from the other so you need to set platform-specific goals as well. For instance, your goal for Twitter may be to increase the number of mentions, while for Instagram you may want for more people to add you to their stories.
Plan and create your content.
Once you have chosen your platforms, the next thing you need to do is to plan the materials that you need to create for each channel. Determine how many posts, ads, and other types of content you need to execute your marketing campaign.
You need to determine the number of deliverables you need during the marketing campaign planning phase to help you budget your time effectively.
Once you have everything in order, you may now launch your campaign. Track your progress and try to find things that you can do better. There is no certain solution to your marketing needs, you will have to try things and improve things until you find the perfect campaign for your brand.
Just keep in mind that when working on a marketing campaign, your audience, timescales, and the brand, product, or service that you are promoting the need to tie together in one big picture.