Recently I've been asked how to execute a marketing campaign. The answer is: There is no simple answer. Every campaign is different. In my attempt to help my friends asking for advice, I would begin to dive into several questions that I always ask myself. I thought these were simple questions because it has become second nature to me, but the reality is, it doesn't come so easy when you're not exposed to it every day. So that leads me to my first rule of thumb.
Rule Number One: Never assume somebody knows what you're talking about. Take it back a notch.
Even though every campaign is different, there are some things that remain static. You're going to have to answer some questions before you get started. The answers to these questions will give you the guidance you need to nail down the details of your campaign.
What is your goal? Sounds like a no-brainer, but it's not as easy as you may think. Oftentimes I find that people have a lot of goals. If that's the case, you may need more than one campaign. Break away your first objective, then go through the rest of my list and repeat with the rest. Once you've identified your most important goal, write it down. Refer back to it on a regular basis. Your goal may be: Build brand awareness, generate new leads, gain loyalty, increase sales conversions, etc.
2. Target Audience
Who is your campaign talking to? A consumer? A company? A person within a company? Try to identify as many details as you can around your target market. How old are they? Where do they live? How many kids do they have?
Now that you know your goal and who you're targeting, it's time for the fun stuff! Think about your target audience. Pretend to be them for a moment.
Maybe you're a Gen Xer, but you're targeting Gen Y. It makes it easier to put yourself in their shoes if you can think about a couple people you know in the category you're targeting. Maybe you're targeting a certain gender or people in a specific profession. Try to get in their head. Google your butt off. Take lots of notes.
Okay, things are starting to add up. It's time to put your research to work. Now, make a list of all the places you can reach your audience. Online (search, facebook, website, blogs, etc.), mobile device, mailbox, restaurants, community events... Every time you're out somewhere and you see someone who fits the description of who you're targeting, add that place to your list.
Here is where you take all of the things you just put so much work into and put them together. What are you going to say to your audience so you can achieve your goal? Where are you going to place your content so it resonates? How are you going to position it so it's relevant within the channel? First, you'll have to determine the type of content you'll be creating. Are you going to write a case study? Create a template, infographic, video? To be more efficient, you can repurpose the same message for different channels. And don't forget rule number one (above). Here are a couple basic pointers you can use:
Frequency is so important because you don't want to become a nuisance. If you're annoying somebody, it becomes highly likely they will tune you out. Then when they're ready to buy, they'll remember that you annoyed them and they may go with a competitor instead. The tricky part is to find a balance because you don't want them to forget about you either.
Frequency is a lot easier when your content is relevant. If you're giving them information they want or need, at a time they want it, they're much more likely to pay attention. You can use a marketing calendar to help you with your frequency strategy.
Make sure you have a way to track the success of your campaign. There's always a way. Try to think about how you're going to report the value, preferably in dollars. Bosses always equate value to dollars.
Don't forget to look at the budget. I put this down here, rather than at the top, because I didn't want the budget to limit your creativity. If you can't afford to implement all your ideas, save them for later. Pick one, make it successful and then maybe you'll have more money to spend later.
Now you launch your campaign, but the work doesn't end there...
You already implemented a way to track this thing. Good job! Now take a look at the data. Celebrate your return on investment (ROI). Put it in a format that others understand so you can communicate what you've done and where you want to go from here.
11. Continuous Improvement
If you're happy with your results, you don't have to do anything different. I almost always find one or two things I could have done better. If the first attempt isn't perfect, improve it the next time around. You can even A/B test different colors, subject lines, form fields, CTA's, etc.
Oh and by the way, if your campaign ends up sucking after all, don't be afraid to kill it. You've already got plenty of ideas from going through this process, so go ahead and try another one.
I watch Gordon Ramsay in Kitchen Nightmares and he’s not only a genius in the kitchen, but also an incredible businessman. In almost every episode, he goes out and talks to the locals. He learns what they know about the restaurant he’s working in. He learns what they like, learns what they don’t like. Sometimes he even takes food samples around to get peoples’ opinions on what to serve. Then he takes all that information back and implements changes to reflect the feedback he’s collected; changes that cater to his audience. This is marketing.
The biggest mistake we make as marketers is not understanding our audience. Oh, we think we do. We think we know what our buyers want from us. The fact is we’re oftentimes couped in the office. Sure, we’re reading every article online about our products and services. We know the trends; we can recite every industry statistic there is. However until we get out and talk to the people who are, or should be buying from us, we’re only making assumptions about what they want.
There is an immense amount of value in talking directly to your customers. Surveys are great – take surveys – but they limit our opportunity because the feedback stops at the end of each question. With surveys, you don’t have an opportunity to ask follow-up questions to get more information about a response. Having an honest, open-ended conversation with someone who is buying your product, or someone who isn’t buying your product but you want them to, is the absolute best way to learn how you can get their business. Talk to them, learn what they want and then, most importantly – give it to them.
Five Back-to-the-Basics Marketing Reminders
1. Find out what your target audience likes
How do you do that? Ask!
2. Find out what concerns people have when making buying decisions related to your product or service
Use your sales and marketing messaging to address those concerns up-front. Be honest.
3. Find out how you can give people a “What’s in it for me” or a “WIFM”
Aim to understand how your product or service can help people. You may help them make more money. You may make their business run more efficiently. Perhaps you make them feel better in some way.
In evaluating the responses to this question, you could come up with ancillary products that would be a great fit for your company. You may learn you need to narrow your focus. Whatever you find, be open-minded about the changes you’re about to encounter in order to achieve success.
4. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Use whatever it is you’re selling yourself. See how you like it. Think about: If you were your customer, what would you want? What features would you be looking for in your product or service? How would you want to feel? How would you want to be treated? Our emotions play a large part in our decision-making process.
5. Implement. Implement. Implement.
Now that you’ve done your research and you know what your customers want, you know what messages you need to send out them. Cater to them. We all like to be catered to.
By Tonya Cardinali