We work with marketing leaders across nineteen different industries. One common theme has emerged. There is a skill gap in knowing how to build & execute marketing campaigns. If you cannot run effective campaigns, you will be hard-pressed to generate leads.
There are two steps to effective campaign execution: Planning and Execution. In this post, I’ll walk you through the mechanics of Campaign Planning. We will cover campaign execution best practices next time.
If you want to successfully plan a campaign, follow these (12) steps:
STEP 1 – DETERMINE CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES
The first step in running an effective campaign is defining the objective. Every campaign must have a clear goal. A campaign level objective is the summation of the program, activities and offer. These are linked together to produce the desired results. Your campaign objective must be specific, measurable and realistic. It must also have a timeline and be compatible with your other marketing efforts.
Campaign objectives generally fall into these four categories:
- Building Awareness – Fill the top of the funnel by stimulating interest in the marketplace for your solution. Use this opportunity to establish your expertise.
- Generating New Sales Leads – Move leads through early stages of buyer’s journey, nurturing them until sales-ready
- Educating Buyers – Commercial Insight that educates buyers on issues your firm is uniquely positioned to solve
- Engage Existing Customers – Once someone becomes a customer, you can’t forget about them. The communication must continue. Engage them and launch cross-sell and up-sell campaigns.
STEP 2 – PICK THE TARGET BUYER PERSONA
The next step in campaign planning is identifying the Target Buyer Persona. Thorough buyer research is critical at this point. A campaign is designed to address the most urgent problem of your buyers. You need to understand your buyer’s goals, obstacles and fears. If you don’t know what’s important to your buyer and how they measure success, you will not campaign effectively to them.
STEP 3 – SELECT MARKETING ASSETS
You have selected your Target Buyer Persona and their urgent problem. What can you show them to prove you have a solution to their problem? Selecting the right marketing asset is critical. If you are going to highlight an urgent problem, you need to have a solution.
Here is where many marketing organizations struggle. What are your content gaps? Do you have content that speaks to and solves your buyer’s urgent problems? If you’re not sure, consider a Content Audit.
STEP 4 – CHOOSE THE MARKETING ACTIVITY
Select which marketing activities best addresses the campaign objectives. For example…
- PPC advertising
- Social Media
- Direct Mail
STEP 5 – IDENTIFY OBSTACLES
Every campaign has its challenges, both internal and external. The first step in overcoming an obstacle is naming it early in the process. What are the liabilities or barriers you need to overcome to successfully launch your campaign. Some examples include list quality, content and timing. You need to identify your biggest challenges and develop a mitigation plan.
STEP 6 – DEFINE YOUR COMPETITION
You are not the only one chasing the customer. Who are you competing with? What is their value proposition? In this step, do some research and identify your direct & indirect competitors. Last year, 67% of lost deals were the result of “No Decision”. The buyer did not have sufficient reason to act. More often than not, your greatest competition is “Do Nothing” or “Build In-House”.
STEP 7 – CRYSTALIZE THE MESSAGE
Every campaign has a key message. In 1-2 sentences, summarize the main point of your campaign. What is the one piece of information you want your target persona to consider and believe? If you try solving too many things, you will dilute the campaign message. Think single-purpose.
STEP 8 – CRAFT YOUR OFFER & CALL TO ACTION
The purpose of your campaign is to incent the buyer to act. Every campaign must therefore have an offer. The offer is tied to the buyer problem being solved for. Likewise, your Call to Action (CTA) must be clear. What is the action you want the buyer to take? Think through the steps and the process: CTA button, landing page, form fill, etc. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Are you compelled to act? Are you compelled to cough up more information to get the offer?
STEP 9 – IDENTIFY YOUR LIST SOURCES
Lists are the life blood of marketing campaigns. Without names and emails, you have no one to campaign to. Most companies use a combination of “house” lists and purchased lists. House Lists are those names that reside in your CRM.
STEP 10 – CHOOSE YOUR CHANNELS
Today’s buyer spends the majority of their time researching solutions online. Where are they going to find information? LinkedIn, Slideshare, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest? Based on the buyer research, you know where your buyers go for information. Choose the channels your target buyer persona frequents.
STEP 11 – MEASURE
How will you measure the success of your campaign? What are the expected results? Here are some metrics to consider:
- How many leads did the campaign generate
- How many links did the piece generate
- How many social shares did the piece generate
- How views did the piece get
- How many comments did the post receive
Use a tool like Google Analytics to track and measure.
STEP 12 – ENABLE THE SALES TEAM
The last step in campaign planning is Sales Enablement. Once your campaign is launched and leads start pouring in, what does Sales do? You planning should consider how to enable the sales organization to capitalize on the new leads. Don’t let your sales team get caught unaware and unprepared.
CALL TO ACTION: Marketers live by campaigns. No campaigns equals no leads. Unfortunately, many don’t know how to run them effectively. Thorough planning is the first step to getting it right. Follow the (12) steps above and you’re off to a great start. Download the Campaign Planning Checklist and refer to it every time you plan a campaign.