The idea of putting a big campaign together, marketing or otherwise, can be quite overwhelming for anyone.
It can be tricky managing multiple deadlines and layers of tasks that all need to be carried out in sync. You can also feel like you need to have a campaign that does everything, be everywhere and tick all the boxes for your report. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.
Your marketing campaigns should always be simple. While they all involve a lot of hard work, deadlines that have to be met and multiple delays, the overarching campaign has to be clear and simple. Here are my five tips for a successful marketing campaign.
1. What do you want?
It all starts with a brief. If you’re about to do a campaign and are reading this thinking “I didn’t get a brief,” go get one now or write one.
I have received verbal requests from clients, CEOs or boards and the expectation is to just go off and build a campaign. Don’t do this. Instead, go ask more questions.
Always ask “what do you want?” Set clear objectives for the campaign, not KPIs. Define the overwhelming key objective results you are trying to achieve, pick two or three and order them according to importance. All activities for the campaign need to align with those objectives from then onwards; if something doesn’t, question it.
2. What is winning?
So, you have set your objectives, now what does meeting those objectives look like? KPIs on reach, impressions, engagement, frequency and impact are all just numbers that support those objective key results. The big question I always ask is “what does winning look like for you?”
If you cannot describe your metrics of success, and how you can achieve them, you have already failed. There are times when I have sat and listened to reports on a campaign and asked: “Do we feel successful? Was the campaign a success?” On occasion there has been no reply and everyone has looked at someone else for an answer.
Define what winning looks like and set the pass mark. If you are successful, make sure that win is clearly felt by all stakeholders, namely your clients and your team. Celebrate your win. It’s easy at the end of a campaign to have campaign fatigue and forget what you have achieved – don’t let the win go to waste.
A big mistake that can also be made when creating a campaign is letting the report define it. I have sat through a number of pitches where the reply is an excuse about how reporting defines the campaign. Ditch the report thinking (for now).
The report is always necessary after every campaign, but it should never dictate or constrain the creation of your campaign and meeting your objectives because that’s what it is about. Set your pass mark and report on what you do, don’t let the report define how you do it.
3. Context is king
Beware of brand advertising. We all want our brands or companies to grow their popularity or sentiment. For some of the mega-companies this is feasible. For the rest of us, it’s nearly impossible to get lasting brand recognition from brand campaigns.
A quote I love from marketing expert Bob Hoffman sums it up clearly.
“Some things can only be achieved indirectly. Sometimes, the more directly you address a problem, the worse it gets...You can’t be happy by trying to be happy. If you want to be happy you have to go fishing or eat a pizza...It’s the same in marketing. Do you want to have a strong brand? Quit branding. A strong brand is a by-product. It comes from doing a lot of other things right.”
The most important task for any marketing is to identify your target audience, or more specifically your bullseye target audience, and make relatable content that is suited specifically to them for your advertising.
Consumers can identify a blatant marketing tactic from a mile away, so it’s important to create genuine content that resonates with them, without making them question why they’re seeing it. Create real, honest down-to-earth marketing, and don’t be scared to have a laugh and entertain your audience.
Four words I tell myself every week – keep it simple stupid.
It’s so easy to overcomplicate a campaign and your marketing activities. You might feel the need to come up with fancy copy and rhyming jingles to convey your message. You don’t need to overcomplicate your messaging, keep it simple, just tell it how it is.
Back in 2007, when you arrived at an airport in Scotland, you were greeted by signs and posters announcing that you were visiting ‘The Best Small Country in The World’. After spending £250,000 and six months, the new administration rolled out its exciting new slogan, ‘Welcome to Scotland’. Keep it simple.
5. Be a sponge
Don’t be scared to learn. One thing I love in my professional life is that I get paid to learn, to test, to push ideas.
We often find in team discussions that we don’t all agree on some activities. This is a perfect time to carry out a test; see what works so you can do that next time. There is no such thing as set and forget, you need to test, learn and optimise.
You don’t have to succeed in everything, as long as there is a lesson learned. Things can happen that are out of our control, as everyone that had an event or campaign planned for March 2020 would know about.
Reflect and learn from these events or other failures, be critical of yourself and ask how you would do it differently next time.
Award winning advice
James led the 'A better choice!' marketing team that won the 2021 Marketer of the Year Award (MOYA) for its Shop&Win campaign.
Shop&Win was a consumer-facing competition that supported independent fruit and vegetable retailers across Australia.
Don’t miss your chance to join James and 'A better choice!' on the MOYA Honour Roll. Enter online today.