Marketing campaigns. If you’ve spent any time in marketing or communications departments, especially for consumer brands, then you’ve probably executed a marketing campaign before without realizing it. They can be small, one-week projects, or on a larger scale for extended periods of time. But most have similar goals in mind: to generate buzz and increase sales.
What Is a Marketing Campaign?
A marketing campaign is simply a strategic plan to promote your company’s product, service, or overall brand. Smaller companies may execute one or two campaigns a year, while larger corporations may have several campaigns going at a time.
Typically, when you start a marketing campaign, you lay out a series of steps and tasks to complete as part of the initiative. For example, you may plan on posting unique content on social media, sending out email blasts, and featuring in a local TV interview.
Also typical, you set a number of target goals you wish to hit as part of the campaign. Something like an X number of new followers, or an X number of sales on the new product. This helps establish benchmarks for success so you know whether the campaign was a flop or whether it should be repeated next year.
Often, marketing campaigns are cross-departmental, so multiple teams work together to reach the target goals. For example, with a new product launch, the Marketing Team might collaborate with the Sales Team to determine the main message and content to promote it. The Marketing Team might also work with the Development Team to get the right assets set up for the website launch. The list goes on. Although it’s called a “marketing” campaign, multiple teams are typically needed to execute it successfully.
What to Do Before You Start a Marketing Campaign
So, you’re ready to launch a marketing campaign. Now, where to get started?
- What’s the goal? First things first… what are you aiming for? Is it an awareness campaign so people know about you? Is it a redemption or crisis management campaign to make up for bad press? Is it a way to build brand loyalty? Is it a big push to raise sales? Figure out what your priorities are, and then you’ll be ready to craft the best campaign to fit those goals.
- What’s the budget? Marketing tools and methods can add up fast. Get a budget from the higher-ups ahead of time so you can decide what is most important to your campaign. Additionally, ensure you have a project manager to keep track of expenses.
- What’s the timeline? Marketing campaigns range in length, from days to years. Of course, the longer it is, the more expensive it gets (back to #2). Not only that, bigger pushes mean a bigger lift on the teams. So be sure to give everyone enough time leading up to the campaign launch date, with clear deadlines along the way for the different tasks.
- Local or national? Along the lines of the length of the campaign, you need to decide on the size. How big are you going? Is it a local push to raise awareness and increase interest? Or is it a nationwide campaign to reach the masses? Of course, national campaigns require more time and money to get going, so you’ll want to take that into account.
7 Ways to Spark Interest with Your Marketing Campaigns
Ads are a huge marketing tool. They range from commercials you see in between Sunday night football games, to the ads as you’re scrolling through Facebook, to printed ads in magazines you read. Ads are all over the place in our everyday lives. Google and Facebook ads, in particular, work especially well since they have ways to segment your audience and track your effectiveness. There’s a reason companies pour thousands of dollars into ad campaigns and ad agencies.
Billboards are a great way to tap into local audiences, and can be extremely affordable per viewer depending on location. As a graphic designer, I admit I love billboards and the work that goes into bringing them to life.
While there are thousands of hugely successful billboards, one of my all-time favorites is McDonald’s “Fresh Salads” by Leo Burnett Chicago. Over a three-week time frame, the 16 varieties of lettuce in McDonald’s salads were planted and grown on a soil-based billboard. Not only is this a creative way to stand out, but it illustrates the healthy angle McDonald’s wanted to promote in their marketing campaign.
Influencer marketing has absolutely skyrocketed in the last five years, and it’s one of the main services we offer here at Tuuti. The reason is because people love that individual connection, and to feel like they are using a brand they trust. Influencers come with a set target audience; so for, say, a health brand, you may want to go through a sports performance influencer that can spread the word to their specific market. Leveraging influencers can help boost marketing campaigns and extend into your long-term marketing plans.
- Press releases
Press releases are an essential part of your crisis management plan, but can also be beneficial for marketing purposes. When you circulate press releases through press wires like EIN, different reporters and news outlets can pick up your story. This helps you get traction and raise awareness, especially locally. Press releases pair particularly well with traditional media buying, such as billboards, magazines, podcasts, radio, and TV.
- Radio and TV
Speaking of radio and TV, they are a form of traditional media still relevant today. You can get radio slots, such as a quick 15 second pitch, as another way to tap into the local audience. TV interviews are similar; with the right media presence and right price, it can be fairly easy to get an interview spot on the morning or evening news. Some people may say these methods are outdated, but plenty of people still tune into radio stations or click on the evening news. Plus, at a lower entry price, it’s less risk with a potential for a higher return.
- Social media
Social media goes hand-in-hand with influencer marketing. During your marketing campaign, you can promote content, giveaways, videos, etc. to increase engagement. This may also help grow your followers as a bonus. Try implementing a specific campaign hashtag or encouraging followers to interact in a certain way, like sharing a story or posting a selfie with their favorite product of yours. Social media is one of the best ways to connect with your audience, which makes it an invaluable platform for brand storytelling campaigns.
- Word of mouth
Last but not least is word of mouth marketing. Consumers prefer recommendations from people they trust by a large margin. In a Nielsen survey, 92% consumers believed their friends and family over any kind of advertising. Word of mouth might overlap with services like blogging and influencer management, as people often buy based on influencers and celebrities they admire.
However, outside these areas, customer loyalty programs and referral program bonuses can encourage your everyday customer base to promote on your behalf. Discounts, points, and other rewards are great incentives to encourage referrals.
More Tips for a Successful Marketing Campaign
Use Humor to Your Advantage
Think about some of the recent ads, campaigns, and posts that you remember. Chances are they made you laugh, or surprised you in some way. Research has found only around 40% of positive experiences fade over time. People may forget the mundane, but the positive and funnier moments last longer.
Some of my all-time favorite funny campaigns include Metro Trains’ “Dumb Ways to Die,” Old Spice’s ”The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” and KMart’s “Ship My Pants.” Each of these go for the humor play, as well as surprising you with the unexpected.
For example, with the Metro Trains commercial, you don’t expect a cute, catchy jingle to focus on avoiding disorderly conduct close to train tracks. They leveraged humor to catch your attention on an important safety concern — and it worked. The video went viral and the jingle is still popular today in social media reels.
Humor can be an extremely powerful tool when trying to stand out from the crowd. Of course, be sure it fits with your brand. You don’t want to miss the mark and be remembered for the wrong reason.
Imitate the Great
The next great rule of thumb is to do what the greats before you did. If you are struggling with brainstorming, following best practices can be a useful way to spark your own ideas.
For example, you might look at what brands in your industry are doing. But inspiration could come from anywhere. Being an avid consumer of digital marketing is how you can keep up with today’s trends and what-not-to-dos.
You may not have the budget of an Apple or Nike, but there are ways to imitate their concepts at a lower price point. Any of the 7 marketing strategies above can help you, but the initial big creative idea for the campaign comes from seeing what others do and putting your own spin on it.
In a lot of ways, imitation is the highest form of creative marketing.
Don’t Forget the CTA
After you put in the work and hours into a killer campaign, the absolute worst thing you can do is forget the next steps. Once you start planning your marketing campaign, you should also map out the customer journey: the buying experience or consumer interaction from start to finish.
If you are targeting new consumers, a customer journey plan is especially important. Decide on a call to action (CTA) once you do get their attention, and how to increase awareness so they understand your product offerings. Are you wanting them to sign up for your newsletter, buy a new product, or take advantage of a promotion? Do you have a landing page or your site built out in the right way for these new incoming buyers?
If you are targeting existing consumers, think about what reengagement you are aiming for, or what story you want to tell. Perhaps you want to rebrand or reframe your message, or you want to do a big push on a new product offer.
Whatever the CTA is, make sure you have one. Otherwise all the hours and money spent on your marketing campaign will go to waste. Marketing without a purpose is a sure way to miss the mark and tank your campaign before it even begins.
- Before you start a marketing campaign, it’s essential to ask the right questions: What’s the goal? What’s the budget? What’s the timeline? Local or national?
- A marketing campaign often pulls from several different platforms and methods to reach the target audience. Some of the many ways to spread the message is through ads, billboards, influencers, press releases, radio and tv, social media, and word of mouth.
- Incorporating humor into your campaign can help your brand stand out from the crowd. Try the unexpected or unconventional to see how your audience responds.
- If you are running short of ideas, try following best practices of other successful campaigns. Looking at how the greats do it may spark some ideas of your own.
- Be sure to include a CTA so your consumers have direction on next steps. Otherwise, without a clear path, you may miss out on valuable leads or sales.