Creating compelling and effective marketing campaigns requires that you have the answers to nine fundamental questions.
Let's face it, people create marketing campaigns all the time without these answers. But, if you want to do it right (and get the results you want), you need these answers.
#1 What do we want?
Before you can create a marketing campaign, you need to know what you are trying to achieve. Some typical objectives are:
- Increase brand and/or product awareness
- Collect subscribers
- Stimulate engagement
- Schedule demonstrations
- Get webinar signups
- Deliver free trials
These goals and objectives should be detailed enough to be meaningful and measurable. SMART objectives are a good framework for this
Specific - Get 100 new subscribers, schedule 12 new demonstrations, sign-up for 5 new free trials, etc.
Measurable - How will we measure (in quantitative terms) our results. If the objective is something like increase brand awareness, there must be a plan to measure success (like an ongoing brand tracking survey). Some things are easy to measure, some are not so easy. But - you must be able to define a goal that is measurable.
Achievable - what's the point of having an objective that can't be achieved? Ensure that whatever your goal is, that it can be achieved within the timeframe and budget that is available.
Relevant - Does the objective matter to the business? If you are trying to grow your revenue, will ebook downloads help get the job done? There are lots of objectives and lots of ways to achieve them, but you need to be sure that whatever you plan to do will help you accomplish the goal.
Time-Bound - Any objective should have a time component. When will it start, when will it end?
#2 Who Can Give it To Us?
This question addresses the audience for the campaign. What target audience or persona, are we trying to move to action?
The best practice for this question when building effective marketing campaigns is to know the persona, what problem the persona is trying to solve, and where are they on the path to purchase. Knowing these things will help to ensure that the campaign is effective in its ability to stimulate the desired goal.
If you are sending a marketing email to an opted-in list of prospects, this is pretty easy. But if you are using social media, SEO, or paid search, a lot more attention needs to go into defining the audience.
Use of look-alike audiences, demographic targeting, propensity targeting, search advertising, or other more technical approaches to audience definition requires a significant amount of effort and know-how to be effective.
#3 What do they need to hear?
This is all about the message. How do we deliver the right message to the target audience that will drive them to the action that we desire them to take?
Messaging requires experience with copywriting, the art of persuasion, the use of action or power words, appropriate images, good use of calls-to-action, etc.
The use of a story to paint the picture of the problem and your product's ability to solve it can be an especially compelling way to deliver the message.
Remember that every viable prospect understands that they have a need. The need creates a desire to move away from a problem or fear and towards an aspiration. Some products are more problem-oriented, some are more aspiration-oriented. You should have discovered this reality when you created your value propositions.
#4 Who do they need to hear it from?
All messages come from someone. Sometimes the messenger can be you, speaking to your prospect in personal terms. Other times you need someone that the audience trusts - like an influencer.
Regardless of who is delivering the message, you will need to overcome skepticism and doubt. The use of trust icons, certifications, testimonials, or reviews can help with this.
The messenger must be appropriate to the situation. For example, you can't sell skin cream that will reduce wrinkles if you have a veterinarian delivering the message (unless we're talking about wrinkles on your cat...).
If the messenger isn't you, or another influential person in your organization, it should be a celebrity, influencer, or a person that is believable and trustworthy.
Here's a simple framework for how the messenger might deliver your message:
- Hi, I'm professor Smith.
- I'm here to talk about your problem with x...
- I know all about x because...
- Here's why you can trust me
- So, as I was saying about x...
- Please take this action to solve your problem with x
#5 How do we get them to hear it?
Now we come to delivery. This encompasses things like:
- What channel(s) will we be using (blog, radio, TV, out-of-home, email, social media, etc.?
- What format will we use?
- When will we deliver it (day of the week, time of day, etc.)?
- What is our tone of voice?
Delivery is very important to the coherence of the entire campaign. A good message poorly delivered will not work. Or, if you have a weak proposition, but excellent delivery, you sound like a con artist.
Delivery is also important to the ROI of the campaign because some channels work well for one type of goal while not working so well for another. For example, an ebook is very effective for delivering detailed information, but not so much for building awareness. Radio works well for brand building and awareness, but you can't communicate detailed features and benefits. And so on.
So, you must select a channel or a group of channels that are appropriate to your campaign objective, your audience, your message, and your delivery. Any dissonance here will reduce the effectiveness of the campaign.
#6 What have we got?
What are the resources available to us and what strengths do we have that we can exploit in our effort to achieve our campaign goals?
Resources include budget, brand assets, samples, events, landing pages, websites, etc. Anything of value that can be marshaled to build a compelling campaign.
#7 What do we need to develop?
If there are any gaps between what we have available and what we need to succeed, there needs to be a plan to close this gap. If the gap can't be closed on time, the campaign needs to be dropped, adjusted, or delayed. There's no point in kicking off a campaign that is doomed to fail due to a lack of resources.
If there are challenges that may affect the campaign, these challenges need to be identified and proactive steps to address them developed. Wargaming, brainstorming, mind mapping, and other similar frameworks or tools can help with exploring gaps and challenges and in the development of contingency plans.
#8 How do we begin?
The proverb goes "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." And, every campaign starts with a first step.
Build a detailed and comprehensive plan for the campaign that addresses everything that you have built using the seven questions above. Make sure that you know where you are now, where you want to end up, and how you plan to get there. Not to mention your work to define the resources, gaps, and challenges that make up the environment for the campaign.
#9 How will we know if it's working?
Since we created SMART objectives in question #1, we have measurable and meaningful components to our campaign. Here we want to think through and prepare the methods for monitoring, measuring, evaluating, and reporting on the results of our work.
Tools like Google Analytics, ahrefs, Semrush, SpyFu, and Google Search Console can do an excellent job of measuring digital campaigns. For offline or traditional advertising campaigns, insights from market research providers, the channel partner, or retail scanner data can help.
No matter where or how you plan to deliver your campaign, you must have the means to measure the performance - otherwise, you are blindly implementing a campaign that you'll never know for sure how well it worked.
For complex campaigns that are omnichannel, or multi-channel, you will need to implement a multi-touch attribution model that considers each touch that the prospect had with the campaign.
And, most importantly, you will need to be able to generate the Return on Investment (ROI) for the campaign. This is usually pretty straightforward as: what did I spend divided by what did I earn.
These nine questions will provide you with a framework for ensuring that you have everything that you need to design and execute outstanding marketing campaigns.
If you want some help with any of this, feel free to give Asymmetric a call. We'll work with you to help you win in the uneven battle for market share and profitability.