The marketplace is like a battlefield with companies vying for the same customers. And to get noticed, your brand’s identity and creative messaging must stand out.
But rather than rely on a few generic ads to spread a message, you're going to have to plan, execute, and evaluate an effective marketing campaign! Whether it'd be to reinforce your brand, support sales efforts or build product awareness, campaigns are key for success.
The most successful marketing campaigns actually use repetition to breed familiarity. While there’s no magic number, it’s said that people should see your message at least seven times before they’re ready to commit. And when you finally achieve brand recognition, that's when you'll reap the rewards!
How people see your message is up to you. Many marketing campaigns use a primary theme, and incorporate variations across multiple channels. By mixing it up, you'll be able to reach more people.
What is A Marketing Campaign?
You know how companies set a specific goal, such as increased sales or brand recognition? Well, marketing campaigns are developed to crush those goals.
A marketing campaign is composed of various marketing activities to penetrate their target market. These can include email campaigns, social media ads and organic posts, SEO or even in-store events. When properly coordinated with each other, these activities work to drive the desired results.
Additionally a marketing campaign develops your brand's creative messaging, such as a slogan, colour scheme, logo or tagline, to gain recognition. It also ensures your visual identity remains consistent, never delving into generic territory that people simply forget.
How do Marketing Campaigns Differ from Advertising Campaigns?
A marketing campaign encompasses various means to promote their brand's product or service. This involves market research, creating a brand strategy and developing tactics to reach their target market. Tactics could be anything from email campaigns to social media, and public-relations and even in-person events.
Meanwhile, an advertising campaign is more specific, conveying persuasive messaging via paid channels to drive sales or brand awareness. For example, if clothing brand 'Calvin Klein' had a new product launch, it would use advertising to promote it. This could involve billboards, TV spots, magazine adverts and other forms of paid advertising.
Think marketing campaigns as a broader initiative that integrates various disciplines together, taking months and even years to build. Advertising campaigns, meanwhile, are more specific, and often short-term, looking to get an immediate reaction from a customer.
Successful Marketing Campaign Examples
Now that we know the jist of what marketing campaigns do, let's look at a few real-life examples.
Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign swayed nation-wide opinions of how women and children viewed themselves by using real models and stories to represent beauty. Their initial research reported that only 2% of women saw themselves as being beautiful - a very low number that just didn’t feel right.
Using a social media marketing campaign along with print, and television, they educated their target market on positive self-esteem. Their campaign #beautybias, involved teaming up with Broadly to many films that challenged the traditional beauty standards
Other initiatives, like “The Dove Self-Esteem Project” aimed to educate parents, teachers and students on how to build self-esteem in young people.
Why was this marketing campaign successful?
The campaign was so well-received because unrealistic beauty standards were ingrained in society for so long. Acknowledging that and offering an alternative was something people wanted to see more of. Their marketing strategies went beyond selling a few soap bars as it created a whole movement, redefining what beauty was.
Old Spice: "The Man Your Man Can Smell Like" Campaign
Despite Old Spice being launched in 1937, it only became globally recognised in 2010, when their "The Man Your Man Can Smell Like" campaign was released. It featured Isaiah Mustafa's suave character implying to his female audience that their husbands/boyfriends could be as charismatic and cool as him if they bought Old Spice products.
Isaiah was smug, yet charming - an incredibly entertaining combination. The campaign was so successful because it was humorous and eye-catching, resonating with audiences who could appreciate its wit. As a result, Old Spice's brand awareness skyrocketed, and sales went through the roof.
Why was this marketing campaign successful?
Besides being hilarious and memorable, Old Spice nailed the execution of their campaign by having Isaiah address his female audience directly. He brought them into the fold, making them feel as though they were part of something cool. It also gave Old Spice more of a personality, where people remembered the brand not just for its products, but also its humour and charm.
In both examples, it was the creative messaging that won people over. Dove's campaign was heartfelt and about self-reflection, while Old Spice's was witty and clever. It goes to show that whatever your product is, always aim to get a positive reaction!
Marketing Campaign Medium
Most companies just don't have the budget to hire established marketing agencies who can create campaigns on their behalf.
So what can you do if you're a small team working with a tight budget?
Well, turns out a lot, especially in 2023 - let's go through them:
Online media ads: Pay Per Click (PPC) on Google, Facebook and Instagram ads, display and retargeting.
Content marketing: blogging, guest posting, videos, podcasts etc
Social media: organic posts and videos, influencer campaigns
Email marketing: newsletters, automated sequences, promotions
Print advertising: brochures, flyers and leaflets
Telemarketing: cold calls, SMS and MMS to promote services and products
Events: trade shows, seminars and workshops
Public relations: press releases to promote positive news about your brand
Outdoor marketing: billboards, bus stops and posters
TV and radio: commercials to reach huge audiences
Complex marketing campaigns generally support several campaigns involving different activities and strategies. They leverage multiple mediums to deliver a sequence of information and to create a unified message. As mentioned, they'll generally have an overarching theme, i.e Nike's "Just Do It" and Lidl's "Big on Quality, Lidl on price" and mix things up by using different variations.
Let's use Nike as an example: Their TV commercials typically feature athletes intensely performing their sport, accompanied by the "Just Do It" slogan. Meanwhile, on social media platforms, they sometimes post inspirational quotes to promote their message. Again, many of these are accompanied by the "Just Do It" slogan.
If you're just starting, try focusing on a single objective, using only one medium. Let's go over a marketing strategy examples:
Lead generation for a video-editing software company
- Create a website landing page offering a demo, and target industry-specific keywords through PPC.
- Capture prospect information who clicked and landed on the page with an opt-in form.
- Send out emails with a demo link and invite readers to view the video-editing software.
- Call prospects, follow up, answer their questions and secure the deal. Prospects should be nurtured through the sales cycle until the deal is closed.
Raising awareness for a mobile application
- Use competitor ads as inspiration and run Facebook and Instagram ads targeting people who have shown interest in similar applications.
- Create social media content and frequently engage with its responders. You can also partner with industry influencers who endorse the new application.
- Create a YouTube channel offering tutorial videos on how to properly use the application.
- Build a landing page featuring the app and a sign-up call to action.
Promoting a fitness studio's membership discount
- Create exciting new social media posts about the membership discount. Use stunning visuals i.e attractive studio images, catchy captions and include your gym's contact number and address.
- Run banner ads on industry websites and send targeted emails to prospects.
- Create a referral program and reward existing fitness studio members for referring their friends and family.
- Host a special event at your fitness studio, with fitness influencers to attract new members on the fence. A free trial or training demonstration are great incentives for potential members.
How to Estimate Campaign Goals
Whether it’s gathering leads, increasing brand awareness or building sales, you need an end goal. By setting realistic, yet achievable benchmarks, you can assess the success and future iterations of your campaign.
So how do you estimate these goals? Well, it's common practice to start with your annual goals and work off of that.
Let's say you're running an ecommerce website and your annual goal is to earn $100,000 in revenue from new customers.
First, you need to calculate how many leads you need to earn $100,000.
If, for every 100 leads you convert 10 customers, it means you have a lead-to-customer conversion rate of 10%. To calculate the number of leads needed, you can use the following formula:
Number of leads needed = Revenue goal / Average order value / Lead-to-customer conversion rate
Let's assume that your average order value is $50. Plugging in the numbers:
Number of leads needed = $100,000 / $50 / 0.10
Number of leads needed = 20,000
Therefore, to reach your revenue target of $100,000, you need to generate 20,000 leads throughout the year. Now you can begin using social media marketing campaigns, email marketing campaigns and so on to hit this number.
How to Know if a Marketing Campaign is Successful?
Let's evaluate the success of a marketing campaign into case scenarios, starting with the best case scenario to the worst.
Best Case Scenario
Your campaigns managed to reach their respective goals. Overall, you finally reached 20,000 leads and converted 10% of them to customers. You now have your 2000 new customers and achieved the annual revenue goal of $100,000!
During every campaign's journey, you monitored each campaign’s progress through various KPIs and adjusted accordingly. You even implemented A/B testing on various lead generation ads, which resulted in a higher ROI.
Because every campaign was monitored and optimised, it showed your competence, determination and ability to adapt. You're now given budget approval to run more campaigns, and have complete reigns over the marketing team.
Average Case Scenario
You don't quite reach $100,000 in revenue, but your marketing efforts and results are adequate to warrant future budget approvals. Your campaigns barely reach the 20,000 leads goal and converted 5% of them to customers. Despite knowing this information, you're not entirely sure why your conversion rate was so low compared to the expected 10%.
You performed A/B testing and campaign metric monitoring, but not nearly enough to fully optimise your campaign. As you had no issues getting leads, you assumed that you'll have no trouble converting them.
Simply put, you got a little lucky!
Worst Case Scenario
You act on a reactive basis and don't come close to reaching 20,000 leads. Instead of optimising campaigns, you decide to just cut back on budget or cancel the campaign altogether. New campaigns are then put in its place with no long-term success.
At this point, you can't pinpoint or even guess why the campaign was unsuccessful. Was it the generic ad copy? Or was it due to poor targeting? Maybe the keywords were too competitive. Without any optimisation or metric tracking, you were just shooting in the dark, hoping something would hit their target.
While we haven't thrown in real figures, you get an idea why one would want to plan, execute and evaluate their marketing campaigns. And just because you had some success, it doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels. Continuous improvement is necessary to stay ahead of the competition!
Steps on How to Create a Marketing Campaign
- Define your campaign's purpose
Let's start with the most obvious question:
Why are you running this campaign?
It doesn't matter if it's for lead generation, brand awareness, or to increase sales. Every campaign should exist for a reason! Naturally that goal should be measurable and attainable within a set timeframe.
If nothing comes to mind, analyse weaker areas of your business. Is it website traffic? Or is it customer retention? Even minor improvements can result in more consumers and higher revenue.
Let's go through some simple campaign goals:
- Promote your brand's new product or service
- Improve brand recognition or awareness
- Seek out feedback from your customers
- Lead generation
- Drive sales
- Boost user engagement on social media
These are just general business goals, but they can be more sophisticated and specialised. For example, you may run multiple campaigns that achieve a single goal.
For example, your goal could be to change your brand’s perception in the market. Your first campaign could involve gathering consumer information to assess your brand’s current perception, and your second campaign could involve implementing creative materials to improve it.
It also helps to write your goal, ensuring everyone’s on the same page. It could be something like:
- "Increase website conversion rate by 10% by December 2023 via blog posts and video tutorials."
- "Gather user-generated content from 1000 customers via a branded hashtag on Instagram for our new product in two months."
These goals provide actionable steps to take and offer a timeline for deliverables. They even provide the medium i.e Blog posts or Instagram branded hashtags to achieve those goals.
As mentioned, you want to concentrate on your annual goals as your starting point.
- Establish Your distribution channels
Your goals, whether it'd be brand awareness or lead generation, will determine your distribution channels.
Social media is fantastic because it's a cost-effective way to reach many people. You can deepen customer relationships by creating social media exclusive offers, or even personalised posts to your followers. Furthermore, its targeting capabilities are near second-to-none, leveraging consumer data i.e their interests and recent purchases to deliver targeted content and ads to the right audience.
If you're looking to increase website organic traffic for a product launch campaign, focusing on content marketing is a great long-term investment. These blog posts would be industry-related, typically addressing common pain points and solutions or even talking about new trends.
- Define your target audience
You may have crafted a picture-perfect marketing campaign, but it’s all for nothing if shown to the wrong crowd?
It's a bit like an opera singer performing in a RnB concert, yeah they're great at what they do, but the audience may not connect with their style.
If you feel your creative copy and visuals are spot on, and you're still receiving low engagement, chances are you're targeting the wrong audience.
Take some time to understand who your ideal customer is.
Are they male or female? What is their age range? Do they live in suburbs or cities? What platforms are they most active on? Etc.
The more you understand about your target audience, the better you can reach them. Social media platforms, like Facebook, offer detailed targeted options such as interests, location and age, upcoming life events and so on. For example, if you're selling 1st year anniversary cakes, you can target users nearing their 1st anniversary.
How to use the Sales Funnel to Your Advantage
You also need to establish what part of the sales funnel your target audience is in.
Are you targeting people who don't know or understand your product?
Or do you want people further down who just need a little nudge to make a purchase?
If it's the former, brand awareness campaigns that establish your product's value works. if it's the latter, discount offers, free trials, or gamification ads might compel them to make a purchase.
- Determine Your Brand's Creative Messaging
When you think of the company 'Red Bull', what's the first thing that comes to mind?
Chances are it's one of the following:
Their red and grey colour scheme.
The 'Red Bull gives you wings' slogan.
Their association to extreme sports, music festivals or other entertainments.
Maybe it's all of the above.
All of these components are part of Red Bull's creative brand messaging. They work in unison, creating something cohesive and memorable for their consumers. Let's break each one of them down:
Colour Scheme: Brand recognition is key, and Red Bull's red and grey colour is a dead giveaway. It conveys power, energy and vibrancy - all values associated with the brand.
Slogan: Red Bull 'Gives you wings' slogan doesn’t even mention energy drinks, but it still symbolises the brand in a fun and imaginative way. Giving you wings could mean overcoming a challenge, taking on something adventurous, or feeling more energised.
Associations: Red Bull's partnerships with extreme sports and anything that requires adrenaline has been cemented for the last few decades. Events like ‘Red Bull Air Race’ and ‘Red Bull Flugtag’ are a testament to this strategy.
Red Bull is also considered a 'cool' drink for the younger crowd, and that reputation is largely due to who they've associated with. Red Bull has often sponsored events from high schools, universities and nightclubs, helping them to maintain their dynamic image.
Without waffling too much, the lesson here is to define your creative messaging and stick with it. Define your USP, and ensure your brand is associated with events, people or products that align with your brand’s values. You want your brand to stick out from the crowd, and in a good way.
- Set a timeline for the campaign and invest in a marketing calendar
Unless you're a multi-million dollar company, you're probably on a strict budget. To get the most bang for your buck, you need to set deadlines for the campaign.
Ensure to establish the following:
- When the campaign will launch.
- How long it'll run for.
- What milestones you'd like to achieve.
You can then break these down further, giving deadlines for your marketing activities.
These can be jotted down in a marketing calendar, along with other details such as your chosen marketing channels, assigned roles and budgets, to name a few.
By setting campaign deadlines, you and your team will have a greater urgency to get things done. Milestones also let you gauge your performance, informing you on what needs to be improved.
For example, if your lead generation campaign has failed to hit its targets after two weeks, you can start making the necessary changes. At this point, you may want to incorporate A/B testing to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
With a clear timeline in mind, you want to ensure your team sticks to that timeline. This could mean doing weekly check-ins via group calls, ]Slack messages or emails between team members. Keeping everyone in the loop helps ensure your campaigns run smoothly and efficiently.
- Start measuring key metrics that matter and start optimising
Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to scroll through your analytics page and see all the metrics staring back at you.
To help clarify things, start prioritising on key performance indicators (KPIs) related to your campaign goals. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, tracking the number of impressions is just as useful as tracking clicks. This is because impressions ensure people are seeing your message, even if they're not clicking.
Let's go through a few more examples based on campaign goals:
1. Increase app downloads by 20% over six months via targeted PPC.
In this case, metrics you'd want to analyse include:
Click-through rate (CTR): Find out the percentage of people who clicked on your ad from impressions. Higher CTRs mean better ad engagement, potentially leading to more app downloads.
Conversion rate: Track how many users downloaded your app after clicking on your PPC ad. If this percentage is low, it could mean your landing page has low-quality content, a lack of CTAs, or other factors that hinder conversions.
Cost per acquisition (CPA): Calculate the average cost per download. Monitor your CPA to ensure you're not overspending.
2. Generate 500 qualified leads for a B2B software solution over three months through targeted email campaigns.
The following metrics you may want to monitor include:
Email open rate: measures the percentage of recipients who opened your emails out of the total number sent. If it’s low, try changing up the subject line or pre-header text. Use a business email if you're emailing B2B leads.
Click-through rate (CTR): track how many recipients clicked the links within your emails. If it's low, consider testing different CTA formats, such as buttons or videos. Also experiment with your email content to see which types of messages garner more clicks.
Lead conversion rate: check how many people became leads after clicking through your email campaigns. Your landing page has a lot to do with this metric, so ensure to include testimonials, case studies, strong visuals, and calls to action.
Once you recognise which metrics are falling short, incorporate new strategies or tactics to improve them. You may need to refine your targeting criteria, change up your ad creative, or adjust the CTA in your emails. A/B testing also works, allowing you to cut out the guesswork and quickly identify what works best for your campaigns.
What to Do When a Marketing Campaign is Concluded
Marketing campaigns are akin to science experiments - you set goals, think of solutions, measure and analyse results, and refine your tactics. They also can take months or over a year to complete, using past data to help shape future strategies.
When your campaign comes to an end, ask yourself the following questions:
- What could have I done differently?
- Why were some marketing activities more successful than others?
- Were there delays on my deliverables? If so, why?
- How could have we saved money?
- What did we do right and should continue doing in future campaigns?
Reflecting on your experiences, like any process, helps you to improve your future marketing efforts! And always be honest with yourself - don’t shift the blame on your marketing teams without proper assessment. Take responsibility for all campaign outcomes and evaluate your own contributions as well - you can then find out the root cause of any issues.
We hope that this marketing campaign guide has put you on the right track to achieving your goals. Good luck!