The Prequel to a Marketing Campaign
A well-crafted marketing campaign is the result of significant research, planning, and strategy. The average consumer will never know the effort it takes to present the polished appearance they see. However, it is that extensive planning that makes it look seamless and effortless. The campaign prequel is not only your campaign’s origin story but a determinant of its future success.
If you’ve never thought of the planning process in this light, you aren’t alone. But you probably had an idea in the back of your mind that iconic campaigns took more effort than simply telling people they should like your product. If not, KFC’s memorable slogan “It’s Finger-Lickin’ Good” might’ve been something forgettable, such as “We Make Good Chicken.” Great campaigns are accessible if you put in the necessary work to prepare.
Decide How Your Campaign Fits Your Broader Strategy
Campaigns should always be a part of a broader strategy. Each ad design should serve a specific purpose within the marketing plan, such as raising brand awareness, reaching a new audience, or increasing sales. A successful campaign creates change. The key is understanding what that means in the context of the bigger picture.
Your campaign prequel starts with gathering pertinent information. At the start, you should ask questions about the existing situation, campaign stakeholders, what changes you seek, and what you need to create those changes. The answers to these questions help you form your strategy. Remember to continually revisit these questions throughout the planning and implementation of your campaign and any time situations change.
Choose Your Marketing Campaign Goals and Objectives
Design your marketing campaign to further your goals and objectives. The more specific and granular the plans, the more likely you will maintain focus and keep the campaign on track. The key is to use SMART goals. Though the individual terms may vary slightly depending upon the source, they work in concert to give you a blueprint for setting specific, time-bound objectives for each campaign.
SMART goals help you narrow your focus so you don’t overload your marketing materials and muddle your message. SMART stands for:
- Specific – What problem are you trying to solve or improvement are you seeking?
- Measurable – Your goals must be quantifiable to know if you are meeting them. It keeps everyone motivated and focused on the same outcome.
- Assignable –Ensure everyone involved knows who will perform the different tasks required to meet the goal.
- Realistic – Prevent burnout, inspire excitement, and increase your chance of success by ensuring that you can achieve your goal within the time and resource constraints.
- Time-related – Prevent scope creep and keep your eye on the prize by setting a deadline.
Research Your Competitors and Customers Alike
Your message is only as impactful as your understanding of your target audience. Knowing who you want to impact and being aware of the competitive landscape, you’ll be working in helps you shape the right message. Competitive analysis can tell you what your competition is doing well and who finds your ads appealing. The combination of knowing your target customer and who others in your market impact allows you to attract a niche audience or appeal to those your competitors failed to reach.
Set Your Campaign Budget
Every campaign should have a budget. Setting cost limits establishes the parameters of how you can work. Many companies start small before expanding their marketing. Though some marketing tactics are more expensive than others, strategic spending allows you to reach new markets while increasing ROI. Planning your budget also helps you proactively determine costs. Too often, companies underestimate the appropriate costs for long-term planning, which leaves them scrambling or scaling back at the last minute. Allocating funds in advance keeps your endeavors better in scope to maintain a consistent, ongoing plan.
Choose Your Preferred Channels
You have your choice of channels on which to place your ads. The key to reaching your customers and achieving your goals is to choose the channels where your target audience spends their time. For instance, if your goal is brand awareness, you’ll want to select an awareness medium like radio. Radio advertising is ideal for targeting specific customer groups by location, age, or gender by choosing a station in the genre that appeals to them.
Create Your Timeline (Without Rushing It)
It is essential to set a realistic timeline for your ads. However, be cautious that you don’t rush it, as it will take time for your messaging to build and truly become effective. Your timeline may need to be adjusted for optimal effect depending upon the channels you choose, though you should remain consistent on each. For instance, radio and TV ads generally run for shorter periods, while an online campaign may take longer.
Measure Results and Adapt
Plan how you’ll track the results of your campaign before you launch it. These metrics tell you when and where to adapt your messaging as you learn more about what works best for your audience. Remember that your campaigns don’t exist in a vacuum but are part of a longer-term strategy. Effective marketing is an ongoing growth process, and adapting it based on results is vital for reaching your audience over the long term.
Ensure Success by Investing Time in Your Campaign Prequel
Preparation is the key to the seamless execution of any marketing campaign. The time and effort that no one sees before launch are precisely why the result looks effortless. Establishing the goals and objectives that drive your campaign, setting your budget and timeline, and researching your customers and their interests helps you craft compelling content that makes your message resonate. Remember, the more time you spend behind-the-scenes planning, the more likely you will achieve long-term success.