A marketing campaign is a concentrated marketing effort, usually focused on a single message, to achieve one specific goal. This message is spread across multiple channels. A marketing strategy or plan can have several campaigns running simultaneously. For example, you could have one campaign to build awareness and another to drive renewals.
Marketing campaign management is a wide-ranging effort, involving several stages including: planning, executing, tracking, and analyzing/optimizing a campaign.
Generally speaking, there are six steps to plan a successful marketing campaign.
Before you start the tactical planning process, you need to understand who your customers are and where to reach them so you can anticipate what actions they will take and when they will take them. If you don’t understand your targeted audience, your campaign will waste time, money, and effort.
Identify clear and specific campaign objectives and metrics, determine how those objectives fit your organization's goals, and generate a campaign budget to support the actions needed to reach those goals.
Properly segmenting your audience drives campaign efficiency, provides better customer experiences (CX), and increases conversions. If you can segment your audience correctly, you can create a unique experience for each person and address their needs as well.
The channels you select and the content you develop are based on your goals and audience. For example, lead generation campaigns could use PPC advertising, email marketing, account-based marketing, or social media advertising. Thought leadership campaigns could use blogging or content marketing.
Motivate your targets to take the desired action, such as clicking through to the offer, visiting a store, leaving a review, or another step in the buyers’ journey.
Identify the metrics you will use to determine if your campaign was successful. But this is only a framework. As the campaign continues, business goals might evolve, stakeholders may change, and the target audience may shift (especially true for campaigns targeting teenagers/tweens or fast-growing startups).
That’s why campaign management is so crucial. The transition from a list of business goals to a successful multifaceted, multichannel campaign requires careful supervision over every aspect—from ad hoc promotions to SEO.
Campaign management may be performed by a single person—or distributed across an entire team—so it’s important to use a campaign management software suite to manage all of the many initiatives involved in your campaign(s). Automating much of the planning and execution can speed up the process of rolling out and managing a campaign while keeping your spending down.
Marketers and campaign managers who plan projects proactively are 356% more likely to report success.
How Unplanned Work Is Ruining Your results (and What To Do About It), Inc. Magazine, June 2019.
Campaign management software also helps create repeatable processes and implements the workflows that support them. It helps marketing teams collaborate and avoid mistakes and delays by breaking down campaign planning and execution into smaller tasks (such as content/digital asset creation, messaging development, implementation, and analytics), assigning those tasks to the right team and monitoring the campaign's progress throughout its run.
The software also helps test, monitor, and measure the success rate across all marketing channels, gleaning insights into what’s driving performance and marketing ROI.
Campaign management software should make it easy to work together, even when everyone is not in the same place. Some specific features to look for include:
Customers approach brands through an omnichannel lens; they expect the same experience no matter the channel. So marketing campaigns must meet that need across multiple channels. But that doesn’t mean that people want to hear the same message (or call to action) as everyone else. You need a campaign management system that allows you to organize and differentiate messages across multiple channels. It’s not enough to be where your prospects are; you need to speak to them in a way that resonates.
The solution should be intuitive, easy to use, and easy to train others on.
A campaign management solution should provide a central asset repository that the entire team can access. Rules and functionality that make it easy to personalize and reuse content in future campaigns are key.
Campaign management software needs to be able to collect, keep, and use data securely and efficiently. Real-time customer data is vital for precise customer segmentation, targeting, and personalization. But it’s just as crucial for the software to address data security issues proactively. Personally identifiable information (PII) fields should be able to be redacted and hidden when customer privacy is critical.
Maximize open and click-through rates with subject line predictions and send time optimization. Testing optimizes marketing campaigns. A/B testing is the most basic way to identify customer preferences or interests. Multivariate testing involves more complexity but can improve personalization for every member of your audience. Machine learning provides an opportunity to evaluate data that most marketers don’t consider, offering an opportunity to individualize every message.
Score your prospects based on where they are in their buying journey and/or their readiness to buy. Good campaign management software does the heavy lift of qualifying which prospects have the highest propensity to buy so that you can tailor messaging accordingly.
It’s crucial to evaluate the success of your campaigns and assess your progress. Campaign analytics shows what messaging and content performs well and how your prospects are responding to your campaign.
As mentioned above, a marketing campaign needs to be monitored as it goes along. And if the results aren’t what you are aiming for, you need to have the agility to respond at a moment’s notice. To keep everything on track over time, effective campaign management is a must.
Time is another huge component of campaign management. There is no “one-size-fits-all” template in terms of campaign duration or size. You might run a campaign that targets a specific city or zip code. You might manage a campaign during a particular holiday or event. Or, your campaign could run for years.
In some cases, a successful advertising or marketing campaign becomes synonymous with your brand. Progressive Insurance’s “Flo” campaign or Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign are two such examples.
But these campaigns did not come together with just a Coke and smile—another great campaign. It’s marketing campaign management that brings structure and order to the campaign. It moves you away from ad hoc promotions to focusing your messaging to meet a specific business objective.
Misalignment between sales and marketing is the number one reason why a company’s revenue stream slows down and/or declines.
Now, suppose all your campaign activity is integrated into your seller's CRM. In that case, sellers can easily manage and track all interactions customers had with your brand, not just the interactions that they personally had with the prospect. Campaign data within the CRM will show who has opened an email/chat or clicked on a call to action (CTA). This provides sellers with a completely different view of customers' behaviors and preferences. In addition, marketers can personalize campaigns using CRM data and have a new window into which campaigns led to more conversions.
A campaign analytics tool provides the metrics (data) to justify any decisions and/or adjustments that might need to be made during the campaign’s run. This data tells you what is—and isn’t—working as well as what should be changed, tweaked, or eliminated. In the end, the numbers will reveal whether your investment in the campaign was worthwhile.
Although the campaign measurements and metrics you ultimately use will vary depending on your industry and strategy, the following are metrics that most companies use to determine how a campaign performed.
|Pipeline growth|| |
How effective you were at generating leads and passing them as qualified leads to the sales team?
|Conversion rates|| |
How many people become leads? How many leads become customers?
When it comes to email marketing campaigns, it’s good to measure:
|Email opens||The number of recipients who opened the email.|
|Click-through rate (CTR)||The percentage of people who opened the email and clicked a link/ button within the email to take advantage of the offer.|
|Form conversion rate||The percentage of people who clicked through and filled out a form.|
|Bounce rate||The number of emails that could not be delivered and therefore couldn’t be opened. A hard bounce means that the email address you sent to was invalid. A soft bounce happens when the email address is valid, but the inbox was full and couldn’t accept more.|
|Unsubscribe rate||The number of people who asked to be removed from your email list.|
To help optimize your website, you should track the number of:
|Unique visitors|| |
The number of people who visit your site during a given time period.
|Returning visitors|| |
The number of people who returned to your website within a given time period.
|Page views||The number of pages your visitors clicked on within a given time period.|
|Search engine traffic||The number of people who have been driven to your site by search engines.|
|Bounce rate||The percentage of people who leave a webpage without clicking on another page or taking another action.|
|Inbound links/backlinks||A link from another website to your website.|