Got Marketing? 5 Critical Elements of a Marketing Campaign
by Blackwood Impact Group
Profitable marketing campaigns require many moving parts to work in harmony with each other. Creating marketing success is not as simple as having a website and getting it to rank on the first page of Google for specific keywords with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or SEM (Search Engine Marketing). For one thing, there are different types of campaigns you can run. Examples include radio and TV ads, Social Media boosted posts and ads, Content Marketing, Video Marketing, Email Marketing, SEO, SEM, and much more. Many of these campaign types overlap or work with each other, so determining the right campaign for you isn’t always “black or white.” It might not even be “either/or.”
Each marketing campaign type has its own unique formula of ingredients necessary for success. For example, if we continue with the earlier example of running an SEO campaign, you will need, at the very least, a content writer, a graphic designer, and an SEO strategist in order to generate stellar results. A few of those same components would be needed to create a social media campaign that yielded more daily website visits and leads. It certainly would require you to build more into your social media strategy besides, “I just need to post every day.”
To see successful lead generation from social media, you first need to pick the platforms that your target audience is already engaged with. You’ll then need to tailor your content specifically to each platform. How video is consumed and responded to on Facebook is different from on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or even LinkedIn. Besides attention to your strategy, you’ll still need a graph designer, a copywriter, and more to bring your social medial campaign to life.
There is a plethora of confusing marketing advice on the internet. The methods and techniques shared by various marketing guru’s can seem to conflict. So if you are a small business owner who doesn’t have a background in marketing, it can be confusing to figure out what the right answer for your business is. If you know you need to create a formal marketing plan, this article is intended to be a high-level overview of all the elements that should or could be in your marketing plan.
Step 1 – First Things First
The best place to start developing a new or revising an existing marketing plan is to assess your company’s current position in the marketplace with an internal analysis. A SWOT Analysis will be an excellent starting point. It’s where you assess your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You may also want to perform an analysis of your competitors to give you an idea of how you are currently fairing in the marketplace.
Next, you need to determine what your short and long-term goals are. Do you want to open another location? Are you looking to increase leads and sales and hit a particular revenue target? Do you want to launch a new product or service? Having clearly defined goals will help you make all your subsequent marketing decisions. When you constantly ask yourself, “Is this action going to help us meet our goals?” you will increase your probabilities of creating successful campaigns.
Step 2 – Define and Research Your Target Market
It is hard to sell a product or service without knowing who it is best suited for. Once you understand who is the most likely group of people to purchase and love your products and services, it becomes easier to market to them and generate more consistent sales. Conducting market research will help you understand critical characteristics that your most likely buyers share. Your research should yield answers to questions such as:
- What are the demographic and psychographic profiles of your most likely buyers?
- What do your most likely buyers care about the most?
- What are their pain points?
- What influences their buying decisions?
- How will your product serve them better than your competitors?
As a result of your market research, you might discover you may need to switch niches or verticles because what you are selling is better suited for a different group than the one you’re currently trying to market to. Once you’ve identified your target market, create buyer personas to help you quickly identify them and develop marketing messages they will be apt to respond to.
Step 3 – Develop Your Verbal Branding and Marketing Message
Developing your verbal branding elements and marketing message is a foundational element of any marketing plan. Your marketing message is what you say to your prospects that quickly sums up how you can help them and why you’ll be better at it than anyone else. It should grab the attention of your target market. Some elements that will comprise your overall messaging strategy include your Brand Promise, Unique Selling Proposition, slogans, and tag-lines.
It is essential to clearly define each of these for your business and make sure your team members are well versed. They need to be able to uniformly communicate brand messages to customers and prospects alike. Blackwood Impact Group strongly urges every company to develop a brand guide. (link to glossary) It is a written document that will keep everyone who works on various aspects of your branding and marketing on the same page. It will empower everyone representing the company to share the same messages.
Step 4 – Choose Your Marketing Channels
Marketing channels are where you plan to put your brand awareness, marketing, and sales solicitation (advertisement) messages. You want to place them where your target audience is most likely to see them and take action. There are so many different online and offline avenues for you to choose from when it comes to marketing channels. They include but are not limited to:
- Social Media Ads
- Email Marketing
- Text Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Local/National newspapers and magazines
- Digital Displays in High Traffic Areas
- Store Signage
- Car/Bus/Train Wrappers
- Storefront Signage / Sandwich Boards
- Yard Signs
- Conferences Trade-shows Vending/Sponsorships
- Partnerships and Strategic Alliances
Each channel has its nuances which you must pay attention to. Some channels might work better than others, depending on the type of business you are in, the target personas you are trying to reach, and where those prospects are in the buying process. For example, Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization campaigns are good for reaching informed buyers who are aware of your company and closer to making a buying decision. Social Media ads are useful for targeting unaware buyers with brand awareness campaigns or for sparking impulse purchases. Storefront signage, sandwich boards, and yard signs are great for local businesses. If the signage is being viewed in a high traffic area, even better!
Be sure to do your due diligence before building campaigns and investing money into marketing on any channel. You want to understand the demographics each channel reaches so you can estimate your potential ROI (return on investment). Based on the data, select the channels where your target clients are the most engaged. Also, you’ll want to optimize your message and delivery for each channel; what might work as a social media video ad might not work as a TV commercial. And when dealing in the digital space, make sure your graphics, videos, emails, and websites are optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
Step 5 – Create Your Campaigns
You will be ready to create your campaigns once you have a few critical components in place:
- You understand your market position (step 1)
- You know your target market (step 2)
- You created your marketing messages (step 3)
- You identified your best marketing channels (step 4)
All campaigns are not created equally. It will be important to determine the type you plan to launch. Brand awareness campaigns help your potential consumers become more familiar with your company name or products, plus what you stand for. Marketing campaigns tend to drive lead acquisition activities. Advertising campaigns are usually aimed at driving sales of a particular service or product.
You must be strategic when it comes to marrying the right marketing channels to your campaigns and messages. Making the wrong decisions will be costly. Analyze the trends of each channel and make informed decisions based on your goals, the data, your budget, and your company’s or product’s unique factors. For example, consider if your business seasonal? When would be the optimal times to promote? Is your business easy to promote with pictures on social media? What are the best offline mediums for promoting your company? Are you a storefront or digital-only presence? These types of questions will help you make the best decisions about when, where, and how to run your campaigns.
For example, if you have a restoration business, you may not want to focus on running ads on social media continually because they may not capture much attention. But when the latest flash flood, snowstorm, or some other natural disaster blows through town, that’s when their people start posting pictures of their damage and start asking friends for recommendations. Only at a point of need is when they start looking for a company that can help them repair their roof, dry out their basement, remove down trees, and more. Listen to the severe weather forecast in your area and test out running brand awareness campaigns on social media ahead of big storms. You could be increasing your chances of being top of mind when the storm is over. For your continual campaigns, figure out which channels are best for intersecting potential clients right at their point of need.
Putting It All Together
There are many moving parts to creating a comprehensive marketing plan for your business. How do you determine which strategy or campaign will work best for you? In our experience, a company budget usually sets the tone for how much marketing can be done. Once you are clear on what you are willing to spend, then you can plan your first campaigns accordingly that will help you get closer to your ultimate goal. As you increase sales as a result of your marketing, you can reinvest more and more dollars into marketing your business and trying other campaign tactics.
Creating a marketing plan is an overwhelming process for many. But Blackwood Impact Group is here to help you make sense of what will work best for your company. If you are ready to explore consultants who can help guide you through the process, we would be honored to have your consideration. Contact us today to arrange a no-obligation conversation.