There’s a lot that goes into creating a successful marketing campaign. Whether you’re building top-of-mind awareness, launching a new product or engaging in a full-on rebranding, effective marketing requires careful planning and research to reach and engage the intended audience.
At a time when consumer attention spans are limited and the volume of digital content is skyrocketing, advertisers need to find ways to set themselves apart. To help you do this successfully, 14 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust each detail one step many companies skip in their marketing initiatives. Don’t overlook these essential parts of the process as you design your next campaign.
1. Upfront goals
It used to drive me nuts when we’d launch a campaign and then sit around and talk about it afterward with no goals, no timeline and no data points to measure. Basically, we had no idea of what success looked like except volume sales or personal perception — which was often dependent on our current mood. Set three SMART goals and track them so you know if the campaign was a success or a learning experience. – Jalene Kanani, NOHO HOME by Jalene Kanani
2. Established KPIs
Identify your key performance indicators and ensure your marketing efforts are targeted directly to the success of the specific intentions. It is easy to get lost in the weeds, but as long as your guard rails are defined, it is much easier to stay on track. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
3. A well-defined target buyer
Start by figuring out who your buyer is. Go past titles and get to the nitty-gritty of what buyers care about. Ask yourself what you think they already know about your company and what you sell. List all the questions that need to be answered before the buyer agrees to purchase. You know your buyers better than any agency you hire. Dig in and do the work to help them succeed. – Linda Bishop, Thought Transformation
4. Detailed customer personas
Take time to build customer personas that reflect the traits of the buyer you are targeting. The customer persona should include elements such as income, business size, goals, location, age, hobbies and interests. Creating customer personas can help a company create content to better attract the target audience and achieve the desired outcome. – Shannon Block, Skillful a Markle Initiative
5. An understanding of your customers’ needs
Relate the message to the potential customer’s needs. Marketing isn’t about how great your company is, it’s about how you can help your customers. You may be the best purple widget maker in the world, but if your potential customers don’t know why they need a purple widget, they will never become actual customers. – Christine Durrett, Durrett & Kersting PLLC
6. Awareness of the sales funnel stage
Knowing your target audience and what stage of your sales funnel they are in is important. If you’re targeting a new, cold audience, you have to start at the top of the funnel with a brand-awareness campaign. As your audience becomes more familiar with your product or service, you can nurture them with follow-up campaigns to guide them down the sales funnel. – Brenda Bryan, The Bryan Agency
7. A long-term vision
Only seeking out a “hot” agency or opportunity is short-sighted and likely not focused on ROI and KPIs. Instead, look for long-term results and effectiveness. Ask the right questions to make sure you will have continued future success. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
8. Messaging focused on the end-user
The most critical step companies skip is within the mission of the marketing campaigns they hope to launch. Most companies endeavor to launch campaigns to raise awareness about their products or services, but this is a flawed perspective. Rather than focusing on revenue generation, companies should focus their campaigns on positive benefits for the end-users — on the end users’ return on investment. – Jeff Shuford, National Invest In Veterans Week
9. An alignment of message, values and voice
Map your messages and build out your core values. If a business is not aligned on its voice — or on its values — the marketing campaign will fall flat. Consumers are seeking transparency and understanding not just of what a business does but also of what it stands for. A framework of key messages that are shaped by values helps integrate the marketing effort successfully. – Hinda Mitchell, Inspire PR Group
10. Diverse marketing channels
Companies should take an omnichannel approach to their marketing campaigns for optimal success. A good marketer doesn’t put all their eggs in one basket — they diversify marketing efforts across several channels. – Jeremy Hedrick, DialCare
11. Cross-platform design
One excellent opportunity many companies fail to consider when building marketing campaigns is omnichannel integration. The customer journey is not linear and often takes place across multiple devices. How are you adjusting messages, creative and calls-to-action so customers can move across platforms seamlessly? – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.
12. A data analytics team
Behind every successful marketing campaign is a thriving team that leverages data and analytics to make informed decisions. Don’t lose sight of your data insights when planning your next campaign. – Todd Marks, Mindgrub
13. A knowledgeable partner
Hiring a company that really understands your business — and how to leverage that relationship in public relations and social media — is critical. We have found that utilizing LinkedIn for B2B is highly effective. – Jim Jacobi, Parkland Communities, Inc.
14. Close engagement with your marketing agency
We’ve hired a number of marketing firms over the years and have found our degree of engagement to be critical to their success. The idea that you can outsource your marketing to a third party and they are going to somehow work wonders is a pipe dream. Find a firm you can trust and work closely with them to establish your marketing strategy and vision. – Jared Knisley, Fizen Technology