16 often-overlooked steps in building an effective marketing campaign

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Developing a great product or service is only the first step in bringing the world to your business’s door. The second, equally important step is getting the message out to potential customers about what you have to offer and helping them understand how it will make a positive difference for them.

The Business Journals

It’s easy to get caught up in your own enthusiasm about your offerings, but that’s not enough. You have to consider the perspective of your target audience and craft a campaign that really speaks to them. Here, 16 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share important steps businesses often overlook when they’re crafting a marketing campaign and why they’re so essential to success.

1. Seeking the opinions of multiple stakeholders.
It’s smart to start with brand discovery by answering critical questions. What are the product’s or service’s attributes? What is the value proposition it offers? What does success look like? What are competitors doing? What might get in the way of our success? Seek the opinions of different stakeholders — not just the marketing team — to gain diverse perspectives that better inform the campaign. – Hinda Mitchell, Inspire PR Group

2. Considering who you’re helping, and why
Marketing campaigns have to be about your customer and how you’re going to relieve their pain points. Marketing is no longer about what we do as businesses. Don’t overlook who you are helping, and why. – Tiffany Wallace, Dagen Personnel, LLC

3. Developing a comprehensive buyer persona
Develop a comprehensive customer avatar — aka a buyer persona — to develop marketing that truly connects. A customer avatar humanizes your ideal buyer by going far beyond demographics and including psychographic traits, such as values, goals, lifestyle, pain points and so on. By aiming for one customer, you can successfully reach many more. Be sure to build your customer avatar using research and data. – Lincoln Jacobe, 6 Pillars Marketing

4. Collecting a range of customer testimonials
Businesses often overlook consumer testimonials. They are the authentic voice of users of your product or service. Testimonials bring a user experience to life. They are more reliable and trusted than a company bragging and give the potential buyer insight from a variety of “real-life” perspectives. – Aviva Ajmera, SoLVE KC

5. Developing a clear and concise message
Before launching any marketing campaign, it’s important to take the time to develop a clear and concise message. Every aspect of the campaign, from the tagline to the visuals, should work together to reinforce the central message. By developing a strong message up front, businesses can increase their chances of success and avoid wasted effort. – Adam Toren, RaisingEmpoweredKids.com

6. Conversing with potential customers
When creating marketing campaigns, many businesses overlook the conversations with potential customers that need to happen throughout the development cycle. Create a feedback loop: Take your offering early and often to customers for input. When you learn your market’s pain points and needs during development, your offering — and therefore your marketing campaign — will resonate with your customers. – Daniel Serfaty, Aptima, Inc.

7. Establishing a brand narrative
Establish a brand narrative and ask the basic questions about why you exist, why people should care and what problem you solve. Companies should be able to easily answer why they should be trusted by their customers, industry, investors and their own employees. This allows them to cut through the clutter and approach their goals with a full package of products and purposes. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

8. Maintaining ‘always-on’ content marketing
The “always-on” campaign of great content marketing makes every one-time campaign more effective. If people already associate your brand with a solution to their problem(s), it makes a campaign focused on a specific product or service feel less like marketing and more like another way to engage with a trusted thought partner. – Andrea Fryrear, AgileSherpas

9. Understanding the customer’s journey
Experience mapping is a critical step in building an effective marketing campaign that’s often overlooked. Work to understand the customer’s journey by watching their behavior, listening to their stories and learning from their data. By putting yourself in the shoes of the customer, you gain vital insight into the moments that matter most in their relationship with your brand. – Ethan Whitehill, Crux KC

10. Planning fresh, modern sales materials
Marketing collateral is often overlooked. These assets are ideal for increasing brand awareness and providing information about your products or services. In our marketing plan, we plan out sales materials with fresh stats, stories and a modern design. This helps us stay ahead of the competition and generate more leads using sales collateral. We know that it’s a critical component of business growth and sales success. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group

11. Building a strong email list to nurture leads
Something that’s often overlooked is building a strong email list — every single time. I have spoken to an immeasurable number of prospects over the years who, when asked about the size of their email list, just stare back blankly. Building and using an email list will enable you to nurture your leads and convert them along the way. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

12. Sending direct mail to engaged leads
Direct mail is effective. To maximize its value, mail to engaged leads, not all leads. Engaged leads interact with emails, talk to sales or make multiple visits to your website. Direct mail is effective because we get less mail than email, so it stands out more. Mail also has a longer “shelf life.” Studies show recipients keep direct mail for 17 days on average — and that helps you win. – Linda Bishop, Thought Transformation

13. Packaging compelling case studies/success stories
While customer testimonials can provide highly effective validation and social proof, I feel the most persuasive element of a product launch is the packaging of compelling case studies/success stories. Outlining the use case and the resulting impact of your product or service on a business (or consumer) leaves little room for skepticism. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.

14. Conducting in-depth customer research
Customer research is by far one of the most overlooked steps in building a marketing campaign, which often results in a significant gap between what your team puts forth and what the customer actually wants. Its importance is reflected in the effort required to motivate your customers to buy the product. Validate your roadmap constantly with your target customer profile to ensure alignment. – Sanjay Jupudi, Qentelli

15. Being a thought leader in your space
Being a thought leader in your space is a critical component of extending your brand. A consistent showing in written form, where you are fueling discussions and adding to the perspective of leaders, is a powerful way to keep you in front of large audiences. Make sure what you offer is quickly absorbable, easily identifiable, clearly written and compelling, such that the audience wants to read more. – Kimberly Janson, Janson Associates

16. Ensuring outstanding customer service
A great marketing campaign can effectively target your consumer audience, but the key to it all is successfully converting them to a consumer and then fulfilling the product order in a timely manner. Once a customer receives the product, ensure it exceeds their expectations, with the goal of them becoming a lifetime customer and brand ambassador who attracts other customers to your brand through word of mouth. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

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