But if you're not a marketer, where do you start? My five minute guide is as good a place as any!
First thing's first: before you start thinking about beautifully designed flyers and viral videos, you need to do your research. Carry out a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your product or your brand. This will help to inform your messaging.
Get to know your audience, and your competitors - and tailor your messages accordingly. Make sure that you're speaking to your customers using language they'll understand - and that you're effectively communicating what makes your product, service or brand better than the other options on your market. The more information you have, the better armed you'll be to create a successful campaign.
Think carefully about what you want this campaign to achieve. Are you aiming to generate leads? How many? What kind of leads - from what demographic? Location? Do you want to increase website visits, downloads, shares and likes on social media? What is the purpose of all of the work you're doing?
Set clear objectives and make them SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. That way, you can look back on what you set out to achieve and monitor how successful your campaign is as the days pass.
3. Tactics and resources
Where will you find the time, money and manpower to carry out this campaign? Are there any regulatory limitations you need to take into consideration? This step doesn't have to be onerous but it is a vital one - if you identify that there is a skills gap, or a high demand for resources that you can't currently spare, you can revise your campaign at the outset. These problems are much more difficult to manage if you don't identify them until you're half way through a project.
4. Budget and timeline
This is the who, what, when, where, and how of your campaign. It is resource intensive in terms of both planning and implementation - but it is the bread and butter stuff that will get results.
Firstly, set your budget - allocate portions of it to specific types of activity, such as print, social media advertising, travel costs, or exhibition materials - and stick to it.
Next, plan your activity. Think about who you want to reach, and then consider which marketing channel will be most effective in reaching that segment of your audience. Think about all the channels available to you - both offline and online - and then consider the key messages that you'll communicate through each of those channels. Remember, people respond best to content that is personalised and tailored to their interests and needs - so segment your audience and messages carefully.
5. Measurement and analysis
In reality, this isn't the last step - it should be an ongoing process throughout your campaign. Gather as many statistics as you can - they're easy to get hold of through social media, web and email platforms these days - and track everything you can. As well as statistics, ask for feedback from customers, or potential customers. Analyse all the numbers and feedback you have, identify what worked well and what didn't, where spikes in web traffic or in sales corresponded to marketing activity, and act on that analysis. This is the most important aspect of the whole campaign - don't be afraid to experiment. If a particular email didn't perform very well, experiment with a new subject line. If a particular image on a website carousel resulted in twice as many clicks as the previous week - try to understand why. If customers say they aren't buying your product because they didn't know about it, what can you do to raise awareness? Ask these questions throughout the campaign so you can improve and revise your activity as you go along to get the best results.
Interested in finding out more about a particular aspect of campaign planning or need support with your marketing campaigns? Get in touch!