Marketing campaign planning

21 Feb 2022  |  by Kristina Kramer

9 min read

Marketing campaigns are designed to make companies memorable. Every slogan you can recall, every jingle you can hum, and every logo you can draw is an example of a successful marketing campaign. 

The best marketing campaigns stick with us for a long time after they make an initial impression and they draw us back to make repeat purchases over time. They also provide brands with an identity and a personality.

The purpose of marketing campaign planning is to identify relevant marketing activities and channels that will help you target the correct customers at the correct time. An effective campaign plan has an engaging concept, a clear goal, and an appropriate timeline and budget.

What is a marketing campaign plan?

Marketing campaign planning takes many forms and involves several different processes. But, to fully understand the process, we first need to look at what a marketing campaign plan actually is.

In essence, a marketing campaign plan is a roadmap. It tells you exactly what you need to do to execute your marketing campaign. It also tells you exactly when you need to do it and how much time and resource you should be spending on each action.

A solid marketing campaign plan contains a set of marketing goals and objectives (such as launching a new product or improving your company’s brand awareness), as well as a strategy to achieve the goals you’ve set. When executed correctly, your marketing campaign plan will provide you with direction, reduce risks, and encourage innovation.

The process of planning a successful marketing campaign isn’t easy and delivering a consistent message across multiple platforms to a target audience is complex. This is why creating a smart strategy and a sound plan is a vital step. If you fail to do this, the process of delivering your marketing strategy can become chaotic.

Ultimately, if you fail to make a marketing plan, then your campaign is likely to be less effective, and you may waste money. However, when everything is planned and organised correctly, the process is much more likely to be smooth and efficient. It will also be far easier for you to nail every deadline and create every asset or piece of content your campaign requires.

With this in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at the types of marketing campaigns companies can produce. We’ll then take a detailed look at exactly what marketing campaign planning involves, and analyse how tools can help you with the process.

Types of marketing campaigns

Depending on the goals of your business, there are a number of marketing campaigns you might run. These include:

  • Product marketing campaigns
  • Brand development campaigns
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Content marketing campaigns
  • User-generated content campaigns
  • Public relations/awareness campaigns
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Affiliate marketing campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • Acquisition marketing campaigns
  • Paid marketing/advertising campaigns

The right type of marketing campaign for your company will depend on the service or product you’re looking to promote, your budget, and your customers. To assess which type of marketing campaign is likely to give you the best return on investment, you need to make sure you plan your strategy and goals effectively.

How to plan a successful marketing campaign

Although creating an entire marketing campaign may feel like a big task, the process is straightforward if you assign tasks correctly and work alongside your team. Although the delivery of the campaign itself is highly important, planning it is arguably even more vital. When you have a detailed plan, executing your ideas is far simpler. As a result, the fun stuff like making creative assets also becomes much more enjoyable.

So, before you even consider creating something your audience will see, you need to consider what action you want them to take when they’re presented with it. To do this, make sure you take all of the steps outlined below. If you do, you’ll create an effective marketing campaign that’s measurable and cost effective.

1. Create a purpose and a goal for your campaign

Goals and objectives form the foundation of any successful marketing planning session. So, before you do devise your marketing campaign, you need to answer two simple questions:

  1. Why am I running this campaign?
  2. What do I want this campaign to accomplish?

Common goals for a marketing campaign include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Promoting a new product
  • Gathering customer insights
  • Generating revenue
  • Improving customer engagement
  • Promoting an upcoming event

These are common goals and objectives that most businesses will use. And, they’re great starting points. But, for your business to gain the most from your campaign, you need your goal to be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

So, once you’ve decided on the broad goal you’d like to achieve (like promoting a new product), then work on making it SMART. It should be something like:

‘The goal of my marketing campaign is to promote our new range of men’s trainers. I would like to receive 100 sign-ups for a pre-sale link that promotes the new product line by April 14th.’

2. Establish how the campaign will be measured

How you measure your campaign will largely be determined by your SMART goal. While marketing campaigns that aim to promote a new product or service are usually measured using upsells, sales, and pre-orders, those targeting user engagement will look at metrics like blog shares, social shares, and email interactions instead. 

If your campaign involves multiple marketing efforts, you’ll need to define how you’ll measure your success on each platform or medium. This way, you’ll not only be able to track how well you’re reaching your SMART goal overall, but you’ll also be able to accurately measure how your campaign is performing on each channel.

3. Define the audience for your campaign

For your marketing campaign to be effective, you need to define the right audience and then target these people effectively.

The best way of doing this is to initially figure out which stage of the sales funnel your campaign is targeting. Whether you’re aiming to reach people at the awareness, consideration, or decision stage of the funnel will ultimately determine your message.

Once you’ve done this, you then need to identify their interests, hobbies, and the problems they’re facing. So, ask yourself:

  • What are my audience’s general interests? What do they watch, listen to, and read?
  • Where does my audience spend time online?
  • What purposes do they have for using each social media platform?
  • What kind of content gets the attention of my audience?
  • What kind of problems do they have? How can my product or service solve these problems?

When defining your target audience, you should use as much data as possible. Try surveying your existing customers and the potential customers in your market. You can then use this data to create buyer personas that will inform your future decisions.

A note on why targeting customer segments is important

When you’re conducting your marketing activities, you don’t want to waste time and budget targeting an audience that isn’t interested in what you’re offering. This is why, before you start creating your plan, you need to identify the customers and prospects who will be most interested in your product or your offer.

The best way of doing this is segmenting your audience. You can do this based on socio-demographic, psychographic, or behaviour-based factors.

Once you’ve segmented your customers, you can ensure that you’re not providing your audience with irrelevant marketing messages. Instead, you can make sure that you’re always putting the right message in front of each customer at the right time and through the right channel.

4. Choose the right channels for distribution  

To help select the right channels for distribution, first look at the current media channels your company is using. Then, using the data your company has available, assess:

  • Which media channel performs best
  • Which channels allow you to pay for advertisements
  • Which channel has the best engagement rate
  • Which one most effectively attracts your customers
  • When answering these questions, make sure you’re looking at paid distribution channels (such as pay-per-click adverts and display ads), earned channels (such as influencer marketing and PR outreach), shared channels (such as social media sites and forums), and owned channels (such as your blog and your website).

5. Finalise your concept

Once you’ve worked out who your audience is, where they’re hanging out online, and how you can reach them, you can finalise your concept and create your assets.

Remember, the best marketing campaigns have a mission, a vision, and a visual identity. Your campaign should stay consistent with the branding of your business, but have its own identity.

You should start by brainstorming creative and value-driven ideas based on the information you’ve gathered so far. This should also involve thinking about campaigns you’ve run in the past, including a discussion about which ones worked and why. At this point of the marketing campaign planning process, it’s also wise to study what your competitors have done previously. This way, you can stand out from the crowd. Your idea needs to be big and bold, but it also needs to contain an overarching theme that ties every element of your campaign together.

When it comes to making the assets, you should start with your in-house teams. These are the experts in your business and can provide you with invaluable advice on what your campaign needs to succeed. However, if required, do not hesitate to hire the help of an outside agency or freelancers who specialise in creating the assets you require.

Of all the steps we’ve outlined, this one is likely to take you the longest. However, investing time here and getting the concept and the assets right is invaluable.

6. Set an appropriate timeline

When you have your assets and your target audience, it’s almost time to launch your campaign. However, before you put the campaign live, you need to create a realistic timeline and a final plan for your marketing activities.

By setting deadlines and timelines for your marketing activities, you’ll get a better idea of when, how, and how often you promote the campaign. You can also outline exactly who is responsible for what parts of the campaign.

To begin with, build a timeline. Start this process by marking a start and end date on the calendar. Once you’ve done this, you then need to assess the assets you’ve created and the marketing channels you’ve chosen. Working back from the campaign end date, you need to work out how often you can afford to post and promote the content you’ve created on your chosen channels.

Once you’ve calculated this, you can create a promotional calendar for each marketing channel. At this stage, you can also map out all of your scheduled posts, emails, and promotions on your calendar.

By visually mapping out your plan for each channel, you’ll be able to make sure that you’re correctly spreading your resources. This will also show you exactly how you’ll be spending your time and energy, as well as where you’re spending your money. All of this is highly useful when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your campaign when it has concluded.

How marketing campaign planning tools can help

Although taking all of the above steps may sound daunting, the process of marketing campaign planning is straightforward as long as you invest time in the process.

However, if you’re looking to make the process simpler, quicker, and more efficient, then marketing campaign planning tools like ours are the perfect solution. This is because these tools can help automate the process, saving you valuable time and money.

By using campaign automation software to help you plan your marketing activities, you will always ensure that you’re getting the right message in front of the right customer. This way, you can also achieve maximum results with minimal effort.

After all, in the modern world, automation is a key component of marketing. It ensures that each customer receives carefully targeted communications at the perfect time. Plus, it also ensures brand consistency, which helps grow trust and loyalty. You can also use the campaign planning tools to split test your assets, nurture leads, or even create event triggers. By automating your marketing campaigns, you’ll experience 7 key benefits, including:

  1. Improved efficiency
  2. Greater optimisation
  3. Better personalisation
  4. Trigger-based marketing
  5. The option for multi-channel or omni-channel marketing
  6. Consistency across all channels
  7. Better customer journey management

On top of this, marketing campaign planning tools can also be used to segment your customers, mine their data for targeting purposes, or even build an audience and develop a new strategy. No matter which stage of the process you’re looking for help with, tools can alleviate pressure and ensure that you’re making data-led decisions.
To learn more about how you can succeed in campaign planning and management, download our free eGuide on "Seven top tips for best practice marketing campaign management”.  

Download “Seven top tips for best practice marketing campaign management”
Kristina Kramer

Online Marketing Specialist

Kristina Kramer joined Apteco at the beginning of 2019. As online marketing specialist, her responsibilities include taking care of our website and various social media channels as well as the Apteco blog.

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