Planning a marketing campaign can be overwhelming. More often than not, the campaign planning and execution process is inconsistent, inefficient, and downright confusing.
Wait, what’s the concept? But which channels are we launching on? How much money? HOW MUCH TIME? Oh shoot, we need a landing page! Where are those graphics? And now my boss wants the logo to be bigger.
And also, you’re not alone.
But we are here to tell you: it doesn’t have to be this way!
Let’s set aside the campaigns of old, the chaos and confusion, the last-minute content creation and the hope-for-the-best, fingers-crossed-underneath-the-table attempts.
Take a breath. Clear the slate.
And instead, let us offer a three-step go-to framework that will simplify your marketing campaign planning.
Strategy, Builders, Drivers
In this blog, we’ll talk about the framework for a successful marketing campaign.
Similar to building a house, we have to draw up a blueprint, purchase materials, and set support structures in place before we ever get to cook in the brand new kitchen.
Introducing (drum roll, please) – Strategy, Builders, and Drivers – the simple framework you need for every marketing campaign you’ll ever execute.
“Hey, What’s the Plan?”
You might call it The Roadmap. Or The Plan (with a capital P). Or the approach, the procedure, the process. We, here at Magneti, refer to this stage as “Strategy.”
Simply put, it’s when you figure out what the heck you’re going to do.
This is the campaign blueprint that includes your approach, your audience, your channels, what you’re going to need, how long it will take, where everything will live, etc.
We (meaning, us marketers) define strategy as “a plan to get the right message to the right audience at the right time.” You’ve likely heard this definition (too) many times.
But let’s take a moment and break it down.
During your Strategy session with your team, these are the things you should walk away knowing, in the depths of your very soul:
1) Your product. Meaning, your offering, your service, your unique solution to the world’s biggest problems.
2) Your audience. And we don’t mean a vague subset of humans like “all the single ladies.” Take the time to identify and personify your audience in a way that you can connect with, empathize with, and build meaningful messaging around.
3) Your content. The right message, based on this lovely (fictional but believable) human, addressing their problem and promising to provide a solution.
4) Your plan. How are you going to reach said person? You have a thousand options to communicate, but how will this persona best receive your story? Start creating a list of things you need (a video, an email campaign, a commercial) and then establish how you’re going to promote it to that audience, and what you’ll measure to determine whether or not it’s been successful.
Some useful tools during the strategy phase include:
- Audience research
- Keyword tools like Moz and Sparktoro
- A planning calendar (no fancy software subscription required. We use google sheets)
- A brief (or a mix of formalized documents, screenshots, moodboards, etc.) to summarize your creative decisions
- Dropbox (or your go-to file system manager)
To be clear, there aren’t a ton of specific deliverables or KPIs to measure during the Strategy phase.
The goal is to make sure you have a plan delivered on time that you believe will accomplish your goals and that everyone can stack hands on.
So sit back and relax, put on your (comfy) creativity pants, start doing some research, connect with your empathetic self, and turn on your critical thinking.
A.K.A. “The Stuff”
Alright, (hopefully) you’ve made a list of tangibles you need to create during the Strategy phase.
You’ve got your blueprints and you know what materials you need to build your house. Now, you start collecting said materials, or what we call your “Builders.”
Your Builders can be anything from web pages and ads, downloads and videos, to social media content and emails.
You might want to use all of these Builders at some point during your campaign.
The two things to keep in mind throughout this development phase are: (1) keep it well-designed and (2) keep it on-brand. What do we mean by that, you ask?
- Keep it well-designed. Is it compelling to your audience and nailing the fundamentals of the medium? i.e. for a brochure – did you ship a three-sided Russian novel or is it easily scannable, well-spaced, and full of design choices that will resonate with the people you’re trying to reach?
- Keep it on brand. Is it consistent with your brand and marketing materials? Or did you try to do something different, just to “mix it up?” Here is an argument for staying consistent.
For the Builders phase, put on your hard hat. Get ready to design, develop, write, and produce.
At Magneti, we say, “Nail the details.”
Meaning, think about where, when, and how your audience will receive this builder.
What state of mind are they in? What’s around them? What other “noise” are you competing with? Can you make them smile? Empathize with them?
Build your builders to try and nail the ‘right time, right place, right message’ mantra of marketers past.
Proof It, Then Proof It Again
Oh, and don’t miss commas! Proof it until you’re sure it’s ready, and then — proof it one more time.
The last thing you want is a prospect fixating on a typo when you’re trying to get them to buy something from you!
We’re still not really thinking about KPIs here – the most important thing (that will set you up for killer KPIs in the future) is to build the Builders puzzle pieces to match the Strategy, pay attention to detail, stick to your brand, and get stuff done on time and on budget.
Helpful tools during the Builder phase:
- The Adobe Creative Suite
- CSS and HTML
- Web-digital tools galore
- Photo libraries
- Landing pages
- Social media content
Do the Dang Thing
Ok, you’ve got a plan (Strategy). You’ve got some assets (Builders). Now, it’s time to put these suckers to work.
This phase is referred to as a slew of things: campaign management, deployment, launch, promotion, optimization, tinkering, and analysis, just to name a few.
At Magneti, we just call it “Drivers.” No matter the name, the idea is the same: do the marketing.
This is where you can spend a lot of money really fast (in ads, billboards, commercials, etc).
The bulk of your budget is typically allotted to the Drivers phase, and this is where you hope and expect to see some bang for your buck.
You’ll have tangible deliverables here, like traffic, outcomes, leads, MQLs, SQLs, and new customers or donors.
This is the inspection phase of your house building, where you put on your GM hat and start overseeing the construction of the frame.
You’re managing, analyzing, segmenting, split-testing, reporting, pivoting, etc.
You’re focusing all of your attention on KPIs: analyzing click-through rates, open rates on email, conversion rates on landing pages, and traffic from different sources.
You’re asking the question, “What did we get in return?”
Go-to tools in the Drivers phase include:
- Web platforms
- Social media
- Ad platforms
- Analytics and reporting
A Framework that Works
At Magneti, this is the marketing campaign framework that we use for every single one of our marketing campaigns (and we do a lot of them).
We won’t even begin creating Builders until we have a solid Strategy in place. And we typically don’t start tracking KPIs until we’re in the Drivers phase.
This structure helps us focus on exactly what’s important in each phase. That means, we’re wasting less time, we’re far more organized and we have a solid pulse on what’s working and what isn’t throughout the campaign.