Plan your marketing campaign in 6 simple steps
Creating a marketing campaign is no easy task. If you think a quick internet search will tell you everything you need to know, think again. There is no one true set of specific instructions for how to create a marketing campaign because there are so many steps involved, and you’ll need to make many campaigns based on your specific business goals and target audience.
The good news is, all marketing campaigns will generally follow the same six phases during the creation process. Understanding these six phases can help make the task of beginning a marketing campaign less overwhelming and more manageable and actionable.
To help you develop a successful marketing campaign from start to finish, we’ve analyzed each of these six phases in-depth and created a guide anyone can follow. The general phases outlined below will serve as a reference point to help direct your efforts as you start to develop your own unique marketing campaign steps.
In this article about creating marketing campaigns, you’ll learn to:
- Strategize your goals
- Set your budget
- Define your target audience
- Develop your message
- Execute your campaign
- Analyze your results
- Get started today
1. Strategize your goals
The first step of a marketing campaign is to clearly define your goals. This identifies the “why” behind your campaign and what you hope to achieve. Your goals could focus on sales, customer satisfaction, the product itself, or something else.
Whatever your area of focus, it is crucial that your marketing campaign goals and resources are aligned. You wouldn’t want your campaign goals to center on social media engagement when your organization has just purchased state-of-the-art email software. Bringing your resources and goals into harmony with one another from the start will help save employees’ time and keep projects within budget.
Also keep in mind that your goals will primarily serve to track the success of the campaign, so it’s important these goals be specific and measurable. For example, “increase sales” is a good goal to have, but it’s fairly vague and doesn’t give much direction on how to achieve it.
Instead, increase the specificity of the goal and designate a timeline to create something more definitive like “sell 25 products per day.” This goal is specific, time-driven, and measurable, so the campaign’s performance can be easily tracked throughout its duration.
2. Set your budget
A clearly outlined campaign is crucial to its success, so in addition to defining your campaign goals, you also need to set a budget. This phase often goes hand-in-hand with setting your campaign goals, as these two steps of a marketing campaign feed off of each other. The more aggressive and involved your campaign goals are, the higher your budget will need to be.
Just like the specific steps for how to create a marketing campaign vary, there are a few different ways to develop a budget for the process. Your budget could be:
- A percentage of revenue from current sales
- Based on competitors’ spend for similar marketing efforts
- Developed from totaling the cost of tasks in the campaign
Regardless of which method you use to set your budget, make sure you clearly communicate the budget to the entire team and regularly check your spending to ensure you don’t go over it.
3. Define your target audience
The more specifically you can identify your target audience at the outset of your marketing campaign, the better your return on investment will be. You can have amazing goals and the budget to achieve them — but if you don’t reach the right audience, you’ll always fall short.
As you define your target audience, be sure to consider the following:
- Demographic information. This includes the age, gender, and occupations of your audience.
- Psychographic information. This tells you who your audience is and what’s important to them. It defines the attitudes, beliefs, and lifestyles of your audience.
- Geographic location. Audiences in different locations will have different needs. For example, someone living in Phoenix isn’t as likely to buy waterproof boots as someone living in Seattle.
- Industry. Sometimes you’ll need to adjust your marketing tactics to better target certain industries. For example, people who work in tech are more likely to see your ads on LinkedIn than people who work predominantly in agriculture.
- Company size. In a B2B setting, your audience’s needs will also change with the company size. Small companies have very different needs from larger enterprise-level companies, so it’s crucial that you use your budget judiciously.
- Preferred media channels. You can save yourself lots of time and money by finding out where your audience is already spending most of its time online, then focusing your marketing efforts on those media channels.
The more information you can learn about your target audience, the better. This data allows you to finely tailor your marketing campaign to deliver personalized messages that resonate with the audience.
4. Develop your message
One of the most important marketing campaign steps is developing your message. If you’ve done the research and clearly defined your target audience, developing an effective campaign message becomes much easier.
Effective campaign messages address the following:
- They play to the audience’s emotions, focusing on unmet needs and pain points.
- They emphasize how the product will help the audience by addressing that need or pain point.
- They establish your company as a credible expert.
Establishing credibility is by far the trickiest part of campaign message development. Some common methods for building your audience’s trust are to share customer testimonials, gather endorsements from other leaders in the field, and publish or reference case studies that verify your claims.
5. Execute your campaign
Finally, after establishing clear goals, setting a firm budget, and nailing down your messaging, you’re ready to execute your campaign. This will be your final chance to review your campaign and make any necessary adjustments before putting your plans into action.
The actual execution of the campaign takes careful planning and coordination. The different elements of the campaign will often fall to other departments for scheduling and marketing activities. For example, you may have developed the overall campaign, but another employee will be responsible for actually sending the campaign emails and ensuring they are scheduled to go out in a cadence that works for your audience.
Your biggest challenge during the campaign execution phase will be to verify that each element of the campaign is being disseminated correctly by the various departments involved and that messaging is being sent out at the right time, to the right people.
6. Analyze your results
The final phase of a marketing campaign is to analyze the results. This is where you’ll determine if your campaign was able to meet the goals you set and stay on budget. While most of your analysis will be done at the end of the campaign, you should also be tracking and analyzing metrics while the campaign is live.
In the analysis phase, it’s important to leverage tools and platforms to help you centralize your data and gather as much information as possible. Many of your chosen media channels will have built-in metrics, such as an email’s click-through rate, that can help you analyze the success of that element. But one of the most helpful analysis resources available to you is a campaign management platform like Adobe Campaign.
A management platform like Campaign helps you plan your marketing campaign steps and track progress. It generates a dashboard to help you analyze the campaign on multiple levels and across channels so you can see everything in one place.
By analyzing and reviewing your campaign results, you’ll be able to identify where you hit the target, as well as key areas for growth and improvement — all of which will help you increase the success and effectiveness of future campaigns.
Get started today
Now that you know the six key phases of creating a marketing campaign, you’re ready to start developing your own unique steps that are perfectly designed to achieve your business goals. Armed with an understanding of the purpose of your marketing campaign, how to properly execute it, and suggestions for analyzing its performance, you can have all the tools you need to create effective and successful campaigns from start to finish.
Be sure to take advantage of existing tools like Campaign to help you better manage campaign tasks, steps, and responsibilities, so you can maximize your return on investment and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. With Campaign, you can control both online and offline customer journeys, delivering tailored experiences to every single customer.