Smarter Marketing Blog

Campaign Planning is in the B.A.G.

campaign planning


“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

9 tips to help you to outsource the planning of your next marketing campaign.

I am going to write about campaign planning later, but I want to explain why, first. I attended the launch of a very exciting initiative by a group of SMEs last Tuesday in the Green Isle Hotel, just outside of Dublin City. The founding members are putting together a Business Action Group (B.A.G. – Facebook & Twitter), who have decided to do it for themselves through collaboration, with a focus on sales. 250 people turned up to hear various presentations from business people, ranging from retailers and dragons to bankers and serial entrepreneurs.

The message for all attendees was loud and clear, throughout the day – know your customer, know your business proposition and persevere.

Part of the schedule was a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentation from three attendees to a panel of judges including Gavin Duffy, Ramona Nicholas and Niall Harbison. Here are some of the main points I took from their session:

  • Clearly understand why you are in business.
  • Realise who your product / service is for.
  • Know where your audience is and what they do (offline and online).
  • Network, network and network and listen to feedback.
  • Know why existing customers buy from you.
  • Your customer service is your marketing.

It was good to hear that in order to optimise your marketing, the old truism still applies – have the right message delivered to the right people at the right time and in the right location. And, if you don’t focus, listen, segment and respond in a relevant way, you may be wasting a lot of your time.

What we do, make or provide is irrelevant if it isn’t focused on the customer – O’C&K.

Stages of a marketing campaign plan.

As I spoke with fellow attendees (way too many to mention here), during the breaks, two themes kept reoccurring – 1) the notion that B2B marketing is difficult because it is boring and 2) the question of how to plan a marketing campaign. I thought that I would address both themes by way of content for this blog post.

From a communication point of view, there can be a perception that B2B marketers lack creativity as compared to their B2C peers. Also, that campaigns focused on businesses are dull but those focused on consumers are (can be) exciting. I don’t believe that this is necessarily true but if it is, I think that sometimes, marketers (or their brief, if outsourced) forget that organisations are made up of real-live people also!

Business buyers are also consumers in their own right and in this instance just happen to be buying for their company. They may be married, have children, play sport, blog, are social media fanatics, watch TV and go to the theatre. Normal people like us! They don’t change into another species when they don the business attire. They are looking for something everybody else is looking for – a simple solution to satisfy their needs or requirements.

In fact, isn’t everybody today looking for simplicity – in their workplace, in their schools, and where they buy things. No matter who they are, technology is assisting and empowering all types of people to simplify their lives and marketers (and businesses) must respond. My point is this, whether you are a B2B or a B2C business, your audience simply wants to see the benefit for them of working or doing business with you. Simplicity should not mean sacrificing creativity when campaign planning.

I think the best way to address the second theme is to outline the stages of campaign planning.

  • Setting campaign goals – what are you trying to achieve and how will you measure it.
  • Determine a target audience and insight – why will they respond to your call to action.
  • Agree the key campaign message – your positioning and the story around it.
  • Develop a media plan and a budget – what channels to use to reach your target audience.
  • Plan engagement strategy – how will you make contact and convert (online and offline).
  • Include action from existing customers – WOM techniques e.g. social media shares.

This is just a basic outline of what should be involved, but it was what I was discussing with our fellow ‘baggies’, at the launch. Actually, speaking of planning customer engagement, Amanda Coleman from Sugar & Spice made plenty of new friends at the event. She had a marvellous display of her product (candy buffets) which proved to be extremely popular with everybody, when they (ahem) were encouraged to sample same.

Sugar & Spice Candy Buffet

Good marketing is the same as it always was.

At O’C&K, we meet a mix of B2B and B2C organisations that want to outsource some or all of their marketing. Irrespective of which one they are, the same issue arises about marketing. They expect us to show them where the easy button is, where our magic wand is to solve their marketing problem. Unfortunately, we have to point out that there is none.

That is because good marketing, whether online or offline is the same as it always was. Of course tools and trends may change, but the first rule of marketing will not, – ‘know your audience’. It is why we spend a lot of time with clients determining their real audience, and why the message from the B.A.G. launch resonated with me so much.

Tips and Timesavers.

If you don’t have the inclination, the time or the experience to undertake campaign planning, of course you can outsource all or some of it. Here are some tips to remember, if you plan to do that.

  1. Find people who can relate to your passion – they should be able to replicate your energy.
  2. Work with people who offer value – time is precious, don’t let others use yours.
  3. Focus on what the media is worth to your business – not just the cost or the deal.
  4. Marketing materials don’t have to cost a fortune – work with people you can trust.
  5. PR is not dead – but agencies must have a proficiency in online reputation management.
  6. Know who the influencers are in your industry – bloggers, magazine editors, speakers etc.
  7. Marketing outsourced should increase your capacity and capabilities –winning teams collaborate.
  8. Research is essential – online tools are available and many are free. Only pay for new research.
  9. Make sure the marketing activity is relevant – people have never had it so easy to switch you off.

To finish off I want to focus on a few common reasons why campaigns may fail. The most common is, not knowing whom you want to do what. You must be aware why those people will even listen to your message – what’s in it for them? The second most common reason is not pre-defining success. It will only be successful if the campaign objectives are linked to business objectives.

The strategy should connect the ‘why’ with your brand. My third reason reflects the points mentioned already in this post – a lack of creative thinking. Marketing requires ideas that engage people either through entertainment, problem solving or education. We believe that almost all agencies can provide a business with creative ideas. What happens sometimes though, is that the campaign brief to the agency is not clear for reasons one and two above. This is where you just might need to outsource these skills to the experts.

 If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K



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