I once spent an afternoon with an executive who loved coming up with new marketing ideas. They offered an endless stream of suggestions for videos, blog posts, traveling roadshows, pop-up events, surprise giveaways—you name it. While all of the ideas had potential, what the executive didn’t realize was that a campaign needs to start with “why” before ever getting into the “what.”
Without a clear objective, even great ideas are just a list of things to do; there is no strategy to guide them and there is no way of measuring their success. This is a problem that many businesses find themselves falling into time and again, but it’s possible to avoid this trap by creating a strategy first—here’s how:
Step 1: Know why you are communicating
Campaigns should always be linked to your strategic business goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Employee confidence? Share of wallet? Define what it is you want to impact for the business before looking at how you will do it.
Step 2: Know what you want to achieve
10,000 Facebook fans might seem like a great goal, but what does that accomplish for the business? If you’ve been in the corporate world long enough, you’re probably familiar with the “We want ours to be bigger than theirs” mentality. You need to ask yourself what you want to achieve with those followers—and make it concrete.
Do you want to increase sales of T-shirts by 20%? Do you want customers to share their latest purchase on social media and, in doing so, increase brand awareness? Do you want employees to feel more connected to your company? Volume as a metric is meaningless unless there is a direct action related to it that you want to achieve.
Step 3: Understand how your audience communicates
Campaigns are not one-size-fits all. To be effective, they need to be designed with the audience in mind. Who are you trying to reach? Employees? Potential customers? B2B sales leads? Look to your audience and how they prefer to communicate, and your tactics will define themselves.
Step 4: Measure your success
Once you’ve defined the “what,” “why” and “how,” it’s time to measure your results! This is where many businesses fail to complete the strategic process. The campaign is built and implemented, the champagne has been poured, but the outcome is a mystery. No one is tracking the results!
You will never know if your campaign was a success—and if your money was well spent—unless you set your target and measure the results. Where do you get your target? Take a close look at your “what” and it should be right there in front of you.
Have you noticed a difference in effectiveness between campaigns that are built around a strategy and those that aren’t? Let us know on Twitter @loomonauts.