Marketing campaigns, if you’re reading this article you’ve likely stared down your fair share of them, and chances are you’re very familiar with one of their core challenges – standing out amongst all of the noise.
Working with Inkling on marketing campaigns over the last couple of years I’ve cultivated a series of best practices in creating what I call “mindful” marketing campaigns. Namely campaigns designed for a better conversion rate.
Establish Why You’re Creating a Campaign
This may seem like a no-brainer but I can’t tell you the number of companies I’ve consulted with who create short and intermittent campaigns just to get “eyes on” some content, product, or promotion. The result is a jumbled series of campaigns that bump into one another and, if they target the same audience, flood the end user and kill engagement. It can be a big money draw with little result. This kind of behavior happens when teams are nervous to hit their social or sales goals and that spurs them to create campaigns reactively rather than fitting them into a broader company plan and brand. Here are some great reasons to create a campaign:
Evergreen Engagement (Remind People You’re There)
Most large brands need some form of evergreen campaign – lightweight, cross-platform assets that promote long term goals, best-selling products, or content topics. The key here is to have 2 – 3 sets of evergreen ads that promote a quarterly (or annual) goal and that, after creation, require very little upkeep. These assets must be impeccably branded and should have a beautiful visual aesthetic but – they need to be just a little generic. If you plan ahead, videos and animated ads can be used here and are especially easy if you can use a video developed for instagram or snapchat. The idea in having a low-cost, stable set of quarterly of campaign materials is that it frees up your creative team to ideate on your key campaigns and saves up budget. These ads typically provide a stable flow of new users and, if they plug a product or content series, re-engage current users.
Key Marketing Campaigns (The Wow-Factor)
Let’s be real, you’ve got to have the wow-factor to draw in big numbers. Wow-factor campaigns are a great option when you’ve got something truly spectacular or unique up your sleeve like say an all-expense paid giveaway trip to Hawaii that ties into your largest product release of the year. Essentially a key marketing campaign is merited when you have a major metric or release on the line and it has to do well. This is an instance where a creative team should spend some time planning bespoke, on-brand creative across platforms specific to the target user. In our example of a trip to Hawaii – it might be a series of splash pages highlighting beaches in hawaii, local dishes, and copy making viewers have a major case of vacation envy. Or it might feature mailers (yes there is still a time and place for snail mail) and ads, that visually look and feel like travel tickets and stubs. And of course there are always sponsored posts that feature a blend of travel style photography and food photography that should feel aspirational but attainable. These campaigns take more time (they ideally should build up to the main event), budget (unique materials, die cuts, and freebies can go a long way to make something feel luxe or special) and Creative Director attention (this should not be a total departure from brand – find your companies own spin). So cherry pick a few based on budget, key business results, and timeline.
Emergency Campaigns (Bail Yourself Out)
Now, if you’ve planned well, you shouldn’t need these. But life happens, the internet is fickle, and interests shift quickly. If you’re a Creative Director, you should keep an eye on at-risk key business results from the get-go and ideally, make a plan b(ail out) to help make a last minute push for engagement. These campaigns need to be quick, easy to ramp up, and ideally should require very little up-front creative/budget. The idea here is that the CD should have a an articulated plan that sits on the back burner and is put into action late in the game to save on budget (and stress). If you have time and budget to plan ahead you could do yourself a huge favor and make a few generic, image heavy, campaigns that plug giveaways, sales, an article etc. with placeholder content. Let’s break that down a bit – why image heavy? An ad with an image background can shift products, seasons, or content with minimal effort.