October has arrived and the leaves are changing. However, that doesn’t mean we want any marketing momentum to cool off. Believe it or not, now’s the time to start developing innovative marketing campaign plan ideas for 2024.
Creating a marketing campaign plan can be a hauntingly scary task. There’s no one-size-fits-all campaign plan. The planning process will vary on factors like industry trends, budget and seasonality. That’s why we’ve outlined five simple steps to develop your best marketing campaign plan yet.
1. Design a planning template and outline your goals
When planning and designing campaigns for the year (or any time, really), it can feel overwhelming. The best place to start is by outlining your most important goals and KPIs. We recommend building a marketing campaign plan in an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet. This way, it’s highly editable and you can make changes from anywhere and at any time. We call these types of documents editorial calendars (or ed cals for short).
Typically, you can use editorial calendars to plan out your social media content, email campaigns and distribution lists for press releases. You can even house marketing resources and brand guidelines in this spreadsheet, along with SEO strategies, blog topic ideas and more.
But first, start with outlining your goals, KPIs, budget and platforms you want to use. This can be the first page of your spreadsheet. Don’t stress or stop planning if you don’t know your budget. You can tentatively allocate funds for graphic design, paid search ads, or influencers. However, keep in mind that this may change in the future.
Second, list any recurring initiatives or holiday campaigns. Are there any past tactics that worked well? What content marketing stuck with your target audience? If this is your first campaign, take your best guess and use this chance to learn about your audience.
Seeing your campaign ideas from a bird’s eye view can help when brainstorming new ideas. Once you have an editorial calendar set up, you can use that as a template for structured frameworks in the future. This structure ensures you have everything in place and do not overlook any details.
Importantly, these templates are an easy way to plan, saving time and effort. The consistency streamlines collaboration within your marketing team. Everyone will be working within the same framework and process.
2. Identify your target audience
You can’t launch any campaign without a clearly defined target audience. Knowing details about your audience’s likes and dislikes will keep your messaging relevant and allow you to segment your market. Consider the following as you identify your target audience:
- Demographics. This includes the age, gender and job titles of your audience.
- Location. Your audience’s geographic location is especially important if you’re running paid ads. If you’re not, it’s still important to take locations into account. Knowing where your audience lives or visits helps to tailor your content to be more relevant and valuable.
- Lifestyle. This tells you what’s important to your audience. What are their attitudes, hobbies, education level, income, beliefs and interests? On the flip side, what do they not enjoy or like?
- Platform usage. Where does your audience spend their time? Is it fully online, or are they visiting physical locations? Are they heavy internet browsers, or do they stick to social media platforms?
When you reach the right people with a clear message, you’ll likely get more value from your marketing efforts.
3. Pick your marketing campaign type
After knowing your goals and audience, choose the type of marketing campaign you want to run. This is an essential step before you begin to create any content. There are many types of marketing campaigns. Each campaign type is designed to achieve specific goals and engage with audiences in different ways. Some common types of marketing campaigns include:
- Content marketing campaigns. Simply said, these campaigns focus on content creation. You’ll create valuable blogs and website content such as ebooks or other downloads. If you’re wanting to rise in organic search rankings, create a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy with attainable goals.
- Social media campaigns. If your audience is active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or TikTok, a social media campaign could be the way to go. Especially if brand awareness is a business goal, social media helps raise awareness while promoting products or services.
- Seasonal campaigns. These campaigns are what they sound like. They align with specific seasons, holidays or other special occasions like customer birthdays. If you run a holiday campaign, consider offering promotions or discounts.
- Email marketing campaigns. Email campaigns often involve segmentation. Sending personalized emails to subscribers helps guide them towards making a purchase or signing up. The email they receive depends on what stage they are in your marketing funnel.
- Integrated marketing campaigns. These are a Resolute favorite! If you plan to spend time and money on marketing, it’s best to run a fully integrated campaign. These campaigns combine various marketing channels and tactics to reach a wide audience and maintain a consistent brand message.
These are just a few examples of marketing campaigns. Many businesses and brands use a mix of these marketing campaigns to achieve their goals. How do you choose? The campaign type chosen depends on goals, audience, budget and resources.
4. Create that content
You can’t have a marketing campaign without content. Developing your message is probably the most important part of a campaign plan. Effective campaign messaging should:
- Evoke emotion. Make the people feel something! Play to your audience’s emotions. What are their wants and needs? Identify a problem and offer a solution.
- Establish credibility. If you’re making claims, include statistics or research findings to support them. Make sure this data comes from reliable sources.
- Incorporate social proof. Include quotes from customers or clients who have had positive experiences with your brand. Highlight specific benefits or solved problems.
Messaging is only half of the equation. Now, on to creative.
Creativity is what makes your brand stand out. A high-quality photo or branded graphic will tell a compelling story all on its own. Creative marketing is memorable. It leaves a lasting impression on your audience. In fact, creative is what sticks in a customer’s mind when they’re ready to buy or decide something.
Typically, successful marketing campaigns contain some type of video content. If brand awareness is your goal, consider YouTube ads. If you’re selling a product or service, create explainer videos to engage with your audience. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth for a full-scale video marketing campaign, try creating short Reels. Those short videos could be what your customers remember in the future.
If you have the budget, consider influencer marketing. Influencers bring authenticity to brands by showcasing a “real” experience. People prefer seeing familiar faces using a product. This is more interesting to them than seeing a model or product picture.
5. Implement your marketing campaign plan
Once you identify your goals, set your budget and refine your messaging, you’re ready to implement your marketing campaign plan. This is an exciting step, but it does require a keen eye. Be sure to take a moment to step back and review your campaign strategy and budget a final time before you launch.
Implementing a campaign takes more than just pressing “Go” or scheduling social media posts. Depending on your internal processes, different campaign elements may need approval from other departments or leadership. Attention to detail is key for this step of the campaign planning process. Make sure to dot those “I’s” and cross those “T’s.”
A few questions you should ask yourself:
- Is Google Analytics set up correctly on landing pages?
- Are the tracking pixels firing when you want them to?
- Is your budget distributed correctly across all platforms?
- Does your automated email campaign have enough time in between emails?
- Have you tested tracked conversions, such as button clicks or form submissions?
Live by this number one rule of campaign management: Never set it and forget. Digital marketing campaigns especially need weekly attention. Here at Resolute, we check on client campaign performance daily to look for changes in cost, engagement and optimization opportunities.
6. Analyze your marketing data
Lastly, you always want to analyze results. You put a lot of work into your marketing efforts. Research industry benchmarks and see how your campaign measured up. Here are a few things you should evaluate:
- Performance. How effective was your campaign and did you reach your goals? This is a great way to identify future tactics that work – or recognize if they didn’t.
- Budget. Understanding which platforms performed well can help you decide where to spend money in the future. Was there an audience segment that engaged the most? Perhaps you can spend more money targeting those specific people in the future.
- Audience insights. Campaign data provides valuable insights into your target audience’s behavior and demographics. Was there a certain age range or region that was the most engaged? This information helps you create campaigns that resonate with your audience.
- Creative performance. If you used a mix of graphics, photos and videos, you’ll be able to pinpoint what type of creative resonates with your audience. Did photos with people or building get more engagement? Did a graphic or a video lead to more website traffic?
- Continuous improvement. Analyzing campaign data will help you identify wins and failures. One thing about marketing – especially digital marketing – is that the landscape is always changing. What worked for this campaign may not guarantee success in the future. However, now you’re armed with the ability to make data-driven decision making.
- Goals and conversions. Data analysis is essential for calculating ROI. Conversion rates can help tell the story of your user journey. These data points help explain if you’re on the right path to reaching your marketing goals. If the campaign fell short, be sure to include ideas for adjustments.
It’s OK if your campaign wasn’t perfect. Chances are you’ll learn a lesson from every marketing campaign you launch. If it’s your first one ever – congratulations! Now, you have a baseline of data that you can compare your future campaigns.
Even if you didn’t reach your goals, that doesn’t mean your campaign failed. It means you’ve opened the door to new possibilities and learning experiences, setting the stage for future success.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you aren’t alone. Resolute is a full-service marketing agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our marketing services range from market research and media relations to workforce campaigns and branding. Learn more about us and how we can help you reach your goals.