Effective marketing campaigns don’t happen overnight. They require a lot of planning, often involving many people across your marketing, sales, and leadership teams. That’s because campaigns tend to last a long time—often a year or more—and must reach a specific segment of your audience. To connect with those people, you need to use the right messaging, channels, and tactics.
As you begin planning your next marketing campaign, consider these five fundamental questions to align your teams and guide your efforts as you develop a campaign strategy and supporting content.
1. What are your marketing goals, and do they align with your business goals?
Marketing campaigns are organized efforts to help reach a specific company goal, so before you do anything else, you need to make sure your marketing team understands the company’s larger revenue goals and how potential campaigns fit within those goals. Too often, marketing teams create and deploy content in a vacuum, which isn’t very effective.
You may already know what your current business goals are, but if not, it’s time to start a discussion. Everyone’s talking about marketing/sales alignment lately, and there’s a good reason for that. When you’re on the same page about where you need to go, you can actually work together to get there. Schedule a cross-functional meeting if needed to clarify business objectives.
When you do eventually sit down to set marketing goals, make sure you make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound). You’ll need to assess the success of your campaign later on—which we’ll further discuss shortly—and SMART goals make that much easier.
2. What does your audience need?
Knowing your audience is fundamental to B2B marketing, so your ideal customer profile and buyer personas should play a role in the development of all campaigns. When you develop your next campaign, revisit these as a starting point before diving deeper into your audience’s needs.
Campaigns should be tied to business goals, and to that end companies often focus their campaigns on products. That’s not the only approach to take, though. SiriusDecisions, for example, recommends focusing campaigns around customer needs, not just around products. This is a difference in mindset worth considering, since when you start by addressing your audience’s needs, you keep the people you’re selling to front and center. And that’s an important thing to do if you want your campaign to resonate.
3. How will you talk to your audience?
A marketing campaign usually has a broad theme, as well as specific messaging about your product/service that supports that theme. This is the part of the campaign development process where some creative brainstorming will come in handy.
What ideas will catch your audience’s attention and speak to their needs? Your theme could connect with them emotionally, touching on a pain point or aspiration they have. It could intrigue them. It could suggest a logical solution to their problem. Think about a marketing campaign whose messaging you remember—there’s a reason you remember it! Whatever theme and messaging you settle on, ensure it’s clear and memorable.
4. How will you reach your audience?
Strong campaign messaging sets up the next two important considerations: What type of content will you need to develop and how will you distribute it?
Formats to consider:
- Ads (social, search, display)
- Social media
- White papers
- Landing pages
Your audience and their needs will dictate the content you create and how you get it to them, so always think about them first. Not all formats will work for all audiences, and more content isn’t always better.
Despite what you might hear, you don’t need to be on all channels at once; you just need to be on the ones your audience is watching. Spending time on other channels means you’re spending dollars you could better spend elsewhere.
“Not all formats will work for all audiences, and more content isn’t always better.”
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5. How will you measure success?
Because campaigns last a while, you’ll want to track how things are going along the way, not just when the campaign is over. As mentioned, specific, measurable goals are the first step to gauging success. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll watch ahead of time, set up tracking, and pay attention to this data as your campaign progresses.
Once you see data rolling in, you can see what works, make adjustments, and even plan additional content pieces for later in the campaign. Then, once the campaign finally ends, you can use your KPI data to inform your next campaign.