As I look down the road to the first quarter of 2007, my sights are getting set on developing our first marketing/sales campaign of the year. Creating and launching these campaigns is like dumping out Lego’s on the carpet and selecting which pieces will go into your masterpiece. Here’s where you get to bring together online marketing, print advertising, collateral, lead generation, search engine marketing and even a little database marketing. Its your chance to see what works the best together and what results can be achieved.
In a large corporation, people from multiple groups come together and collaboratively launch an effort such as this. For the small company marketer, much of the responsibility will fall on a much smaller group or maybe even you! To make this seem a little less daunting, I’ve put together some tips that have helped me launch campaigns.
- Focus the Campaign: This should be obvious, right? Well, it wasn’t to me when I first developed a campaign. There is a big difference in results when you ask your company’s sales team to call potential customers and say, “This is my company and we can help” versus “We have this product which solves this problem for you in your market”. I find the results are always better when you focus a campaign around a certain vertical or product family. For instance, my first quarter campaign will revolve around a product launch that is tailored towards a single vertical (with big potential, I might add).
- Know Your Targeted Audience: Research, research, research. Who is the audience and why do they need what you have to offer? If you can’t answer those two questions, try a different campaign. I do a ton of pre-campaign research with the intention of gathering enough information to present to my company’s sales team. Thus, educating them and empowering them to carry out the campaign. The more they know, the more confident they’ll be in talking about the product on which you’re focusing.
- Find the Right Messaging: Through your research, you should have come across enough information to create messaging that will be used across multiple marketing mediums for your campaign. Your messaging should be a strong, concise statement about how your product or service can solve a problem or ease the pain being experienced by your targeted vertical. This main talking point should be your central theme that is used in your collateral, banner ads, white papers, website landing pages, etc.
- Find the Right Marketing Mix: Now the fun part. What ingredients will I use in my campaign recipe? This should be a nice mix of online and offline material. Through your research you should have located where your target audience searches for information – trade magazines, online resource centers, eNewsletters, etc. Based on what you find and what your budget is for the campaign, select the avenues in which you’ll get the word out about your product or service.
- List or Database: Who is your sales group going to contact? Or, is this purely a marketing campaign with no sales push? Typically, I like to incorporate the sales team – they need to know what your focus is and why you’re planning the campaign. So, let’s put them to work. Do you have enough contacts for them to call in the target audience in your database? If not, look to a partner, such as a magazine, from which to purchase a membership list of some sort. These can make great outbound calling lists for your sales team. (They can also be a bust if you’re not careul, but we’ll cover that in a later post)
- Training: Whoever will participate in a calling campaign or be a contact point for an interested customer needs to be trained and briefed on the campaign. There is nothing worse then grabbing a potential customer’s interest and having them meet a brink wall when they call in. Enable your sales and customer service to help close the deal.
- Set Your Goals: Why are you doing the campaign? Is it to gain new customers? Is it to boost sales? Branding? Is it to let the marketplace know what you have to offer? Probably all of the above, right? Well, if so, make sure you’ve put some goals in place so you can track success.
- Launch and Track: You’ve done the work so now kick-off the campaign and start learning about what worked and what did not. If you’ve run a special promotion, track the effectiveness of the promotion. If you purchased online marketing components, track the customer response via click-throughs, online purchases, or lead generation.
Of course, every company is different and these 8 steps probably don’t work for everyone. But, there are fundamentals and groundwork in what I’ve mentioned that, if followed, will increase the results you see from your marketing and sales campaigns.