Marketing campaign: what it is exactly
Marketing campaign: need for a definition
Even though I ran dozens of marketing campaigns, mostly in a B2B environment, I have to admit that in the early years of my Marketer career, the definition of a campaign was not so clear for me as it is now. The same happened with numerous marketers new in their role and that I had the chanace to work with too. "But, Lucie, what is a campaign?" was a very common question. This is quite natural as Marketing is so diverse that you cannot absorb and experiment with everything at once.
However, this early lack of clarity regarding what was a marketing campaign led to some misunderstanding, but more problematic, to suboptimal usage of resources (time as well as efforts) added to low results. Taking distance, I definitively wish I would have known more about marketing campaigns from the start to grow faster as a marketer and create an impact earlier.
Years later, when I onboarded new marketing colleagues into the campaign field, I also noticed that campaigns were requiring not only a definition of what is a marketing campaign but also examples. This is because the concept of a campaign in marketing is much less natural than we may think. Indeed, we had many challenging, and welcomed talks about a possible definition of a campaign in my team.
What is a marketing campaign?
Marketing campaigns are key in marketing and therefore, it is crucial to understand their logic very well to make the most of them. According to my marketing experience, and numerous talks I had with experimented and passionated Marketers, I ended up with this definition of a what is a marketing campaign:
A marketing campaign is one specific marketing message orchestrated and promoted on several platforms, media, or channels during a determined time.
In this definition of a campaign, 4 principles are central, as they allow to make a difference between what is a campaign and what is another type of marketing initiative:
One single message: even though the message delivered in the marketing campaign may take several forms, the fact that what is communicated is constant and expressed with the same tone of voice and imagery is key in a campaign.
Promotion on several touchpoints: to speak of a campaign, your message has to be visible and raise awareness. That's why marketers usually speak of marketing campaigns when the message is leveraged on several mediums.
Orchestration of the communication: by "orchestration", I mainly mean "marketing strategy". Indeed, you have to adapt your marketing message to the media in a very practical approach (for example, the length on a banner is not the same as on a website), but also by taking into account what is the role of each media (or platform, or channel) in the customer journey.
Limitation to a certain time: marketing campaigns have a beginning and an end. Usually, they last several weeks, from 3 weeks to 2 months (to give a rough idea). The duration depends on the strategy behind as well as the resources and the expected impact (and possible budget). Campaigns are usually peaks of activity where efforts are concentrated to create the maximum of impact during a defined timeline.
Now that what is a marketing campaign is clear, let's see the most critical aspects to be successful with marketing campaignss.
Marketing campaign: pros and cons
Pros of a marketing campaign
Using marketing campaigns has several advantages for a marketer:
As your marketing message is concentrated in a limited time, and follows an omnichannel logic, the impact is usually stronger than with fragmented initiatives. Indeed, you transport the same message in several ways so you reach different type of audiences. In addition, repetition is important to raise awareness, so marketing campaigns are a very productive path to make this possible, without boring your audience.
Marketing campaigns help to strengthen your branding by raising awareness for your mission or products. As a marketing campaign usually last several weeks, you have time to communicate about several aspects of the same story.
Campaigns also are a good way to develop teamwork, as they include a lot of channels and touchpoints. As a consequence, marketing campaigns are beneficial for the entire company.
Disadvantages of marketing campaigns
However, managing campaigns may be challenging too:
From an organizational point of view, creating, producing, and launching campaigns is complicated because the orchestration of numerous teams and specialists is required. The bigger the companyy or the marketing division is, the more difficult it is.
Launching a campaign requires a lot of time: usually several months, depending on the size of the company and of the campaign. So marketing campaigns cannot generate fast results. They are rather mid-term initiatives.
Marketing campaigns are only a part of marketing, the one focusing on communication and, most of the time, branding. You definitively don't have to limit your marketing to this area only.
How to create good marketing campaigns step by step
You decided to launch a marketing campaign, but are unsure about what makes a good campaign? Follow these steps and create a good marketing campaign:
Have crystal clear what are the goals of your marketing campaign. Is it about strengthening brand awareness? Or you want to increase the traffic to your website with the campaign? Or are you rather at increasing the conversion rate of your leads? Defining what is the main objective is crucial for the way you will conceptualize the campaign to make the most of it.
Set the tone of your commercial ambition by deciding the exact KPIs you plan to reach. For example, are you looking to generate 1k more visits or 10k? Is it realistic? Why is the KPI of 1 k (or 10 k) additional visits relevant? What do you need to make this possible, for example, a specific budget for your marketing campaign? How does the ROI look like? Answer all these questions. The replies will become the guideline of your marketing campaign.
Know your audience and its media and channel consumption. If you want to reach CEOs but plan to run your marketing campaign mainly on Facebook, maybe your channel selection is not optimal. Think about where is the audience of the campaign but also when. This will help you in making a good campaign.
Generate high visibility for your campaign by leveraging several channels at the same time. It may sound natural but a lot of marketers think that because their messaging or imagery is original, this will make all the work. The truth is, no matter how good is your landing page or your series of posts on Social media, alone they don't do a good marketing campaign. Because nobody cares much about them. But if you publish very good posts, whose goal is to incentive your audience in visiting a dedicated landing page where you show with original videos a new service, and that you get several influencer experts talking about it, yes, it can be a good campaign.
Centralize the main assets of the campaign for your colleagues: the easiest it is for them to access the elements, the most consistent will be your marketing campaign. These assets can be visuals, wordings, etc.
Communicate all the time with your marketing colleagues, like other key teams, for example, your customer service. Campaigns are delivered by a group of people and therefore, the orchestration is crucial. Everyone has to move in the same direction, with a tempo that makes sense.
These are the main steps I recommend to you to create and promote good marketing campaigns.
With campaigns, like for other marketing topics, definitions are helpful. However, according to my experience as marketer, the best way to really get what is a marketing campaign, how it is built and what you can expect from it, is to look at examples.
Ready to explore the best campaign examples? Follow the guide!