5 things that are crucial when planning marketing activity
Effective marketing requires a number of things to fall in to place – from winning budget in the first place through to delivering long term results, there are a variety of people to influence and factors to juggle.
Without some sort of structure, things can quickly spiral out of control. Below we look at 5 quick tips to help with this process, to help you ensure your campaigns hit the right marks at the right times.
Create cascading objectives
Marketing is there to make the business money. Sure, there may be specific KPIs focussing on shares, likes, links, or reach. But ultimately, every CEO wants to know that spending money on marketing delivers an outcome they consider critical to moving the business forward – and usually that means a hard commercial objective.
Being able to demonstrate how campaigns ladder up to a bigger goal is critical because it allows you to go to your boss (or your client’s boss) and illustrate why you are doing what you are doing, linking the granular tactical activity to broader business objectives. Try breaking things down as follows:
Commercial objectives: What are your goals from a commercial point of view?
For example: You may start off by identifying that you want to increase sales over the summer period by 5%.
Marketing objectives: How can you employ marketing techniques in order to contribute to that commercial objective?
For example: Your aim might be to increase share of voice and propensity to buy brand X over the summer, which will generate enough to deliver that 5% commercial growth goal.
Communications objectives: What aspects to you need to consider when trying to get your message across? Who do you need to convince? And how can you do it?
For example: You may need to address the barriers that are currently preventing you from reaching your marketing goal (e.g. stakeholders) and position the benefits of how your plan will generate results.
Campaign objectives: What is the best way to work through these barriers and execute a marketing campaign that will allow you to achieve your commercial objectives?
For example: You may realise you need to target a specific consumer segment with specific message, and therefor conduct research to find the best way to reach them.
Run the numbers
Justifying the cascade of objectives with numbers is critical. If you want to grow sales by 5%, what levers do you have to pull to influence that? How much do you need to shift each one of them by?
Even if they’re not 100% accurate, creating a set of numbers provides a baseline for measurement and against which hypothesis can be made.
If you are starting from scratch and have little previous information to hand, key measures to consider include:
- Frequency of purchase: What would happen if you increased this by 1 during a given period?
- Customer churn: What would happen if you reduced churn by 1% in a given period?
- New customers/trialists: What would happen if you increased these by 1% in a given period?
Think about the people behind the numbers
Pull yourself away from the cold, hard stats and take a peek behind the numbers – who is it that you need to influence in order to drive 5% sales growth?
Once you’ve identified who to influence, work out what it is you want them to do and how you’re going to get them to do it. You need to know:
- Which aspects of their life factor into their decision to buy your product
- What barriers have stopped them from buying your product previously
From there, you can develop a strategy to tackle these barriers and target the right consumers. Understanding this information is critical for the planning process and, in particular, in creating customer journeys that nudge consumers towards the specific behaviours you want them to exhibit.
Have a realistic conversation about budgets
If you’ve run the numbers, you should have some idea about how many people you need to reach to hit your purchase targets. Work that back to your budget.
Identify where the biggest impact vs least effort lies in order to prioritise where to spend the budget you have – demonstrating value as quickly as possible will buy you time to deliver a longer term strategy.
Also, if the numbers are really compelling, it will be that much easier to grab budget for exciting campaign work to increase brand salience.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint: Keep long-term goals in mind
The idea of ‘brand loyalty’ is a red-herring. For almost every brand, the objective should be to be the one chosen most often, rather than exclusively. The main job of advertising over the long term is to increase the likelihood of people choosing your brand over another. Individual campaigns may have short term conversion targets, but the long term goal should be to steadily increase the likelihood that your product is chosen.
Being faced with the prospect of a new marketing campaign is exciting – but it can be overwhelming. If you break it down into manageable pieces and focus on the points outlined here, you’re guaranteed to produce something that engages your audience while also hitting key objectives.