Marketing campaigns are always evolving. Each year, as the tools in your B2B martech stack improve, the way you structure and execute on campaigns changes. That means that even marketing veterans with hundreds of successful campaigns under their belt need to stay up on current trends and constantly reevaluate their marketing strategy to remain competitive.
At ReachForce, we know there are a few essential components every campaign needs to be successful. The first is a clear understanding of the purpose your campaign will serve. Second is a strong foundation of high-quality data to help drive smart decisions about campaign structure. And the third is a well-defined game plan of how you plan to execute your marketing plan and bring your campaigns to life.
So, to help you get on the right path and begin implementing stellar marketing campaigns, the ReachForce team has put together this step-by-step guide that breaks down each of those essential components into easy-to-follow instructions for new marketers and veterans alike.
To kick things off, let’s take a look at that first essential component — understanding when you should consider launching a marketing campaign and the purpose it should serve for your business.
When Should Marketers Launch New Marketing Campaigns?
While many people think of them solely as a tool for lead generation, the truth is that you can find a use-case for a successful campaign in almost any scenario.
The boom of big data marketing and evolution of tools in your B2B marketing stack brought to light the concept of marketing campaigns as a tool for demand generation, an all-encompassing look at the customer lifecycle that starts with lead gen but also encapsulates post-acquisition nurture strategies and even churn prevention techniques.
Today, there is hardly an instance where one cannot justify (with data) the potential impact of a well-designed campaign. That does not mean, however, that organizations should just automatically launch campaigns on a whim.
That is because a campaign needs clearly-defined goals to truly succeed.
Launching a campaign because you have the budget and a vague idea of what you hope the campaign will accomplish is not enough to justify your marketing plan. You need S.M.A.R.T. goals to validate the use case for a new campaign. That includes:
- Specific details.
How will this campaign impact your organization? What purpose does it serve in relation to the larger goals of your business?
- Measurable results.
How will you know whether the campaign was a success or not?
- Realistic, achievable benchmarks for success.
What’s an ambitious yet realistic outcome for this campaign?
- A specific timeline.
When does the campaign need to achieve those results by to be considered a success?
Here is an example of a well-defined campaign goal:
To support our company’s goal of reducing customer turnover by 4% this quarter, we will launch a new email and social campaign aimed at presenting a special offer to existing customers with renewals before the end of Q1. We’re aiming for a 70% email open rate with a 40% conversion rate on our CTA, which would reduce customer turnover by 4.3% over the next three months.
Notice how that goal aligns with the bigger plans of the organization while also providing a clear action plan, quantifiable results, and a defined timeline. With a goal like that in place, you are ready to move on to the second essential component: collecting and analyzing high-quality data.
The Critical Role of High-Quality Data in Successful Marketing Campaigns
Companies that collect inbound customer data through a good data management platform like ReachForce are at a strategic advantage over marketers who do not collect data or leverage data insights for their campaign strategy. Why?
Because high-quality data tells you everything you need to know to ensure your campaign succeeds. Without that data, organizations are taking a shot in the dark about what will work for their audience (or who their audience even is).
For the marketers launching that hypothetical churn reduction campaign mentioned above, existing customer data can help you identify demographic or behavioral trends among previously-churned customers. You could then use that data to identify high-risk renewals and cater the campaigns toward solving their pain points.
It is for this reason that a data management platform like ReachForce is a foundational component of any successful B2B marketing stack. Without a tool that unifies, cleans, and enriches your customer data, you are operating at a considerable disadvantage and risking the success of your campaigns.
However, armed with the right data insights about your audience, you are ready for the third essential component of stellar marketing campaigns: a clear plan and structure for execution.
9 Steps for Structuring a Successful Marketing Campaign
#1. Define your goals.
Every successful campaign starts with the S.M.A.R.T. goals mentioned earlier in the post. Build out your goals and discuss them with your team. Share them with senior leadership to ensure they align with the highest priorities of your company.
It is also important the goals are actually achievable given the existing tools in your B2B marketing stack. You might have a great idea for a predictive marketing campaign, but if you do not have the tools in place to execute on it, your goals are more of a pipe dream than a viable strategy.
#2. Identify your target audience.
It is a simple rule of successful marketing:
If you are trying to please everyone, chances are good you will end up appealing to no one.
The most successful campaigns have a clearly defined target audience comprised of a small segment of your organization’s potential customers. This is where that high-quality data first comes into play. Insights pulled from that data tell you where to focus your campaign for maximum impact. Customer data helps you create specific buyer personas and then segment your target audience to align with those personas.
Once you know who you are going after with your campaign, it becomes a lot easier to take the next step.
#3. Detail your value proposition.
This is the step where marketers bring together the goals of the campaign and pain points of your defined audience to establish the messaging intended to drive campaign success.
It is important to note that the value proposition of a specific campaign may be considerably different from the overall value proposition of your organization. Here's a simple example. A bakery’s overall value proposition might be that they sell fresh, handmade baked goods, whereas a more targeted value proposition for a specific campaign might highlight their expertise in birthday cakes to local moms. On the B2B side, a company that offers tax filing software might create a campaign-specific value proposition targeted toward small businesses or independent freelancers.
The point here is to figure out the messaging that will get your target audience to take the action defined by your overall campaign goal. The next step is a key step toward making that happen.
#4. Determine your call-to-action.
Just as every successful campaign needs a value proposition, your call-to-action (CTA) can make the difference between hitting your goals or watching your campaign flop.
There is a lot that goes into a successful CTA, but the big things to consider include:
- Ensuring the action is a natural next step for your target audience. If you are focused on top-of-the-funnel lead generation efforts, your audience may consider a “Buy Now” CTA to be premature, where a free-trial or consultation offer makes more sense.
- A seamless experience. Minimize the barrier to entry as much as possible. If you are using a lead capture form, reduce the number of required fields to just the absolute essentials (and then use SmartForms to enrich the data with additional customer information in real-time).
- Visual appeal. Language is important, but so is the visual aesthetic of your CTA. Make sure it catches the eyes of your audience right away and makes your offer clear.
These first four steps make up the framework of your campaign. They answer the key questions: Who will I target? Why am I targeting them? What will I say? How will I get them to convert?
The next steps turn your campaign into an actionable strategy.
#5. Set a budget.
You have an idea of what you want to accomplish and how you will make it happen. But, before you can actually put the plan into action, you need to know how much money you can spend to make the campaign a success.
Defining your budget can be a fairly complex process centered around a thorough cost-benefit analysis. And for many marketers, this step is completely out of their hands; they have no say in the budget that leadership assigns to each campaign.
That is why it is a good idea to have different plans in mind for different budgets. Creating a campaign strategy for high, medium, and low budget campaigns does not require any changes to your audience, value proposition, or CTA. And though you will need to adjust elements of your goals according to the budget allocated to your campaign, the overall framework and desired impact remain largely intact at any budgetary level.
Whether you set the budget or not, this is a crucial step for measuring campaign success. Your budget defines the tools you can add to your B2B marketing stack, the variety of channels you can leverage to promote your message, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use throughout the campaign.
Once you have that budget in place, you can then start shaping the execution of your campaign.
#6. Establish a timeline and define your nurture path.
If you recall, a clear timeframe is a required step for any successful campaign goals. Now that you have a budget for your campaign, you can determine a timeline for aligning resources and launching your campaign.
Part of that timeline is mapping out the exact path your audience will take throughout the campaign journey. A campaign may begin with a new set of emails you created, but as leads move further down the sales funnel, you will likely need to leverage existing material — like case studies, blog posts, or whitepapers — to compliment the new content from your campaign. Know the steps you want your audience to take and make sure each piece of content easily leads to the next. Then, move to the next step.
#7. Set up your calendar.
There are few things as satisfying as seeing a campaign you developed on the calendar. Knowing your hard work is about to come to life is a rush for every marketer. But setting up your campaign calendar serves a bigger purpose, of course. Mapping out when the campaign will launch is just one piece of the calendar. You will also want to establish clear checkpoints where you will circle back on campaign progress to-date, measure your success in relation to your goals, and evaluate where you can make adjustments to potentially improve results moving forward.
Of course, in order to actually do that measuring and evaluating, you will need some KPIs in place.
#8. Establish KPIs.
Your KPIs should align with the goals of the campaign you established all the way back in Step #1. Avoid vanity metrics that give the perception of success and instead focus on results that are actually measuring your progress toward achieving campaign goals.
Whether you are on track toward those goals, ahead of schedule, or slightly behind, it is important you use the insights drawn from analyzing KPIs to make smart adjustments to your campaign that will improve performance.
#9. Make data-driven adjustments to your campaigns.
As your campaign progresses, you should be collecting new data that can influence the future direction of the campaign. There are always opportunities for improvement, but to recognize what they are, you need clean, high-quality data filtered through a good data management platform like ReachForce.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.