Have you ever had one of those days where you planned to clean the house, only to notice your favourite movie was on TV, and you ended up sitting on the couch all day and never got around to cleaning? Yeah, we’ve all been there, and creating and sticking to a marketing campaign plan presents much the same challenge. You need to know how to execute a marketing campaign properly in order to get maximum return for your product.
When executing a marketing campaign, one of the most important aspects is sticking to the plan. A lot of companies fall into the trap that they have a plan for their campaign, but find it difficult to stick to that plan. But, sticking to the plan is essential – you shouldn’t purchase extra sponsorships, or run extra workshops or any other unplanned addition. You need to make sure you have commitment from your entire team because any deviation will hurt – every single dollar should be spent towards achieving your desired end goal (it’s in your Marketing Plan).
How to Stick With the Plan
You can set up your objectives and parameters, determine how you’ll measure success, set a budget and timeline, and figure out the channels to communicate, but then what happens when that previously unavailable sponsorship suddenly becomes available? Will you let it stray you from your path you’ve so carefully constructed?
Sticking to your plan can be simple if it’s properly set up in the first place. Make sure you set up those objectives and parameters. Figure out what success will mean in this campaign. Maybe success for you means becoming the number one seller of your product instead of the number two seller as you are now. A great example of this is the Nike “Just Do It” campaign. In the late 1980s, Nike created the campaign to take advantage of the emerging fitness craze, and to try to surpass their main competitor, Reebok. The campaign was a hit, and by 1998, Nike’s sales exceeded $9.2 billion, up from $800 million in 1988 when the campaign started.
Once you’ve established what success means for you, determine your budget, and how long you’re going to run the campaign, that’s when you can decide on the channels you’re going to use to communicate the master plan. Create a checklist of each of these items, and then check them off as they are completed. As you check off each item, you’ll not only be making sure you stick to your plan, and will feel accomplished as you do so. It’s like when you’re cleaning your house. If you have a list of what needs to be done, like the vacuuming, dusting, washing windows, etc., not only will you make sure you finish what needs to be done, but you’ll feel better and better about your progress the further down the list you get.
When to Stray From the Plan
There are times however, when it’s appropriate to stray from your plan. One of the most obvious times is when a particular piece of your plan is failing, which can be determined by tracking your success measures and data points. As an example, say you’ve decided to divide $1,000 evenly between Facebook ads, Twitter sponsored posts, and Pay Per Click ads. However, as you track the campaign through your Google Analytics you’ve set up, you’re finding that you’re only getting leads coming in from your PPC ads, and not a single one from social media. At this point, instead of continuing to lose money and time in social media, it would be more effective to shift the remaining money into your PPC campaign. While social media may have initially been defined as a key area for your target market, based on data, you can see this is not where you’re capturing that target market, giving you the opportunity to tweak your campaign to better find your target market. It’s like cleaning day. What if one of your benchmarks is to finish the living room by 10am, but there’s a stubborn stain in the rug you can’t get out. Do you keep scrubbing it, even if it pushes off the rest of your timeline? Probably not. You have to recognize when it’s not worth it anymore, and move on so you can better complete your goal. Stubborn stains be damned.
Don’t forget to update or adjust your marketing plan
When building your marketing campaign plan, don’t think you can “set it and forget it.” An important aspect of a campaign plan is setting benchmarks. For example, when you’re cleaning your house, say you set a benchmark of having the dusting done by noon. However, you find yourself having lunch instead, and the dusting has been forgotten. As such, you need to go back and readjust your plan for the day. This is similar to your campaign plan. An easy benchmark to measure could be an increase in sales. If you set your benchmarks to show an increase of 10% in sales each month, and by the end of the first month your sales have remained steady, your marketing plan might be a bust and need some more tender love and care.
Don’t worry though, this happens! And since you were tracking your results, you were able to see the plan’s failings before too much money was spent. On the other hand, your campaign could be just falling short of your target benchmarks, in which case, by looking at your data, you can see which pieces need to be adjusted. Perhaps your digital ads are only bringing in leads from one particular website. In this case, it might not hurt to pull your ads from the other websites on which you have them placed, and instead, purchase more impressions on the website which is working.
To execute a marketing campaign plan successfully, it’s all about planning. Make sure you’ve done your research, set your benchmarks, and identified your desired outcomes. Stick to your plan as the campaign as running, but be sure to track the campaign as it’s running so you can make tweaks and updates along the way. It’s just like cleaning your house – you’ll only get it done if you prepare yourself for it, and check yourself as you go. But, by doing so, you’ll find yourself at your desired result before you know it.
Header Photo: Plix | Startup Stockphotos
If you want to learn more about specific key elements of an effective marketing plan, read our 50+ page booklet on How to Write A Strategic Marketing Plan That Yields ROI – complete with explanations