Many account managers, planners and marketing managers are finding themselves in the ‘I want better results than last year but for less money’ scenario.
Luckily digital is on the whole cost effective, but including a planning stage is key to delivering meaningful pieces of digital activity; without this process it’s difficult to determine what is considered ‘meaningful’.
There are seven main areas of digital marketing activity that should be considered in any marketing plan: search engine marketing; online PR; online partnerships; interactive advertising; email marketing; viral marketing and new and emerging technology and channels.
Regardless of the activity follow the same steps when planning a campaign. At this point the sort of digital marketing is immaterial – indeed it might not be right for the campaign at all! Mistakes can be made when you come with a pre-conceived idea of what activity will work - yet without following a planning process you shouldn’t have any determined idea of what to do.
Below are eight tips for getting it right:
1. Look at the history
Many clients have been burned by digital in the past and because of this are reluctant to do activity again in the future. It always helps to know what digital has been done in the past and why it could have gone wrong. It could be that the agency or supplier was bad or that the planning or data wasn’t accurate.
2.Target the audience accurately
Often brands target their ‘aspirational’ clients opposed to their actual clients. Customer profiling is really important and essential to campaign planning. It doesn’t mean that the brand can’t go after this preferred group of customers in the future but this would probably need to entail some brand repositioning rather than just a marketing campaign. Also consider any seasonal trends for the product or service and the lead time during the purchase process.
3.Look at what other activity is planned
The best campaigns are those that are fully integrated. There is little point in doing a full run of regional or national press ads if you don’t have digital to support this. Especially in the case of regional press ads, digital presents many opportunities to geo-map and target customers on a more personal basis. And even when using digital alone, the search campaign should reflect the media buying and so on.
4.Take a look at your competitors’ activity
Keeping an eye on competitor activity is a great way to gauge the sort of messaging that your audiences do or don’t like. Sometimes regardless of the type of business you’re in, advertising is controlled by social trends - for instance, Compare the Market’s ‘Compare the Meerkat’ website has been hugely successful, whereas previously insurance advertising was relatively sober.
5. Develop and deliver the right messages
The creative element of any campaign is key. Whilst you can say that great creative is often let down by poor execution, the same can be said the other way around. If you follow the planning steps above you should have enough knowledge to understand what the client wants, what the customer wants and what the competitors are doing.
6. Consider the budget
Budget controls much of the decision making process and will determine the activity that can be carried out. When planning a campaign keep the budget in mind and don’t overegg the pudding when it comes to results. If you can’t get the results you need with the budget you either need more money or the activity you have selected is wrong for the campaign requirements.
7.Consider how you measure activity
What tracking is available through both client and agency, and what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are used. If, as a client you already have tracking in place, it’s often best to use this as each supplier measures results differently, which can look skewed if new software is introduced.
8.Don’t stop. Build and manage customer relationships
One of digital’s greatest strengths is the huge amount of customer insight that can be achieved. Building a steady and constant relationship with your customer base will allow you to spend less money on short-term campaigns in the long-term. Don’t just speak to your customers when you want them to buy something, no-one likes a one sided relationship! Ideally you should plan an ongoing ECRM strategy before the campaign goes live.
By Jenny McEnhill of Omobono
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