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Marketing campaign planning is a complex process. Delivering one consistent message across multiple channels to reach your audience isn’t easy. Without smart strategy and sound processes in place, it can quickly become a disorganized mess.
First, we’ll walk through how to build a marketing campaign creative brief, outlining your strategy for client or supervisor approval. Then, we’ll show you how to map out a marketing project timeline for your campaign.
Plus, you’ll get two templates to make sure you have the tools to put this advice into practice. Grab ’em both!
Quality creative work doesn’t happen by accident. If you’re churning out nothing but ad hoc projects or skipping strategy sessions, then your work is unlikely to impact the bottom line. That leads to budget cuts for your department, making success even more difficult to achieve.
When they’re planned the right way, successful marketing campaigns do the following:
Execution without a plan is just busywork. Busywork doesn’t build businesses or make meaningful careers.
Once you know what you’ll do, how you’ll do it, and who you’ll do it for, it’s time to pitch your campaign to your stakeholders. For in-house (or client-side) marketers, that could mean your boss (or their boss). If you’re at an agency, that’ll mean your clients.
One of the best ways to do this is with a well-prepared campaign brief. Here’s what yours should include:
Download the marketing campaign template kit that complements this blog posts to fill in the Word document:
Without a clear objective, you risk producing directionless work that doesn’t deliver measurable results. You end up spinning your wheels, working hard toward nothing in particular, which is a recipe for burnout and frustration.
That’s why every campaign should start with a goal in mind.
Our team at CoSchedule focuses on what we call 10X goals. If you’ve spent much time reading marketing blogs recently, this is an idea you’ve probably heard about.
What it means is we prioritize projects that can increase our success ten times over, rather than making incremental 10% gains.
In your marketing campaign launch brief template, enter your goal here:
Marketing that appeals to everyone often appeals to no one.
The best campaigns talk to a specific audience, creating a sense of delight by delivering messaging that’s unexpectedly insightful.Your audience wants to feel as though you’re speaking directly to their unique needs.
Here are three ways to nail your target audience:
Next, include a brief summary of your target audience in your campaign brief template:
Your marketing campaign should have an overarching theme that ties everything together.
It’s what David Ogilvy called having a “Big Idea”:
So, how exactly do you come up with an idea or theme for your campaign?
Start with this simple process:
For further reading, here are three resources for generating strong ideas and themes:
When we need to brainstorm ideas at CoSchedule, we often use a simple three-step process. If you’ve followed our blog for a while now, you might have heard how it works before. If not, let’s walk through the steps.
By following this process, you can wrap up your campaign brainstorming in half-hour to an hour (depending on how much time you spend discussing ideas at the end).
Having an awesome creative concept matters little if you can’t actually execute it. So, understanding your available resources is key for ensuring you don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
Follow these three steps:
Then, in your campaign brief, list the resources you’ll require to execute your campaign:
Producing content for its own sake is a waste of time and money. And if you want your department or agency to maintain positive cash flow, you’ll need to show how your efforts are making a measurable impact.
Start by choosing KPIs (key performance indicators) and metrics wisely.
To do this right, keep the following points in mind:
Understanding marketing measurement and analytics could take several blog posts in itself. Here are a few we recommend starting with:
Once you have your goals and metrics established, complete the following section in your campaign brief:
Your campaign should drive home a clear and consistent message across every channel it touches. However, you’ll likely have different team members working on different pieces of your execution.
How can you make sure every piece of the puzzle fits together into one, cohesive campaign?
The answer starts with developing clear talking points. Strong talking points help keep everyone on message. Put them together in a shared internal document your team can reference.
Your talking points should:
Write out your key talking points in your campaign brief:
You know what you want to achieve. You’ve determined the customers you’re trying to reach (and developed messaging to reach them). Now, you need to figure out how and where you’ll deliver your marketing messages.
In real-world terms, this means knowing the best places to create and share content where your audience will see it. Here are a few questions to ask:
There are multiple different ways you can line up your channel selection. One common approach is called the hub-and-spoke model. This entails creating one central asset (like a landing page) where you direct traffic from other sources.
For one example, you might create one landing page with an opt-in form, and then promote it via social media and email. The landing page would be your hub, and your social media posts and email newsletters are its spokes.
You could also decide to focus on just one channel for your campaign. It could even be as simple as a series of related social posts on one network, or an email series directing back to a particular web page.
The main takeaway here is this: Your campaign doesn’t have to be complicated. Just do what will help you achieve your goals.
Ultimately, your goals should drive your channel selection.
For example, if your aim is to increase brand awareness, visual platforms like Instagram might be the way to go. However, if your goal is to generate leads, you’ll likely apply some combination of SEO, PPC, email marketing, and social media to direct traffic to a custom landing page.
You can figure this out by asking two questions:
Use your marketing campaign brief template to plan this out:
Let’s complete this step using the marketing campaign timeline template included in this post.
Here’s what your template should look like:
Complete it by filling in the following:
By the time you’re done, you’ll have built a complete timeline.
We know that managing all the moving pieces of a large integrated campaign can be challenging.
That’s why we built Marketing Campaigns into CoSchedule. It’s a feature that allows you to easily organize every component of every campaign, all on one marketing calendar.
Here’s how it works:
First, create your campaign, add a color label, and select your start and end dates.
Next, add each individual project that will make up your marketing campaign. You can add things like blog posts, infographics, social media campaigns, webinars… the list goes on.
When adding a new project to your marketing campaign, you can create a custom task list for everyone on the team to know what to do and when.
You’ve got the tools and the knowledge you need to plan detailed marketing campaigns. Now, it’s time to get down to work.
This blog post was originally published on June 1, 2017. It was updated and republished on August 26, 2020.
August 26, 2020
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