Every professional can recognise the incredible value and change-driving potential of a good marketing campaign. Here are Andy Marsden's tips for planning a successful one.

Regardless of their job title, department or industry, every business professional should be able to recognise the incredible value and change-driving potential of a good marketing campaign.  Unconvinced?  Take Richard Branson as an example of someone who has deftly marketed both himself and his business since entering the public eye.  Throughout the years, Branson has garnered attention for his many PR stunts, such as trying to fly around the world in a hot air balloon, dressing as an Air Asia flight attendant or posing as Elvis in Las Vegas.  His dedication to creating a fun and personable brand has made him the most influential person on LinkedIn, with over 10.5 million followers.

Richard Branson has become a household name as a result of his impeccable self-marketing, and businesses around the globe wish to find equal success in their campaigns.  Unfortunately, not everyone is so confident in how to go about doing so – the process of planning a marketing campaign can be laborious and complex without sufficient guidance.  Datamine’s Marketing Technologist, Andy Marsden, has extensive knowledge of the process and has outlined the following 5 steps needed to plan out a profitable data-driven marketing campaign.

1.  Working out what the goal is

As author Zig Ziglar once said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached” – conversely, an endeavour lacking an objective won’t have the direction it needs to succeed.  In order for your marketing campaign to get off the ground, it’s imperative to have a clearly defined goal that the campaign is hoping to achieve.  Are you looking to improve customer retention?  Upsell existing clients?  Reach a new demographic?  Or just generally improve marketing ROI?

The first step in this process is making sure all members of your team are on board with the ultimate goal – it’s then a good idea to write it down so that you and your team can refer to it throughout the process and ensure you’re staying on track.

2.  Determining what success looks like

Once you’ve determined the goal, you need to figure out how you’ll measure the success of your marketing campaign in a quantitative sense.  Depending on the nature of your business and the impetus behind the campaign, this measurement could manifest itself in a number of ways.  Is it a decrease in churn by 5 per cent?  Selling 750 more products than usual?  Or an increase of 500 engaged leads within 28 days?

In step one you figure out the qualitative goal you’d like to reach – in step two you determine what quantitative metrics will be used to measure whether or not you achieved it.

3.  Decide on campaign logistics

After the goals and success metrics have been determined, you can get into the nitty gritty of the campaign logistics – for example, which execution channel will you use (email, mobile push, direct mail, telemarketing etc.)?  What offers are you going to make, and do they stack up commercially?  Over what period of time do you want the campaign to run?  It’s also good at this point to decide whether or not the campaign (or some version of it) is something you envision being reused on a monthly/quarterly/annual basis and make sure you have a clear idea of why.  This is where having a thorough knowledge of customer data is key – do you have enough prospects, and is the correct system in place to be able to measure and deliver further actions and insights from your data?  Without it, your campaign will be a collection of stabs in the dark.

The second part of step three is to consider how customer behaviour will dictate the next steps of contact, if there are any.  For example, if you send out an email and a person doesn’t open it, will you send a follow up (and if so, at what point)?  What if they do open the mail but don’t click on the call-to-action that takes them to your site?  Having systems in place for each potential customer reaction will help avoid confusion down the road.

4.  Determine the campaign’s approach to targeting and personalisation

Targeting and personalisation are both great ways to improve customer engagement, so take some time to outline your approach before you begin working on the creative design of the campaign.  What data are you going to use for customer targeting and segmentation?  What will these different customer bases look like?  From there, how will you personalise the content going out to each of these groups, making every communication feel personal and specific to the individual customer?

Emails, for example, should be personalised with the customer’s details.  A great way to do this is by creating dynamic rules-based content – like changing the text and image of an email depending on the loyalty tier of the customer.  This defining and delivering of dynamic content to deliver an effective level of personalisation can be difficult to get right, but your data analyst should be able to help you through the process.

5.  Look at testing and control groups

Before you give the campaign the green light, it’s important to do a bit of testing to check whether or not everything is working correctly and doing what you want it to do.  This final step is typically done with a combination of previewing and signing off processes before A/B testing.

Seeing as people will organically buy things, join and churn, you’ll need to prove the effectiveness of the potential campaign in order to secure the marketing budget you need.  Will you have control groups, and if so what will they be?  Are they offer-specific or global?  What metrics will you use for your A/B testing?  How will you measure the success of the testing?

You’re ready to start your campaign

Once you’ve determined a goal, how you’ll measure success, the contact frequency, the targeting and personalisation and the approach to control groups and A/B testing (of course after you’ve done some tests), you’ll be ready to start the campaign and see what the results are.

If the entire process seems overwhelming, you’re not alone – luckily, though, your data analytics partner should be well-equipped to lend a hand.  Organisations that haven’t found the right company yet can turn to us at Datamine – our diverse team has a wealth of experience helping organisations achieve financial success and gain insight for their marketing campaigns.  We’re ready to help you build and execute a campaign that will offer data-driven insights and robust reporting and analytics to drive your business forward.

Dataminers believe in the intrinsic value of data, and we’re passionate about helping organisations unlock the potential of theirs.  To read more about optimising your campaigns, head to the Datamine website and check out the Datamine Guide to Marketing Automation.