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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn

Designing your first marketing plan: Marketing campaign planning

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Welcome to step 3 of how to design a marketing plan. If you've just arrived at this point, I suggest you check out the first two posts on this subject: setting marketing goals, and analysing your audience.

Armed with an understanding of what you're trying to do, and knowledge about who you are trying to get to take action, you can now start thinking about what marketing activity you want to launch.

Question 3. What am I going to say, how, when and where?

Lots and lots of organisations make the mistake of jumping straight to this step. People are excited, they want to see their brand out in the world, the CEO is getting impatient and wants evidence that the budget they've set aside for marketing is paying off.

Please don't do this. Getting the foundations right will make your marketing far more successful in the long run. Don't get lost in data for sure, but a bit of time planning at this point is well worth it. Here's why...

Fish in the right pond

If you're trying to bring in new customers to help the company reach that £5m additional revenue target, you're going to need to know where to find them. You need to go fishing in the right pond, as it were.

Use the audience analysis you undertook in step 2 to identify the best way to target your ideal customers: what do you know about them demographically? Behaviourally? Where do they shop? What do they read? How much money do they have to spend?

Armed with this information you can identify the best channels to use to communicate/advertise/sell (depending on your objective). A channel is just a communication platform, for example social media, print publications, advertising on a website, outdoor adverts, emails and so on.

This will look very different depending on the size of your business, what you're trying to achieve and the channels you have open to you. With a huge budget, you'll be able to include more channels in your plan, and have more frequent communications or adverts. But amazing marketing campaigns have been designed on virtually no budget, it just requires a good understanding of marketing and a large amount of creativity! (we'll talk more about budgeting in the next step of this series).

Up close is a fishing rod, the rod is tense like a fish has just been caught. The rod is in silhouette against a backdrop of the sea and a orange sunset.

Image: James Wheeler

Use the right fishing rod

(I seem to have gone down a particularly fishy analogy, however, stick with me. I promise it is worth it. You'll end up with a prize catch).

Now you know you are in the right places, you need to make sure you use the best designed message based on what you know about your target audience.

This means that the words and the pictures you choose (and the sounds if you are using audio or video) need to appeal to your desired audience, and reinforce what you're trying to achieve.

If in doubt, remember that using simple, clear language should always be your goal. If your message isn't understandable to a nine year old, go back and work on it until it is.

Use images that are representative of your product/service AND of your audience. There's no point creating a toy advert with pensioners in it is there?

Consistency drives results

Another mistake I often see made by those running their first marketing campaigns is that they invest heavily in one or two channels for a short period of time, and are upset that this doesn't deliver instant results.

Marketing takes time. Very few people do something just because someone has told them to, the first time they have said it. In fact, it's believed most people need to see or hear something seven times before they believe it. That means that your audience needs to see your message about returning the office, or buying your product seven times. If you're selling something high-value (like a multimillion pound IT system) expect it to be far more.

So running one TV ad, one set of billboards, or sending one email IS NOT going to achieve what you need. Sure, there are cases where products sell based on social media influencer campaign in particular ("TikTok made me buy it"), but this is not typical.

In summary:

  • Know where your audience is going to be

  • Know how to talk to them

  • Talk to them regularly, with multiple touch points over an extended period

If you need help to find new customers, or to create marketing that works, get in touch.

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