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The confusion surrounding the word “campaign” July 20, 2010

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Lead Gen, Marketing Operations.
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I often ask marketers to tell me about the integrated marketing campaigns they are running.  Here are a few common responses:

  • We’ve been running a Google Adwords campaign for the past 2 years.
  • We’ve got a new PR campaign kicking off next week.
  • Our print advertising campaign has been reduced to 3 insertions due to budge cuts.

These answers highlight a common misunderstanding of the word “campaign.”  Is the “campaign” a singular tactic?  Or, is it something more?   Are there lots of campaigns, or only a few?  When it comes to integrated marketing, there are strategic as well as tactical connotations concerning this key word.  When the context of the word “campaign” is misunderstood, it can lead to some heartburn.

The strategic “Campaign”

If I were to use a military analogy, the general would direct his troops in a Campaign (with a big “C”).  “Troops!” he’d say, “I want you to take that hill.  Figure out how we can do it.”  In this context, the strategic implication is regarding a central objective — a major initiative; a big deal with a lot at stake.  To achieve the objective a variety of tools and actions need to be coordinated and executed.  All of the activities and actions ultimately add up to accomplishing this central objective. Overlaying our marketing framework to this analogy, our integrated marketing “Campaigns” are driven by key sales and marketing objectives, such as capturing market share, squashing a competitor, establishing a foothold in a new market. The marketing activities and offers are then coordinated and timed so they reflect a common/consistent set of messaging that engages prospects in the desired dialog as they move through our sales process.

The tactical “campaign”

Unfortunately, to complicate matters, marketing automation tools like Eloqua and Marketo use a more tactical definition for the word “campaign” (small “c”).  So does Salesforce.com. In fact, Google Adwords can be mapped as a “campaign” into these, and other tools.  This is unfortunate because it may suggest to some that isolated, random tactics can be effective without understanding their role in the larger marcom mix (i.e. the strategic “Campaign”).  When marketers fall into the trap of silo’d thinking, we lose sight of the larger Campaign.  Tools like Eloqua and Salesforce.com are incredibly important to our marketing efforts — but they are tools to help us execute the tactics, not for driving strategy.

To avoid unnecessary confusion, here are a few tips:

  1. Create a marketing glossary, defining key words like Campaigns, Programs, Activities, and Offers.
  2. In practical terms, the use of the word “campaign” (small “c”) will continue to be used in Eloqua, Salesforce.com, etc.  We can’t change that.  So, when speaking with executive management regarding  the big picture, use the word “Campaign” in the strategic sense.  Don’t confuse it by including the word “campaign” as a tactical element.  (In other words, if you tell your CEO you’re running a Google Adwords “campaign”, you’ll likely confuse her.  She thought the “Campaign” as about squashing competitor X.)
  3. The reverse is true when communicating to the rank and file.  In the context of Eloqua or Salesforce.com, it is appropriate to use the “campaign” (small “c”) word in a tactical sense.  However, make sure to acknowledge how each “campaign” adds up to reach the “Campaign” (big “C”) objective.

It can be a bit tricky, but it’s nothing marketers can’t handle.  After all, we’re messaging experts.

Demystifying the Marcom Mix October 16, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Operations, Social Media.
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Marcom teams are moving so fast that we sometimes overlook how all of the  pieces fit together.  I’ve used variations of this graphic throughout my career to help align marketing teams as we explore, debate, and decide upon the optimum marcom mix.

How to read and use the graphic

As leads are generated and prospects are nurtured from "awareness" to "decision", this graphic maps the high-level marcom objectives to a few marcom activities and tactics.

As leads are generated and prospects are nurtured from "awareness" to "decision", this graphic maps the high-level marcom objectives to a few marcom activities and tactics.

The central marcom objectives are noted at the top.  Prospects will never buy anything from us if they don’t know who we are.  So, we must invest in building “awareness.”  Once they are aware of who we are and the value we provide, we can begin to encourage “preference” in our solutions.  As we nurture prospects and learn more about them and the problems they are interested in solving, we can then present alternatives and showcase our points of differentiation.  When prospects have collected information and are evaluating alternatives, that’s when we enter the “decision” stage and go for the close.  This is when most marketing teams drop the ball.  The process isn’t over; we want to encourage “repeat business”.  To do so, continuing the dialog and staying in touch is critical.

Programmatically, there are two types of  “master programs”, underneath which there will likely be many variations.  However, at the “master” level, we are either driving/developing new leads, or we are nurturing a prospect database or our own internal customer base.  It’s important to recognize that different tactics, messaging, and timing will apply.

The dark gray boxes represent a sampling of a number of marcom tactics that are being used today.  In general, these tactics work best when mapped to the appropriate marcom objective.  For example, using a PPC tactic to try to close a complex sale will likely not work very well.  But, as a way to garner some initial awareness and interest, that’s a helpful tactic.   The point here is to carefully select which tactics to use, and when, in order to achieve the maximum ROI for your marketing investment.

I share this graphic not as a defined concrete model, but as a flexible framework that can help you and your team explore marcom mix elements and discover/debate which ones you think will work best.  Understanding how all the pieces fit together is critical in being able to design a truly integrated marketing campaign.

For more information, check out these additional blog posts:
 

Adding video to the marcom mix September 22, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Social Media.
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Amanda Ferrante of the Demand Gen Report has a great article today entitled: Marketers Tapping Personalized Videos to Generate, Engage Leads. 

YouTube has been the video bulletin board for all kinds of random content.  Now, however, savvy marketers are figuring out how to add video into their marcom mix.  This fits perfectly into the marketing blueprint I shared in an earlier blog post.

Quoting directly from Amanda’s article:

“With the use of video, a solid connection can be made between the presenter and end-user and personalizes the communication while creating interaction,” says Ben Chodor, President of media software provider Stream57. “With video exposure, you are giving clients the opportunity to associate a name and a face with your company and creating a personal relationship.”

Video by itself is not “the magic bullet” that will ensure a successful marketing campaign.  However, this is another example of a piece of the integrated marketing mix.

Mechanics of a Lead Gen Blueprint June 16, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.
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Lead gen blueprints come in all shapes and sizes.  However, there are common best practices that continually and consistently work well together.  In my latest article, “Mechanics of a Lead Generation Blueprint” (as posted in the June KickStart Alliance enewsletter) I’ve highlighted aspects of both “push” and “pull” marketing activities and how they work well together to nurture prospects through the lead funnel.

This particular blueprint is centered around an upcoming webinar.  Quite often, marketers focus on a single event (like a webinar) without considering all the valuable pre- and post-webinar marketing activities and offers required to maximize the number of qualified leads surrounding this event.  Marketing is not about a singular event or activity.  Marketing is a process that must be nurtured to drive the best results.

Have a look at the blueprint and feel free to shoot me questions and comments.  I’ll continue to post various examples of other lead generation blueprints in the future.

Mapping the marcom mix to the lead funnel June 2, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.
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This “best practice” comes from Carol Hague.  Carol is an experienced integrated marketing campaign manager and offers a helpful approach to mapping marcom activities and content appropriately to the lead funnel. 

Mapping the Marketing Mix to the Lead Funnel

She and I collaborated on this graphic and share it as a powerful reference tool for B2B marketers everywhere.  This is by no means a comprehensive list of available activities and content types, but it is enough to help guide teams as they draft their marketing blueprints.

I offer this graphic as a companion tool to the marketing blueprint examples you can find elsewhere on this blog and in my book, Marketing Campaign Development.

What suggestions do you have to make this tool/graphic even stronger?