What goes into planning, managing and measuring an effective digital marketing campaign?
With so many channels, tactics and tools for marketers to choose from, bringing together the right blend can be complicated. Get it right and you can make a massive impact, with a relatively small budget. Get it wrong, and the campaign you’ve spent weeks, even months, planning will get swallowed up in the increasingly noisy environment.
We wanted to get a better understanding of the key elements required in modern digital marketing, so we caught up with Dave Chaffey, the co-founder and content direct at SmartInsights.com to get his thoughts.
From the best way to organize your campaign, to the tools you need to measure and analyze success, Dave was kind enough to share his insights into the most effective way to run a digital marketing campaign in 2018.
How did you first start out in marketing and what was your path to founding Smart Insights?
"I was involved in what we'd now call Martech initially, building systems to help car companies and retailers optimize their networks, and then turned to consulting and training in digital strategy when the web was first used for marketing.
I created a standardized approach to devising a digital marketing strategy for businesses in different sectors, and I realized that the templates that I had developed for strategy, experience, search, social and email marketing could help many more companies. So we made our freemium templates available in our digital marketing library, and we've since evolved them then in line with feedback.
It's great to see that my original consulting work is now used in more than 100 countries worldwide."
What do you think are the key stages of an effective digital marketing campaign?
"Whether you're focusing on digital channels, or also including traditional channels, a classic 'market briefing' campaign structure works best.
It's an approach I first recommended in a 'Running Effective Digital Campaigns' course I first ran in 2003, and it still works today.
The key elements are:
- Campaign goals and tracking
What are we trying to achieve through our campaign and how will we know when we achieve it?
- Campaign insight and targeting
Who are we trying to reach and influence?
- Key campaign messages and offers
What is the big idea or content asset(s) that will engage our audiences? How are we trying to position our company, products and services?
Which campaign or product offers will engage and convert our audience?
- Campaign media plan and budget
Which media channels will you use to reach and influence your target audience?
What will be the sequence and integration of media activities?
- Campaign asset production
Managing the assets to form the campaign.
- Campaign execution
What needs to be tested before the campaign is live and adjusted during the campaign?
- Campaign review Reviewing the ROI and learning what worked and what didn't for next time."
Which stage do you think is most important and why?
"Effective marketing campaigns have always been based around integrating different channels, so that the sum of the whole is greater than any individual channel.
So across the different stages, you need a solid framework to help you ensure that integration appears - so I think that stage 4, defining an effective media plan and budget that achieves integration and enables you to reach your audiences, is important. This includes follow-up retargeting through social media and email marketing - for which there are so many digital options available."
What are some of your favorite digital first campaigns of recent times?
"Here are three - first the KFC Clean Eating Burger:
It’s a great spoof that sends up health food vloggers, featuring Figgy Poppleton-Rice – a fictional food vlogger - who “would literally marry kale”. She explains a video recipe for the ‘Clean Eating Burger’: a combination of raw cauliflower, pulsed ice, kale and boiled chicken, which is crushed with the not-so-healthy Dirty Louisiana burger, which KFC launched in the UK. Over 16 million views shows the power of viral videos which poke fun. Branded virals don’t always link so well to a product, but this pulls it off.
Next, a charity example from MQ with their "It’s time to give a xxxx about mental illness" campaign.
I like the high impact creative based on different ‘It’s time to change the facts’ messages, which encourage sharing by showing how this a neglected illness with 23% of the population affected, but less than 6% of health research spent, or how 4 in 10 feel that mental illness is ‘an inevitable part of life’. The simple visuals and messages work well, but this campaign is integrated with powerful videos and commentary from indie bands.
Finally, I like the AO.com Bloodthirsty Gin Punch campaign.
AO get a lot of engagement through simple plots, like asking the audience to get involved, whether it’s counting rubber ducks in a dishwasher or how many beers are in a fridge-freezer, how many clothes fit into a washing machine."
And how about the most common mistakes you see marketers making?
"Although I said that integration is a key campaign success factor, it's equally true that unless you have an effective, engaging, shareable content assets (stage 3), which resonate with your audiences, your campaign will be 'dead in the water'.
Not investing enough time or money in creating a compelling asset is a common mistake. With digital, content-led campaigns, building in re-purposing of content and engagement hooks is useful to sustain the campaign. A single asset probably won't cut it. Research to understand your audience buyer personas is important here."
Where do trend analysis and social listening fit into this process?
"There are lots of great tools available to determine which types of content assets engage audiences and prompt sharing.
As part of the 'in-flight' optimization of the campaign, we can use social listening tools or hashtag tracking to see how the messages are being amplified, and then focus on the messages that resonate most."
How important is campaign measurement and how can marketers get this right?
"Campaign measurement is tough, since there will often be multiple touchpoints on multiple digital devices before someone ultimately decides to buy. This means that you have to be able to see the impact of different touchpoints in different ways.
To get this right attribution is important, since it can show where typical first-touch top of funnel awareness channels - like social media and display - contribute to the campaign, rather than bottom-of-funnel last-touch channels like branded search and email marketing.
To take an example, if you look at sales for brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma, you'll often find that it's searches for the brands that lead to sale, but using this approach ignores the many shares you see on Facebook and Instagram which are prompting the searches to generate awareness and demand. The majority of social shares occur on smartphones via apps, yet purchases on desktop are still common, so it's important to understand this too."