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What Is a Marketing Campaign? + How to Manage Them Like a Pro

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If you’ve ever browsed social media and saw an ad, or used a coupon from one of your favorite brands, then you’re likely on the receiving end of someone’s marketing campaign. Basically, a marketing campaign is a business’ effort to get existing or prospective customers interested in a specific offer. This makes a marketing campaign just a part of an overall marketing plan, which encompasses all of the brand’s marketing and advertising efforts both online and offline. 

Marketing campaign
Online ads and coupons can be part of a marketing campaign. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Every campaign, no matter how small, needs to be run as efficiently and professionally as possible. This is where marketing campaign management comes in. 

In this tutorial, you'll learn about marketing and campaign management. Plus, I'll share six steps to help you with your marketing campaign management.

Improve Your Marketing Campaign With Templates

Before we dive into our main material on marketing campaigns, let's take a quick look at how templates can improve your marketing materials. First of all, the design of your marketing materials is important. They need to be eye-catching and yet professional to capture your target customer's attention. 

A great way to make sure you've got attractive marketing materials is to start with professionally designed templates such as those available through Envato Elements. Envato Elements offers a wide variety of templates for commonly used traditional and digital marketing tools such as email newsletters, website banners, WordPress themes, and more. Pay a single low monthly fee to get unlimited access to all of the Envato Elements assets. Here's a peek a some of the great newsletter templates available:

Marketing newsletters
You can find many templates for aspects of your marketing campaign, such as newsletters, on Envato Elements.

Now let's learn about marketing campaign management.

What Is Marketing Campaign Management?

If you struggle to define campaign management, here's what you need to know. Campaign management is essentially the deliberate process of planning, implementing, measuring, and improving your marketing campaigns. The key word here is “deliberate,” meaning that you go through every step of the campaign with specific intentions. Even if you need to adjust to situations and opportunities that are unexpected or beyond your control, marketing campaign management always involves conscious decision-making.

This deliberate approach is essential for small businesses and marketing teams because they typically have fewer resources, networks, and experience to draw from, unlike larger businesses or marketing firms. While larger companies might be able to survive marketing campaigns gone wrong, the same can’t be said for smaller teams. Every decision must be made with care, at the right time, within budget, and with a specific goal in mind.

Marketing Campaign Management in 6 Steps

You need to follow a clear path when managing your marketing campaigns. A systematic step-by-step approach will allow you to move forward with your campaigns without worrying about whether you’ve done enough research or have enough resources. By managing your marketing campaigns from the beginning, you’ll know exactly what needs to take place and when.

Although the parts of each step might differ depending on your campaign, marketing campaign management typically goes through the following phases:

Step 1. Customer Needs Analysis

The first step is to understand your customer more fully. This might include doing some customer research, if you haven’t already done so, create buyer personas and look into the types of customers your competitors tend to have. The purpose of this step is to clarify who your target customers are, because most of your marketing decisions will depend on it, from the content of your marketing materials to where and when you’ll advertise. These are some of the campaign management processes you might need to go through during this step:

  • Define your target customers. If you don’t have a written profile of who your ideal customers are, now’s the time to start. You need to know their basic demographic information, such as their age range, location, and industry. Psychographic details such as their opinions, behaviors, and attitudes will also come in handy. You can use this tutorial on defining your target audience as a starting point.
  • Create customer personas. Unlike the previous method, customer personas aren’t just a list of technical information about your target customers—they’re more like characters who represent the different market segments you’re targeting. There’s more storytelling involve in buyer personas, making your target customers seem more real. In the example below from HUCACE (via HubSpot), they created the character of "Tina," an HR Manager who has trouble with hiring top talent. If you want to make your own customer personas, you can consult this tutorial
Buyer persona example
Buyer personas help flesh out your target customers.

If you need additional guidance for this stage, check out the following tutorials:

Step 2. Set Marketing Campaign Goals

After defining your audience, it’s time to set goals for your campaign. These goals should have the following two characteristics:

  • Timebound. There should be an estimated deadline for reaching the goal. This is so that when you create your marketing plan, you can outline the necessary steps you need to reach the goal before the deadline.
  • Simple to measure. It should be very simple and objective for you to tell whether you’ve reached your goal or not. For example, “be a popular store for embroidered buttons” is vague. Instead, you can opt for “have 50 new customers” or “get 20 new five-star reviews.”

By creating measurable and timebound goals, you might have one or more of the following on your list:

  • Increase number of sales by 50-percent in four weeks.
  • Double our annual profit by the end of the year.
  • Get 100 new subscribers to our mailing list in two weeks.
  • Decrease product returns and refunds by 20-percent in three months.

As you follow through on the next step for creating your marketing plan, your goals might change. This is perfectly fine, since you can reset your goals as you get more information and list the steps needed to accomplish them. But it’s best to have a specific goal in the early stages of managing your marketing campaign. This will give you the initial focus needed to plan out the next steps.

Step 3. Plan Your Marketing Campaign Strategy

After identifying your audience and goals in the first two steps of marketing campaign management, you’ve already started on the broad strokes of your marketing plan. You know who you’re going to reach and what you want to achieve. Now, by writing a marketing plan, you can clarify when and how you're going to do it.

1. Choose Your Marketing Channels

First, clarify how you're going to execute on your marketing plan. This includes the marketing channels you'll use. These channels could be online, such as via email marketing, social media marketing, or content marketing. You could also choose offline channels like print ads, posters, flyers, radio ads, or event marketing.

For a thorough list of marketing channels to include in your marketing and campaign management plan, look through the following guides:

2. Pick the Right Metrics

You need to pick metrics that match your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you can choose the following metrics to help you keep track of that: number of online sales, number of new customer registrations, number of returning customers, and the percentage of customers that decide to buy multiple products. On the other hand, if your goal is to become a more well-known brand in your city, you can measure the increase in the number of Facebook followers you've got from your city, the reach of your social media posts, or the number of new customer referrals you get from existing customers.

For offline marketing channels such as flyers and print ads, you can use coupon codes to keep track of the sales and leads you get through your campaign. On your print materials, you can also include the address of a squeeze page for your leads to visit online, so that it's easier to track them.

If you'll be managing a digital marketing campaign, here are some guides to metrics that could be useful for you:

3. Write Your Plan

Put all of these together in a single document: Your marketing channels, the metrics you'll need to check your results, and the tools and other resources required for your marketing campaign. This will serve as your campaign plan. Your plan can be in the form of a lean, minimalist plan or even a fully designed PowerPoint presentation.

Since your goals are timebound, it's best to also write your plan in the form of a calendar

Step 4. Allocate Your Campaign Resources

Once you’re confident about your marketing plan, you can start following it by allocating your budget, time, and other resources to ensure that the campaign is carried out as you envisioned it. 

For example, here are a few of the tasks that might need delegation in your team, depending on your marketing campaign plans:

  • Project management
  • Copywriting
  • Graphic design
  • Video
  • Social media account management
  • Website analytics
  • Social media analytics
  • Flyer distribution
  • Media/press relations

As for your budget, here are some expenses you’re likely to incur throughout your campaign:

  • Online tools (such as for social media management, analytics, email marketing, etc.)
  • Advertising expenses, whether traditional media or online
  • Printing costs
  • Consulting/contractor fees
  • Venue rentals (for events or focus groups)

Since small teams usually have a limited budget, there are ways to make sure that the campaign is as cost effective as possible. Once you’ve made a list of all your expenditures, you can find ways to cut cost. For example, instead of hiring a graphic designer to do your flyers, you can opt for a ready-made flyer template at a fraction of the cost. You can also start with inexpensive marketing campaigns such as creating case studies or repurposing some of your old content. Or, if you can find free online tools that are capable of doing what you need, you can use them instead of paid tools. The following guides can also help you allocate your resources and direct your attention more effectively:

Step 5. Execute Your Marketing Campaign 

With your plan, budget, and team in place, it’s time to follow through with the actual marketing stage. This is when you’ll see the value of proper marketing and campaign management—with every step laid out and scheduled, all you've got to do is stick to it. 

But this doesn’t mean that you won’t face any challenges. Like any other project, it’s rare that a marketing plan is executed from start to finish without a hitch. For small teams, it’s even more likely that you’ll run into problems of being understaffed, going over your budget, or getting too overwhelmed with a campaign that has a bigger scope than you can manage. Because of this, it’s best to be active in managing your campaign during this stage. Here are the things you should consider doing:

  • Regular status reports. Depending on the length and scope of your campaign, you need to schedule regular status reports so that you know if everything is being accomplished well and on time. This tutorial on status reports can help you and your team craft simple and actionable reports.
  • Ensure that your team is motivated. It’s easy for a small team to get overwhelmed by a project, especially if they’re tackling many aspects of the project at once. Because of this, you need to ensure that each person on the team has the right motivation and productivity to go with their assignments. These basic management guides can help you do this:
  • Solve problems early. When you’re rushing to finish a campaign and have little help, it’s tempting to procrastinate whenever problems or challenges come up. But, precisely because of your small team, you can’t afford to leave problems alone and let them fester. Otherwise, you’re likely to make the problem bigger and more difficult to solve. For example, if the marketing campaign you’re managing involves buying Facebook ads, and you notice that you’re not reaching your target engagement for those ads within a week of your campaign, then work on improving your ads as soon as possible. If you don’t, you’ll keep paying for ad space that isn’t effective and has a low return on investment. Use root cause analysis to find your way out of problems like these.

Step 6. Measure the Results of Your Marketing Campaign

This is the part of marketing campaign management that we’re all waiting for—results. All brands, especially small teams, need to know if the time and money spent on the campaign was worth it. Earlier in the planning stage, you were able to set and clarify goals. Now, you’ll need to know for sure if you reached them.

Since you’ve picked your campaign goals (Step 2) and selected your metrics for your marketing plan (Step 3), it’s time to revisit them. Were you able to reach your goals and targeted metrics? Whether you were successful or not, use your results to inform your succeeding campaigns.

Apart from the actual goals and numbers, you should also review the other aspects of your campaign such as:

  • How each member of your team was able to handle their assigned task
  • If all your deliverables were completed on time
  • Any unexpected problems or challenges that came up
  • Anything you could have done better or differently

If you need to report your campaign stats to a supervisor or client, a professional presentation would help prove the effectiveness of your campaign. Using professionally designed analytics presentation templates such as this PowerPoint template and this Keynote template are a good place to start.

Keep in mind that measuring the results of your campaign doesn’t have to take place at the end. In fact, if you track your results and progress along the way, you’ll be able to adapt more easily in case of problems or opportunities.

Your Marketing Campaign Management Process

Setting up an effective marketing and campaign management process might seem like a lot of work, but think of it as a way to optimize your already limited time and resources. By following the above steps, you’ll be able to focus more on succeeding with your actual campaign instead of dealing with emergencies or worrying about the results. At the end of the day, solid campaign management is as necessary as the artwork and copy of your marketing materials.

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