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Essential v desirable: nailing the foundations of your marketing campaigns

We all dream of being a marketing master, able to make iconic campaigns each and every time. And while we know that you are more than capable of it, we believe it’s always better to walk before you run. So, instead of diving straight into complex multi-channel, international campaigns, make sure you have the fundamentals nailed. 

To that end, we have compiled a list of things you should take into consideration each and every time you begin a campaign, so you have the strongest foundations to build upon.

Do you understand your product?

How can you hope to make your audience understand and care about your product if you don’t know it inside and out. Spend time with the product team to really learn what your products are, how they work, and what problem it solves for the customer. You should also look to identify what makes you different from your competitors, commonly referred to as your unique selling point (USP). Being able to succinctly articulate your product, why it’s different from similar products on the market, and how those differences will positively impact a pain point for your customer is a great first step to constructing your campaign.  

Who are you targeting?

With an understanding of your product, you’re now much better equipped to decide who your marketing campaign should target. Are you looking to get higher conversions from your existing audience, or are you wanting to attract a new market segment? 

Start by creating an ideal customer profile (ICP), and think about the particular traits and typical behaviour patterns you would expect. Then compare that against the data you already have on your audience, and assess whether you currently have the reach to meet the objectives of your campaign. 

Similarly, by knowing who it is you’re targeting, you are able to better tailor the campaign to them. Think about the language you use, and the feature-set that is more relevant to your desired audience. For instance, do you want to get into the minutia of the product specification if you’re not targeting technical people?

Knowing who you’re targeting will also help inform the marketing channels that you use. Think about where your ICP ‘lives’, both geographically (so you can consider cultural and regulatory aspects of your campaign) and figuratively, as in their digital habitat. Is your target audience likely to be found on Instagram, or Reddit? Perhaps they’re developers, in which case they might be on Stack Overflow. Marketing and management are likely to be found on LinkedIn. Of course, there is no absolute delineation when it comes to establishing where you’ll find your audience, but having a sense of where they typically congregate will help you decide where to focus most of your efforts. 

Have you set SMART marketing goals?

We’ve probably all heard of SMART goals by now:

Specific: clearly defined goal with action on how it will be achieved

Measurable: quantitative metrics that can be tracked

Achievable: realistic given the time and resources allocated

Relevant: How do these tie into your wider business objectives

Time-Bound: Clear start and end dates

 The reason these principles are so ubiquitous is because they are actually great for breaking down any objective into core components and then tracking your progress against them. 

On the subject of tracking (measuring) your goals, you will want to put some thought into how you are tracking the success of your campaign, and that accurate attribution is in place. This is true of your business generally, but especially when running a campaign; the last thing you want is to put the work in and then not know if it had any impact because you can’t see what generated the traffic. 

Do you have the means of tracking your users across touchpoints? If you’re running a multi-channel campaign, you will want to invest in cross-channel tracking so you can understand the user journey up to the conversion. If you want to learn more about cross-channel tracking, we’ve written about it here.


Unless you are in the enviable position to have unlimited marketing budget, you are going to want to set a budget and decide within that budget how you allocate resources across your various channels. Your budget, ie. your marketing expenditure, is also an important metric when calculating your return on investment (ROI) – it is literally the ‘I’ in this instance. 

Try to use data to inform your decisions on where to allocate your budget. If you have run similar campaigns previously, look at what performed well and where – did one channel far outperform the others in terms of ROI? If your campaign is targeting a specific subsection of the market and you have the data to say where they are, you could allocate more resources to targeting those channels. There is no point putting more money into one channel, even if you’ve had past success, if your current target audience isn’t on there. Spend your money wisely!

Don’t forget that marketing costs extend beyond the actual act of putting adverts or content out in the world. You need to factor in ancillary costs like the creation of content. Do you need infographics made, is there a video that needs shooting, will you be hosting a webinar? All of these questions need answering, and then you will need to allocate costs against them.

How long do you wait to make changes, and who is responsible for that?

You can’t just ‘set and forget’ marketing campaigns, they are living things, and to get the best from them they need monitoring and adjusting over time. As part of your SMART goal planning, you should set some milestones where you check in on the campaign, see what is working, and decide what might need adjusting. It’s also worth deciding who is responsible for that task upfront, so they can take ownership of the campaign, familiarise themselves with the data, and feel empowered to make changes where necessary.  

The importance of testing

This is worth stating in its own right: the importance of tests can never be overstated. By implementing a ‘test and learn’ plan, you can optimise your campaigns, and maximise conversion and engagement. A test and learn approach involves setting hypotheses against your campaigns, and then testing them to measure performance and make improvements. This takes the guesswork out of marketing, and allows you to make data-rich decisions. 

For example, you might want to test which content performs best with different audiences, or which times work best to generate maximum open-rates on email campaigns. 

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