By Lexie Lu

Generally, a marketing campaign consists of several different sequences or actions that combine to make up the whole. All of these sequences, per se, have the ultimate goal of promoting a particular product, brand or service. During those campaigns, a wide variety of channels and platforms are used to spread its message.

Technically, if your campaign can garner enough engagement and interest to put more focus on whatever it is you’re trying to market, then you were successful. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you achieved your goals. If you were interested in boosting conversions, for example, but your campaign only increased pageviews or traffic, then you weren’t successful, were you?

The trick then is finding a strategy or way forward that helps achieve your specific goals, not just a generalized one. How do you ensure, for instance, that you’re boosting those conversions you need so badly, and not only exposure and traffic?

Here are six ways to ensure your next marketing campaign is a success — meaning it meets your specific needs.

1. Align Your Marketing Campaign Goals

In the example, the goal is to boost conversions, not exposure. So, you must ensure everyone and everything is on the same page — not just your fellow employees and marketers, but your customers, as well.

Is your goal achievable with the current state of your business, for instance? Are your regular customers even interested in that conversion process to begin with?

It’s important to identify the demographic and psychographic of your customers, so you can better understand what they want and what that means for your goals. Some would argue that it’s on you to choose a target, like higher conversion rates, and then achieve it. But the reality is, sometimes things are not possible as-is. That doesn’t mean you should give up — it just means you need to better align your campaign activities based on what you’re trying to achieve.

Maybe you’re running your campaign across the wrong channels. Maybe you’re targeting the wrong demographic. Or, maybe your employees don’t understand what is needed on their end to achieve your goal.

2. See Your Campaign Through

The message you’re trying to send could very well be wrong, and that would mean your marketing campaign will likely end up unsuccessful. But therein lies the problem with most marketing-based teachings — everyone is gunning for success and will accept nothing less. But sometimes, you have to fail in order to improve or find a different route that leads to success.

It seems counterintuitive talking about this in a piece about success, but that’s why it’s important.

So, what’s the point? Is it that you should fail? No, absolutely not. The point is that you should not be afraid of failure. Stick to your guns and remain consistent across your entire campaign — whatever that may be.

Outline your goals, create your campaign, and set out upon the path — but once you do, don’t look back. Keep in mind, that’s not the same as making minor adjustments during a campaign to try and improve or change the outcome. It just means don’t abandon your process once it has started.

IHOP’s recent campaign to change the company name to IHOb definitely received mixed reactions when it started. It turned out the “b” stood for burgers, which the restaurant chain was now introducing on their menus. It was also a clever play on the “flipping” of pancakes, by flipping the “p” upside down to a “b.”

Mixed reactions or not, IHOP saw a boost of 6,477 percent in social media mentions for a single day, and the hashtags #IHOP and #IHOB garnered more than 297 million impressions for the week leading up to the campaign. Later, IHOP revealed the name change was never going to be permanent — it was just a campaign to let people know the chain was now serving burgers.

3. Test, Measure and Learn

This relates to the point above about sticking to your guns. You see, once a campaign is started, you should never turn back or walk away, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make adjustments to improve your chances and output.

But to do such a thing, you need the appropriate data and information. That’s where the idea to test, measure and learn on the fly comes from. In marketing, you generally have several streams of information coming in at a time, which you can use to your advantage. You must find ways to efficiently measure, assess and use what’s coming in.

How do you know your conversion rates are improving? Where are your conversions coming from most? How can you direct new customers to that particular channel, or turn other channels into more lucrative opportunities? These are all questions that can only be answered with the right forms of data. More importantly, by assessing and applying it in real-time, you can be sure your campaign is traveling on the appropriate route to success.

4. High-Quality Content All the Way

It doesn’t matter what your budget is — your content must always be of the highest quality you can muster. If you have to simply repurpose campaigns and content streams that were successful in the past, that’s okay. Just don’t get in the habit of doing so for every single campaign or event.

Your budget should only decide what channels and how many you pursue at a time, not the quality level of your content or materials. Yes, that does make things a little more challenging, but it also means you will see higher levels of success.

If you’re talking about blogs and text-based content, find high-quality writers who know what they’re doing. If you’re talking about photos or video content, the same should be done with your content creators there. In fact, it’s almost always a good idea to enlist help from other creatives when you have the opportunity. At the very least, they might have some unique ideas you hadn’t considered before.

5. Leverage the Community

Believe it or not, a lot of times you can appeal to your audience or community for help. Asking your customers to refer friends, family and colleagues can bring in new people you might not have been able to reach otherwise.

There are more creative ways of encouraging your community’s participation, as well, beyond just asking. You could run promotions and contests, sponsor giveaways, host local events and more.

Get the community involved with your campaign, and you’ll likely be surprised by what you find. Facebook did just this during their 10th-anniversary celebrations. Every user on the platform was “gifted” with a personalized video that shared their experiences across the social media platform. It was a technological marvel to generate and support that many videos at once — and in such a creative way. But it worked, and it has spawned dozens of other similar campaigns.

6. Enlist Brand Advocates

One thing we’re seeing a lot of lately are companies and brands forging relationships with influencers — you might recognize the term to mean popular YouTubers, but there are influencers in every creative industry. This is a great idea honestly and helps bolster your marketing team in a rather creative way. In fact, a recent study suggests that 70 percent of millennial consumers are driven by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.

If you’re going to do such a thing, make sure you choose partners and advocates that best align with your brand. If you’re a high-quality auto manufacturer, for example, you’re probably not going to have much luck striking a relationship with a renowned gamer like Pewdiepie or Ninja. Yes, Fortnite may be absolutely dominating social topics right now, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a good community for your brand or team to get involved with.

Still, enlisting the help of brand advocates can get your campaign message out there to the masses much faster than you would on your own.

Amazon’s ‘Alexa Has Lost Her Voice’ campaign brilliantly utilized influencers to get its message across — and it aired during Super Bowl LII, of all times. It also did a great job of highlighting the power of Alexa and how much its users rely on the platform.

Planning Is Key

Before launching a campaign — and even during — it’s crucial that you invest a good amount of time planning out your moves and how that will affect your goals. Failed campaigns should be looked upon as learning experiences. It sounds cliche, but it’s definitely true. You can use the data, insights and performance details of past campaigns to improve your current or future ones.

Many of the steps listed here will help you plan out your route before, during or after a campaign has rolled out. Keep that in mind as you move forward.

Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

Marketing campaign stock photo by boonchoke/Shutterstock