While it can be tempting to jump right in and launch your marketing campaign to the world without much in the way of planning (and let’s face it, so many do!), to get the best results, you need to take a more strategic approach.

To help you improve your marketing campaign results, here are the three foundations you need to get right before you embark on a marketing campaign.

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1. Who

Your customer should always be the hero of your story, so everything must start and end with them. We recommend you ask yourself these questions first before thinking about anything else.

  1. Who are the people that our product/service serves?
  2. Who in this audience do we want to specifically target through this campaign?

Chances are, you, like so many other businesses, have multiple audiences, so just answering the first question may not be enough. Marketing campaigns that get the best results are targeted and specific.

To drill down further, you need to look at your customer demographics. This will tell you how to find them. Then you look at their needs and the logical aspects they are looking for – information, ideas, features and benefits. Lastly, you need to look at their wants; this is the emotional reason behind the purchase that drives their decision. This is the Holy Grail of marketing and the reason people make true and lasting connections with brands.

I love what investor Mike Markkula, the third partner in Apple alongside Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, penned in The Apple Marketing Philosophy, “We will truly understand their needs better than any company”. Knowing your customer better than anyone else is your most important job in business.

2. What

Next, you need to establish the ‘what’. What is it that you are really selling? And here’s a hint, it’s not the features or benefits. It’s about how the product/service makes your customer feel, what it does to make their life easier or more meaningful – it’s the story of how their life will change for the better.

We always buy on emotion, but we’ll justify our purchase logically with the features and benefits. When you’re clear on what problem you solve and what pain you take away – and can put it into words that a five-year-old can understand – you will see your campaign results increase dramatically.

3. How

Then you need to look at how you will build the desire in your audience to use you. This step requires looking at the strategy behind your customer journey and asking specific questions that will help you bring them through the stages of awareness and interest to make a decision.

For the campaign itself, you may want to ask questions like:

  • What does the ad copy need to say to grab our customers’ attention?
  • How do we demonstrate how we are better than our competitors?
  • What objections are customers going to have, and how can we address them?
  • What testimonials do we need to include to get them to see the benefits?
  • What do the graphics and landing page need to look like to support the message?
  • What is the next step we want them to take, and what do they need to know to make it?

Another essential part of the ‘how’ stage is to determine how you will measure the campaign’s success.

  • What does success look like?
  • What goals do you want to achieve?
  • What business outcomes do you want?
  • What metrics do you need to track?
  • What reporting needs to be provided, and to who?

Optimising your campaign

Now that you’ve done the groundwork and are clear on the who, what and how of your campaign you need to look at the rules around campaign optimisation. Planning your rules around optimisation before you start your campaign will mean that you prevent wasting unnecessary time and money.

How will you know whether the campaign is working or not? How will you determine when you should spend more or cut back?

An example of this is using financial metrics. Let’s say your target is $50 per lead.

  • If you’re campaign is running at $35 per lead, you’ll invest more
  • If it’s running at $80 per lead, you might cut bids back to get a better cost per lead
  • If it’s running at $1,000 per lead, you stop immediately and figure out what’s going on!

Many a marketing budget has been wasted because the who, what and how of a campaign wasn’t established before it was sent out – don’t let yours suffer the same fate.

Read More: Is Your Marketing Campaign a Success?