5 Characteristics of Effective Marketing Campaigns

Being the best you can be at marketing requires a lot of time digging through analytics and data to find insights. But, as we all know, marketers stay pretty busy just getting stuff out the door. So to help, we’ve analyzed which characteristics successful campaigns share.

1. The Customer = The Hero


This is how your customer sees himself. Don't burst his bubble.This is how your customer sees himself. Don’t burst his bubble.


Making the customer the hero of your marketing message sounds easy. It’s actually very hard.

I won’t name names, but I’ve been in meetings where after a long discussion about creating valuable content, we’ve ended up with a three part white paper series that is basically the worst brochure ever.

No one wants to read that.

Instead of making that video series about the new features of your bulldozer, make it a story about a contractor using the bulldozer to complete a key portion of his project.

People are inherently self-centered. For instance, Coca-Cola saw 125,000 posts from their Share a Coke campaign in the first 6 weeks. People like to feel central to the message.

2. A Clearly Defined Goal

How are you going to know if your campaign is effective if you don’t know what it’s supposed to achieve?

If you are just doing “a campaign,” then you aren’t going to be able to target your media-mix or messaging. Is your goal website traffic? Is it raising brand awareness? Is it lead generation? All of those will have very different messages and campaign structures.

The most effective campaigns decide the following in the following order:

  1. What’s our short-term goal that will contribute to our long-term goal?
  2. How will we know when we’ve reached this goal successfully?
  3. How can we target and segment our audiences to reach this goal?
  4. What inspiring message can we send to each audience?
  5. What channels will best communicate this message to each audience?
How many marketing discussions start at number 5?

3. Highly Targeted Messaging

I’ve seen some companies (not yours of course) use a single piece of content to try to reach multiple industries. Don’t use a “one size fits all” approach to messaging.

25% off all pork ad for pig and man

The 2 participants in the focus group had “differing” reactions to the ad creative.

The 2 participants in the focus group had “differing” reactions to the ad creative.

Why is that a problem?

The average person can see up to 40,000 advertising messages in a day. So, to say you’re fighting for attention would be an understatement. So what can you use to get someone’s attention?

The answer is relevance.

An owner-operator may not click on an ad for “good trucks,” but he will probably at least notice an ad that mentions “best trucks for owner-operators.” By the way, that means you can’t also use that ad for the fleet executives.

Our marketing department sends out a weekly newsletter (which you should definitely sign up for). At the beginning, we sent the same message to all our verticals. However, when we started sending separate emails for driver recruiting, trucking marketing, and construction marketing, our open rates and click through rates drastically increased.

We went from a 29% open rate to a 42% open rate.

3. Highly Targeted Audiences

Don’t waste your campaign dollars on media that can’t back up its audiences. The most effective campaigns obviously use paid media exposure to generate awareness, but think about exactly who that media is exposing you to?

You can’t use targeted messaging with non-targeted audiences.

This principle applies to both offline and online audiences. A general trucking industry magazine won’t allow you to use the same targeted messaging that a fleet executive magazine would.

When you run banner campaigns, are you segmenting your audiences by location, device, keywords, and content? If not, you’re not getting the greatest results possible.

Challenge your media partners to provide you with hyper-targeted audience segments so you can actually segment your messaging.

5. Integrated, Multi-Channel Marketing

This one is pretty obvious, but when you’re in the marketing whirlwind, it’s easy to miss a couple channels for a specific campaign. It’s also easy to get in the mindset of thinking of each channel as a separate campaign.

Instead of getting stuck in that mode, start with the message.

Then, after you’ve carefully thought about the specific message for a specific audience segment, look at the channels you have available for that specific audience. That will help your campaign’s message be truly integrated.

I’m a big fan of checklists for keeping track of those things. Social media, email, content downloads, video, YouTube InStream, banner advertising, search targeting, print ads, events, . . . it’s easy to miss something that could make a big difference for your campaign.

You need to have all the channels working together for maximum effectiveness. For instance, our driver recruiting clients frequently say that when they stop running print ads, their banner ads stop getting clicks. That’s some teamwork from the media placements.

Do you know of other campaigns characteristics that are essential to success? Let me know on LinkedIn or send us a tweet or leave us a comment on Facebook. It’s not fair for you to keep your expertise to yourself.


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