For a truly successful marketing campaign, there needs to be a thorough, well thought-through strategy, taking into account many things including the current situation the company is in in terms of their market positioning, their competitors, their products and their target audience. Not to mention their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Every marketing strategy should set SMART goals - objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused and Time-bound. It's this last element, we'll look at in this article.
We set SMART goals so that we can look back and assess whether a campaign has been a success. Did we achieve the goals we set out to achieve within the specified time frame?
If not, was the time frame realistic? It's not just the specific increase in sales, number of enquiries or reach of a campaign which needs to be realistic, the time frame we set for achieving this goal needs to be realistic too.
Too often, marketing campaigns are pulled within weeks of launching as the initial results are not what we had hoped for. The reality is, very few campaigns are an overnight success and the first few days and weeks are a "learning" phase, not just for us marketers, but for the platforms we use such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
These advertising platforms have a learning phase to gather enough data on your ads' performance before they can fully optimise your campaigns. It's vital, then, that we don't make any rash judgements during this phase or shortly after as the results we see won't be a true reflection of what's possible over the coming months.
Ask any marketer and they should tell you the same, a strategy needs to be flexible to allow for results we didn't expect and adjust our tactics accordingly. Whilst we can estimate outcomes for a particular campaign using data from previous campaigns or the predictions that certain platforms give us, nothing can accurately predict how a campaign will work until it's up and running.
If you're using Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Social Media Marketing, SEO or even Email Marketing, you need to be thinking long term.
A one-month trial won't always give you enough data to judge whether or not a campaign has been successful. This is certainly the case for industries where the decision making process takes months or even years, with lots of research, comparisons and consideration before the purchase.
For these industries, there needs to be a period of relationship building and creating trust before a purchase will take place. It's important to take this into account when you set your campaign objectives.
For other industries, such as FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), a shorter trial period could give you the results you were expecting much earlier on in the campaign, especially if you're selling something consumers will buy on impulse.
At Skittish Digital, most of our clients fall into the first category, and we therefore work with them on a long term strategy, allowing for campaigns to be tweaked, optimised and refined over a period of several months as we gather more data.
We believe the only strategy worth doing is a multi-channel strategy, not relying on one source of traffic and not assuming traffic = sales. We therefore recommend a more joined-up approach, utilising landing pages, data capture and lead nurturing, consistently over a period of 6 - 12 months.
If you're interested in discussing our traffic and lead generation programmes, drop us a line and we'd be happy to discuss your next digital marketing campaign.