Dave Chaffey: How to manage a digital marketing campaign
What goes into planning, managing and measuring an effective digital marketing campaign?
With so many channels, tactics and tools for marketers to choose from, bringing together the right blend is complicated. Get it right and you can make a massive impact with a relatively small budget. Get it wrong, and the campaign you’ve spent weeks, even months planning gets swallowed up in the noisy, highly competitive world of digital marketing.
It’s a topic we looked at in detail when we used our new analytics platform Quick Search to understand how brands can use social data to create engaging content. But to dig a bit deeper and learn how the best businesses actually manage their campaigns, we caught up with...
Dr. Chaffey runs Smart Insights, a blog and consultancy that helps marketers make better decisions when it comes to marketing strategy and tactics.
From the best way to organize your campaign, to the tools you need to measure and analyze success, Dave was kind enough to share his thoughts on the most effective way to run a digital marketing campaign in 2018.
How did you first start out in marketing and what was your path to founding Smart Insights?
I was involved in what we'd now call Martech initially, building systems to help car companies and retailers optimize their networks and then turned to consulting and training in digital strategy when the web was first used for marketing. I created a standard approach to devising a digital marketing strategy for businesses in different sectors and realized that the templates that I developed for strategy, experience, search, social and email marketing could help many more companies. So we made our freemium templates available in our digital marketing library and have evolved them since then in line with feedback. It's great to see that my original consulting work is now used in more than 100 countries worldwide.
What do you think are the key stages of an effective digital marketing campaign?
Whether you are focusing on digital channels or also including traditional channels, a classic marketing briefing campaign structure works best. It's an approach I first recommended in a Running Effective Digital Campaigns course I first ran in 2003, and it still works today. These are:
- Campaign goals and tracking
What are we trying to achieve through our campaign and how will we know when we achieve it?
- Campaign insight and targeting
Who are we trying to reach and influence?
- Key campaign messages and offers
What is the big idea or content asset(s) that will engage our audiences? How are we trying to position our company, products and services?
Which campaign or product offers will engage and convert our audience?
- Campaign media plan and budget
Which media channels will you use to reach and influence your target audience?
What will be the sequence and integration of media activities?
- Campaign asset production
Managing the assets to form the campaign.
- Campaign execution
What needs to be tested before the campaign is live and adjusted during the campaign?
- Campaign review Reviewing the ROI and learning what worked and what didn't for next time.
Which stage do you think is most important and why?
Effective marketing campaigns have always been based around integrating different channels so that the sum of the whole is greater than any individual channel. So across the different stages, you need a solid framework to help you ensure that integration appears. So, I think that stage 4, defining an effective media plan and budget that achieves integration and enables you to reach your audiences is important. This includes follow-up retargeting through social media and email marketing for which there are so many digital options available.
What are some of your favorite digital first campaigns of recent times?
Here are three, first the KFC Clean Eating Burger:
It’s a great spoof that sends up health food vloggers, featuring Figgy Poppleton-Rice – a fictional food vlogger who “would literally marry kale”. She’s explaining a video recipe for the ‘Clean Eating Burger’: a combination of raw cauliflower, pulsed ice, kale and boiled chicken which is crushed with the not-so-healthy Dirty Louisiana burger which KFC launched in the UK. Over 16 million views shows the power of viral videos which poke fun. Branded virals don’t always link so well to a product, but this pulls it off.
Next, a charity example from MQ with their "It’s time to give a xxxx about mental illness" campaign.
I like the high impact creative based on different ‘It’s time to change the facts’ messages, which encourage sharing by showing how this a neglected illness with 23% of the population affected, but less than 6% of health research spent, or how 4 in 10 feel that mental illness is ‘an inevitable part of life’. The simple visuals and messages work well, but this campaign is integrated with powerful videos and commentary from indie bands.
Finally, I like the AO.com Bloodthirsty Gin Punch campaign.
AO get a lot of engagement through simple plots like asking the audience to get involved, whether it’s counting rubber ducks in a dishwasher or how many beers are in a fridge-freezer, how many clothes fit into a washing machine.
And how about the most common mistakes you see marketers making?
Although I said that integration is a key campaign success factor, it's equally true that unless you have an effective, engaging, shareable content assets (stage 3) which resonate with your audiences, your campaign will be 'dead in the water'. So not investing enough time or money in creating a compelling asset is a common mistake. With digital, content-led campaigns building in repurposing of content and engagement hooks is useful to sustain the campaign. A single asset probably won't cut it. Research to understand your audience buyer personas is important here.
Where do trend analysis and social listening fit into this process?
There are lots of great tools available to determine which types of content assets engage audiences and prompt sharing. As part of the 'in-flight' optimization of the campaign we can use social listening tools or hashtag tracking to see how the messages are being amplified and can then focus on the messages that resonate most.
How important is campaign measurement and how can marketers get this right?
Campaign measurement is tough since there will often be multi-touchpoints on multiple digital devices before someone ultimately decides to buy. This means that you must be able to see the impact of different touchpoints in different ways. To get this right attribution is important since it can show where typical first-touch top of funnel awareness channels like social media and display contribute to the campaign rather than bottom-of-funnel last-touch channels like branded search and email marketing.
Not investing enough time or money in creating a compelling asset is a common mistake. With digital, content-led campaigns building in repurposing of content and engagement hooks is useful to sustain the campaign.
To take an example, if you look at trainer sales for a brand like Adidas, Nike and Puma you will often find that it's searches for the brands that lead to sale, but using this approach ignores the many shares you see on Facebook and Instagram which are prompting the searches to generate awareness and demand. The majority of social shares occur on smartphones via apps, yet purchases on desktop are still common, so it's important to understand this too.
What are the essential tools that every digital marketer should be using to help them run effective campaigns?
There are many tools available today which help both for insight to inform campaigns and to run campaigns. We have identified 30 categories of tools that we think that most businesses that are serious about digital marketing need to use. These include both free and paid tools. In terms of campaigns, insights tools to assess searching and social sharing are useful, but there are many other tools for landing page creation, email follow-up, ad-retargeting and personalization.
We keep a close track on the tools available since Smart Insights is all about helping marketers plan, manage and optimize using the amazing amount of insight and martech we have available today about our customers, competitors and campaign effectiveness. To help highlight some of the best tools available, we have a popular post and infographic giving a list of the top 10 marketing tools available including some of the great free tools available from Talkwalker.
That’s a great resource. Thanks very much for your time today Dave and for your tips on managing digital marketing campaigns. And don't forget, if you're looking for instant insights about your digital marketing campaigns, give our Quick Search a try for free today.