Marketing campaign, marketing plan or marketing thrust is the combination of different types of communication media and strategies employed to promote products, services or a brand. Marketing campaign is an overall game plan and a long term, forward-looking strategy for any firm or any organization with the basic purpose of achieving a sustained competitive advantage by knowing the desires and requirements of prospective consumers. In today’s competitive world, marketing has become a crucial part of any business entity. It serves as a tool to grab new customers, keep existing customers and encourage brand loyalty. For a company to survive in a cutthroat market and get ahead of the competition marketing has become all important.
With all its varied and multifaceted nature, marketing can be defined as the process by which organisations enhance their visibility and create awareness about their offerings. While it is true that some marketing efforts can be a continuous effort, others can be divided into distinct stages or phases. These include research, development, demonstration, launch and continuing management. Each of these stages has to be handled differently by an organisation. Let us examine each of these in detail.
Research and Development: This is the stage where marketing efforts get their due. It starts with a study and analysis on the potential of a particular product, service or brand. It aims at discovering how well the product, service or brand is accepted and liked by the target customer segment. The objective is to make the product, service or brand more acceptable to the general audience. At this stage, marketers also look for loopholes in the competitors’ strategies to outwit them and pull ahead of the competition.
Demonstration and Testing: In this stage, the organisations carry out specific market research to understand the desired action of the target audience. It helps in fine tuning the design, structure and execution of the marketing campaigns. The ultimate aim is to meet the objectives of the campaign. The best way to achieve this is to take inputs from the end users of the product or the services and use qualitative techniques to understand their reaction.
Launch: This is the time to actually launch the campaign. Usually this is the most expensive part of the entire campaign. It is during this stage that organisations have to gather customer feedback, analyse their response and decide on the final goals. Some of the common mistakes during the launch phase include creating the same product or service, not giving clear goals and not collecting data to support the smart goal.
Continuous evaluation and tracking: Even after the launch of a particular campaign, it is important to keep track of the results. There are various tools used for this purpose including surveys and online analytics. Surveys show the general awareness and level of satisfaction with a particular brand or product. Online analytics helps you in collecting information about visitors to your website. Both of these tools help in building loyalty and understanding your customers’ needs.
Short term goals: Once you know what people want, you need to work towards achieving your short-term goals. For example, if you want to build brand awareness, you should work towards changing people’s behaviour so that they behave differently. People respond to the message more positively when it is specific. If your campaign is about increasing online traffic, you should be aware of the factors which drive this traffic. Similarly, if you want to gather customer feedback, you need to analyze your audience so that you can deliver the solution better.
Campaign planning and execution: This is perhaps one of the most challenging stages of any marketing campaign. The budget approval of the campaign determines whether the resources are properly utilized. It is vital to track the campaign’s success using the collected data to identify the areas where additional funds could be allocated. Successful marketing campaigns always look at the bigger picture. A small marketing budget could produce big returns in the long run.