Expert Series Part 3: Steve Clark Chats about Campaign Planning and Architecture

Posted by Alexa DiGaetano

Agencies thrive on the campaigns they create for their clients, and while creativity plays a large role in the final product, campaigns always begin with a plan and a structure. Lacking this critical element can result in messy, or worse – failed, campaigns.

Campaign planning marks one of the most important and demanding elements of our client relationships. I spoke with our VP and Director of Account Services, Steve Clark, to learn more about the process of building and framing a campaign.

Alexa: Where do you recommend clients start in beginning the campaign planning process? What type of approach do you suggest?

Steve: It’s imperative to understand what the business objectives of any initiative are. It’s the perfect time to step back and make sure we’re aligning with the marketing and financial goals that the company set forth at the beginning of the year. Outlining the objectives for the campaign allows us to approach it with the right strategies to reach the desired outcome.

Alexa: How do you “get inside” the clients’ minds to understand the core goals and desired results of the campaign?

Steve: A healthy Q&A session with our clients usually does the trick. This session really allows us to convert business objectives into campaign goals with measurable key performance indicators (KPIs). Campaign goals vary based on the actual tactics that will be used during the campaign. They can also be defined by segmented audiences making things a little more complicated, but that’s a challenge we’re happy to take on.

Alexa: Content is extremely important to a campaign’s success. What is the single most important thing about content that your clients need to learn?

Steve: Understanding the audience and their buying style is by far the most important learning. Different types of content can provide different types of engagement for the audience. Are we trying to educate them, convert them, keep them engaged until they are ready to buy, or something else? Case studies, eBooks, videos, and interactive tools all have their place and purpose in a campaign, but knowing your audience and how they buy the product or service dictates which to use and how to maximize results.

Alexa: Do you abide by a general set of metrics by which you measure campaigns, or do you change the strategy for each one?

Steve: We measure everything – that being said, there is no one particular metric that’s valid for each campaign. We’ll take a look at industry and our clients’ past campaign benchmarks to set up our KPIs for the campaign. KPIs will be set for each tactic within the campaign and we will measure the performance of that tactic as the campaign continues and make adjustments where they are needed to ensure that tactic’s success and ultimately the overall campaign’s success.

Alexa: How does the continued evolution of integrated marketing affect campaign planning?

Steve: The channels and vehicles for reaching your target audience are constantly changing. Building in flexibility and measurement capabilities aids in the process to ensure progress along the way – not just at the end. Understanding who your target audience is, where to find them, the best time to communicate, and how to speak to them is unique for each client and campaign but incredibly important for its overall success. The combination of multiple channels (traditional, public relations, digital, social, mobile, etc.) in a campaign is always preferred because the increased frequency of your messaging to your audience will result in a greater impact, but be careful not to fall into the trap of using the “newest” or “coolest” thing without an objective. If your audience isn’t in sync, it will be a wasted effort and wasted budget. Know your audiences’ needs along with how to talk to them and you will build a successful campaign.