We marketers have completely screwed up the definition of “campaign”.

Presidential politics? Now that’s a campaign! It’s barely a month after the election and pundits from both sides of the aisle are already talking about who might win in 2016. And the candidates who think they have a chance are already building their organizations, their strategies and their tactical plans.

That, my friends, is a campaign.

The email you’re sending next Tuesday? That is not a campaign.

Effective marketing campaigns mobilize your target audience towards an end goal. It starts with reputation-building and awareness, moves to demand generation and sales enablement, and finishes with conversion and actualization for the customer.

Yes, this is a lot more work than Tuesday’s email. Yes, this kind of campaign will take a lot of planning and months to execute. But that, in part, is the point.

The more thoughtful we are about the message we want the market to hear, about how we want them to react to that message, how it differentiates from competitors and drives preference for your business, product or services – that’s where the true value of campaign development and execution comes.

I really liked how SiriusDecisions framed the five jobs of an effective marketing campaign at their summit this past spring. In summary, they said a successful campaign must do the following:

1. Seed
2. Create
3. Nurture
4. Enable
5. Accelerate

Put together, effective marketing campaigns seed demand that is created and nurtured by a demand center and/or field marketing, with an end result that is enabled by sales and the customer onboarding program and accelerated by communicating that success with the remainder of the market and through existing customers to drive referrals, renewals and repeat business.

Shifting from tactical, siloed “campaigns” to this type of comprehensive campaign approach isn’t going to be easy for most marketing organizations, especially those working without a long-term marketing plan or product/market focus.

But look for ways to take your current email sends, paid search efforts and other marketing channels and incorporate more of the five jobs listed above. The more effectively you can incorporate them, the greater long-term success you’re likely to see from finite efforts in the first place.

  • Eric Rutin

    I get on my soap box daily that a tactic is not a strategy! Thanks for the share