Your integrated marketing campaign strategy has been followed to the letter, reviewed often and the campaign schedule has been written, reviewed, amended and implemented. So what’s next?
The great news is that you’re about to start all over again, that’s what. Well, not exactly, but now you really need to be building on the successes of your last integrated marketing campaign, and improving on the things that didn’t go so well.
The brainstorming begins.
Time for the lowdown on what has gone before. There’s no point in starting to think about a new campaign until you know how the previous one has gone.
Get the numbers guys in, ask the marketers to do their presentation, work out what went well and what didn’t. Did you hit your targets? Were they realistic?
Revisit your customer and your competitors
You know the drill. Before you start your planning process you must carry out a SWOT analysis, revisit the 7Ps and work out who your target market is and who your competitors are.
No shortcuts here, it’s worth the effort to have a clear idea of where you’re aiming for and what the challenges are likely to be. They may be the same as before, but things change. Make sure you’re aware of those changes before you plan your campaign.
Wins and losses
It’s a great idea to check out any spectacular wins and losses in your previous campaigns and work out why they went so well or so badly.
Was it great or really bad timing? Maybe it coincided with an event happening locally (or that you just missed it), either by accident or design, that resonated with your product? Is it something you can repeat? Is it likely to have the same impact next year? Sometimes it will be down to something completely out of our control, such as the weather. This is what you need to work out.
Research what’s going on in the world today, and what’s coming along.
Think about the changes that have taken place over the last, say, 100 years:
- radio and tv have been introduced into people’s homes
- computers that used to take up huge rooms are now contained in a tiny microchip
- phones that used to be attached by wires and had a range of less than 15 miles are now wireless, widely owned and make calls across the planet in an instant.
Things that would have been considered to be actual magic not that long ago are now commonplace, much of it no longer the domain of the rich but available to many, if not most, people. Don’t think for a second that things won’t move on, so be a part of it.
In a similar way to the changing world of technology, cost and opportunities for marketing change too.
Even if a TV advertising campaign was unaffordable last year, doesn’t mean that it is still unaffordable this year. If your budget wouldn’t stretch to space at a major exhibition last time, maybe you can negotiate the price this time, or find a partner to share stand space with.
One tiny word of caution though; even major shows and exhibitions run their course eventually. If you’re being offered an unexpected discount, try contacting exhibitors or stand holders from the previous show and see how they thought it went. If footfall/spend/purchases/interest has dropped like a stone, it may be time to look for something new even if the price is really attractive.
New customer base
This goes back to doing your background work and knowing your customer.
You may think that your target market is clearly defined, and that may be true. But don’t be blind to new markets opening up to you. Brainstorming should include a good look at your customers, and those of your competitors, thinking a little outside of the box. You don’t want to miss a trick.
Tried and trusted
Your marketing plan will have looked at the BCG matrix (growth share) and the message here should be clear. You may well have products or services that are low growth and or low market share. However, if these trundle on without draining resources, there may be no benefit in ditching them.
It’s worth brainstorming growth potential for your products and services to ensure that there really isn’t any future potential before you ditch them.
Bring out the sticky post-it notes
This kind of speaks for itself. The real question is: “Can you really have a genuinely productive brainstorming session without a big supply of sticky post-it notes?”
Well, can you? We think not. Where else are you going to record all of the great ideas that come out of the brainstorming session? We rest our case!
Working as a team
It has been said before but it’s worth re-iterating: get everyone involved in brainstorming sessions.
You may be surprised by hidden talents within the team and without doubt, everyone’s input is valid.
Granted, you can’t include everything that’s popped onto a sticky note, but staff feel far more valued if their views and ideas are at least genuinely considered. Brainstorms are great for team morale, enthusiasm and motivation. You may not necessarily know why an employee has taken a job that they are clearly over-qualified for, but you can certainly tap into their latent knowledge to your advantage…
It’s important for everyone to know that the marketing budget exists and, broadly, where it’s allocated.
In general there will be a number of static items that appear in the budget every year, and hopefully a number of variables where there’s capacity to try out new initiatives. If each year the budget is already eaten up before the campaign has even been discussed, it’s going to be difficult for your marketing teams to be creative, or for even the best of teams to make any genuine difference.