A great campaign strategy starts with a series of different “what?” questions.  Here are a few important what’s to get you and your team started.  If you get stuck, move on to the next what and see if that triggers ideas.  The answers will help create a Campaign Brief that becomes a blueprint for your campaign.

1. What is the purpose of your campaign? 

Soccer player with ball in action outdoors
  • What is the specific challenge or opportunity your campaign addresses?
  • Does your company mission and core values support this campaign?

2.  In what way does your campaign contribute to the change you want?   

  • What are the changes in people’s behavior that the campaign will aim to achieve?
  • What are the types of actions to be carried out, by whom, how and when?
  • What are the pathways of change promoted by the campaign?
  • What are the emotions and stories that support the change?

3. Who are the stakeholders and what is the best way to reach them?  

  • What are the target audiences?
  • Do you have personas and archetypes for these audiences?
  • How will these audiences be reached and what are the channels?
  • Identify groups that participate in your campaign and their role (support of a non-profit)?

4. What strategic elements of the campaign are needed to reach your goal? 

  • What is the communications strategy that outlines key messages, channels and tools by which the campaign will connect with the target audiences?
  • What are the elements of ongoing measurement that you need to have in place?
  • What is the scale-up strategy if you need to increase the campaign for a larger audience or geographic area?

5.  What is the timeframe?

  • What specific milestones you are working towards?
  • When and how often will you measure the progress of the campaign.
  • What is the exit strategy to determine when/how your campaign will end?

Create A Perfect Campaign Brief

After you are satisfied that you’ve answered your “What?” questions and you have an understanding of your audience and your channels you are ready to develop a Creative Brief – a map for a campaign.  The Brief helps you navigate effortlessly from a big picture overview to a drill down on specifics that ensure campaign success.  Here we review the important parts of a good Creative Brief which can be written up into a document of approximately 8 pages, or a Powerpoint deck of 10 slides.

One piece of advice.  Remember inspiration.  It is easy to drop into the “mechanics” of a campaign, partially because some of the mechanics (deciding channels, number of posts, metrics for measurement) are familiar and have been used before.  Mechanics can set the stage; but inspiration is what makes audiences stand up and clap (or click, or post). 

1. The Campaign Overview:  Define Your Purpose

Describe briefly the goals for your campaign.  Are you trying to create brand awareness?   Are you introducing a new product?  Are you focused on lead generation?  Are there opportunities or challenges in the marketplace that needs to be addressed?  The campaign overview overview should be sufficiently detailed, and in plain English, so it could be passed over to the creative team and easily understood.  At the same time, you are not writing a book.  Try to get the overview down to one page.

2. The Campaign Objectives: Define Your KPIs and Measurable Goals

Your objectives detail the steps your team must take to reach the goals.  Objectives should be measurable and quantifiable so that progress during the campaign can be used to enhance the campaign as it is running.   If the campaign uses advertisements then what are the outcomes you are looking for.  With sentiment in mind, how should the ad should make your audience think and feel, and what will they do?

Key Performance Indicators.  KPIs are specific measurements that related to your campaign objectives. For example, if your specific goal is to increase sales efficiency; then you need to measure total sales divided by total leads and compare against benchmarks for the same period of time without the campaign.  Here are a few KPIs that you can measure.  Just make sure that you create the correct KPIs for your campaign objectives.  This can be covered in about three pages.

  1. Social Media Channels: Fans, Engagement, Reach, Conversions
  2. The Volume of Social Conversations
  3. Organic Search Results and Rankings
  4. Cost per Lead
  5. Traffic to Lead Ratio
  6. Lead to Customer Ratio
  7. Landing Page Views and Conversions
  8. Mobile Leads and Conversions
  9. Cost per Conversion
  10. Sales Revenue Before, During and After Campaign

Additional Metrics For Specific KPIs

What we want to achieve with KPIs is not only to demonstrate the success of a campaign (which is good) but also to understand more about what is working and what is not working.  A variety of metrics help you do this.  For example if you are looking at your Social Media Channels you might want to define and then drill down into engagement by channel.  You need to define the relevant metrics and relationships for your KPIs.

3. Target Audience

For each campaign you need to know who you are communicating with and define the emotional triggers related to desired actions.  Develop a complete picture of the demographics, psychographics, personas and the archetypes for your audience.  This is an important step because when you do it right, your creative flows faster and is more successful.  An audience overview is perhaps two pages.

4. Campaign Focus

Drill down to the emotional sentiment that will achieve your objective with your target audience.  Start with telling… telling stories that support the campaign objectives.  When you have your sales hat on, focus on benefits to the audience, not the features of your products and services.  Shoot for two pages.