Marketing Campaigns

For many small and medium sized companies, the hardest part of marketing is simply managing all of the different pieces of the marketing mix. The first step toward organizing the potential chaos is to plan and schedule specific marketing campaigns.

Definition: A marketing campaign is a sustained effort to promote your product or service through a defined series of activities. 

What Makes a Good Marketing Campaign?

Marketing campaign, Amex, Marketing strategy

American Express – Small Business Saturday

A good marketing campaign follows a theme, and it includes a series of touch points through each channel. I wish that a single email or text marketing campaign was enough for someone to take action, but the average consumer can take anywhere from 3 to 10 touch points (or more) before actually making a purchase. Since there is so much noise in the marketplace, repetition of a message in different channels is important.

The American Express campaign of Small Business Saturday utilized several channels and message styles before it became a huge success. However, they understood some key things about running a successful campaign: Goal (positive branding with small businesses), Personas who support small business, Multiple Channels (digital ads, emails, partner communications, posters, etc) and the Virality of the concept.

What are some things that your company can leverage to make a great campaign?

  • Goal
    What is the goal of your campaign? You may want to increase sales for a specific product, drive traffic to your new website, simply create buzz about what your company is up to, or something else.
  • Persona(s)
    Who are your target customers? Identify the personas who are the most likely to be interested in this product, service, or topic. You may want to create a few demographic profiles to get started.
  • Channels
    How are you getting the message out to your target customers? This is a labor-intensive part of the planning process. If you are going to hit the customer with your message at least 3 times, then which channels will it be pushed through and when? (ie Email, Website, Blog, Social Media, Print, Radio, TV, PPC)
  • Virality of Content
    Understand what causes people to share information. Is the content of your message aimed to pique someone’s curiosity, cause a debate, get people excited?

The Minimalist Marketing Campaign Plan

If all of this sounds like gobbly-gook to you and you just want a fast way to get things going, then make a calendar in a spreadsheet. At minimum, you should have a plan for each month for what communications you are putting out to your customers (and the world).

Here’s a Sample Content Calendar

Marketing Communications, Content Calendar, Communications Calendar

Key Items in your content calendar:

  • Content Type
  • Title or Description of that content (blog post title or a description such as Monthly Newsletter)
  • Key dates (draft due, review by, publish on, etc)
  • Target Audience / Personas
  • Distribution Channels
  • Promotions tied to it
  • The Keywords or Metadata being used
  • Metrics for reporting on the success

Defining User Experience

For Technology. For Marketing. For the Experience of Your Product or Service.

User Experience (UX) and User Experience Design (UXD or UED) are terms used to refer to user-centered design practices.  The aim is to produce something that meets the user’s (the customer) own goals – his measures of success and ease of use – while fulfilling the objectives of the company. The term was coined by Don Norman while he was Vice President of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple.

“I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual. Since then the term has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to lose it’s meaning… user experience, human centered design, usability; all those things, even affordances. They just sort of entered the vocabulary and no longer have any special meaning. People use them often without having any idea why, what the word means, its origin, history, or what it’s about.” (source)

UX Goes Beyond Technology

People often associate User Experience exclusively with web design and related areas of technology. However, we are now applying the concept to several areas of business. Here are just a few that come to mind:

Case Study for User Experience

Many executives view User Experience as a low-priority and an unnecessary way to spend budget. Ironically, it is a key way that many organizations end up saving money and improving their business. Let’s take a look at this somewhat fictional case study.

Software UX

The Special Software Company offers a SaaS solution directly to small businesses and re-sellers. Their software is a CRM tool with email built in. For the past 2 quarters, the company has been slowing down and profits are lower than expected. They have tried lowering the cost, up-selling account services, and even expanding their technology to make it work better with an email service provider. Nothing is working.

Finally, the CTO of the company suggests bringing in a User Experience Specialist to help the company identify the problem and address it. She creates organizes some focus groups of current customers and anther focus group of potential customers (based on the company’s profile of an ideal customer). During these focus groups, she discovers that the UI of the software is functional, but not logical to everyone. Even current customers explain that they had to learn how to change their own logic to use it. She also discovers that potential customers feel uneducated about the application of using this software – how will it really work for their business to save time and money?

Everything is complied into documents that show the user experience flow, touching upon the psychology around the interactions, and identifying the pain points for current and potential customers. The entire process took a couple of weeks, and now the company has clear actionable tasks toward improving the business.

Marketing to Your Users

Looking more closely at this software company, we discovered that one of the pain points for potential customers was the marketing message. It was unclear and was not answering the most important questions for the end user (the customer).

Marketing Personas, UX, User Experience




As marketers, we all too often are holding the megaphone up and shouting out the message rather than listening. The best marketing strategies, however, address user experience. It can be difficult, because unlike a product or service we need to keep testing the marketing messages and delivery until we know what is working.  Take these steps to create the most effective marketing message:

  • Listen, Watch and Analyze. If your company has online reviews, read them and make detailed notes about what people are saying. Check your website’s analytics to learn about how people are using your website. If you have a physical location, watch how they interact in the store and interview store staff about the experiences. Really pay attention to body language, because it tells a whole other story than the words people share.
  • Identify Personas. I prefer calling these people your tribes, but in the industry they are called personas. Each unique group shares common goals, background and experiences. This can also help you identify the triggers that lead your customers to purchase your product or service – the steps they took before getting into the store or onto your website.
  • Customer Flow. Follow the steps of the entire process it takes for a customer to be first introduced to your company all the way through the purchasing path and on-going customer service. Based on this flow, you can properly structure your customer communications (both marketing and otherwise) and it should be shaped around his/her persona.

The Adventure Generation

Before you start writing your marketing message, think about the people you are trying to connect with. 

Understand This Generation 

Adventure. That’s what it’s all about.

Remember the days of living in a neighborhood? I’m talking about the real kind of neighborhood where kids could run around free because they were always within sight or ear shot of someone’s mom. I am among the lucky ones who got to be part of that generation of freedom and adventure. We were our own tribe of Goonies. Everyday in the yard or down the street we had an adventure – looking for treasures or just playing games. Still, we were rightfully afraid of cops, robbers and drug dealers…but not enough to be kept gated in.

The Goonies generation, as I call it, were born between 1973-1983. It’s a subset of Gen Y / Millennial (according to me). This group is one of the first generations to be introduced to technology at a young age, but not born with a computer in hand. We still remember brick phones and the “revolution” of graphical calculators. We were old enough to experience the world during the OJ Simpson trial, Columbine shootings, Bill Clinton scandals, and the first World Trade Center bomb. We voted for the first non-white president and gay marriage rights.

Adventure, Generations, demographic, marketing

Goof Balls. The Goonies Generation

Talking to This Demographic

Trying to connect with this subset of a generation is not easy. We are split into the tech-savvy and the anti-tech people.  Most of us are liberal, but many still have conservative family values. So what can we all agree on? Adventure

No matter what sub-subset we are part of, the Goonies generation craves adventure. We were raised on it and it lies in the core of our being. So when you want to connect with someone in their thirties (currently), ask yourself what adventure you can offer.  Keep this in mind in terms of your marketing and promotional messages.