Campaign For Success: How to Avoid Mixed Messages

During every one of our first marketing calls with an advisor or agent, we start off with, “Tell us about your current marketing strategy.”

If I were to ask you the same question, how would you respond? My guess is many of you would say, “oh, I ran some paid Facebook ads and sent out a direct mailer” or “I placed a couple of ads in magazines over the last few months and held 3 or 4 workshops.” This jumbled marketing mix is a trap to which many small businesses fall prey. It’s likely because, at smaller businesses, one-off, “just do it” efforts tend to have a decent impact and actually result in what appears a justifiable return on investment. But, just because it has shown some good results doesn’t mean your luck, and it is luck, will continue. This is where a marketing campaign saves the day.

(Cue Your Marketing Campaign’s Grand Entrance)

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::It's not everyday we get to talk about the importance of campaigns::

For the new initiates, a marketing campaign and a marketing plan might sound interchangeable. They are not. A marketing plan is a high-level, outline of your strategy and business goals over a broader period of time. A marketing campaign, on the other hand, focuses on one initiative and has very specific parameters. Let’s take a look at the ingredients of a marketing campaign.
  • A defined target audience. Who are you trying to reach?
  • Set goals and performance indicators. By what metrics will you judge the campaign’s performance?
  • A specific offer. How will you incite your audience to act?
  • Distinct promotional methods. What platforms will you use to reach your audience?
  • A defined budget. How much can you allocate to reach your goals?
  • A clear-cut system that tracks and measures results. How will you know if your campaign is performing well?

It’s this laser focus that makes a fully developed campaign so essential to a successful marketing strategy. If you don’t take the time to define the terms of your campaign, you’re following the “just do it” method. And, two essential, strategic elements that come with a campaign are missing in the “just do it” method: consistency and measurability.

Consistency (Or Being The Loudest)

For me, the biggest benefit of a structured campaign is consistency. Clearly defining the terms of your campaign (your goal, audience, timeline, offer, etc.) eliminates the “flying by the seat of your pants marketing” that small businesses often slip into. Instead, you know your objective and how you’re going to achieve it. Defining the terms of your campaign makes determining action items and timelines world’s easier. It removes the guesswork and the constant creative anxiety. You won’t need wonder “what should I talk about during this week’s radio show?” or “What should I post on the business page tomorrow?” because you’ve already defined your goal. With a campaign, you’ll know exactly how you want to promote your offer and on which platforms. You’re repeating the same message across all your platforms, which helps you remember your goal and helps your offer penetrate the constant bombardment that your audience experiences every day. You need consistency if you want your audience to remember you. It’s the Rule of 7.

Seven: It's A Magic Number

Depositphotos_14078946_s-2015.jpg::Do you know how many times we had to roll these things so we could get this photo?!?::

The Rule of Seven states your target audience needs to “hear” you message seven times. You need to repeat the same message multiple ways so you can “touch” your audience seven times. Whether it’s on your radio show, your social media, a direct mailer, or an email blast, you need a consistent call-to-action across all the platforms you’ve defined as part of your campaign. Now, keep in mind, (a little PSA if you will) this doesn’t mean that you need to be on seven different platforms, just that you need the message repeated so your audience is touched seven times. Repeat after me: I need to reach my audience seven times, not seven ways. You can run a very effective campaign on a single platform, you just need to consistently repeat your campaign message. You can certainly vary the creative look, but keep your message the same. A consistent campaign does wonders for increasing your brand awareness, too.

Consistent Messaging = Increased Recognition

One of the challenges a financial advisor or insurance agent encounters is brand recognition. With the plethora of competitors in the marketplace, making your way to the front of the crowd can be an enormous challenge. What we want from a defined campaign is automatic brand association. With your campaign, you know your brand’s messaging and how to communicate it. If your audience hears the same message consistently and repeatedly, they will associate the message with your brand. Don’t believe me? When I said, “Just Do It” what came to your mind? I’d be willing to bet my paycheck that the majority of you thought, “Nike.” What about “Where’s the beef?” A freckle-faced girl with red braids likely popped into your head. Here’s a line that’s more relevant for my target audience, “Like a good neighbor…” (A collective chorus of “State Farm is there!” was heard throughout the land). The name of the game is consistency. If you want recognition, you have to be consistent. To ensure you’re consistent, you need to start thinking in campaigns. Is this horse dead, yet? No? Good. Let’s talk measurability (yes, I know that’s not a real word, but it’s impossible to find an exact synonym).

If You Didn’t Track It, You Can’t justify It.

Marketing in clearly defined campaigns simplifies measuring your success beyond your wildest dreams (Oh, is that just me? Fine, but it does make it easier.) When you define your campaign, you pre-determine its budget. You know exactly how much money you’ll spend. Since you know how much you spent, you can compare your revenue to the spend and see your exact return on your investment. Which means, you’ll be able to identify whether the campaign was a success or not. This is why thinking in terms of campaigns, versus platforms, is so important. When you develop your campaign, you establish a specific goal and incorporate various platforms and collateral, but always with one goal in mind. So, it becomes less of a “radio doesn’t work for me, I’ve only been successful with direct mail” and more “this call-to-action wasn’t compelling, let me try another message.” Campaigns make tracking your results straightforward and foolproof. If a lead converted through that campaign’s collateral, you know exactly which results to attribute to said campaign. This is why landing pages are critical to tracking and accurate attribution. We talked about the importance of looking backwards at your data in our last blog. In order to do that, you have to accurately track it. Campaigns eliminate the guesswork.

Leads By Example

Remember the ingredients to a Marketing Campaign? Imagine you want to develop a campaign for your upcoming social security workshops. Here’s an example (albeit a very basic example) of what your campaign outline might look like (obviously keeping your previously established SMART Goals in mind):
  • Defined target audience: Pre-retirees age 55+ with over $100k in liquid assets who live within a 20-mile radius of your office.
  • Goals and performance indicators: Get at least 25 buying units to the seminar, you’ll measure the performance by webpage visits and phone inquiries about the event.
  • Specific offer: Discover social security claiming strategies that will help you make the most out of retirement by attending this event! Call/click ::insert number or website:: and reserve your seat today.
  • Distinct promotional methods: Radio ads, social media posts, paid social ads, and direct mail flyers.
  • Budget: $6,000 over two weeks prior to event
  • Tracking System: An excel spreadsheet where he will the following track by platform (radio, social media, direct mail):
    • Total visitors to website
    • Total number of calls
    • Total number of registrations
    • Total number of attendees
    • Total amount spent

With these parameters in place, you launch your campaign. Still imagining? Good. Now, imagine your target audience’s perspective. While driving home from work, they hear your commercial and call-to-action on the radio: “Discover social security claiming strategies that will help you make the most out of retirement by attending this event! Call 555-555-5555 to reserve your seat today.” But, since they’re busy navigating commuter traffic, they don’t call the number on the spot.

Three days later, they receive a postcard from your business inviting them to attend your upcoming seminar. Your postcard includes the same bullet points they heard during your commercial summarizing what they’ll learn at the event and the call-to-action: “Discover social security claiming strategies that will help you make the most out of retirement by attending this event! Go to www.knowyoursocialsecurity.com and reserve your seat today.” Your target sticks the invitation to the fridge, but doesn’t reserve a seat.

The next day, they’re sipping their morning coffee, scrolling through Facebook, and see your sponsored content in their newsfeed. The post includes the same details you included in your postcard and radio commercial. They see the call-to-action: “Discover social security claiming strategies that will help you make the most out of retirement by attending this event! Go to www.knowyoursocialsecurity.com and reserve your seat today.” Remembering that they heard that same message and had been intrigued, they click on the ad and register for the event.

Now, considering this same example, imagine you had different offers for each platform. Do you think your target audience would associate you with each offer? Probably not.

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Consistency, My Friends. It Matters.

Ok, 1,500 words later. I'm sure you get the point.

A campaign demands you stay on task, on brand, and on target with your goal. Ready to get started? Download our Monthly Marketing Template and customize it to fit your campaigns. You can track your total reach, reach by channel, leads generated, total customers, and your lead:customer conversion rate, helping you determine which campaigns are the most successful.

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Becky Zbyszewski - Senior Strategic Marketing Manager

Specializing in content development, social media marketing and strategy, Becky brings over 10 years of work experience to the DMI Marketing team. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Saint Anselm College, Becky’s career encompassed a wide variety of industries, including financial services, education and marketing. She brings a unique perspective to the Strategic Marketing team that in turn helps advisors and agents develop their marketing strategies.

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    DMI was founded in 1989 to provide financial advisors three dynamic elements for success: marketing services, sales consulting and business management.

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