In a perfect world you would start a company, come up with a product, or develop an idea and it would be so good that a marketing campaign wouldn’t matter. But as we all know, this isn’t a perfect world and the reality is for a company, product or idea to be noticed, a solid marketing campaign needs to be developed and executed.
Too often, organizations will focus their efforts and resources on development of the product only to see it fail because they didn’t spend enough time on a strong marketing campaign and messaging. In fact, one school of thought is that working through the steps of a marketing campaign at the beginning of the product development cycle will help to develop and even more successful product or service.
Dealing with the government requires many of the same marketing campaign techniques you would see in the private sector. Marketing campaigns are just as important to get the message across in an efficient and effective manner to government committees, decisions makers, and influencers on Capitol Hill.
Building a strong marketing campaign doesn’t need to be difficult. It does take some thought and the willingness to adjust and adapt to your environment. Let’s review six questions you should ask yourself as you develop a marketing campaign.
1) What is the purpose of the marketing campaign?
This is where you identify what you want the marketing campaign to accomplish. Be specific and make the outcomes actionable. The more specific you can be, the more targeted and efficient your marketing campaign will be.
2) What did background research tell us?
Research can be broken into two parts – external and internal. For external research you will want to identify your target audience for your campaign and better understand the current environment and competition.
Internal research is essentially stepping back and looking objectively at your product or service to identify its strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in your offering. Being objective early on will help your positioning later.
3) What is the plan?
Here is where you identify the key actions, milestones, and desired outcomes. Remember to include who is assigned to each milestone and when it needs to be completed.
4) Is the message impactful?
Make sure your message is concise and fits your audience. Review the talking points of your message, making sure you identify a problem and how your product or service solves this problem. Make sure the problem is important to the audience – many times we see “solutions looking for problems”. The problem must be easily recognized and understood.
5) Is the message being delivered effectively?
The delivery of your message must fit your audience. In today’s environment, delivery of the message will be an integration of online and offline activities. With the prevalence of mobile devices, online activities are a key component of message delivery so a marketing campaign should include development of a webpage, social media, email campaigns, blogs, presentations, videos and electronic newsletters. Another online marketing tool is webcasts. Webcasts provide a forum for your target audience to see and hear you articulate you message.
Offline delivery activities in a marketing campaign include face-to-face meetings and events, speaking engagements, and articles in indutry newspapers and trade journals. It also includes printed materials such as one-page leave behinds, presentations, and brochures.
6) What are our results telling us about our marketing campaign?
The last step in an effective marketing campaign is to measure and manage. A successful campaign is always improving. As you measure and analyze results, you should continually be modifying your campaign and going through these steps again. Have a set of predetermined success metrics and know what you want to achieve (based on you’re your original purpose step). Don’t be afraid to try something new based on your measured results – perhaps your message needs to be more concise or doesn’t fit your target audience, maybe one delivery channel is more impactful than another and requires more allocation of resources – you can’t improve what you can’t measure.
Taking the time to answer these six questions will help you run a more effective campaign. Although each campaign is different, there are always some similarities. Seeking out assistance and leveraging the experience from experts that have done successful marketing campaigns before is always a plus. McKeon Group has a team of experienced marketing and PR professionals with the knowledge on how to execute effective government marketing campaigns. Let us know if you would like us to review and assist in your campaign.