How To Plan A Marketing Campaign – Plus Free Planner

I have a confession for you: the first time I was asked to plan a marketing campaign I had no idea what to do. I kind of knew what an ad campaign was from TV, but I also knew that a marketing campaign had to be more than that. I was stumped, and on this occasion, Google was not my friend. The advice on there was all so overcomplicated and technical that I gave up pretty quickly.

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So, I have stood in those confused shoes of yours when it comes to planning a marketing campaign, I know what it’s like not to have the first clue what a campaign even is, let alone how to pull one off. But I did it, and you know what? You will too. As with everything marketing, success comes when you stop over-thinking and break it down into its simplest parts.

In this post I’m breaking down what a marketing campaign actually is, and I’ve created a planner PDF you can download and work through at your own pace and plan your campaigns with time after time.

But first…

What is a marketing campaign anyway?

To do list and notebook with a biscuit

Google ‘marketing campaign’ and the results you get are wordy definitions full of jargon that don’t mean a whole lot. The way I think of campaigns is a having a theme that you organise your activities around for a certain amount of time in order to achieve a goal. The most obvious example of this is that in November and December all your content and activities are about Christmas, although campaigns don’t have to be seasonal.

Maybe you’ve invested in a big piece of content, like a photography shoot, so you organise all your content for the next 6 months in multi-casting that content and getting the most value you can from it. Maybe you have a big product launch like an e-course coming up, so you spend the 3 months prior to that doing podcast interviews, Facebook Lives and webinars focused on the course. Or maybe there’s just a theme within your business purpose that you decide to frame your content around – a recent example of this is Tesco’s Food Love Stories campaign which has been running for the best part of the year and informs their TV ads, social media, in-store promotions and outreach.

It’s important to remember that campaigns should be used to achieve a goal, rather than just because it’s fun to do something different. At highly commercial times like Christmas, that goals is most likely to be financial. But campaigns can have other goals too: perhaps it’s increasing website traffic, becoming well known for a particular strength, or even setting the record straight after some bad publicity.

So through the course of your marketing campaign planning, keep hold of the idea that a campaign is a theme to organise activities around to achieve a short term goal.

How to plan a marketing campaign:

Hand lighting a candle - How to plan a marketing campaign, campaign planning, marketing planning, marketing planning on a budget, marketing campaign planner

In my Marketing Campaign Planner that you can download before I’ve gone through tons of exercises and tips to make sure your campaign is as successful as it can be. Your plan will follow these simple stages:

What is your goal?

Set a specific goal (or several goals) to achieve in a set time period

What is your theme?

The theme is the very essence of your campaign, so it’s vital you develop one that is aligned with your goal. Brainstorm everything from seasonality, customer insight and trends to distil this down into one idea (there are two pages of prompts on this in the planner).

Where does your campaign live?

You need to find your campaign hub where you’re going to direct and convert people, and select the channels that will feed that hub.

Content planning

Using the content you’ve thought up during channel planning you can arrange it over the lifetime of your campaign where it will have the most impact.

To explore this further, get your planner (and my super useful Monthly Mail) by popping your name and email into this form:

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How to plan a marketing campaign, campaign planning, marketing planning, marketing planning on a budget, marketing campaign planner