Successful Marketing Campaigns
Are they creative or cerebral? Right brain or left brain? Analytical or artistic?
I’ve been working in marketing, marketing communications and business development for over 15 years. I’m also an artist and writer. So, what is it that makes marketing successful? Is it the analytical, detail-oriented side of my brain that looks at every aspect of the business, product or service I’m called to market or the ultra-creative, visionary side? In my experience the best, most successful marketing and brand-building stems from a little of both (although, I tend to think it’s more creative than cerebral).
Yes, we marketers do want measurable results but without creative, original, ideas the results we’re looking for are often not there.
So, what makes a successful marketing campaign? Should I spend my time on research and analytics or dive in head first, pick up my brush and start ‘painting?’ Marketing, I believe, is an art. When an artist looks at a blank canvas any number of ideas might come to mind in regard to what he/she will paint, the colors he/she will choose, their chosen media, etc. The canvas sparks the creativity. However, if an artist goes to an art supply store and chooses his/her canvas, paint colors and medium based on an idea he/she already has, it’s the idea that drives the canvas size, colors and medium. In either case, we don’t know the outcome of the artist’s creation until the painting is completed.
Much like an artist with a basic idea who chooses the canvas size and color pallet before he/she starts painting, is a successful marketing campaign. The goal drives the creative idea(s). That creative idea, when executed with the goal in mind, many times ends up as a great masterpiece of success.
It’s tough sometimes, as a right-brained creative, to share your creative marketing vision to those important potential clients who may not understand your passion for creatively marketing their business, service or product. I get it, companies want to see results… now. We must communicate clearly with our clients.
If you desire growth and understand the importance of marketing in bringing that growth, you’ll need patience in the waiting. A successful brand-building marketing campaign can take over two years before potential customers give you the time of day. Once your brand has been ‘built’ and fully developed by a creative marketing professional, you should see more traffic to your website, more requests for quotes, and higher quality (aka, deeper pockets) customers. The more creative, visionary the marketer, the more likely the success. Why? Because artistry creates one-of-a-kind master pieces; not copy-cats.
Companies that set themselves as ‘one-of-a-kind’ in their place of service, product or business, are often more successful than those who are a ‘dime a dozen.’
The difficulty in being an artist (i.e., creative marketing specialist) is that art is subjective to the eye of the beholder. Will your client ‘catch’ your vision? Will they understand your creative marketing proposal? Will your client put enough trust in your creative vision to allow you to spread your wings and fly before they become impatient and quench that creative fire that’s just beginning to flame? Or will they understand that the ember needs time to burn, it needs feeding, air and time before it becomes a flaming fire?
Our job, as creative marketers is, not only to provide awesomely creative marketing/ branding campaigns, but to also educate those to whom we are presenting. Often small business owners who are looking to grow can’t see the value of signing on for a long-term (1+ year) marketing campaign but, quite frankly, without it, they’ll be stuck and won’t see the growth they’re looking for. It’s often frightening for small business owners to bite the bullet and budget for marketing since there’s nothing tangible to ‘see.’ They may have an “I’ll believe it when I see it” mentality and, because they don’t see results quickly, give up on the process before it even has a chance to breathe. We marketers should approach our potential customers with empathy and give them kudos for taking the risk to start a business in the first place. If they understand we have their best interest at heart, they just may catch our vision, sign us on and thrive!
I don’t know about you, but because my ‘ideas’ can be pretty darn amazing, occasionally I need to come back down to earth and remember I’m only human. As creatives, sometimes we need a take a little bite of humble pie. With that in mind, we can better focus on the needs of others (potential clients) and truly give them what they need, a great marketing campaign.
So what’s the most important element of a successful marketing campaign?
First off, it’s fully understanding what it is you’re marketing. If you’re a creative marketer, you need to understand (I mean reallyunderstand) your client’s business, services and/or product. Know the owner; why did he/she start the business? What’s his/her passion (inside and outside of the business)?
Of course, you also need to know your target market. Some business owners aren’t even sure of their target market and/or potential markets. Creative, you just may be able to help them see additional potential here.
Creativity and vision. Creatives (you know who you are) are well aware that this is something that cannot be taught. You need to let it out, fan the flame and let it burn. If you do so for your client, with sincerity and their best interest at heart, there’s no stoppin’ ya! However, beware of alienating your client and reign in your passion when necessary. Communicate clearly to help them catch the vision you have for their ‘brand.’
ROI, SEO, analytics etc.; there I said it. You’ll need to present your client with successful results. This can, sometimes be tough when potential new customers are calling your client directly as a result of visiting their website. You can measure visits to their website, but you can’t necessarily expect the gatekeeper (aka, receptionist) to keep track of every incoming phone call from potential new customers.
Branding, branding, branding. According to Webster’s the definition ‘brand’ is “a characteristic or distinctive kind” or “a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted.” Another definition of ‘brand’ is “a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership” and if you look up the ‘definition of branding’ in Google it lists first “the action of marking with a branding iron.” I like that. Think about it marketer, successfully branding a business or product ‘brands’ said business/product onto the brain of your target market does it not? This is especially where we creatives thrive. An imaginative creator, let loose to work his/her magic, can result in amazing logos and marketing/branding plans that can sear that ‘brand’ on the minds of their target--bullseye--you’re in and your client grows.
So, get out there and, humbly, get to creating that masterpiece; fan that flame; teach that client; sear the mind of their target and watch them grow.
By Teri Ann Moyer