I have just finished delivering a series of two linked training sessions – “Earning the right to manage campaigns” and “Navigating the campaign journey” – to improve marketing campaign management effectiveness.
The intensive and interactive workshops were based on a competency framework I previously developed which identifies six competencies in each of six categories (see the diagram – 1. Marketing and sales knowledge 2. Firm knowledge 3. Campaign planning 4. Campaign development 5. Campaign management 6. Communications).
Here’s a summary of the contents and insights:
Earning the right to manage campaigns
The focus of this session is on understanding the stakeholder (fee-earner, partner, lawyer, accountant, surveyor, other SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and specialists) mind set and styles to win their confidence and trust so that marketers and business developers can take an active role in campaign planning. This moves marketers from a reactive implementer role to a proactive planning and advisory role.
The session considers the over-riding business, financial and brand objectives and the strategic context and then the marketing plan (and relevant core marketing theory) before the benefits of a campaign planning approach for both fee-earners and marketing are considered. There is a piece here about what “value added” is and can be provided by marketers and business developers.
Key topics include segmentation and value proposition development as well as the challenges of building buy-in and relationships with a variety of stakeholders including time-poor partners and cross-functional teams. How to take, challenge and develop the brief takes us into the territory of consulting skills development.
Navigating the campaign journey
This starts with a review of the models and frameworks to support the development of communication strategies. There’s a refresh session on objectives, deep insight into the target audience and value proposition in order to come up with a “big idea” and strong strategy on which to hang the campaign. Understanding the difference between strategy and tactics remains a challenge.
There are exercises to experiment with the core task of selecting and blending the various promotional and marketing tools – both traditional and digital. And the project management for marketing toolbox is considered, particularly project scope management and risk identification, analysis, assessment, mitigation, management and reporting.
The need to develop a comprehensive internal communications plan for before, during and after the campaign is considered in conjunction with the essential monitoring and reporting activities.
Some of the key insights shared include:
- Empathy with the workloads and conflicting priorities endured by stakeholders and why marketing and business development often appear low on their list of priorities
- The challenges of developing SMART objectives and mapping these onto measurement systems so that ROI can be measured over the lifecycle of the campaign/project and the often protracted sales cycle
- How marketing is effectively an internal consultant responsible for taking the raw needs of the business and partners, refining and reframing them and crafting effective and well-structured campaigns that deliver the required results
- How operational workload pressure sometimes prevents us from doing the basics – for example, allocating time to come up with a “big idea” that blends strategic and creative skills. Thinking carefully about the strengths, weaknesses and appropriateness of different tools and channels. Undertaking research to identify a deep insight into the target audience on which to base the big idea.
- The value in stepping back and investing time at the outset to think through and plan each stage of the campaign. Building in project management time and contingency. Larger firms may save time by managing knowledge bases of best practice, costs, past project performance (ROI and KPIs) and templates to guide the campaign planning process.