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Marketing Campaign

Marketing Campaign

How difficult is it to create a marketing campaign? Nowadays, anyone can post a nice graphic on Instagram, put a few dollars behind it, and call that a social media advertising campaign. But there is much more to a marketing campaign than posting aesthetic pictures and catchy slogans. Even small-scale social media advertising would require marketers to target the right consumer groups, plan their budget, and brainstorm how to differentiate their ads from competitors. Read along to learn the ins and outs of marketing campaigns.

Marketing Campaign Definition

A common assumption about marketing campaigns is that they are solely based on product and brand promotion. However, companies can use marketing campaigns for many other reasons: raising public awareness, targeting consumers throughout their journey, retaining customers, etc.

Take a look at our explanation of Marketing Funnel to find out more about the customer purchase journey.

The primary goal of a marketing campaign is not limited to persuading people to buy but also includes objectives like building brand loyalty and customer relationship. A more comprehensive definition of a marketing campaign is as follows:

A marketing campaign is strategic tool marketers use to guide consumers through the various steps of the customer purchase journey.

Marketing campaigns are also part of integrated marketing communications. We will explore this concept in further detail throughout this explanation.

Marketing Campaign Types

Marketing campaign types can vary based on objectives, media forms, channels, and the type of customer the campaign is trying to target.

Check out our Advertising Media explanation to learn more about the different types and forms of advertising campaigns.

To learn about their differences, let's first look at how different types of customers influence a marketing campaign.

There are two primary classifications of customers: consumers and businesses. This gives different business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing campaigns.

Before seeing how they are different, let's consider their similarity. Before developing a marketing campaign, companies must apply the STP model (segmentation, targeting, and positioning) to define whom to market the product to and how. This step applies to both B2B and B2C. Another similarity between these market types is the communications mix, which comprises advertising, personal selling, sales promotions, public relations, direct marketing, and branding.

Check out our Promotion Mix explanation to learn more about the communications mix.

The main difference in B2B and B2C marketing campaigns comes from how marketers use the promotion mix elements to engage their customers. In B2B marketing, a significant part of communications efforts comes from personal selling and direct contact between the buyer and seller. On the other hand, B2C markets make use of mass media to access the target group. In B2B markets, the message and communication are tailored to the individual buyer, which is often not the case in B2C environments.

A B2C firm might use social media or TV commercials to reach its target audience; here, the message is the same for all viewers. On the contrary, when using personal selling, the message can be tailored to the individual buyer's problems, wants, and needs.

B2B and B2C campaigns also differ depending on the customer's attitude towards information seeking. With mass media tactics employed by B2C firms, customers might not have to seek out information about the product - There are way too many advertisements on the street and the Internet. Customers can mostly ignore marketing messages that are irrelevant to them. On the other hand, organizational buyers actively seek information about the products. This is partly due to the business buying environment, where information tends to be stored for future purposes. In consumer markets, information is only intended in the short term.1

The B2B buying process is more formal and complex than the B2C buying process. Check out our explanation of Business Markets to find out how the two differ.

Table 1 below summarizes the differences between B2C and B2B advertising campaigns.

B2B
B2C
Personal focusMass audience focus
Seeking out informationReluctant to receive information
Long-term attention to informationShort-term attention to information

Table 1. B2B and B2C Marketing Campaigns.

Marketing Campaign Steps

Now that we have examined the differences between B2B and B2C campaigns, let's look at the steps of developing a marketing campaign. There are six key steps to developing a communications campaign:

  1. Environmental analysis and identification of the target audience – It is important to conduct a context analysis which brings marketers a deeper understanding of the environment in which the campaign will occur. A context analysis includes the customer, competitive, internal, and external environment. This step also helps the business identify its target segment.

  2. Establish campaign objectives – After identifying the target segment, it is essential to outline the campaign's objectives, whether that be increasing awareness, brand preference, or sales. It is also vital that campaign objectives align with overall marketing and corporate objectives.

  3. Create a message – The next step is to develop a message based on the campaign's objectives and the target audience's characteristics and behavior.

  4. Determine media type – This step involves deciding which media type to use (e.g., advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, PR, etc.)

  5. Determine the communications channel and source – Here, the marketer has to determine which channel to use for running the campaign. It may include personal channels like face-to-face, email, etc., or non-personal channels like mass media (e.g., broadcast, print, etc.).

  6. Launching campaign, results, and feedback – The final step is to launch the campaign, evaluate its performance, and collect feedback to be used as insights for future campaigns.

Digital Marketing Campaign

The process of developing a digital marketing campaign is similar to that of a traditional campaign. But the message, channel, and media type might differ. Digital marketing campaigns are conveyed using digital channels and digital media.

The channels for a social media ad can be social networks like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Digital marketing campaigns can take the form of non-personal channels (e.g., social media or search campaigns) and personal channels (emails).

Due to the popularity of digital marketing communications, many companies nowadays decide to work with agencies to deliver their digital marketing campaigns. When working with agencies, digital marketers follow an additional step in the marketing campaign development process. The company determines the target audience and objectives, but the agency will take care of the remaining steps. To create digital campaigns with agencies, marketers follow several different steps, including:

  1. Develop the campaign and positioning strategy,
  2. Write a creative brief,
  3. Agencies pitch their ideas, and the company selects the agency to work with,
  4. Marketing communications/media planning,
  5. Managing the agency (this step takes place throughout the entire time working with the agency),
  6. Results and feedback.

Marketing Campaign Strategy

Let's now take a closer look at some marketing campaign strategies. The first step of developing a marketing campaign strategy starts with segmentation, targeting, and positioning. This process can be summarized as follows:

  1. Segment consumers into smaller subgroups,
  2. Select the target audience,
  3. Position the product based on differentiation, informativeness, etc.

To revise the core concepts of the STP model, check out our explanation of Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.

When creating a marketing campaign, marketers must also consider the audience strategy they will use. They can either be:

  • Push strategies are when the marketer “pushes” the campaign onto the target audience. Here, consumers are not actively seeking information about the product or brand. A push campaign might include a mass marketing TV advertisement.

  • Pull strategies are used when consumers are already searching for information about a product or brand. An example of a pull strategy might include using search ads targeted at consumers who have already searched for a product previously.

Finally, let's take a brief look at international marketing campaign strategies and how they differ from traditional ones. When it comes to an international campaign, marketers need to decide between adaptation or standardization.

A standardization approach to campaign strategy includes using the same communications techniques in each country.

An adaptation approach to a campaign strategy includes adapting the communications techniques to fit the wants and needs of local consumers in each new country the business enters.

To select which strategy to use for marketing campaigns, marketers must closely evaluate the local competitive environment, market conditions, and local customers' behavior, attitudes, and perceptions. It is also crucial to consider local advertising regulations and cultural differences to avoid fatal marketing blunders.

Marketing Campaign Examples

Before you head off, let's take a closer look at a marketing campaign example:

You are probably already familiar with fast food chain giant McDonald's, but did you know that McDonald's has recently taken a new approach to its marketing? In 2021, McDonald's introduced its "Change a little, Change a lot" campaign that promotes and brings awareness to the company's sustainability efforts. Through this campaign, McDonald's announced its "Plan for Change," which includes aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2024.2

As part of the campaign, McDonald's took to TV advertising and social media to promote its new cause. The company aims to make small changes across three sectors: farming, waste, and youth. One of the campaign's ad creatives explains how McDonald's plans to reduce waste through recycling used cooking oil to make biodiesel to fuel its trucks, reusing old paper cups to make greeting cards, and transforming old Happy Meal toys into playgrounds for children.3

Marketing Campaign - Key takeaways

  • A marketing campaign is strategic tool marketers use to guide consumers through the various steps of the customer purchase journey.
  • Marketing campaigns vary based on their objectives, media form, channels, and the type of customer the campaign is trying to target.
  • B2B campaigns differ from B2C campaigns based on customer buying behavior.
  • To create a marketing campaign, marketers must analyze the environment, select the target customer segment, establish campaign objectives, determine the message, media type, communications channel, and source, launch the campaign, and analyze its performance.
  • When launching an international marketing campaign, marketers must decide whether to take a standardization or adaptation approach.

References

  1. Zimmerman, Alan, and Jim Blythe. Business to business marketing management: A global perspective. Routledge. 2017.
  2. Leo Burnett London. McDonald's. Leo Burnett London. https://www.leoburnett.co.uk/work/change-little-change-lot/
  3. Georgie Moreton. Change a little, Change a lot. BITE. 2021. https://www.creativebrief.com/bite/change-little-change-lot

Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Campaign

An example of a marketing campaign can be observed through McDonald's "Change a little, Change a lot" campaign. As part of the campaign, McDonald's took to TV advertising and social media to promote its new cause. The company's aim is to make small changes across three sectors: farming, waste, and youth. Through this campaign, McDonald's also announced its plan for change which includes aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2024. 

A marketing campaign is a strategic tool marketers use to guide consumers through the various steps of the customer purchase journey. Marketing campaigns play a significant role in a firm's integrated marketing communications and can be used for a variety of purposes beyond simply promoting a product or brand. 

There are several steps to follow when creating a marketing campaign. They are as follows:


  1. Environmental analysis and identification of target audience, 
  2. Establish campaign objectives, 
  3. Create a message, 
  4. Determine the media type,
  5. Determine the communications channel and source, 
  6. Launch the campaign and evaluate performance.

When creating a marketing campaign, marketers must consider a campaign strategy. A part of the overall strategy includes determining the type of audience strategy they will use. The two most common ones are push and pull strategies. 

The purpose of a marketing campaign is to guide consumers through the various steps of the customer purchase journey. The overall aim of a marketing campaign is not limited to convincing customers to purchase a product and thus may include objectives like differentiation or simply informing consumers that a product exists

Final Marketing Campaign Quiz

Question

The overall aim of a marketing campaign is limited to convincing customers to purchase a product.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

A ___________ is a strategic tool marketers use to guide consumers through the various steps of the customer purchase journey.

Show answer

Answer

marketing campaign

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Question

Marketing campaigns play a significant role in a firm's __________.

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Answer

integrated marketing communications

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Question

Marketing campaigns vary based on their objectives, media form, channels, and the type of customer the campaign is trying to target. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

B2B and B2C marketing campaigns share the same characteristics.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

 In ___ marketing, a significant portion of communications efforts comes from personal selling and direct contact between the buyer and seller. 

Show answer

Answer

B2B

Show question

Question

In ____ markets, the message and communication are tailored to the individual buyer, which is most often not the case in _____ environments. 

Show answer

Answer

B2B, B2C

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Question

Due to the mass media tactics used by ___ firms, customers might not pay much attention to the message or ignore it altogether, as they are not seeking out information about the product. 

Show answer

Answer

B2C

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Question

What is the first step of developing a marketing campaign?

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Answer

Environmental analysis and identification of the target audience

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Question

After identifying the target segment, it is essential to ___________.

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Answer

determine the campaign's objectives

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Question

What is the final step of creating a marketing campaign?

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Answer

The final step is to launch the campaign, evaluate its performance, and collect feedback to be used as insights for future campaigns. 

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Question

Due to the rise in popularity of digital marketing communications, many companies nowadays decide to work with ______ to deliver their digital marketing campaigns.

Show answer

Answer

agencies

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Question

A ____ strategy is used when consumers are already searching for information about a product or brand.  

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Answer

pull

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Question

What is a push strategy?

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Answer

This strategy is when the marketer “pushes” the campaign onto the target audience. Here, consumers are not actively seeking information about the product or brand. A push campaign might include a mass marketing TV advertisement.

Show question

Question

A _______ approach to campaign strategy includes using the same communications techniques in each country.

Show answer

Answer

standardization

Show question

Question

An _______ approach to a campaign strategy includes adapting the communications techniques to fit the wants and needs of local consumers in each new country the business enters. 

Show answer

Answer

adaptation

Show question

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