Marketing campaigns have been top of mind lately for many, probably because they were one of the thousands of people drawn in to the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s amazing to see how much money they have raised and how many people lined up to dump buckets of ice water on their heads to.....
So how did they do it? They didn’t wave a magic wand to make people all of a sudden start dumping water on their heads.
Maybe they got lucky? Absolutely they did. There’s no formula for campaign virality, and every brand out there is looking for the next big thing to get noticed. But luck didn’t have anything to do with the creation of the plan or the execution of the campaign. Organizers had initial goals, had meetings and had expectations. It just so happens that they also hit the media jackpot.
I got a chance to talk with Liane Caruso, vice president of marketing and advertising with The Crush Agency and 20-year industry expert, about what makes a campaign spark and takeoff.
According to Caruso, there are three major aspects that every campaign should incorporate: strategy, a marketing mix and analytics. But the best place to start is with a plan.
“A campaign with a strategy lays the foundation for success,” Caruso said. “Analyze your resources, know your target, set goals and objectives, constantly analyze and then scale.”
One reason the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge broke big is that it was simple and easy to replicate. When planning a campaign, it is important to plan out what user engagement will look like and both the short- and long-term effects that could come of it.
The second thing people should keep in mind when beginning a campaign is to align the messaging of your campaign across all platforms in order to optimize efforts.
“Consistency makes your message clear and concise to anyone who comes across it and repetition is key,” Caruso said. “Hitting the strong message home over and over again will provide more recognition, therefore reliability and clarity in the sales or messaging objectives of a campaign.”
Caruso notes that inconsistent messaging can lead to unintentional confusion. The last thing you want from your campaign is to strike out or, even worse, leave negative lasting effects on your brand.
The third piece of the puzzle is analytics.
“Analytics are hugely important to the success of any campaign,” Caruso said. “Without the data, it’s difficult to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Analytics give marketers the opportunity to identify how each of their initiatives is working as pieces to the overall whole.”
Caruso went on to mention that tracking will help determine a campaign’s return on investment and whether your brand is achieving its goals and objectives. This will help you to accurately measure success. It will also help leaders recognize those efforts that are not working and allow them to make adjustments to the strategy, improve the methods and/or scale the efforts.
Marketing is not easy and not every campaign goes viral like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But you can be confident that the organizers had a plan, were consistent with their message and have been tracking all of the dollars rolling in for research — along with the hilarious videos.