One of my favorite parts of attending the DMA 2011 conference in Boston this week was having the chance to listen to some very successful marketing agencies present case studies of their campaigns.
Some of the case studies involved big brands that were looking to capitalize on their expensive sponsorships; others involved companies that were trying to take make the best of a natural disaster; and others involved helping people in less-fortunate lands.
What Made Them Succeed
There were a number of reasons why the campaigns that were discussed at DMA succeeded. Yes, most of them had impressive creative. There was clearly a helpful and compelling message on the media. But certainly, the creative and messaging differed greatly across each effort.
But there is something that all of the successful case studies had in common: the agencies spent a lot of effort focusing on planning and measurement.
Wait. Are You Saying that Not All Marketers Plan and Measure?
In today’s world of businesses, many of us are wearing many hats. We may have less resources available to us than from a few years ago. We may feel more pressure from CEOs and VPs of Sales to get more campaigns out the door.
There may be nothing we can do to change those realities. Thus, it is absolutely possible that we may cut corners to simply get things “shipped”. We may start to simply view our marketing initiatives as one big checklist.
However, what truly matters in the end is not if we simply do things. But what matters is if we actually do things that make a positive impact.
How We Can Focus on the Right Things
The best way to create a successful campaign is to truly have a strategy and plan ahead of time (or, we could just hope to get lucky). We need to let our imaginations go a little wild. We need to think of our audience as more than a list of records in a database. We need to be willing to analyze what we hope to accomplish, what we could possibly accomplish, and then set a goal.
Then, we must be willing to spend time truly analyzing and measuring the results of our efforts.
While that may sound obvious, I’m sure that many of us would agree that we often need to quickly move on to what’s next… That might be the next channel, technology, or simply the next campaign. We miss out on identifying what has recently worked (or not), which means we lose out on finding valuable data that could improve our future campaigns.
Planning and measurement might never be sexy. But if the case studies presented at DMA 2011 were any indication, they are absolutely two of the most critical components of a successful campaign.