In January 2014, Marketscan ran a survey to better understand how companies plan their marketing campaigns and the challenges they face during the process.
The average marketer:
- Runs a campaign once a month
- Spends 1-3 months planning each campaign
- Plans each campaign to run for over one month
This suggests that campaign planning is a fairly continual process, which needs to be carefully planned, distributed and analysed in order to be worthwhile.
The majority of campaigns are run to generate sales leads, with business growth a close second. Marketing campaigns are generally run for the following purposes:
- 84% want to generate sales leads
- 71% are aiming to achieve business growth
- 66% run campaigns to increase brand awareness
- 62% want to grow their customer database
- 60% aim to drive revenue and profits
- 43% want to improve customer retention
However, despite wanting to grow their customer database and generate leads, 26% of respondents admitted that they hadn’t identified their best customer profiles.
60% of companies’ customer data mostly matched their customer profiles
only 13% could say a definitive ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Does your marketing data currently match your best customer profiles?’
This is a concerning trend which suggests that marketing campaigns may not always achieve their aims - or at least not pull in the right type of customer for the business.
The answer to this problem could be data. Data consultants such as Marketscan are able to profile your best customers and provide data analysis services to tell you whether your campaign met the goals you set out to achieve.
With 85% of respondents using the optimum mix of existing and new data for their marketing campaigns, it seems that they already have a good relationship with their data provider.
But this is a relationship that should be further utilised as 9% of respondents use trial and error to decide who to send their campaigns out to.
The point at which that data is purchased is also important in campaign planning. Purchase data too late and you may have to rethink your campaign’s messaging and focus as what you believe are the right personas and markets might not be based on or borne out by actual hard data.
Only 21% of marketers purchase new data before campaign planning begins.
51% who only purchase new data once the rough draft of their campaign is planned out.
Data cleansing is also important to keep on top of to avoid the risk of duplicated data, goneaways and therefore, wasted campaign budget. Fortunately, 49% ‘always’ and 44% ‘mostly’ check their data before sending out their campaigns, which is good practice considering most campaigns are sent out on a monthly basis and it’s recommended that databases are audited once a quarter.
However, a worrying 23% of marketers haven’t cleaned their database in over a year.
So, with campaigns that are generally run to generate leads, but don’t always have the data to match the company’s best customer profile, it may already be apparent what the main challenges of planning marketing campaigns are:
- 47% struggle with measuring the success of the campaign
- 36% find getting the right data a challenge
- 27% don’t always know who to target
- 22% aren’t sure what timelines to set
- 17% struggle to set a goal for the campaign
- 10% find keeping to budget a challenge
Data consultants can help locate the real reasons for your marketing campaign not achieving the desired results; it could be down to mis-targeted personas, mixed messaging or even fundamental issues with the campaign itself. So, for your next campaign, you can work together to get the right persona, which will make getting the right data much easier. Data analysis can solve almost all key challenges for marketing campaign planning.
The conclusion to Marketscan’s Marketing Campaign Planning Survey 2014 is that marketing campaigns are a key and regular driver of new business and lead generation for most companies, but not all can be sure that they are targeting the right people or getting the results that they require. Further investment in data provision and analysis, along with better forward planning and customer profiling should help companies to see an increase in their ROI for marketing campaigns.