How to build a successful marketing campaign?

As the new fiscal year is getting closer, it’s time to finalize the budget and the business plan for next year. Defining the new marketing plan and marketing campaigns is the standard exercise every marketing manager needs to walk through and explain to the executive committee. As your performance objectives are defined based on the product line revenue, including the contribution of your marketing activities to the sales pipeline, and the new year is going to start very hard, better be well prepared with a rock-solid plan you are confident with and will be able to follow with no major surprise during the year. In this plan, defining the right marketing campaigns properly is what will help you succeed in generating a lot of business to your sales teams.

What is a marketing campaign ?

“A specific, defined series of coordinated activities designed to help market a product”

“An overarching platform of themes for promotion that guide us internally to create and implement product and industry market programs, and a set of tactics for each.”


The marketing campaign canvas

If you are already used to the lean startup business model canvas, you will recognize the same structure in the following marketing campaign canvas. This helps you put your ideas together and be sure not to forget anything important.




The prospect personas [1], the pain points [2], the value proposition [3], the channels [4] are in general not very difficult to fill in, that’s something you are used to talk about.

Content materials [5] are built on a regular basis and assuming you are not new to your business, you already have a large asset portfolio you can leverage for your activities: update your assets with the modern message you want to vehicle for the next year and build the few ones you will need to cover the product updates and the matching value.


The key activities [6] are usually defined using the previous year as the baseline: reinforce activities that performed well and remove others that didn’t. All activities are federated into a local [country specific] and a global [cross-country] marketing calendar.




Key metrics [7] will be requiring most of your time when building your marketing campaigns. In large organizations, you will need to work very closely with functional teams for every channel (digital marketing, event marketing, email marketing …) and understand every metric out of  your corporate marketing automation tool precisely. For example:

  • for the email channel, you will focus on the open and click rate,
  • for the PPC channel, you will focus on the ad performance segmentation and your landing pages,
  • for the SEO channel, you will focus on your content and linking strategy and your semantic structure,
  • for the event channel, you will focus on the number of attendees vs logistics costs.



The cost structure and the budget [8] will be determined by three main factors:

  • your market
  • the company ambition in terms of growth
  • the propensity of your executive board to spend on marketing
The stronger, more differentiated the product, the less it needs to be propped up by advertising.



The ROI [9] is the holy graal of a good marketer. If you manage to have an accurate ROI calculation with no error (meaning no unjustified assumption), you could potentially get no limit to your growth (even though there will always be internal bottlenecks to sustain this growth in your organization). But mastering your ROI is heavily complex and requires a huge maturity of the organization because most metrics are extremely difficult to get – even though they might exist somewhere. Understanding metrics is not just a single exercise, it applies to every channel. You also have other factors influencing your metrics such as the period of the year, organization changes, employee turnover …  Understanding the conversion ratio at every stage of the lead/sales generation process is a real endeavor but the benefits are definitely worth the pain. Last but not least, you will definitely need your best management skills to federate people around your initiative.




Why you should definitely keep it simple ?

Have you ever heard over-complicated explanations when you ask a very simple question ? Of course you have, everybody has got actually quite used to it since he was a child, both at home, at school or at work.


We might think it’s our society that leads us to think this way, I don’t think it is true, I believe more that our education has led us to understand the complexity of the world and we tend to apply this complexity to ourselves. But this attitude is slowing our agility and capacity to think big.


For over years, we have learned very complex things, because the world, the human nature and the science are for sure complex. But understanding complex things does not necessarily mean to apply complexity to ourselves and others. Our brain can play us tricks, tend to make us believe opposite things simultaneously. To avoid that, more and more specialists recommend to get rid of this mental complexity as much as possible, to keep our choices simpler and to find a better balance in our life.


In the professional life, over-complicated things might be a sign that things are unclear. As a manager, I find it important to make sure everybody has a clear and shared understanding. Spending time on reformulating in a simple way is a good management practice. If I don’t understand something easily, why should other people do ? We live in a world where being smart is not understanding better or faster than others but leveraging collective intelligence to grow better together.


Simple is not synonymous for easy. And complex is not synonymous for clever. It’s pretty much the opposite. Being able to share complex things in a simple (but not over-simplified) way requires maturity and clear understanding of the situation. Making things complex can be a sign of uncertainty, unclarity or sometimes contempt and leads to confusion.


I think young generations have understood that. While evolving in more a more complex environments, digital natives have got used to keep things simple:

  • I want to search something, I go to Google
  • I want to watch a video, I go to Youtube
  • I want to hear from my friends, I go to Facebook
  • I want to follow trends, I go to  Twitter
  • I want to travel, I go to Tripadvisor
  • I want to take a cab, I call Uber
  • I don’t know what I want, I simply watch TV

We live a complex world where everyone has to play the role of a specialist. We are forced to address complex problems and keeping things simple help us understand each other and grow our world collectively.



How to build a successful business partner network ?

We all know that identifying the right business partners is a tedious exercise. Finding candidates is not so complicated but starting making real business together is more challenging. This is like when meeting someone in love, everyone wants it to work at the beginning but it takes some time before you consider it really does.

Identify the right candidates

To avoid costly mistakes of selecting poor-performant partners, it’s important to find candidates that have a business strategy matching your expectations. For example, as a software vendor, I like working with a mix of large IT consulting companies – able to identify very big projects at the C-level – and small IT consulting specialists who are focused on specific areas of expertise where my product makes a lot of sense.


Set the expectations

To make the relationship work, developing a common business plan together is key, as well as monitoring it on a very regular basis during the first year of the collaboration – I think twice a month is a good frequency.


Develop the relationship

Schedule regular events with your partners. This allows to bind tighter human relationships and to provide the last company updates, marketing materials, information on the upcoming marketing campaigns and the sales strategy. This is also a good mean to “feel” the local market and make your own opinion. Trusting your partner feedback is extremely important but this is also good to make your own opinion to assess his capacity to grow your business.
Regular webinars also help animate and engage the partner community.


Grow your partners

I’ve identified 5 maturity stages in developing partnerships:

Phase 1 – “the new partner”

You provide basic training on common use cases and assist them in the whole sales cycle.
You forward them the leads you get in their region, you develop marketing events with them and assist them to qualify the opportunities, demo the product, make an offer and sign the contract. Once the first contract is signed, you send over your technical experts to help them delivering the professional services and make the project successful.

Phase 2 – “the growing partner”

You are in phase where your partner has already implemented one project and you keep assisting him on the first three deals.

Phase 3 – “the premium partner”

The partner can now sell the product and implement the project on his own. He still needs support from you but on very specific topics only.

Phase 4 – “the strategic partner”

The strategic partner has reached a volume of business that requires a very tight relationship with a dedicated alliance manager. Your global business performance is tightly linked to your partner performance.


Reward your partners

Animating your partner network efficiently will help you progressively grow your new partners to strategic partners.
As your resources are limited, putting a reward program in place can prove to be very powerful. As an example, you can create different types of events and also different levels of pricing according to your partner ranking.
Loyalty is also important to be rewarded: small partners with recurring business over years are also key to the company.