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Planning a Digital Marketing Campaign: What Partners Need to Know

Planning a Digital Marketing Campaign: What Partners Need to Know

It may be a bit of a business cliché, but the expression ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ has more than a grain of truth to it when it comes to digital partner marketing. Proper planning makes the difference between a campaign that hits just the right targets with the right messages to drive business, and one that simply wastes precious marketing dollars.

The pandemic has seen rapid growth in the use of digital techniques in partner marketing to build awareness, and generate and nurture leads. Companies have also recognized the value of digital marketing in maintaining richer customer relationships, even as in-person networking and sales opportunities are making a return.

For those embarking on a new digital marketing campaign, it may be tempting to get the ball rolling as fast as possible; after all, booking online ads and lining up an email program is simple, right? But our experience shows rushing to campaign execution can lead to disappointing results, disillusion the sales team, and lose buy-in from senior management.

No single digital campaign element can work on its own; for example, running an online ad program will be doomed to failure if there are no good online assets to support it, or a well-configured CRM or other system in place to handle any leads properly.

The three planning essentials

When bChannels consults with partners on digital channel marketing, we always recommend taking a step back, and really understanding the true rationale of the campaign. There are three key considerations it’s worth nailing down before any activity takes place:

  • The first step is to identify the why of the campaign. Is it to raise awareness? Is it to generate sales leads? Is it to support a particular product line? All too often, digital campaigns are started just because they ‘need to be done’.
  • Next is to truly understand who the campaign is aimed at. This typically involves segmenting the buyer or influencer audience – creating meaningful personas that pin down specific interest areas and pain points – to avoid over-targeting and wastage.
  • This leads into perhaps the most important consideration: the financials. We often hear the complaint form marketers that they can never get enough funding for their campaigns. All digital campaign elements have costs, whether it’s to place ads, create targeted content, create an on-line event, run in-bound email campaigns, refresh the company website, or invest in technology that makes tracking and nurturing leads easier (for example, optimizing an existing CRM system).

Get business buy-in

Once there is a solid campaign rationale in place – built on the three essentials above – it pays to get the business to buy into it at all levels.

One sure way to get senior management buy-in, credibility and funding (whether internal or vendor-provided) is to create a ‘business plan’ for the digital campaign itself – to show exactly how it will support the business.

For a lead generation campaign, for example, it’s worth digging into the average product sale price (or margin) and the typical lead conversion rate. From this, we can determine how many leads are needed over a year, say, to provide sufficient ROI in the digital campaign.

Taken together, these factors will determine which digital marketing techniques and timeline will provide the right results, among the right audience, at the right cost. It’s a stepwise process, where each step helps determine the next, as illustrated below.

Planning a digital marketing_1… and involvement

Once the campaign has been running for a while, the results can be used to help adjust and improve it with the involvement of everyone on the team, especially the sales force, as illustrated below in the workflow diagram for an email campaign – success in digital marketing truly is a team sport.

Planning a digital marketing_2

For this process of continual improvement to work, there needs to be proper measurement and tracking in place. It’s vital to know what is working and what is not.

It’s also important that everyone involved in the campaign – including the sales team – has easy access to up-to-date campaign status and metrics. If the company ERP or CRM system is not set up for this, there are some great tools out there – many freely available – to help teams, plan, collaborate and keep up to speed on campaign information, targets, timelines, team responsibilities, reminders and results. Here are just a few:

  • there are plenty of digital marketing tools and templates available from online marketing resource Qlutch, including this marketing campaign planning workbook
  • publisher and online learning platform provider Smart Insights also has lots of resources, including a digital marketing plan template available for free download
  • Google Workspace interactive spreadsheets provide a simple but effective way to share across a team.

Digital marketing can seem both straightforward and daunting at the same time. Getting a solid plan in place – with the right business rationale, management buy-in and team involvement – will help deliver results that contribute to channel partners’, and vendor’s, business goals.

bChannels helps partners plan, create and deliver digital marketing campaigns through its Digital Partners service. To find out more contact us.

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