Marketing Campaign vs. Strategy – What’s the difference?

Aslan Strategy

Video conference at 5pm. The meeting was to reveal a new ‘marketing direction’. I was honored and privileged to be working with executives on this exciting new way forward for one of Australia’s iconic brands.

As the meeting unfolded, we started to understand the methodologies, objectives and deliverables orbiting the marketing direction. After the build up, it was time for the big reveal…Problem was, it was a marketing campaign and not a strategy.

Being that person in the meeting that can’t keep their comments to themselves, and renowned for challenging the status quo, I couldn’t help but put my questions and issues on the table. Using the tactical precision that only a bomb detonator could resonate with, I began to dissect the “strategy” and openly throw questions to the rest of the group to understand their positions and thoughts on what was presented. We ran well over time as marketing, branding and engagement people around the table hotly debated the difference between strategy and campaign.

Here’s my point of view: A marketing strategy is high level and connected to brand and organisation imperatives. It’s the overall battle plan, whereas marketing campaigns are the smaller, tactical operations that help achieve specific deliverables within the battle plan.

A marketing strategy holds the series of key engagement imperatives and marketing messages across primary market segments against key business objectives, over the medium to long term. The marketing strategy is the conduit between business operations, products and services, and the engagement and connection with the organisations brand, and customers.

A marketing strategy will usually contain the following elements:

Segmentation study – analysis of the markets and segmentation that help define the targeted areas for product, communication and sales opportunities

Articulation of the organisations value proposition, with the unique selling points clearly identified and connected back to the business

Marketing approaches: The type of focus needed (on what area and when) on ‘streams’ of marketing – whether it be engagement-led (transmedia storytelling), brand awareness or product information (on-demand marketing)

Elements from brand strategy – sometimes the marketing and brand strategies are one, and if they are not, the marketing strategy should clearly link the marketing messages, segmentation and value propositions to brand levers, archetype, values and overall brand direction

Clear linkage to Customer Experience priorities, including customer journeys and touchpoints

Establishment of KPIs and analytics to be used throughout the life of the strategy

Marketing channels and key high level marketing activity with campaign points identified

A marketing campaign is usually finite in its lifespan, linked to specific analytics and goals with very targeted messaging generally across 1-2 specific market segments. Marketing campaigns can be stand alone or integrated (integrated across multiple channels).

A marketing campaign will usually contain the following ingredients:

– Finite time-frames

– Specific marketing channels, budget and objectives linked to specific ROI / analytics

– Key messaging linked to strong visual and engagement mechanics specific to the campaign objectives

– Specific reference to the marketing approach used (transmedia, building awareness, driving engagement etc)

– Clear linkage between messages, initiatives and channels

Hope you find the distinction useful, and if you would like some templates on the two, I’m happy to share, just drop me a note.

Until next time, #paythoughtsforward


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