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Nail Your Campaign Execution

Marketing Campaign Series Installment 3: Executing Strategy

This is Part 3 of our 4-part series looking at the four stages of running a marketing campaign as a financial marketer. It picks up at the end of the previous post, so you will want to read Part 1: Start with Profitability, and Part 2: Build a Winning Campaign Strategy.

So far, we’ve flexed a lot of our strategic thinking muscles. We engaged our finance department to help us find profitable products and customer segments, and then used that to build out a comprehensive campaign plan.

Now it’s time to put the plan into action. While you will still engage in strategic thinking and analysis, the most important duty will be keeping team members unified and the campaign moving forward. You will find success with the right mindset and deftly managing four common campaign saboteurs.

The Mindset

The pressure is on when you start a campaign. You’ve been given the green light and budget to generate revenue. The challenge is to maintain an even keel. I like the following from the late 49ers coaching great Bill Walsh:

“Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation; don’t get crazy with victory nor dysfunctional with loss.”

The 4 Common Saboteurs of a Campaign

These 4 mistakes can cost your bank/credit union marketing strategy to fail

If you’ve ever had a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, you know how tough it is to accomplish. You have to be sound in your exercise, diet, sleep, stress management and recovery. It can be tempting to give in to days off from the gym, eating crappy food and staying up late to binge Netflix.

The same is true with campaigns. Here are four of the most common saboteurs we have encountered in both client and our own campaigns.


1. Scope Creep

This happens when you make changes, maybe gradually or all at once, that change the scope of the project. Remember all the time and effort that went into making your campaign plan? Multiple meetings with executive management, email conversations with lenders and screen share calls with your agency partner. Are you just going to throw that all out the window once your campaign is in motion?

Your plan is your guiding light. All decisions should depend on whether or not they will help you meet the goals you laid out.

Ex 1: You decide to focus on an additional target audience than originally planned, which requires its own set of tactics and execution. This usually results in confusion and a stressed out staff.

Ex 2: You decide to add to your strategy statement, which shifts the entire focus of the campaign which mean works has to be redone to fit it.


2. Lack of Analysis

It’s easy to report on reach, impressions, clicks and other front end metrics. But it takes a strategic mind to go past what’s happening on the surface to figure out why the results are the results. This is where the metrics you established in the Tracking, Reporting and Evaluation part of your plan will come in handy.

If you’re using any kind of online advertising platform like we are in our example HELOC campaign, it helps to know how those platforms work. This can open up new insights.

Maybe the audience clicked to call from the google ads more than filled out a form, and that gives insight into the fact that the audience prefers to talk to people over the phone. This is something we can optimize for!


3. Incorrect Adjustments

On the flip side, we also see a lot of issues when it comes to making changes over the course of a campaign.

As your tactics are deployed and data and results become available, you will need to make adjustments. But these have to be done logically and preferably with the assistance of your agency partners and internal teams. A few rules of thumb I employ in a campaign:

  • Give the campaign time before making changes. Your physique doesn’t change after two weeks at the gym. The same is true with campaigns. You need more data in order make the right decisions.
  • Make sure you understand the cause of what you’re seeing. A correlation in your campaign metrics by itself doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

For example, let’s say that after two weeks of a campaign you see that mobile traffic has generated 15 conversions while desktop has generated only 7 conversions. Your natural instinct may be to optimize only for mobile. However, before you do that you need to understand the factors that led conversions. Optimizing for mobile may be the right call, but you need to be sure so you don’t end up leaving conversions from desktop traffic on the table.

Two additional tips:

  • Make changes one at a time. Let’s say you start getting better results after making numerous changes. Was it just one change that did it, or all of them combined? There should only be one variable in any test you do.
  • Are you considering a large-scale change? Be careful, because that means a lot of your planning was flawed. Discuss with both internal and external partners to see if other creative solutions exist.


4. Poor Communication

Everything mentioned previously is made twice as difficult if communication between you, internal stakeholders and your external partners is poor.

This happens when:

  • Communication preferences are not stated AND followed.
  • Trust and honesty in communication are not valued
  • The plan isn’t communicated clearly to everyone actively participating in the campaign execution.
  • All players, internal and external, don’t feel safe in bringing their true thoughts to the table.
  • Everyone agrees 100% of the time.
  • There are not clear, agreed upon patterns for making decisions.

As the leader of the campaign, your job is to set the tone and facilitate solid communication. That means setting recurring meetings, emailing agendas, asking awkward questions and holding everyone accountable. Google Ads not performing as expected? Ask why. Progress on the landing page going slow? Find the hold ups. Haven’t heard from the printing facility with a deadline looming? Get on the horn.

To Review

  • Keep an even keel regardless of what happens.
  • Executing a successful campaign is more about being flexible and holding to standards than anything else.
  • New directions, large-scale changes and shallow reporting will chip away at the confidence you built in the planning stage. You have to be the anchor that keeps all stakeholders focused on what you’re really trying to accomplish.
  • Embrace accountability and holding everyone (yourself included) to the plan. Ignoring non-performance guarantees that it continues. Going along to get along will result in mediocrity.


Moving Forward

Our final post in this series will be all about showing the results of the campaign and proving the ultimate metric: return on investment.

This is Part 3 of our 4-part series looking at the four stages of running a marketing campaign as a financial marketer. It picks up at the end of the previous post, so you will want to read Part 1: Start with Profitability, and Part 2: Build a Winning...