• Chandima

7 critical factors to make your seasonal campaign a successful one.

Updated: Oct 19, 2017

So it’s that time of year again where marketers are preparing for yet another season. Marketers will be planning their strategies for the period and it would soon be the agencies who take the ball and strategize the campaign.

What is important however is to realize if the campaign is a brand building exercise or a trade/sales driver. It is likely to be the latter as everyone tries to cash in on the season. Sure all communication will bear both brand building elements as well as trade drivers, but have we really given thought of the balance?

Most agencies would present a beautiful campaign which looks aesthetically perfect for the season. Perhaps with the promise of the greatest Christmas ever and all the bells and whistles that go with it. But have we lost the plot even before it has begun? This is something we marketers should carefully asses and brief the agency accordingly. After all, it is through the clarity of the brief that a masterpiece is derived.

So you have decided that the campaign is 70% sales, and 30% brand. Now what? Does your agency really have the knowledge and skill to design marketing communications that sell? Or are they brand heavy?

A good sales advertising and communication agency would know the right balance. They would understand what the key selling proposition is for the season and build the campaign around that very fact.

The following are the key things to look out for this season.

1. Did they get the theme right?

A good Sales Advertising agency would build the theme around the “Trade Activity in the period” For example; rather than having a theme around Super Duper Christmas” they would build it around “Santa’s 40% Specials” This theme would focus on the “trade driver” rather than an arbitrary nonspecific theme, allowing potential customers to know what the key offering is by that Company for the season.

2. Planning every communication touch point

The success of the theme is dependent in its execution through every touch point. Does your ad agency know all your consumer touch points or do they just care for the big 3? That’s TV, Radio and Press? It is imperative that we marketers ensure that the agency shows us how the theme will work on TV, Radio, Press, in-store POSM, outdoor, social media and even an SMS. In Sri Lanka, we marketers have a tendency of dividing the communications among many suppliers and agencies. No matter what the reason is for that, it is important that all the suppliers are on song and literary sing from the same hymn book or we will end up with a disjointed set of communications which will not be effective.

3. It’s not always about the offer but it’s about the offering.

It sounds the same but it isn’t. The offer is very specifically a discount or a money off deal which is coined together with some terms on how it can be obtained. The offering, is what you are giving to the customer this season. Perhaps you have brought down a special range of products, or are providing a range of services specially for the season. If you have planned so much, you need to talk about it. Your agency needs to be briefed about this and they need to know how to present all this to your customers in a manner that not only attracts them but drives a response.

4. Is there clarity in the offering?

Customers are going to get bombarded by various messages from all sorts of organizations during the season. This means that your offering during the season has to be crystal clear. The simpler it is the better. Your agency needs to simplify the message and stick to the hard-hitting facts of the offering during the season. All the bells and whistles of the seasonal campaign needs to be built around your offering, not vice versa. This means that they (your agency) needs to literary spell out the various benefits you are offering your customers this season. It needs to be factual and supported with rationale, perhaps with some endorsements too, to build confidence in what you are presenting to your customers.

5. Cut your coat according to your cloth.

Ultimately, all your plans will have to fit into a budget and we as marketers need to know how to optimize our budgets and make it work for us. Here are some key questions to consider.

a. Does the fixed costs of the campaign limit your spend on the media?

b. Is your budget enough to be heard above the clutter?

c. What media should you use to optimize your spend?

There is no single answer to any of these questions. It will purely depend on each company and the circumstances it is in. But this is where some smart decision making will have to come in. First, you need to ensure that your fixed costs in the campaign are managed. You don’t want to spend 60% of your budget on fixed creative costs or TV production costs and then be left with 40% to take the message to your customers. You will need to prioritize your key mediums based on known responses and manage where you put your money. If your budget is simply too small, then pull back and concentrate on the mediums/communication channels such as in-store, SMS, email, digital and perhaps radio where you can reach most of your customers. After all, 80% of the sale will come from your existing customers anyway. So you need to ensure you get the maximum from them, and possibly the best channels of communication will be in store or direct.

6. How well can you execute the seasonal offering?

Sometimes, marketers get caught up in the front end of things and do not look at how it will get executed. This can be the make-or-break in a campaign. It is important that you have thought through the entire customer journey during the season and have considered all the touch points such as in-store, call center, web-site, social media and the final execution on other mediums.

First and foremost, a campaign needs to start on time and needs to be in full throttle from the start. What you don’t want is TV starting a few days late because of production delays, or in-store material being half completed. For this, you need to work to a critical path and hold all your stakeholders accountable including your agency on delivery dates.

You need to consider if your existing call center can manage the responses or do you need to outsource or expand for the season. If your agency is strong in sales communications, then it is likely that your responses to your call center will be more. Thus you will need to be prepared for the influx of calls and the staff needs to be fully briefed on how to handle the inquiries.

Your website, social media pages and other touch points needs to be all aligned to the campaign with the seasonal theme running through them all. Even if your social media agency is different to your creative agency, they need to be able to adapt the theme and run it through.

7. Keep your foot on the pedal.

Once everything is up and running and is working, it is vital that you keep your foot on the pedal and don’t let go. The usual form is to give it your all until the launch and then a week into the season, let go and relax while your attention can be somewhere else on the next campign. This is where it is vital that someone in your team is always on the watch for media hic-ups, social media enquiries, in-store communication material requirements etc. All of this together will make your campaign a successful one.

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