Variety is the Gingerbread Spice of Strategic Marketing Campaigns

By Stacey Piper

Before the Thanksgiving leftovers are finished, my daughter and I start to plan the holiday baking, digging out the family recipes and locating the cookie cutters in the back of the pantry. Starbucks got a jump on us, releasing the seasonal gingerbread latte in early November. Gingerbread is more than just ginger, and it’s not always bread; it refers to a broad assortment of food and drinks flavored with ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and often sweetened with honey, sugar, or molasses.

Campaign Ingredients

Strategic marketing campaigns are a complex recipe too, a set of individual marketing tactics deliberately blended in support of a common goal. There are many types of campaigns you can design. You may even integrate multiple campaign types within a larger campaign theme or strategic program. When choosing which campaign types to develop, start by considering the following:

  • Goal
  • Budget
  • Resources, including technical experts needed to develop campaign content
  • Lead time you need before launch

Sugar, Spice, & Successful Campaign Types

No single marketing campaign can solve all your company’s competitive challenges or help you reach all your growth goals. In public sector marketing, I have been most successful with these four types of strategic marketing campaigns.

Lead Gen Campaigns
  • Best for: Companies with robust business development and sales operations, or a budget for third party vendors and media partners, so that leads being generated by marketing don’t get stuck at the bottom of the pan. Marketing and sales should be highly collaborative, and sales attribution may also be a KPI upon which the marketing campaign is measured.

  • Process: Requires skilled lead nurturing, often leveraging marketing automation or a drip campaign to help push the prospect through the sales funnel. Based on knowledge of buyer personas, marketing will nurture prospects and rate them on behavior and firmographics based on detailed lead scoring plans and hand them over to sales for action after they reach a certain ranking in the martech system.

  • Content: Often promotional and product related and unique to every stage of the customer journey, focusing on getting the customer ready for an interaction with sales—with solution briefs and demos and case studies/use cases. The messaging must be focused on specific offers, seasonality, and time sensitive calls to action.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) Campaigns
  • Best for: Companies with fewer marketing resources trying to get the biggest bang for their bucks. Focusing on key accounts allows the marketing and sales team to work lockstep toward a common goal, driving marketing content and activity efforts in a more concentrated way—which can help to drive impact. So rather than a larger, more diverse company trying to rotate through their entire portfolio of offerings broadly to all constituents, ABM keeps the messaging, content, and tactics focused by segment.

  • Process: A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a must, with real support from leadership and sales. The campaign will hinge content that is personalized and relevant at the account level and even the individual level.

  • Content: Utility based, content of great value/use to the recipient, such as templates, tip sheets, and lessons learned. The messaging will be focused on building trust and engagement over time.
Thought Leadership Campaigns
  • Best for: Positioning a company as expert in a market segment and developing brand reputation, with the secondary bonus of increasing leads and sales.

  • Process: These campaigns rely on a good amount of old-fashioned public relations, as often a primary goal is to position one or more specific subject matter experts as leaders in the industry. To raise the profile of the individual, solution/program, or company, leverage awards and rankings and host or pay to participate in speaking engagements for webinars, podcasts, and live events. Once you open this door, the speaking invitations will start rolling in.

  • Content: Technical content to demonstrate your deep understanding or unique approach to the service or capability. You may need to start with self-publishing (technical blogs and white papers) or paid placements in relevant industry publications/websites. Marketing can help identify events and work with thought leaders to prepare and submit abstracts to speak. Once you do all of this, the market should come with you, and media inquiries and potential for earned media placements should follow.
Employer Brand Campaigns
  • Best for: Attracting and retaining talented staff. In today’s competitive, post-COVID world, the most successful brands are investing more time and effort into employer brand campaigns.

  • Process: Focus on company culture and reputation as a great place to work by featuring community involvement and corporate giving in a social responsibility theme and spotlighting staff at different levels. Talent brand is a joint effort between Human Resources and Marketing and goes well beyond job ads and recruitment events so that candidates can get a peek into the fabric of the firm and a sense of whether they might “fit” at the company.

  • Content: Some traditional content like press releases about new hires and awards, possibly including emerging channels like Instagram and TikTok. Larger firms with more dispersed geographics and differentiated skills may even engage in candidate email nurture programs.

Just as Grandma’s gingerbread recipe evolves from one generation to the next, integrated marketing campaigns change with the times and technology. Learn more about strategic marketing campaigns in Government Marketing Best Practices 2.0: What You Need to Know for Accelerated Success, one of GovBrew’s top govcon books.

Ready to spice up your marketing campaigns? Contact me for a consultation with your leadership team.

Contact Piper Strategies

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