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How to Plan an Integrated Campaign Strategy


February 29, 2024


It’s that time of year again—planning! Planning isn't just a checklist; it's a crucial journey that demands our attention and strategic thinking. Whether you’re creating your first campaign strategy or improving an existing campaign, this guide will help you create a roadmap for success. 

But first, what is an integrated campaign strategy? 

An integrated campaign refers to a go-to-market strategy for a particular product, service, or offer and combines various promotional elements across multiple channels to create a cohesive and unified message. The goal is to deliver a consistent brand experience and maximize the impact of the campaign by reaching the target audience through different mediums.

A campaign strategy and a marketing strategy are related concepts, but they refer to different levels of planning and execution within the overall marketing efforts of a business. 

  • The marketing strategy sets the overarching direction for the entire marketing function, providing a framework for how the organization will approach the market, position itself, and achieve its business objectives. 
  • A campaign strategy is a more detailed plan outlining the implementation of specific marketing activities within a defined time period to achieve particular goals. 

As part of a marketing strategy, your company may launch multiple campaigns throughout the year, each with its own strategy, objectives, and tactics to support the broader marketing goals. The first step is to confirm your resources and align the team.

Create Team Alignment

Before kicking off the integrated process, it’s important to ensure each team within your company has a clear role and understands their responsibility in the process. Doing so will help keep everyone on track and the process moving forward. The best way to ensure all roles are defined is through a RACI chart. RACI charts assign each member of your team as R (responsible), A (accountable), C (consulted), or I (informed) for every responsibility in the process. 

While there can be more than one person responsible, consulted, or informed, there should be only one person who is accountable. This means one person is ultimately held accountable for each part of the process, and that person is required to ensure the work gets completed.

The above RACI chart is an example for the integrated process; however, your chart might look slightly different depending on the types of teams you have in your organization. For example, if you are a startup, some of these roles might be combined like a content manager and a product marketing manager. If there are no channel managers in your organization, some of these roles can be done by the campaign manager or digital manager. 

Properly assigning roles and responsibilities will assist in setting—and upholding—deadlines and ensuring your integrated campaigns go off without a hitch

The Integrated GTM Campaign Process

Now that each position understands their role, it’s time to kick off the integrated campaign process. As mentioned, there will likely be multiple campaigns launching throughout the year to help achieve the overall marketing goals. This process should be completed in its entirety for each campaign being launched. 

1. Input brief

The first step in the process is the input brief. This is a 3-4 page input document that defines the business needs, target audience, messaging summary, and product, service, and/or an offer’s value proposition. Here is a short example to get you started—make a copy of the doc and then feel free to adapt the document to your company’s needs. 

This document should be done for each campaign whether your organization structures campaigns by product, service, or offer. Usually, the product marketing manager would be the role held accountable and responsible for inputting this information into the document. 

If you create evergreen, or always-on campaigns, make sure to reevaluate the brief at least annually. Otherwise, you can create these as new campaigns emerge.

The brief is one of the most crucial parts of the process because it defines the go-to-market strategy and will serve as guidance for all teams in the next phases. Do not rush this part of the process. After all, the output is only as good as the input. 

2. Messaging and testing

Once the brief is completed, reviewed, and agreed to by the necessary parties, you’re ready to test the campaign message summary. 

The purpose of this stage is to create an external-facing elevator pitch that will be tested with your target audience to see how well it resonates. The messaging will be created based on the input from the brief. However, this stage is where you will test and refine the messaging, which will help reinforce the brief. If your organization has a content marketing team, they may be held accountable. If there is no content team, this can be looped into product marketing’s roles and responsibilities. 

Tip: If funding is available, testing should ideally be done through an agency or firm. However, don’t let a lack of budget stop you—get creative and test out new messaging with your community or internally with teams outside of marketing that fit your target audience.

3. Channel research and discovery 

Once you’ve defined your target audience, refined the messaging, and understand your marketing opportunity, it’s time to move on to the research and discovery phase. 

The purpose of this step is to research different channels, content, competitive insights, and opportunities for your target audience. The input brief should act as your guide in this stage. The key drivers of this stage are the channel owners and/or digital marketing team. We recommend you start looking at historical data from social media channels, email performance, paid channel benchmarks, and any other platforms where customers are interacting with the brand. 

Next, look into any channels that came up from the input brief. For example, if there’s a new social channel your audience is spending time on, this stage should dig into it as a potential opportunity.

At this point, you should have a good idea of what channels you’ll include in your campaign and how you’ll incorporate them.

4. Content ideation

The next phase, and by far the most fun, is the content ideation phase. The purpose of this step is to conduct cross-functional ideation sessions based on the research and discovery phase and audience data to inform the final content roadmap. This is usually driven by content marketing, but can be managed by whoever is responsible for putting together content. 

This phase is where all the big ideas will likely stem from, so get creative and think outside of the box. For the ideation session, gather team members from across the organization, both within and outside of marketing. This is a great way to involve teams that fit your target audience as well. For example, if you’re targeting developers, enlist a few internal devs to your session to get their opinion.

These sessions should include a few questions to get everyone’s ideas flowing and can be done through a variety of approaches. If you’re a remote company, look at creating an online idea board through Figma or LucidChart. If you’re working together in person, a simple whiteboard with sticky notes would work.  

5. Integrated strategy and plan

Each of these last few steps is essential to creating the integrated strategy. This step should not be started until each of the above steps has been completed in its entirety. 

In this stage, you will develop and finalize the integrated strategy which will outline key performance indicators (KPIs) and the overall objective of the campaign. This step should include a content mapping exercise where assets, both hero and derivatives, are mapped across the full buyer’s journey. Any new or updated content will likely come out of the content ideation session. 

While the campaign manager is held accountable in this step, there will be many teams responsible. Content managers should ensure the mapping exercise is complete, the channel/digital owners should put together the channel mix, and the campaign manager should create the overall campaign presentation and editorial calendar.  

6. Production and execution

At this stage, the planning is complete and you are ready to get those ideas to market. The production and execution stage is where your hard work comes to fruition. This stage is where you start creating content based on your plan. 

Once content creation is complete, you’ll be ready to set everything live through creative and engaging promotions. Think of this stage as your big launch moment. Everything in this stage should be based on the goals and KPIs set throughout the previous few steps. 

The campaign manager is the main driver of this stage ensuring content is developed, channel owners are equipped with the right information for the promotions, budgets are set, and all tracking is in place for future reporting. If something new comes up, or an executive makes a last-minute call to change anything within the campaign, the campaign manager should take the feedback/idea back to the original stakeholders to ensure it is properly integrated into the brief.  

7. Enablement

But wait—you’re not done yet. While setting things live and in-market feels like a major feat, it’s only half of the job of the campaign manager. You’ll want to make sure that your sales team is fully equipped to answer questions, follow up on leads, and ultimately close the pipeline coming from inbound campaign responses. This step is especially essential when you’re going to market with a brand-new campaign or product. 

The main purpose of providing robust enablement is to ensure sales, partners, regional marketing, and community teams are aware and can speak to the integrated plan. If your sales team has a regularly scheduled meeting or enablement call, make sure to get a slot on this call. 

During this enablement session, you’ll want to make sure you showcase the messaging, creative, content, and offers. We also recommend creating content sellers can reference when they go into calls including a customer-facing pitch deck, FAQ document on offers, positioning and messaging document, and sales outreach templates to use in email or LinkedIn sequences.  

8. Measure and optimize

So your campaign is live and your sales team is equipped, now what? Some would argue this is the make or break of your campaign. While so much work goes into building the best campaign, measuring and testing continuously will make a good campaign great. This stage should not be forgotten as it’s meant to monitor, measure, and assess the overall performance. 

This is driven by the campaign manager and channel owners and should be done regularly to ensure the campaign is fully optimized. Depending on your team’s bandwidth, channel managers should be monitoring performance daily with campaign managers doing a full evaluation monthly. When team members see something that is over or underperforming, actions should be taken to expand or improve the performance. Don’t be afraid to test out new assets, copy, creative, and tactics here. The more testing you do, the greater learnings you’ll have for the next iteration of the campaign. 

Moreover, if something is not working, and you’ve tested as much as you can think of, pause the campaign and take it back to the drawing board. Not every campaign will be a home run, and that’s okay! Bring back the findings to the integrated team to reevaluate and revamp. 

Examples of Successful Integrated Campaigns

Do you need some inspiration for your own integrated campaigns? Here are a few examples to get you inspired to create that next big campaign.

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign

(source: Global Brand’s Magazine)

Why we love it: Dove did extensive market research and found that women were increasingly dissatisfied with how they looked and felt about their bodies. They took that market research to heart and created a campaign centered around the customer’s pain point, centering the messaging around real human emotion. A great example of why input briefs are crucial.

Adobe Baby Click Campaign

(source: LinkedIn)

Why we love it: Adobe created a video to show customers’ pain points in a unique, engaging way. Rather than do a typical customer testimony, they went with a humorous story to show an encyclopedia company's struggles. A great way of thinking outside of the box, and creating unique content that resonates with the target audience. We like to believe this came out of one of those ideation sessions.

As you embark on the journey of planning and executing your integrated campaign in 2024, remember that adaptability is key. The landscape of marketing is ever-evolving, and the success of your campaign lies not just in meticulous planning but in your team's ability to embrace change. Stay agile, continuously assess performance, and be fearless in experimenting with new ideas. Not every campaign will follow a linear path, and that's okay. Each iteration brings valuable insights that contribute to the growth and refinement of your strategies. So, as you get started with your integrated plan, view every challenge as an opportunity to learn, evolve, and ultimately, elevate the impact of your campaigns.

Need help planning your upcoming campaigns? Contact Right Side Up to get connected with A+ marketing talent.

A highly motivated, critical thinker, Maysen is a young professional with energy and passion for simplifying technology. With her undergraduate degree in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration, she's held countless roles in marketing and sales within the technology industry. Maysen is a gifted communicator and storyteller that is dedicated to educating, equipping and empowering go-to-market teams through campaign management, content management, demand generation strategy and sales enablement. She recently led marketing strategy for the Cloud SaaS sector at Elastic where she developed, managed, and executed on the cloud trial program. Since then, she's taken her expertise in SaaS to expand her role to campaign management leading several product-led growth initiatives.

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