Your marketing campaign is just a one-night stand. Don't you want a relationship?

Staff Writer

It’s time to fight back. I’m declaring war on the marketing campaign. Without a doubt your marketing activity should be all about the wants, needs and desires of your customers. You know you need to be channeling your energy into sparking a new relationship or making an existing relationship even better. But, honestly, are you cheating?

Is your marketing just a series of campaigns? One-night stands rather than a meaningful relationship? Maybe you’re getting what you want but your audience isn’t satisfied? I bet you’re still using stand-alone campaigns rather than building a long-term relationship, right? Here’s what you need to do to end those one-night stands and be a better marketer.

1.    Lose sight of the finish-line

A campaign typically has start and end dates attached to it – what’s that about? How can you go about offering sustained value to your customers if you’re already thinking about when to stop your activity? Organic development, listening to the needs of your audience, planning with them and shaping and reshaping your content and messages as required creates a stable and enjoyable on-going relationship. In my business we’ve been able to capitalize from additional requirements from clients by being open, available and insightful as the project developed, rather than working to strict timetables and targets.

2.    Remember that it’s not your project

Typically, a marketing campaign has goals that mostly benefit you and not your customer. Because that’s how you like to measure success. Well, that’s not acceptable anymore. This is not your project. Success needs to be measured on the customer’s terms, not yours. In a recent project, we were working towards launch of an employer brand when the client suddenly identified an urgent recruitment need. It would have been easy to ignore what was going on around us and insist we stick with the plan we had in place, but instead we were able to quickly analyze their needs, re-frame some of the messaging and bring forward some elements of the project so that they quickly had a talent pool to draw from to fill their gaps. Happy clients and a better relationship.

3.  Deliver quality not quantity, every time

With one major client, the successful candidate portal we created for them is still the subject of conversation at recruitment events around the world. The quality of the work builds trust. In a campaign, trust can sometimes be replaced with evidence in order to build credibility. There’s plenty of brands with that level of loyalty with their audience because they consistently provide a high level of quality of service to their community, not because they consistently produce campaign after campaign. Instead of investing the time in white papers and case studies, invest in great service. It’s cheaper, easier, and everyone wins.

4.    Stay faithful

With a more consistent long-term relationship with your audience, intuition and instinct start to help guide your quick decisions about what value to produce for them. Everything we do as marketers is evidence-based, however, your deeper understanding of how to approach a topic, the language you should use, the priority of key benefits and messages just gets easier and easier the more familiar you become with your audience. It’s all about great account management, listening and learning. Consistency and being faithful breeds confidence which is appreciated, respected, and rewarded with more engagement.

6.    Avoid Groundhog Day

When you’re just marketing in campaigns, you have to start from scratch on a number of fronts. Why would you want to do that? With a new initiative typically comes a focus on a benefit or new style, creative idea or concept to trial. You have to start from the beginning with educating your audience about the new messages, benefits and points you’re making, and they have to make a first judgment. That’s way too many firsts and very costly, due to the inefficiency of stopping and starting. The time you’ll spend educating your audience could be time spent on adding more value on a well presented existing area of expertise. Each time you start a new campaign you have to do a lot of thinking, again and again. And it’s highly likely that it will just deliver the same results time and time again. And that’s not a healthy or sustainable marketing relationship. That’s just cheating.