By Laura Lake, About.com
When planning a promotional campaign keep in mind that a campaign generally consists of three desired outcomes:
Outcome 1: Your promotional message reaches your intended and targeted audience.
Outcome 2: Your message is understood by your audience.
Outcome 3: Your message stimulates the recipients and they take action. The question is how do you achieve these outcomes with your campaign? The process is easy, but it takes "planning" time. Here are seven steps that will get your campaign off to the right start.
· Step 1: Assess Marketing Communication Opportunities.
It's important in this first step to examine and understand the needs of your target market. Who is your message going out to? Current users, influencers among individuals, decision-makers, groups, or the general public?
· Step 2: What Communication Channels Will You Use?
In the first step of planning you should have defined the markets, products, and environments. This information will assist you in deciding which communication channels will be most beneficial. Will you use personal communication channels such as face to face meeting, telephone contact, or perhaps a personal sales presentation? Or will the nonpersonal communication such as newspapers, magazines, or direct mail work better?
· Step 3: Determine Your Objectives
Keep in mind that your objectives in a promotional campaign are slightly different from your marketing campaign. Promotional objectives should be stated in terms of long or short-term behaviors by people who have been exposed to your promotional communication. These objectives must be clearly stated, measurable, and appropriate to the phase of market development.
· Step 4: Determine Your Promotion Mix
This is where you will need to allocate resources among sales promotion, advertising, publicity, and of course personal selling. Don't skimp on either of these areas. You must create an awareness among your buyers in order for your promotional campaign to succeed. A well rounded promotion will use all these methods in some capacity.
· Step 5: Develop Your Promotional Message
This is the time that you will need to sit down with your team and focus on the content, appeal, structure, format, and source of the message. Keep in mind in promotional campaigns appeal and execution always work together.
· Step 6: Develop the Promotion Budget
This is the exciting part. You must now determine the total promotion budget. This involves determining cost breakdowns per territory and promotional mix elements. Take some time to break down allocations and determine the affordability, percent of sales, and competitive parity. By breaking down these costs you will get a better idea on gauging the success potential of your campaign.
· Step 7: Determine Campaign Effectiveness
After marketing communications are assigned, the promotional plan must be formal defined in a written document. In this document you should include situation analysis, copy platform, timetables for effective integration of promotional elements with elements in your marketing mix. You will also need to determine how you will measure the effectiveness once it is implement. How did the actual performance measure up to planned objectives. You'll need to gather this information by asking your target market whether they recognized or recall specific advertising messages, what they remember about the message, how they felt about the message, and if their attitudes toward the company was affected by the message.