The Right Steps for Successful Campaign Management

Those who know me personally know I have a passion for running. I have logged many miles while burning through countless pairs of sneakers over the years, and I have competed in events that I never would have thought I could finish before my journey as a long-distance runner began. I have also been fortunate enough to compete in several marathons, including my most recent, the 2014 Humboldt Redwoods Marathon, held in Redwood National Park.

Working in a cross-channel campaign-management role here at Adobe, I can’t help but make the connection between preparing for a marathon and successful campaign management. Just like entering a marathon can be intimidating for a runner who hasn’t started training yet, executing a successful campaign can feel just as daunting. The task may seem so enormous, so overwhelming, that you may be afraid to ever take the hardest step: the first.

Confronting a new challenge can be a scary feat for any marketer, no matter how experienced he or she is. Every time I talk to customers, they are always enthusiastic about the latest marketing solutions and products, but many are uncertain where to start. However, the moment that those anxious customers are set on the correct path and following the right steps, they quickly become confident in the efficacy of their campaign management strategy.

While a 26.2-mile marathon may seem intimidating for a runner with no experience, it’s all about making incremental improvements while taking one step at a time. The three main elements involved in successful campaign management can be approached the same way: by concentrating on one element before moving on to the next. So what are these crucial steps that can launch your company toward campaign management success?

Step #1: Data

Marathon or marketing, it doesn’t matter; every successful accomplishment is preceded by a thorough evaluation of the problems at hand. If you are a marketer and you want to talk with your customers, then you have to first know and understand them. If you don’t have a clear understanding of whom you are talking to, then how can you effectively market to them?

When preparing for a marathon, my coach always tells me the most important part of training is to rack up miles—the more miles I cover during each run, the better my chances are for success on race day. Racking up data can be viewed in a similar manner. The more data you acquire, the better you will know your customers, which is a critical first step toward successful campaign management. Taking that data and determining who your customers are is like a runner lacing up his shoes: it’s the first thing you should do before you even think about going for a jog.

Step #2: Content

Once you know who your customers are, what exactly are you supposed to tell them? Imagine for a moment that you are running an online clothing store. You have gathered the appropriate data and determined that a particular customer likes a certain brand of shirt, prefers those specific shirts in blue, and is interested in online discounts.

So you know your customer, the kinds of shirts he or she likes and the deals he or she is looking for; now it’s time to bring this data together with effective content. Content is still king and plays a vital role in successful campaign management. By applying everything you have learned about your customer toward creating valuable content for him or her, you will be one step closer to the finish line.

Step #3: Orchestration

Great, so you know who your customers are, and you understand the story that you need to tell them. But how are you supposed to get the message out in the most effective way possible? Should you send the customer a push notification, or would he or she be more receptive to direct mail? What about email or even a phone call?

Orchestration, just like data and content, is another integral step toward managing a successful campaign. You can know exactly who your customers are and what they are looking for in a brand, but if you can’t communicate that information through effective storytelling then you run the risk of turning potential customers away.

Running a successful campaign can seem like an intimidating task in the beginning. When I began training for my last marathon, I tried not to think about race day because dwelling on running over 26 miles when I was only jogging a few miles at a time would have been an unhealthy exercise in negative thinking. Instead, I just focused on taking one step at a time while posting incremental gains over the long term.

Taking the right steps toward successful campaign management means making sure you get each step right before taking the next one. Each step is necessary to achieve one specific goal, and concentrating on getting those individual steps right before moving forward will ensure that when it’s time for race day, implementing successful campaign management will be like a walk in the park.