The basics of building and executing integrated marketing campaigns
Craig Weiss, COO, True Influence
There’s a lot of talk these days about integrated marketing campaigns and how they’re the future of B2B revenue operations. Martech stack optimization is maturing; comprehensive methodologies like Account-Based Marketing (ABM) are taking hold, and B2B sellers realize they need a comprehensive approach to winning new business.
We here at True Influence are firm believers in integrated marketing and the power of data and technology to drive increased engagement and ROI on your revenue marketing spend. In step with that vision, we just launched our True Influence Marketing Cloud™ to bring all our display and B2B demand generation services under a single reporting and management experience.
So, we’re all in.
But before an integrated marketing platform can deliver on its promise, B2B marketing and sales must fully understand and embrace the concepts and methodologies that make it tick. And we aren’t there yet. In fact, CMOs who responded to a recent Gartner survey said they are realizing only about 58 percent of the potential on their growing investments in martech.
Multi-channel integrated marketing requires precise measurement and a clear tactical plan for when to advance prospects to the next tactic and when to shift gears when a tactic or channel is clearly underperforming.
In this post, I’ll run through some of the basics of planning and executing successful integrated marketing campaigns. At each step, I’ll emphasize how integrated marketing solutions and data can power these campaigns – with the right plan in place.
Basics #1: Plan for many channels in your integrated marketing campaign
At True Influence, we’re firm believers in “all of the above” when it comes to marketing tactics. That’s evidenced in the the multiple channels – email, voice, display, content syndication – we employ across all our B2B demand generation services.
You need the same mindset as you create and execute your own integrated marketing campaigns. As our CMO Kay Kienast puts it, “an email series is not a campaign.”
An integrated marketing campaign is an orchestrated series of tactics implemented across a broad range of channels. Each has a clearly defined role in engaging prospects and moving them along their purchase journey.
This is an obvious point, perhaps, but one a lot of marketers still need to hear. Your campaigns need to:
Incorporate multiple channels
Be laid out in a clear flow
Deliver an array of messaging and media options
You can’t switch to Plan B for a low-responding audience segment if there’s no Plan B already in place.
Also remember, you can’t dictate prospects’ contact and channel preferences.
All you can do is be relevant.
#2: Define expectations for every tactic in your integrated campaign
Without careful planning, “complexity” can really just mean “chaos”. Part of that planning has to be defining success — and failure — for each tactic you execute.
It’s important to note that integrated marketing campaigns do have start and stop dates, and that they don’t always need to net closed business. Obviously, your integrated marketing strategy culminates at the bottom line, but campaigns can be tightly crafted to accomplish landmark goals in your sales cycle.
This in-depth post at Smart Insights offers a wealth of information about campaign structure methodologies – it’s well worth a read. The general wisdom is that you have to clearly define several attributes of your integrated marketing campaign before launch, including:
Audiences for B2B demand generation
Exactly whom do you want to engage and influence with this campaign? Access to extensive demographic and firmographic data is essential in segmenting ideal target audiences. Our True Influence Marketing Cloud runs against our highly qualified database of millions of business contacts.
And as I often say on this blog, purchase intent data allows you to cast a somewhat wider net at the top of your funnel, based on who’s actively researching your product or solution. Job role should not automatically disqualify someone at a target account who’s actively in-market; they almost certainly have some role in the buying group that makes the eventual spend decision.
KPIs for integrated marketing tactics
Every tactic in your integrated marketing campaign needs clear performance metrics, and all of them must relate directly to how the effort moves a prospect along the purchase journey and toward the campaign’s ultimate goal. These metrics should be expressed not only in response rates, but also financial targets. And since ROI is based on revenue, you will need to employ cross-channel and even cross-campaign attribution to map your efforts to closed business.
Ultimately, this is all about getting the most from your marketing spend.
Next actions for converting prospects
For every tactic, you need to clearly lay out the next appropriate step for prospects whom you successfully engage, as well as those that you don’t.
Most integrated campaigns begin with a traditional awareness tactic – an email blast or a display ad run to get you on prospects’ radar. Generate a few click converts and go from there, as the prospects’ behavior dictates. Again, intent is the tip of the spear here, indicating that accounts and contacts are in-market and ready to talk, at least casually. [use this bolded text as a pull quote – “Intent is the tip of the spear, indicating that accounts and contacts are in-market and ready to talk.”]
Of course, you’re going to focus much of your effort on progressing engaged prospects to the next desired step in your campaign. But you also should spell out in advance what you’ll do with audiences who don’t respond to a tactic in your marketing campaign, and what conditions trigger that action. It’s often multi-factor math – response rates to a particular piece of display creative may be lower than expected, but if respondents are ultimately converting to revenue at a 2x rate, something is working. If a programmatic ad run draws tons of responses, but no one downloads your case study on email follow-up, it’s probably time to move that segment to a new channel.
Obviously, you need to be flexible in reacting to the unexpected, but you also need to have as many next steps as possible mapped out across all the channels. This can become a fairly complex integrated marketing campaign map (more on that later).
#3: Be ready to act immediately on what you learn
A key benefit of martech stack integration is reporting and management tools that let you see exactly how your tactics are performing in real-time. Then you can shift resources to tactics and channels that are working.
Seems simple enough. Of course, to accomplish this you need to have attended to my Basics #2, which is a solid idea of what “working” means, with real metrics attached, before switching gears mid-campaign.
Our True Influence Marketing Cloud gives the performance insights you need, in real-time, at the account, contact and even creative level. And you can move audiences and spend into new channels and tactics with a single click. It’s the integrated reporting and management you’d expect from a truly integrated marketing platform.
With the right metrics in place as the basis of your decisions, you can make agile, smart choices and focus your revenue marketing resources on tactics that work.
#4: Automate marketing campaigns wherever you can
Again, this seems like an obvious point, but in reality, it’s one that’s apparently lost on many B2B marketers. But the time and money you spend on engaging someone at the top of the funnel is wasted if you don’t follow-up promptly in the right channel.
If a prospect clicks on a display ad, they should get a follow-up email within 24 hours. If you see a response to an email and the form fill, somebody needs to be on the phone almost immediately to qualify them for sales outreach.
In larger (or even mid-sized) organizations, this kind of immediate response requires automation. Your CRM, marketing automation and analytics tools all need to seamlessly integrate to trigger next actions, based not only on user action but metrics (as clearly defined in Basic #2). This attention to results ensures you get the most from your investment.
Our CTO, RK Maniyani, recently discussed the key integrations you should consider when evaluating an integrated martech stack. In short, all your demand-gen channels should deliver leads and trigger tactics within your transactional systems, as well as consume data and conduct analysis against its own activity. We’ve built bi-directional integration with marketing platforms into our Marketing Cloud, of course, and can implement further integrations with revenue tech stacks.
In short, we help you automate what you can, and manually switch gears when you need to – all within a single, intuitive management experience.
#5: How to define and measure an integrated marketing campaign
Successful integrated marketing is a continuous learning process. During a campaign, you should closely monitor each tactic and channel for real-time performance and optimization. ABM and other B2B marketing methodologies also call for periodic deep-dive evaluations during campaigns, which can last six months or more for many sellers. (Check out this case study of our award-winning customer Imprivata for a closer look at a tightly constructure, closely optimized ABM campaign powered by intent data.)
Certainly, at the end of every integrated marketing campaign, you should step back and analyze its overall impact on your bottom line. The data should be available immediately within a properly integrated martech stack – it’s the same data you use for real-time channel optimization. But it’s a worthwhile investment of your team’s energy to review how all the pieces of your integrated marketing strategy work together to meet current and future goals.
Integrated marketing is real, but it takes real buy-in
I hope in this post I’ve provided a solid overview on the planning and execution steps required to successfully make the move to integrated marketing. It requires both an integrated marketing platform, such as our True Influence Marketing Cloud, and a commitment to carefully defining, monitoring and optimizing your campaigns to get the most benefit from your revenue marketing operations.
Want to learn more about the language of intent and integrated marketing? We suggest this reference guide of intent terms and definitions.