The Anatomy of a Campaign

“Understanding the strategy behind the entire project allows us to create pieces that tell a story and create a connection from piece to piece.”
— Jeff Oehmen, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Good Omen Creative

The edict was simple: increase sales. As Brett Farmiloe recalls, the instructions don’t get any simpler than that. Like most ecommerce companies, conversion rate and cart abandonment are percentages that have some room for improvement. So, Farmiloe and his team at Markitors sketched out a strategy to increase the company’s cart-to-close rate. Inevitably, it landed on a strategy that combined email marketing with print and direct mail.

To do this, the Markitors’ team focused on customers who had abandoned their shopping cart. It set up automated email sequences that would trigger when customers left something in their cart. At the end of the sequence, if a customer still hadn’t made a purchase, it sent out postcards. The integration of different mail methods—both direct and email—helped the client achieve its overall objective.

The learning lesson? “Traditional and digital marketing can work together to achieve a marketing campaign objective,” says Farmiloe, founder and CEO of the Scottsdale, Arizona-based digital marketing firm.

It is the kind of challenge marketing firms like Markitors lives for. Marketing campaigns are about integration. That being said, Farmiloe says you must ask yourself, “How do all the components work together to accomplish the objective of the campaign?”

If you want to stay on the simple-is-best approach to what constructs the perfect campaign strategy, build out and execution are your foundations. Every campaign needs a strategy designed to achieve an objective. Once the strategy is defined, a team must build out the necessary assets on the selected platforms. Next comes executing what’s been laid out.

“For us, we’ll identify the objective of each channel,” Farmiloe says. “If the method doesn’t integrate with another channel to accomplish the campaign objective, it gets eliminated. If the method does integrate, we’ll proceed.”

For each campaign, Markitors breaks down the considerations into five questions: What is the objective? What is the cost? What is the expected return? What are the channels? What’s the strategy?

“The objective, cost, return, channels and strategy encompass all the important considerations for a marketing campaign,” Farmiloe says. “If you can define rough numbers and ideas in each of these areas, you’ve got the start of a marketing campaign.”

On the other side, it is imperative to look at the obstacles that could impact each campaign. Who is doing the execution? Do they have the skills and resources necessary to successfully execute? Truth be told, you have to measure your results, and traditional print has traditionally been tough to measure.

“When print is involved, there needs to be key metrics to define success,” Farmiloe says. “Great campaigns remove the major obstacles to give marketing professionals the leeway to execute a campaign as close to the strategy as possible.”

Print’s entry into a campaign’s strategy typically depends on the campaign. If print can be integrated with digital and supports the campaign objective, then Markitors will carve its place into the campaign. “Sometimes, print can assume the primary marketing method behind a campaign,” Farmiloe says. “It all just depends on the campaign concept and objective.”

In the case of the ecommerce company’s campaign, postcards were a vital part of the strategy. In fact, the postcard approach is a favorite of the Markitors’ team. Farmiloe believes that a lot more digital marketing firms will embrace the postcard strategy.

“In the near future you’ll see many of the popular email marketing platforms begin to offer postcard services to their customers,” he says. “Why? Marketing today is data-driven. Postcards enable a marketer to take a traditional print method, leverage data, and go right to the customer with the highest likelihood to convert.”

Why print can be a good omen
A few years ago, Good Omen Creative sat down with a commercial printing vendor to develop a new look for its tradeshow booth. The entire booth was printed using the company’s printing resources. Pillows. Books. Two-sided glass for a table. They even printed a chair.

The environment, including the walls, were designed to look like a mid-century modern home. The booth ended up being used at Cannes for the advertising awards show.

The job was one of the most memorable that Jeff Oehmen remembers involving print. “It really comes down to having a plan, a strategy and a team that all align with the goals of the project,” says Oehmen, the founder and chief creative officer of Greenville, South Carolina-based creative firm. “Setting expectations with your team and client is a great place to start. Projects have a lot of moving parts, and if everyone isn’t on the same page, things can fall short.”

That’s why understanding the media and options are critical. Oehmen says you must do what’s possible, then try and push past that. Good Omen is a big fan of printed pieces, using brochures, collateral, business cards and direct mail to complement select campaigns. For one client, Parallel Financial, it even created a mini book.

“It all has to make sense as a package,” Oehmen says. “All of the pieces we create need to tie together and make sense as a whole. Understanding the strategy behind the entire project allows us to create pieces that tell a story and create a connection from piece to piece. For print, what does the paper feel like? How well does it hold color? Will it help enhance the experience for the audience?”

To get down to the details of what works and what doesn’t, the key is the questioning. The Good Omen team asks lots of questions. Who’s the campaign for? What is the delivery method? “You have to understand the end goal,” Oehmen says. “When it’s print, you have look at photography, paper style, finishing pieces (etc.). We lean on our production staff and vendors to collaborate on the best solution for the idea and design.”

You can also reach out to your local commercial printer and pick their brain for print ideas. They often are a wealth of knowledge, and have executed a variety of interesting and unique print campaigns.

In the end, whatever pieces you put into play, the campaign must work. “Marketing is very much like rocket launches,” Farmiloe says. “The rocket either flies or it doesn’t. Marketing is the same way. A campaign launch either produces the desired results, or it doesn’t.”