Why Marketing Campaigns Alone Will Not Save Your Business

A couple of weeks ago, I was attending a conference with one of our B2B clients. The conference was for sellers of a particular phone system.

During the conference, I sat in on a session about marketing and demand generation. The panel included a senior marketer from their product partner and a few of my client’s peers. These companies were sharing their marketing success stories for a campaign for a particular type of cloud-based phone system.

I always enjoy hearing examples and ideas about what has worked with other companies. But one thing that really stood out to me is something that the senior marketer shared to kick off the talk:

Successful marketing is NOT centered on campaigns.”

She suggested that it’s everything working together that drives success. (Hint: That’s what we call integrated marketing around here.)

Instead, she suggested that successful marketing comes from focusing on three main buckets:

  • A good website.
  • Content marketing and lead generation.
  • Marketing campaigns (in this case, email campaigns).

Campaigns are only a small part — one-third at most — of successful marketing efforts for their partners.

Why Campaign Thinking Kills Your Business

Although the mix of marketing activities will look different depending on the industry or business, this marketer’s point rings true:

Marketing campaigns alone will not cut it.


First, let’s step back a moment and define a marketing campaign.

Marketing campaigns are focused around an event, piece of content or a particular product or service line. It’s typically a short-term push to promote something specific.

In the simplest sense, a campaign might be social media promotion and distributing a series of emails to your database with the goal of driving people to a specific event, product or service.

Or, in the largest sense, marketing campaigns can be centered on an entire theme or message and may be reinforced through advertising and social media efforts.

Marketing campaigns have some great benefits:

  • They can help you get the word out quickly about something new.
  • They can give you a shot in the arm for your efforts and help you attract new customers in a shorter amount of time.
  • They can uncover some opportunities that you might not have otherwise noticed.

All of that sounds good, right?

But there is one key problem — especially if you only focus on marketing campaigns.

You will wear out your audience. After all, potential buyers don’t want to be sold to constantly. And sadly, too many campaigns are focused on making the sale instead of solving the prospect’s problems.

The other issue is that your campaign might not align with how and when your prospects want to buy. Think about it. What are the chances your campaign will align with the timing and buying intent of your audience? Essentially, you are forcing people to buy within your desired timeframe instead of encouraging people to buy when it is right for them.

So, what do you do instead?

Build an ongoing marketing strategy or program that’s focused on attracting the right prospects to you, continually nurturing your audience and moving them through your pipeline.

In other words, creating compelling content and resources that adds value by answering questions and solving problems. With this approach, you are letting your audience choose how to engage with you. And, if you do this right, they will raise their hand when the time is right.

Here’s a breakdown of what this looks like:

  • Develop the right message. Everything starts with building the right foundation with your brand. That means you have to develop messaging that speaks to your target audience.
  • Build your reputation. This includes everything from optimizing your site for search, securing reviews and testimonials, scoring media coverage and building authority through speaking.
  • Create problem solving content. As I alluded to above, creating content is a great way to answer questions when prospects are trying to make a buying decision. This gives your audience the opportunity to do their research and get the information they need to make a decision. And, a key component to this is creating premium content (eBooks, webinars, videos) that allow visitors to opt-in to your email list.
  • Nurture your list. Once you’ve got people engaging with your content, it’s time to nurture them through your sales funnel. A great way to do this is through a series of automated emails that are sent to your audience who signs up for your content. This content can continue to provide relevant and useful information related to the topic your audience is interested in.
  • Engage with prospects. As your audience is engaging with your content, you can bring in your sales team to engage with the contacts and qualify them as leads.

If you look at that list, you’ll quickly notice that this is a not a short-term approach. An ongoing marketing strategy is focused on winning the long game. It takes time to build momentum — much like rolling a snowball down hill. But once you do, it can quickly grow and build from there.

The Difference between Marketing Campaigns and Strategy

Hopefully, this illustrates the value and importance of developing a long-term strategic marketing effort.

Marketing Campaigns vs. Marketing Strategy
Marketing Campaigns Marketing Strategy
  • Focused on promoting an event, service/product or asset
  • Short-term approach
  • Goal: Quick wins
  • Prospecting, outbound approach
  • Comprehensive approach to promoting the business
  • Long-term approach
  • Goal: Long-term growth
  • Attractional, inbound approach

However, my goal is NOT to turn you away from marketing campaigns. Instead, I hope that you understand that your business cannot survive on campaigns alone.

You need both a long-term marketing strategy and campaigns to drive results. In fact, it tends to work best when you integrate campaigns into your larger strategy. Once you do that, you’ll be in a much better position to drive results.

What do you think? Which approach has worked beset for you?

 Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

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Laura Click

Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

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