How do you successfully execute a robust cross-channel marketing campaign on a limited budget under a tight timeframe?
From Forrester to the ad trade media to CMO, research shows that marketers’ greatest priority is for all marketing activities to be integrated across all channels. However, few understand their customers’ journeys well enough to adapt their channel mix accordingly. Add in timing and budget considerations and the challenge seems insurmountable.
Yet many of us find that some of our best work is done when we are forced to create within budget and time limitations. The trick is keeping the consumer’s expectations for personalized and consistent experiences across every channel at the forefront of the work. In addition, apply the core tenets — work simply, foster teamwork, strengthen client relationships and creatively solve problems — that turn constraints into opportunities.
Work Simply. Successful cross-channel marketing campaigns start with a singular big idea. When the campaign is executed on a limited budget and under a tight time frame, this is even more crucial. The big idea must be deftly defined and teams have to work to maintain the purity of the idea so as to keep it simple. This allows for more flexibility and forces efficiency. A tagline, video, photography, infographics and even a piece of programming code that is simple enough can be leveraged and seamlessly integrated across multiple channels.
When developing a holiday campaign for a wine and spirits client, we found that consumers experience anxiety when purchasing wine and spirits. During the holiday season, people are busy and overwhelmed. They welcome brands that streamline their experience and give them confidence in their purchase decisions. For this reason, it was important that our campaign was fully integrated but simple.
Foster Teamwork. A cross-departmental team that is developing a campaign under budget and time constraints must function cohesively. A team that works together will be more efficient and productive because members know each other’s styles, strengths and weaknesses. This enables members to support each other, foresee bumps in the road and course-correct quickly and seamlessly.
Advertising agencies tend to be more collaborative than other types of companies but, in a time crunch, this is amplified. When a cross-functional team of ours was coming up with ideas for the wine and spirits holiday campaign, the tight timeline required that the team agree to a client-ready list of ideas in just one day. The team (creative, account, digital, PR, social, project management and strategy) locked itself in a room for more than two hours to come up with the best ideas. It didn’t matter which department came up with the idea or who liked which ideas best. The ideas that were the most strategically sound, feasible and flexible made the cut. The end result was a wide variety of ideas that were more focused but still spontaneous and original.
Strengthen Client Relationships. As important as it is to foster teamwork internally, it is also vital to collaborate with clients. Those of us in the advertising industry often lament that our clients don’t trust us enough. However, it is important for us to trust our clients and work iteratively with them. Invite your clients into the process early and often. When working with our client on the holiday campaign, we got approval on a video concept based on a few mood boards. When we trusted that our client wouldn’t kill our idea simply because it wasn’t polished, we found ourselves sharing our work earlier in the process. This meant earlier buy-in, fewer revisions and more efficiency all around. And our relationship with the client today is stronger as a result.
Solve Problems Creatively. With budget and time limitations, we are forced to solve problems creatively and look outside the industry or category for inspiration. Our industry bias and past experience told us we required studio time and space to shoot video. We had neither the time nor the budget to go this route. Instead, inspired by the DIY trend, we painted a wall of our own agency café with chalkboard paint and transformed it into a set. The end result was more visually interesting (and more cost-efficient) videos that were leveraged across a microsite, rich media banners, a press kit and every social media channel.
In this case, our team took the time and budget limitations it faced as an opportunity to develop a cross-channel campaign that was innovative and expanded the capabilities and portfolio of the agency. The campaign also proved successful for our client, resulting in an all-time high sales record.