As Thanksgiving is upon us, lots of people are thinking about their Thanksgiving dinner menus. Without seeming too much like a TV soap opera that plods along according to its own timeline, but magically celebrates every holiday on the correct day, I did want to write about the similarities of planning a Thanksgiving dinner to planning a business to business marketing campaign.
The main functions of preparing dinner involve planning, shopping, cooking, serving, eating and cleaning up. Each one of these relates to the steps of a B2B marketing campaign. The most important part of both a meal and a campaign is the planning. You need a goal and a strategy to reach that goal. For a meal, the goal is usually to serve your guests a tasty, well-balanced meal that they enjoy. Developing your strategy to reach that goal is what you do when you create your plan. A B2B marketing goal might be to get sales leads, increase newsletter subscriptions, or to get people to request information. The strategy you develop needs to drive those results.
Who is coming to dinner? That’s your target audience. You would never make a turkey for a table full of vegetarians, so you need to make sure you know who you are serving. You also need to decide what dishes to serve. These are the tools that you will use in your campaign. You would never serve just one dish to your guests, and you need to approach a marketing campaign the same way. A mix of tools and techniques that reaches your audience at different touch points will be more successful that one that only reaches them one way.
A traditional dinner may include family favorites that have been served for generations. The same is true for a traditional marketing campaign. It may be appropriate to use the same methods that have worked for years, but maybe this is the year to turn dinner, or your campaign, on its head and try something different. But don’t change things just for the sake of change. Make sure the changes are part of a goal-based strategy.
Shopping for your meal is just like checking your resources for your campaign, and making sure you have all the things you need to reach your audience and achieve your goals. Cooking your meal is just like putting all the pieces together to build your campaign. Writing copy, chopping onions, developing creative, basting the turkey, finalizing layouts, sprinkling the canned onions on the green bean casserole. They are all steps to the goal.
Serving the meal is like delivering your message in all its forms. Eating the food is when your audience interacts with your message. They read, click, open and digest. With a clear call to action, your target audience knows how to respond. Your dinner guests usually respond with yummy sounds.
And the final step of any plan is to clean up. With dinner, it means clearing the plates, but with a marketing campaign, it means determining what parts of the campaign worked and generated the best response. If you provide distinct calls to action for each element of your campaign, you can determine the success of each one, just like clearing plates that are left with various amounts of food. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows are never left, but nobody eats the random green vegetable. Incorporating this feedback and measurement against your goals will make your next Thanksgiving dinner and your next B2B marketing campaign a success.
Originally published on Koroberi blog