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I’ve run several campaigns throughout my 10+ years as a marketing practitioner; campaigns across all sorts of marketing channels and within changing and different contexts, some on a shoestring, others well funded and well oiled.  A few flopped spectacularly, several were incredibly successful. Generally, I’m proud of them all.

With every single campaign I’ve learned something new (and long may it continue!), so I’ve compiled the list below of what I believe are the building blocks of a successful campaign. The list is alive, open ended, always evolving, a shape shifter, so I invite you to add your building blocks and share your thoughts. Sharing knowledge will enrich and enhance all our experiences.

  1. Know your market – customer/competitor/company – assess your proposition realistically
  2. Know your strengths & weaknesses – always build on the strengths, always build on existing traits, items
  3. Know your strategy & objectives and stick to them
  4. Write a detailed and thorough (creative) brief
  5. Only invite 3 agencies to pitch – have they delivered against the brief? Do you like their approach? Can you chunk it down? Who is pitching? Can you see yourself working with them intensively? Would you bring them in the board room to present? What food do they serve? Get testimonials -not the offical type from the website, ask around the industry for recommendations.
  6. The initial idea is the least important in the pitch
  7. If the first 3 don’t work out, invite another one. Ask yourself, why the first three did not work out.
  8. The negotiation is an important part of the relationship.
  9. Be clear about everybody’s roles and objectives & give the freedom and trust to work it.
  10. Set tight deadlines
  11. Keep meetings to maximum one hour. Always have an agenda. Otherwise, don’t attend.
  12. The creative has to work without you understanding the rationale
  13. Limit the people who input internally to 3
  14. Know your planning principles and check everything against it
  15. Have an advisor against every agency – at least until you know the medium. But always seek advice as widely as possible.
  16. Only meet people if you have questions to ask
  17. Know the rationale at all times
  18. Push back. You pay. It is your ad.
  19. It is your ad. Take ownership. Follow your objective, make the decisions.
  20. Remind yourself, that you are the decision maker.
  21. Develop a strong internal reference system.
  22. Change suppliers if they don’t work out. Act fast & decisively
  23. Be a diplomat externally and a decision maker internally
  24. Test the creative concept. Test the call to action.
  25. The burden of proof lives with the person who wants to change existing practices
  26. Scientific data is more valuable than pure opinion or gut feel.
  27. Listen to what people say – what are their real motivations? Does it all stack up?
  28. Speak to answer the question, not to seem helpful
  29. Put yourself into the shoes of client facing staff. Will they be proud? Will they want to talk about the campaign?
  30. The creative is only one piece of the puzzle. What are all the applications? Ensure top quality performance and delivery. Accept nothing less.
  31. Speak with all stake holders individually about their area and responsibilities. They don’t need to know the creative or be part of the creative process. That’s your area and responsibility.
  32. When you receive the concept, share with a wider audience (max 10), when you have the rough cut, show the same audience again.
  33. Lots of people will use the campaign as an excuse to up their budgets and piggyback. Be aware of it. Use it to your advantage.
  34. Use the campaign to get projects done and to streamline activity beyond the creative requirements
  35. Launch the campaign as an opportunity, as a starting point.
  36. Share all positive news with the entire company. You need every single person to make it successful.
  37. Open the lines of communication between team and suppliers, ensure all necessary people are cc-ed into it.
  38. Spend money to achieve high quality. If in doubt, always go with the higher quality option.

Got another one? Just add it!

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