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The Elements of Campaign Performance

October 01, 2015

Each type of campaign contains elements that can be adjusted to optimize performance

For b-to-b campaign planners, it’s useful to estimate the performance and impact that each campaign will have, so that they can decide what resources to allocate to the campaign and how these resources should be applied. But estimating the demand creation performance of a campaign that is intended to drive thought leadership or customer engagement would make no sense and might result in faulty decisionmaking. In this issue of SiriusPerspectives, we discuss how to estimate and plan campaign performance for three common campaign design contexts.

campaign planning

CAMPAIGN DESIGN CONTEXTS

The campaign design context, which defines the primary type of objective for a campaign, has consequences for program and tactic design as well as campaign measurement. There are three common campaign design contexts:

  • Reputation/awareness context. Campaigns designed in this context are focused on achieving reputation-related results such as overall awareness, thought leadership or brand awareness.
  • Revenue/sales context. This type of campaign focuses on driving inquiries that convert into leads, sales opportunities and, ultimately, pipeline or revenue.
  • Engagement context. In this design context, campaign objectives are focused on engaging with customers to drive loyalty, advocacy and retention.
Campaign design context shouldn’t be confused with program family (demand, reputation, sales enablement, market intelligence). Every campaign includes all four program families, operating together to drive the output of the campaign. However, the proportions in which the program families are present vary depending on the campaign objectives. A nested campaign hierarchy is an example of how campaigns of different types often work together, with a reputation/awareness air cover campaign working in combination with revenue/sales and engagement campaigns.

REPUTATION/AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS 

 
Campaigns designed in the context of reputation/awareness objectives seek to establish and refine the target audiences’ knowledge about the campaign theme as well as the offerings that address business issues related to that theme. This type of campaign is also designed to improve perceptions of the company and its offerings and instill a preference for these offerings that will facilitate the later stages of the buyer’s journey (e.g. justifying the decision, making the selection). 
 
Awareness, perception and preference metrics are used to measure the performance of this campaign type. Awareness is measured by reach and share of voice, perception in terms of sentiment and association, and preference by engagement, loyalty and advocacy. Of these metrics, marketers can manipulate reach and engagement through direct investment in outreach tactics, while other metrics can be impacted by investments in publicity, influencer relations, content quality and timeliness. Key performance levers that a campaign designer can use to manage performance include:
  • Reach. Investment in reach can drive awareness and curiosity, eventually leading to more inquiries entering the top of the waterfall.
  • Targeting. Reputation activities target better-qualified prospects and educate them on relevant value propositions, so they transition through marketing and early sales stages at higher rates and velocities.
  • Education and vision building. Reputation initiatives educate prospects so they move through the buyer’s journey faster and form an expanded vision of the solution, resulting in larger deals.

    REVENUE/SALES CAMPAIGNS

    Most campaigns are designed in the context of revenue; they are intended to drive Demand Waterfall® performance. These campaigns typically begin with reputation tactics designed to create curiosity and urgency around the campaign theme, followed by demand creation activities that transform inquiries into marketing qualified leads. These leads are supported by sales enablement and pipeline acceleration tactics throughout the buyer’s journey, which results in qualified sales opportunities converting into closed deals. 
     
     Demand Waterfall metrics (e.g. the number of inquiries and leads at each stage, conversion rates and lead velocity) are useful for measuring the performance of this campaign type. Key performance levers that can be used by campaign designers include:

    • Inquiry volume. Increased investment in demand creation can increase the number of inquiries generated by outbound and inbound marketing.
    • Conversion rates. Improved conversion rates result in more leads, opportunities and deals passing through the stages of the waterfall, leading to greater revenue, bookings or pipeline from a given number of inquiries at the top. Conversion of an automation qualified lead (AQL) or teleprospecting qualified lead (TQL) to a sales accepted lead (SAL) is directly influenced by investment in demand creation activities (e.g. effective lead nurturing, improved coordination with sales on lead acceptance). Solution training for the sales force can improve the conversion rates of SALs to sales qualified leads (SQLs) and SQLs to closed/won deals.
    • Stage velocity. The faster deals flow through stages of the waterfall, the sooner revenue, bookings or pipeline are generated, and the greater an impact the campaign can make in a fixed timeframe. The speed at which inquiries are converted into TQLs, AQLs and SALs can be influenced by factors such as improved content, targeted tactics and prompt responses to interactions. Velocity within the late stages of the waterfall can be influenced by sales enablement and pipeline acceleration activities.
    • Average selling price. Investing in reputation, demand and sales enablement tactics that reflect a deep understanding of the business needs of prospects and customers can lead to higher selling prices. The availability of late-stage configuration tools and ROI calculators also can help customers and prospects purchase larger solutions at higher selling prices.

    ENGAGEMENT CAMPAIGNS


    These campaigns are designed to drive interactions with existing customers and users to stimulate loyalty, advocacy and retention. Tactics in the reputation and sales enablement program families dominate these campaigns, whose performance is measured in terms of the quantity and quality of interactions with customers and users, account retention and growth, customer advocacy and customer lifetime value. Performance levers useful in the design of engagement campaigns include:

    • Onboarding. Investments in onboarding help customers become more comfortable with the offerings they have purchased, thereby strengthening their relationship with the seller. Leverage support resources and training materials to maximize positive interactions with new customers.

    • Community participation. Customer communities improve participants’ perception of their product experience and provide an opportunity to help peers improve their own experience and satisfaction with the seller’s offerings.

    • Advocacy. Customers who are content with the products they have purchased may be willing to communicate their positive experience to others. This helps reinforce the opinions of others and drives additional sales.

    • Usage. The more that customers use a product, the more familiar they become with it, and the more likely they are to integrate it into their day-to-day routines. Promoting usage can drive customer advocacy, loyalty and retention.

    THE SIRIUS DECISION

    Without the ability to estimate the outcome of a year-long campaign effort, it is difficult to justify campaign investments. By classifying campaigns into types based on their primary design contexts and considering the performance levers that can be manipulated for each campaign type, marketers can estimate and plan the output of campaigns in terms of relevant metrics. By selecting the right metrics, campaign planners enable focused and actionable performance reporting throughout the life of the campaign. A methodical approach to campaign goal setting and metrics must be consistently applied in order to realize a more comprehensive and quantitative approach to marketing planning.