When strategists conceive a MCM (multi-channel marketing) campaign, they have probably spoken several times with their client or marketing team, culled through or perhaps stewarded market research that revealed insights about the target, and crystalized recommendations about which segments to address.
The team has also probably thought about the general timeline and budget, but now the blanks need filling in. What exactly will this MCM campaign look like? How are the target segments going be different? What are the rules and nuances that need to be considered? What will be measured? This process isn’t easy…or quick.
Too little time spent on strategy
The problem is that teams focus on racing to the finish line, and skip over key steps that, in the long run, will make or break a campaign. In thinking about the actual campaign mapping process – it’s painful. Let’s face it, agencies and marketing teams spend the majority of time in execution mode, clients demand quick turnarounds, and strategists are spread thin.
So we spend a bit of time in the up front phase thinking and planning, and the majority of time in creating content and developing assets for deployment. Then we cross our fingers that what has been designed and produced is going to yield a positive ROI. And in healthcare marketing, though we of course want to optimize our content in real time, we’re limited to PRC-approved assets. So thinking strategy through up front is even more critical.
One of the random parts of the process that seems consistent is that once the campaign map or sketch is finalized, it gets turned over to a designer to “make it pretty.” Now we’ve got design resources applied against making strategy look good. And nine times out of 10, the designer that is putting lipstick on the diagram wasn’t included in the thinking stage. Rather, they’re given a hand drawn map, or a rough PPT slide and told to apply branding colors and making sure all the boxes and arrows line up, and just…make it look good.
Powerpoint is the default tool
And then once the pretty map is finalized, it usually goes back into PPT as an image, and there it stays as a referenced object. But how much gets lost in the translation between strategy and execution? Is there a strong process for creating and optimizing rich campaign logic behind the surface picture?
If this sounds like a problem you have, here are three ideas to help bring your MCM mapping process to the next level:
1. Start drawing the map when you have answers to these four questions for each segment, along with an answer to WHY? after each:
- What is the primary goal and call to action?
- What is the total duration of the campaign?
- How frequently does it make sense to communicate?
- What channels are best to deploy your message to this target?
2. Ask yourself what scenarios exist where “if/then” logic could be incorporated into your campaign? In progressive MCM campaigns, the communications aren’t planned along an assumed continuum, rather there are actions based on a user’s behavior.
- Simple example: an email is sent to your segment list, some people open it, and others don’t. Perhaps those that open it get the next message in the stream, or a particular offer, whereas those that didn’t open the original email get a reminder with different subject line and copy. Perhaps after three unopened emails, that person is suppressed from future deployment. Think these scenarios through, document them, then start drawing your map.
3. Figure out where people are coming from who are going to receive a stream of communication. What are all the possible sources for enrollment into the stream? This is often a conversation that doesn’t happen till mid-way through the mapping process, and perhaps there’s some tailoring opportunities, for example, for those that come in from your website or an existing database of customers. Both can be sources for the same MCM stream, however you may want to tailor the first communication, or vary the channel to match the source.
MCM campaigns can be logical and fluid, responsive and optimizable. But as dynamic as MCM is and can be, it all starts with thorough strategic considerations and plans. Next time your team sits down to map out the map, take your time with the strategy because the polish can always be added at the end of the process.