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Always On vs Campaign based marketing

Posted by Veronica Wainstein on September 20, 2018 at 5:07 PM
Veronica Wainstein
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Always On vs Campaign based marketing

What’s the best approach? We believe in an integrated marketing approach… doing it all - smartly.

How do you approach your marketing strategy? Do you believe it’s best to have something always ticking away in the background, consistently gathering leads (Always On), or do you put all your budget, energy and drive into shorter projects (Campaign approach)?

Marketing Land describes the two approaches a bit more clinically: “...advertisers can be segmented into two categories based on their strategic goal — whether they’re focused on maximizing returns during specific periods (e.g., a chocolatier during Valentine’s Day, Easter or Mother’s Day) or looking to drive purchases at a more consistent rate throughout the year (e.g., an online furniture retailer).”

They both have to exist, but my preferred approach is to absolutely have an Always On strategy simply because if you're only running campaign based stuff, it's like there's a hole in the bucket. You launch a campaign, you run a big competition or you drive retail sales with big discounts  and get a spike in traffic (which could be website, or feet in the door), which leads to a spike in sales. So that all looks beautiful in the numbers … but the minute you switch that off, all of that traffic and sales numbers just take a dive.


Our best advice for consistently good numbers it to run an integrated campaign with both Always On strategies and Campaign based strategies.

An Always On campaign is this consistent awareness that happens in the background so that you remain top of mind - and then in between that you run your campaigns so that you don't see as drastic a dip in traffic and sales numbers. As Market Land describes, “Very event-focused advertisers still will spend modest amounts to attract customers during the ‘down times,’ while advertisers spending more consistently will still likely boost their activity at some point during the holiday shopping season.”


Budget strapped for your Always On campaigns? Try a digital strategy

For years the big retailers, like the Checkers and Makros of the world, had a pretty simple and straightforward Always On strategy: publishing broadsheet advertisements in the local, regional newspapers. In between that, they will also do the big Heyday sales, Birthday Sales, Back to School sales, or something like Edgars’ Red Hanger Sales.

However, a print strategy for the Always On approach isn’t always the best way to get in the public eye, depending on your audience. For one thing, it doesn’t reach the audience it used to (though it can still be extremely effective - especially when used in conjunction with other marketing spaces), and for another, there are other, very low-budget ways to reach eyeballs.


Always On digital marketing strategies you can implement now:

  • Social media

Social media platforms are free (though you might need some paid campaigns to get your profiles kick-started) and a great way to get a service driven approach out there. Check out our social media pages to see how we do it.

  • PPC (Pay Per Click)

As Wordstream defines it, “PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to ‘earn’ those visits organically. Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine's sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering. For example, if we bid on the keyword ‘PPC software,’ our ad might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page.”

  • Remarketing and retargeting advertising

“The biggest difference between retargeting and remarketing is the strategy that's used to reach potential customers who have left your website without making a purchase. While retargeting typically relies on cookies dropping ads, as described in the explanation above, remarketing usually uses email,” explains Outbrain.

  • Programmatic advertising

Programmatic ad buying, put simply, is the use of software to buy digital advertising. Whereas the traditional method includes requests for proposals, tenders, quotes and human negotiation, programmatic buying uses machines and algorithms to purchase display space. However, it is not the complete automation of the ad buying process. Traditionally you would have manually prepared insertion orders or ad tags, which can be menial but labour intensive. With programmatic ads, humans have more time for the optimization and improvement of ads,” says the Digital Marketing Institute.


Download our digital guide to get your digital presence kick-started 


Below, these excellent points are an extract from a WARC article, and emphasise how best to run approach an Always On campaign (we really love their last point!):

  • Understand the context. In always-on marketing, context is everything. Locations, rhythms, competition, emotion all have an impact. The context of A how our products and services are used, talked about, bought and viewed will define our ability to deliver always-on marketing. Where we understand and can capture data that allows us to insight to this contextual consumer behaviour.

  • Understand the consumer. Always-on marketing is the ultimate extent of consumer-centric marketing. It requires a deep understanding of the patterns, motivations, considerations and analysis of consumer behaviour. It requires this to cover all elements of the business, and anything that impacts the consumer experience – either directly or indirectly.

  • Understand the data. Always-on marketing is ultimately data-driven; and without using both your own data – and the exhaust data from the broad digital world – you will not be able to understand and know enough to deliver true always-on marketing.

  • Become Service & Product driven. Always-on is not just advertising, it requires a view of brands and businesses being of service to consumers, practically and or emotionally useful. Understanding consumer requirements is being able to predict, create and deliver services & products that they might want. Providing the vehicle for them to 'pull' your business into their daily world.

They also emphasise the importance of knowing your objectives (what you want to achieve), data landscape (what you know about your consumers) and the experiences you want your customers to have.

In real life: an anecdotal case study

When we first started doing marketing for Suzuki, we would run launch campaigns for two to three weeks and then we'd switch them off, until the next launch. We saw exactly what you’d predict: a spike in sales, and then a drop in sales, a spike in sales, and then a drop sales... and it never has the opportunity to gain traction. We then adopted an always on approach and over time have seen steadier sales, with consistent growth. The Always On strategy is more of a long game because it takes time to build that base level of awareness. But once you've got that longevity and once you have the sustainability built up, it just starts to snowball.

There’s always been that kind of argument in advertising:  retail (campaign based) vs brand awareness and for me there are huge benefits to building that constant, awareness.

An example of an unsustainable Campaign driven approach is to focus on running competitions only. Competitions drive the wrong behavior; people just want to enter with the potential to win. They're not actually buying into the brand. You have this influx of people entering because they want this grand prize and then after that all of their engagement just drops.

Most of the big brands are already doing a combination of both - will you join them?  Contact us to get your integrated marketing campaigns rolling.

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Topics: Strategy

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