5 Ground rules for marketing campaigns

September 8, 2009


A few weeks into any campaign it’s natural to start to ask questions.

  • What kind of successes are we seeing?
  • Are there failures?
  • Any surprises?
  • What should we change?
  • Should we keep going?

Because of the sheer volume of participants in digital campaigns it can sometimes be hard to nail down the details. It’s no small task to get an objective view; marketing managers may have a different view of the progress than the creative director, and so forth. How do you make sense of it all? Each business we work with and those that we study do it slightly differently, however, we’ve found ground rules that work well for our business at Webtrends:

  • Accountability – Yin & Yang
  • Empowerment – Swift, bold, responsible
  • Iteration – Make many mistakes, just never the same one twice
  • Communication – Find the right vehicles, pick a cadence, do it one better
  • Optimization – Let the customers and data guide you

Create the yin and yang of accountability

Balance is key and should be anchored with singular owner of the campaign (for our Open Campaign that is Mylissa) and a singular owner for the utilization of data for experimentation (for us that is Elizabeth). Collaboration is incredibly important in multiple phases of the campaign but a single owner needs to have accountability for it’s overall success and/or failure. This functional leads on the team set direction, takes feedback and give advice to the campaign owner who is responsible for making decisions on what to keep and what to change. Their senior counsel, the campaign’s left brain, work together harmoniously to make decision making possible.

Empowerment is an often overlooked aspect of campaign management

Senior management must unshackle the campaign owner from traditional operational processes of conditional approvals to conditional approvals. With the speed of change and availability of data so typically in digital marketing campaign the campaign manager must be able to quickly make decisions, and fail, until ultimately success is achieved. Remove the HIPPO from the equation is one way we describe it internally. That isn’t to say management should be involved and directive, they should. They shouldn’t, however, inhibit the campaign owner from acting swiftly, making bold decisions and, of course, being responsible.

Never be afraid to fail

Just don’t fail the same way twice. The foundational requirement to iterate changes the way a campaign runs. The creative services team (and most likely your web development team) are truly never done. Another interesting, and important shift, is that the creative services number one partner and advocate is the campaign’s left brain, the owner of data utilization. Find a pace that is manageable for the team….more of a jog than a sprint…and try more and different options.

Don’t ever underestimate the vacuum that is created when communications don’t happen frequently enough

The campaign owner should prescribe an internal communications plan with similar detail to anything done outbound. The baseline communications plan created will almost never be adequate. Plan on communicating more than what you planned and use all the vehicles at your disposal (email, in person, dashboards, etc.).

Rely on your data

We collect data to use it, so be confident in it. Even (especially) when it tells you something you didn’t want to hear. Let tools like Optimize and Analytics represent what they are, the voice of your customer through their recorded actions.


How are we doing with our own ground rules?


We are excelling in most areas as a marketing team but we haven’t been as strong as we need to be with internal communications. I’m looking forward to doing a deep dive on what we’ve learned about the Open Campaign to date and how that will play a role in the coming weeks.


I like this post a lot. The Open Campaign has been really interesting so far. Hope to see lots more transparency from you and your team; I’m learning from it all.

From Chris on September 8th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Chris, thanks for the feedback here and on the campaign site too.


From jascha kaykas-wolff on September 8th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Share Your Mind:

Fatal error: Call to undefined function aktt_sidebar_tweets() in /home/petitcou/public_html/marketingiteration/wp-content/themes/iterate/footer.php on line 2