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Solving the campaign strategy puzzle

Hint: Don’t solve for only one side

As a kid, I was obsessed with the Rubik’s Cube. I would spend hour after hour, with equal parts excitement and frustration, trying to come up with a combination of moves that would bring order to the chaos of mismatched colors.

Today, you can find countless guides and videos showing how to solve a Rubik’s Cube (also known as cheating). As internet deprived kids, we were left to our own devices. That led to a sort of intellectual class system:

    1. Kids that could somehow solve their Rubik’s Cube every time.
    1. Kids that would accidentally solve it every three or four thousand attempts.
    1. Kids that would quickly get frustrated and hurl their pointy, unsolved cube at the kids from the first category.

    I fell firmly into the middle category. I thought that if I kept at it, forgoing sleep, meals, and interaction with my family, I would eventually figure it out. The few times it worked, I would triumphantly emerge from my room, sleep deprived and malnourished, to show my estranged family my accomplishment before passing out on the living room floor.

    Much like the Rubik’s Cube, creating an effective marketing campaign strategy requires solving a series of small puzzles with the larger goal in mind (a solved cube = a strategy that works). You can address a strategic issue while complicating another. This is the same as me spending sleepless nights solving one side of the Rubik’s Cube at a time, only to mess up the other sides in the process.

    Those that can consistently solve a Rubik’s Cube have one thing in common. They have a strategy that takes all sides into account. Solving a side isn’t a random action, but rather step towards bringing everything together. The same is true for your marketing campaign strategy.

    Here are some suggestions for creating a strategy that solves for more than one side:

      • Find the common denominators for your target audience

        Consider the common threads among your intended audience for every decision. What are the universal pain points? How do they usually consume content as a group? How long is the typical sales cycle for this audience? Which tactics perform best? We can get too caught up in a solution or pre-conceived customer journey. If you are not considering what your audience has in common, you’re likely ignoring the other sides of the cube.

      • Consider the entire strategy when making each decision
      • As mentioned above, a decision affecting one strategic area can affect another. For instance, you may decide that you want to incorporate digital marketing tactics into a high-touch account-based marketing campaign. That’s great, but you soon realize that your list size is not enough to drive conversions. So, you increase your list size. Now, your messaging doesn’t fit your audience anymore. Welcome to the Rubik’s Cube loop, solving one side at a time, but getting no closer to a successful campaign.
      • Don’t hesitate to change an overall strategy that doesn’t work
      • This is the hardest thing to do. Once a strategy is in place, we immediately shift to tactical thinking – and we usually stay there. You can make all the small tactical changes in the world, but if it’s not getting you any closer to an effective campaign, you need to take a new approach. Optimize what works and learn from your mistakes.
      • Finally, don’t give up
      • Marketing campaigns are hard. Conditions change. Audience behaviors evolve. Keep at it. If you throw your Rubik’s Cube at someone else, you’ll never know the joy of finally solving the puzzle. All you’ll get is detention.

      Do you have a challenging campaign strategy puzzle? Contact us and we’ll help you solve it.

      Also see: Rethinking consulting and creative

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