The Lazy Genius Guide To Creating Deceptively Complex Marketing Campaigns
We watched as our client sifted through the presentation for a third time.
As she passed through each of the ideas, we could tell nothing interested her. She drove all the way to our offices expecting magic. But from her reaction, we knew the meeting was about to head south.
Even though I was in this meeting, none of the ideas in the presentation were mine. They were all created before I started working there. I was in the room just in case the client had questions about digital strategy. And, none of these ideas had a digital component to them. I had nothing to offer.
I sat silent throughout the meeting, absorbing her feedback. I tried to understand why she wasn’t excited. I knew that if I didn’t have anything clever to say, the meeting would end. And we would all have to go back to the drawing board.
Instead of dreading that we had no good marketing ideas, I took action. I relied on a campaign design framework that has saved my ass more times than I count.
I ran our client’s feedback through my head. Then, I filtered that and our campaign goal through my design framework. A few moments later, I blurted out, “How about a graffiti art tour throughout the city? Each stop will feature artwork from some of the city’s finest. And we’ll amp up the experience with something unique at each stop. That way, the VIPs we invite will HAVE to post cool stuff on social media!”
Our client’s face lit up for the first time.
In a few moments, I kickstarted an idea that would end up being a year long campaign. And all it took was three simple steps.
This framework works for marketing campaigns, social media strategies, event design, and more. If you’re ever stuck, use these three questions in a cycle:
- What is the most concrete goal of this campaign?
- What are the most relevant platforms for this campaign?
- How can we make this campaign relevant to the target audience?
I recommend following this framework in this order.
Once you’ve answered each question, run through it again. On the second run, everything should be congruent. Your goal should support the platform. The platform should be relevant to your audience. And you should have come up with a relevant idea to support the campaign goal.
It’s a simple, yet powerful framework. It’s at the core of every smart campaign or marketing strategy.
To prove its value, look at some of your past campaign ideas that didn’t perform well. You may find that your strategy didn’t support one of these three ideas. Most strategies focus too much on one or two of these questions. But the tightest ideas integrate all three questions. Unifying all three of them is the simplest way to come up with solid concepts.
At first, you may find you only know the answer to one of these questions. That’s still a great start!
Consider this quote from Stephen King, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open”.
This advice works well for both stories and marketing ideas. Start with whatever you have. Then, continue running through the questions until your idea is strong. That’s all you need to do.
The advice is simple. But the application of this technique is powerful. Just rinse and repeat.
If you’re in New York City, you can learn (maybe even steal) most of my secrets at The Made In New York Media Center starting June 15.
Sound like a smart idea? Enroll here.