Marketing in a sprint — How to build a marketing campaign in a week
How long does it take to prepare a marketing campaign? How much time is needed to create the leading motif, materials required for all channels, ensure purchase of media, create a marketing plan and execute it? A month? Two? Three months?
How much time does it take for a decision to be issued, considering various scenarios, distribution onto other tasks, internal communication in a team and between activities, etc., and how much time does it take to work on the actual campaign?
Effectiveness of marketing work is a subject of long discussions. Similarly to other types of creative work, it is hard here to define the time that it would take, to generate the desired results. A confirmation that this process can be optimised consists of advertisement agencies, startups, companies that utilise growth hacking, etc. It is possible! “But how?” — many marketers will ask.
Lean Marketing comes with help, whose base concepts may be learnt from a publication entitled ‘Lean Marketing, not only for startups’. The ideas of Unique Value Proposition, Minimal Viable Product, Problem-Solution Fit or Product-Market Fit can be successfully applied in marketing. However, not only the above can be used in marketing. The case is similar when it comes to the concept called…
People who come work in the area of IT are certainly familiar with the concept of sprint. Sprint is a term originating from the method of managing IT — Scrum teams. In a sprint, teams that (usually) work for 1 or 2 weeks*, focus on executing a goal that is defined together with all team members. Delivering particular features or client stories may be some of the goals. It is important that those elements are properly working components and that they are visible to the clients. Sprint is used in various areas, e.g. in developing products, graphic processes, UX processes and in the scope of conducting research and studies. A reflection of what results can be obtained in work in those areas in a sprint, is the Google Design Sprint method and an example of its application by Google teams (e.g. Google X, Google Search or Chrome), Slack or Medium.
Lean Marketing Sprint
Lean Marketing Sprint transfers the concept of sprint to marketing. It enables to develop and execute a marketing campaign that will support achievement of a particular marketing goal within 5–10 days of work. Each day has a specific goal assigned to it as well as a process and effects that it should end with. Results of a sprint usually exceed effects of marketing activities lasting several months.
Everything happens thanks to focusing on 1 goal, 1 key formula used in a select marketing channel, 1 target group, focusing on 1 leading motif as well as work on a team that executes only 1 project within 1 week. The choice here is key — a decision where your focus enables to draw attention of the entire team for executing a particular goal and its successful achievement.
Each day has a specific goal and results assigned to it that should be achieved. Its detailed course highly depends on the goal and form of campaign (the process of preparing and executing a newsletter campaign with a sales goal will look different than a viral campaign in Social Media), nevertheless the general assumptions will remain unchanged. What does it look like — day after day:
Monday — Strategy and research day
It should result in a marketing plan, a main motif and a list of the necessary materials.
It is important to define the goal of the campaign well, choose the target group and define the persona to which you will target your marketing activities within that day. On this basis you can start thinking about the campaign’s appearance:
- the leading motif that will reach your persona,
- the graphic motif that will be the most adequate to the campaign’s appearance,
- marketing channels which are used by your persona,
- the format (e.g. a gif, video, email) that you can use to reach the target group effectively, via a select marketing channel.
A very detailed action plan for subsequent sprint days should be the outcome of the above. How detailed? Here, we reach a level of a tactical plan that should contain all tasks to be performed during the remaining sprint days. Each task should present a clear goal and result, a call to action as well as a specific person responsible for it. The order of tasks should be clearly defined by prioritising them in a plan and specific deadlines (day, time of day and/or time).
The plan may of course change during the sprint and it probably will. Nevertheless, without a precise marketing plan and a leading motif, the sprint should not be continued.
The marketing plan does not have to be pretty but it has to be very legible, precise and detailed.
Tuesday — The day of creating materials and resources
They should result in all materials that will be necessary during further sprint days.
During the second day, all members of the team should be focused on creating and gathering all materials that will be necessary during the subsequent days. What is meant here are not only graphic materials or content (e.g. texts of posts) but also databases, materials for the media, lists of people that have to be contacted, available tools and databases, templates, etc.
All materials resulting from the marketing plan should be prepared.
Additionally, if the marketing plan covers communication with the media, they have to be warned about the planned campaign already on that day.
Graphic materials should be simple and clear, but they should primarily be adjusted to the aesthetics of the target group (here, the campaign is targeted a group of WHO medical researchers).
Wednesday — Test day
The tests should result in decisions regarding the selection of the marketing channels, the graphic format, post format, interactions, etc.
Testing prior to starting the campaign may arise doubts. Many companies, specifically large ones, are of the opinion that they cannot afford it. In the Lean Marketing Sprint formula, it is the opposite — you cannot afford not to complete tests. A sprint is so dynamic that tests will certainly not be harmful to a campaign. They can only enhance the interest in it and additionally, they enable to optimise the campaign process.
What can be tested? The graphic format and the content of materials as well as marketing channels, claims, taglines, etc. Use such analytical tools, which provide real-time information about effectiveness of actions (e.g. in Google Analytics, some data is updated after 3h and other data after 24h — it is worth taking this into account when planning tests).
Sample forms of posts tested on Twitter during the #Donutting campaign for Omni Calculator.
At the end of the test day, the team should make a decision about the final appearance of the campaign.
Thursday — launch day — action day!
The aim of this day is to create a momentum around the campaign and to reach the target recipients with your message.
This day usually starts early for the team. This is because everything should be ready for the highest level of morning reach.
After the campaign is launched, do not stop intense promotional activities. Keep them going until you reach a momentum. Use all opportunities to create interesting content (e.g. funny discussions with users, interesting quotes from the media) and generate hype around the campaign. Be creative and as the campaign progresses, expand your activities with new ideas that result from its course. The momentum usually appears in the second part of the day. Large engagement of users from the very beginning translates into large momentum so if you observe it, engage additional people to help you in the second half of the day so that you can handle all matters. If you observe the momentum, do not stop your activities — on the contrary, intensify them.
KRKbot’s engagement and its responses to difficult life questions made the campaign entitled “KRKbot knows all the secrets of Krakow” become viral.
Friday — Day of optimising results
The outcome of this day should consist of materials increasing interests in the campaign (e.g. case studies, press releases, etc.).
After the 4th day of sprint, the team will be tired but it is important to start this day early too. The last day of sprint should be started with a summary of the previous days. Plan further activities that aim at utilising the results achieved to date. If the campaign was successful, it is worth summarising its results and sharing them with the media and recipients. If the interest in the campaign does not stop, continue the communication.
If the campaign failed, it is worth summarising’ conclusions and lessons from it together with the team: was an incorrect channel used, perhaps the message was not appropriate or the campaign was started too late, did something happen that affected its course. This is a valuable experience for the team… it can be used in future sprints and the daily work of the team. It is worth thinking about how those lessons learnt should be used already on that day.
Who and why?
The method can be used by small companies, teams or startups, as well as large organisations and creative agencies. Why? To save time and reduce costs of executing marketing activities, and also to quickly validate them with the market and obtain feedback directly from the recipients. An additional bonus consists of the fact that results usually exceed effects of long-term marketing activities. The above seems like surprisingly large benefits for only 1 week of work, right?
Would you like to try the Lean Marketing Sprint concept? Use the Lean Marketing Sprint Canvas >>
*The time of sprint is related to the specifics of the team, industry product, etc. ‘The Scrum guide’ defines that a sprint should last no more than a month and usually, it lasts from 1 to 4 weeks.
Beata Mosór-Szyszka — CEO, Project: People, Google Marketing & Product Mentor. Lean marketer & strategist.
Project: People is the lean strategy agency. We don’t have an offer. We are working on problems and needs our customers have. We have an experience in variety of projects from different areas: product development, marketing, design & UX, HR, employer branding, management, etc.