The optimal campaign planning for retailers

Michiel Destoop
May 15, 2019
⏱ 6 min. read

Lately, we’ve had a lot of marketing teams at retailers knocking on our door to bring order to their planning chaos. In a multichannel world with a multitude of campaigns, they want to work as closely as possible with their marketing colleagues and external marketing agencies. They quickly clash with the limitations of spreadsheets and generic planning tools that do not provide an integrated view of different channels and campaigns.

Channels and campaigns

Imagine you want to make a communication plan for one campaign. You will probably list all the communication channels, in which you will do 'something', below each other.

For example, via email, you will write to a selection of your contacts with your campaign information and lure them to your (online) store. Other channels include POS material, social media, online advertisements, print advertisements and possibly even radio and TV commercials.

If you traditionally work out this campaign planning in an Excel file, this will provide a good overview of the plan for that one campaign. Great!

The email marketer then searches in all those campaign plans to compose a complete email marketing plan, so that he can add it to his planning. The following is important to him or her:

  • When does it have to go out, or when is the communication planned? 
  • When am I going to work on it? What tasks do I have to complete by when?

However, his/her email marketing planning also includes blasts that cannot be assigned to a specific campaign, such as a loyalty emailing.

Sometimes there are conflicts in the planning because the same target group would suddenly get a 'communication overload', or he sees new opportunities by joining forces. Also, he would have to signal when he will run into problems for the execution of those many campaigns in a short time. That needs communication towards the central campaign planning.

In the event of a change, it is very plausible - say almost certain - that this will not change in both plans. It creates confusion about what is planned. Which document should you believe?

Consequence? To be sure of the planning, the campaign planner will confer to the email marketer or vice versa. Or, they try to find out the differences between each other in the plan.

Loss of time and frustrations!

Collaborating with external parties

It gets even more dramatic when you involve third parties, who don't just have access to files stored on company servers, and who can only rely on the versions of copied files that they receive. It would be better to give them (limited) access to the schedule.

Top down or bottom up?

If you take a different approach, by having each channel manager draw up his planning and coordinate a central campaign planning, then you have precisely the same problem. Either it takes too much time to draw up and maintain a double schedule, or there is no central overview and cooperation is the exception rather than the rule.

It also stimulates each channel manager to invent his or her way of working. One does it in Excel, PowerPoint or Word, the other on a writing board, someone else is testing an online planning tool to improve its productivity.

All makes it even more challenging to work well together!

Read about this in the article How to redesign a marketing team omnichannel.

Marketing for supplier brands

Can we make it a little more complicated?
Read: this approaches reality even more!

In retail marketing, it often happens that you set up a separate campaign for one of your brands. You prefer to do this from a multichannel approach. You provide POS material, send a mailing to a segment of your database, work out engaging content for your social media, and make extra promotion in your folder or customer magazine.

Again, the channel marketers need to be aware of the specific planning, but they want to be able to see this in their plan as well.

You also want to provide the marketing department of your supplier brand with a clear report of your planning, and the actions carried out. In terms of marketing budget, too, you want to show how their budget gets spent. You need to be able to get this out of your central planning without any problems. Right?

Campaign planning in Husky

The salvation is near: Husky is a digital marketing planner. The entire marketing team works together on various projects, draws up the communication planning, completes tasks together, manages the budget, monitors KPIs and keeps notes and strategic documents up to date.

We often get told that Husky looks reassuringly 'simple'. That is also the intention. We want to offer an overview and serenity in complexity. Marketing planning at retailers is one of the most complex types. However, Husky has two trump cards to simplify this complexity: 'tags' and 'extra context'.

You may know tags from other applications. You attach keywords to a component: a complete marketing project, a communication channel or a specific moment. Seeing these keywords makes it more apparent what something means.

It becomes even more interesting if you can filter through this. After all, a large retailer has much communication going on, on different channels. For example, you want to see all projects with the 'sales' tag or all communication moments for a particular brand. That's possible in Husky!

Extra context makes it possible to make one specific communication expression (or 'moment', as we call it at Husky) also visible in other communication channels. It is the same moment, so changes are immediately applicable everywhere.

For example, a customer magazine on a particular day can contain articles about different campaigns. You don't have to create the same magazine as the moment in those various campaigns.

In terms of planning, these moments will get a single publication date, circulation and budget. If there are any changes in this, it will be immediately visible in all other campaigns.

Campaign: project or tag?

An essential question for the development of your planning in Husky is where to attach your communication channels. After all, every channel belongs to a project.

Campaign = project

We recommend that companies mainly working from their campaigns to consider their campaigns as projects. It is closer to the way of working. For each campaign, you can have a separate communication plan. The marketer is often also responsible for the various channels and carries them out himself.

If there is a need to duplicate the overview per channel group, for example, because all Social Media communication is followed up by one subteam/employee, this gets done via Extra context. However, this is not always necessary. Using tags on channels, you can also beam up the desired overview, as has become clear above.

Campaign = tag

However, retailers often have a campaign every week or set up campaigns for their supplier brands. It is more interesting for them to consider such campaigns as tags.

The projects are then the channel groups. Email marketing, for example, is the project. The channels in that project are the different subchannels or emailing types: newsletter, promo email, newsflash, loyalty mailings, B2B emails, partner mail, and so on. Another example: in the Online Ads channel group, the subchannels are the different advertising platforms (Google Ads, Facebook Ads,...).

A campaign tag serves to indicate that a specific mailing belongs to a campaign. If you filter on that campaign tag, you will see that a particular type of mail (=channel) goes out for the Email marketing project on a specific day (=time). However, in this way, communication via other channels is also emerging for this particular campaign.

Something for your retail marketing team?

Start a trial period, use the form below or the chat. We like to think along with you about how you can work on your campaign planning in a well-structured team and with external parties.

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