When I first joined the marketing world, I worked for a large biotech company. They had campaign planning down to a science. They brought in the best management consulting firms and used the best agencies to plan and execute their campaigns. No wonder they are a successful $20B company today. In contrast, I also worked at a smaller compliance technology company; it was a totally different culture. They flew by the seat of their pants.  They definitely had an objective to grow the business and did that with great hunger, but with a lot of bumps! The point is, I experienced both ends of the spectrum when it came to planning and what I learned was even informal planning is better than no planning.

When you don’t plan, here’s what you’re likely to experience:

  • Higher execution costs
  • Logistics become harder to handle
  • Rework
  • Missed opportunities
  • Added anxiety


Please save yourselves; make a plan! I am sure you have heard this adage: The 5 Ps – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Well it’s true and the key is “Proper” Planning.


So where do you start?


The number one thing to do is create a planning and design document. This allows you to get the decisions and details of your plan down on paper for everyone to see, agree, and work from. I created this simple planning tool to help get you started, but let me describe the key components that should be in your plan and the benefits of having each.


Planning & Design Component


Campaign Goals


Write your goals; make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

Having goals helps you make better decisions. Without SMART goals, how do you know what you are working toward?

Target Results


Identify your target results.

Identifying target results will help you assess your campaign’s performance in real-time. If your campaign is under-performing, you’ll be able to identify where you should optimize for positive results.



Confirm your estimated cost.

Collecting your estimated costs and defining your budget will help you plan accordingly. If you start executing a campaign without a budget, you may find you don’t have enough money to complete critical components of your campaign.



Identify the team and understand the skills and roles needed.

Organizing and identifying your team, and understanding what skills and roles you need will help promote ownership and accountability. This will also help you to identify gaps you might need to resource externally to execute your campaign.



Create a clear audience/segment.

Creating complex segments as you go will likely end up in rework because it’s easy to forget a key attribute. Documenting will support accuracy.



Select the channels you will use to broadcast your message.

Understanding what communication channels you will us will help you in a few areas:

1) Ease in mapping your campaign flow to orchestrate all channels

2) Understand the assets that need to be created for each channel

3) Create appropriate content for each channel

Campaign Flow Chart / Content Assets


Document your campaign flow and needed assets.

Documenting a campaign flow and content assets helps you walk through the steps and visualize what your audience/segment will experience and when. You can easily spot gaps and opportunities. Everyone on the team will have a clear picture of the overall campaign, and what needs to be created.

Key Messages & Call-to-Action


Develop your key messages and call-to -action.

Understanding what value your product or brand brings, how it is currently perceived, your desired perception, what you need to consider about your competitors, and having clearly defined call-to-actions will help you communicate consistently with your audience/segment.



Establish a timeline with key completion dates for deliverables.

Using timelines will help you to clearly communicate to the team what deliverables need to be completed and when.


Also consider creating a detailed content plan. Take advantage of our Campaign Content Planner tool to accompany your campaign plan.


By creating a campaign design and plan, you will find that communication among teams will be more efficient, performance of your campaigns will improve, and execution will be streamlined.