The Most Successful Campaigns Follow a Tried and True Process
Here’s how we break it all down to ensure your project has no surprises along the way.
Most clients are bewildered when they are told that they cannot inundate us with too much data. At Will Work For Chocolate, we’re often told, “I don’t know how you can go through piles of Excel spreadsheets and spend hours reading Nielsen, Arbitron, MRI, Retail Link, Kantar, Mintel, P2P, eMarketer, Retail Touchpoints, Adweek, and Shopper Marketing reports.”
But at Will Work For Chocolate, this stage – where we are analyzing, synthesizing and combining data from various touchpoints – is a puzzle. It’s actually, surprisingly even, fun.
The purpose of conducting research is to marry the brand/product with the identified consumer/customer/shopper in order to procure an insight.
To begin, we thoroughly review both the product and the brand. Learn their history, see where they stand currently and how people view their brand (are they loyalists or are there perceived barriers that we will need to overcome?), and the vision of where they want their brand to go – both short-term and long-term. Once we are meticulously versed in the brand, it’s time to bring in the research gathered on the consumer.
It isn’t long before this person starts to take shape in our mind. The demographics are the easiest place to start because those are the basics: male/female, age, household income, kids or not. But then, we go deeper. We learn who they are. What they care about. We make them three-dimensional. Do they love their pet more than their children? Are they the type that when they try something new, love it or hate it, they have to share their opinion immediately, vociferously, to everyone they see and across every social platform? Do they value the written word or are they more likely to binge watch Netflix – or are they both?
Like a perfectly setup line of dominos, research is your first step. Take the time to set it up correctly and the rest of the pieces will fall naturally into place. Research leads to an insight that leads to the strategy that determines the tactics that will be used in the media plan. Which just so happens to be our next step.
The Research stage consists of MINING DATA to extract INSIGHTS that lead to STRATEGIES.
If Research is a puzzle, then planning is a hunt, and this is where our passion for engagement truly comes into play.
At Will Work For Chocolate, we are laser-focused on who the consumer is and have an identified insight (the what) that leads to our strategy (the how/aka the tactics that we will utilize in our media plan). We not only know who our consumers are, but we also know where they are and what they’re doing.
Our team takes this knowledge and imagines the consumer’s day from the moment they get out of bed until they’re back in and out like a light. Because we’ve done the due diligence, we know if someone wakes up to an alarm clock or his or her mobile phone. Do they hit the snooze alarm or are they already checking Facebook before they can even see clearly? Do they rush out the door forgetting their coat, or do they take the time to make breakfast and watch the morning news? Or YouTube? Or, believe it or not, read the paper?
Then it’s tracking them throughout their day. Do they have a commute? Or do they work from home? Are they aware of their surroundings when they drive to work or are they on autopilot and get to work without even remembering how they got there?
Do they make lunch at home, grab something on their way to work, or go out with their friends/colleagues? Do they eat at their desk typing with one hand and holding a sandwich in the other? Do they skip lunch altogether and, instead, choose to graze throughout the day?
Once back home, do they have a steadfast routine or are they at the mercy of their children’s ever-changing schedules? Are they overwhelmed with their day or energized?
Finally, when there’s downtime, what does that look like? Are they a social butterfly or do they prefer their cocoon? Is their phone so close to them that it may as well be surgically attached or can they not wait to put the phone away and completely unplug, relishing the escape? Do they hide themselves in the bathroom for a 20-minute break from the kids to check out “Who Wore It Best?” or is home a pit stop to quickly change before they bolt out the door to the next event?
It is through this examination of their day that Will Work For Chocolate weaves in media at each key touchpoint. And the media can take many forms. It can be traditional (television, radio, out-of-home, print – both magazines & newspapers), digital (SEO, online banners, rich media, brand pages, online audio: Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, digital coupons: Ibotta, Prodege, Shopkick), and social (influencers, brand ambassadors, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat) as well as be integrated into partnerships, promotions, and sweepstakes.
When developing these tactics, each one must work together in unity and in complete synergy. No tactic will ever run in a silo. Each one will “speak” to one another – and this is the point of differentiation between Will Work For Chocolate and every other marketing/advertising agency. To give an example, if Pandora and Facebook are a part of the campaign, then our team will utilize Pandora to encourage listeners to check out the brand’s Facebook page. Conversely, Facebook ads will let users know that they can hear their spot on their custom-made Pandora station.
This works tri-fold: increasing reach, frequency, and brand awareness.
When creating Shopper Marketing plans, in addition to the above, each campaign is grounded in market trends and retailer insights that engage our shopper across his/her path to purchase – driving trips, converting shoppers in-store, increasing basket size, creating experiential opportunities in-store, and turning our shoppers into brand ambassadors.
Planning consists of CONNECTING the RIGHT MESSAGE to the RIGHT PERSON at the RIGHT TIME and in the RIGHT PLACE.
Once the client has approved the plan, Will Work For Chocolate moves into the Buy phase and begins sending RFPs (request for proposals) to our vendor partners. Taking time for this task is essential. Finding the right vendor can turn your vision into a reality. Conversely, choosing the wrong one can torpedo your entire plan altogether.
At Will Work For Chocolate, we know that one of the most important steps in selecting a vendor is to choose someone who will strongly negotiate on behalf of your client. Negotiating often gets a bad rap, and few vendors offer it up if not asked. If you do not negotiate, you are leaving money on the table. Period. But by negotiating, a campaign can often double, triple, and even quadruple in value against the budget that will, in turn, lead to a stronger ROI on the backend.
After all vendors have been vetted and selected, it is crucial to have an open line of communication and encourage strong collaboration. This is achieved by bringing everyone together for a joint kickoff meeting. Representing the client, we know our brand and consumer inside and out, better than anyone else, but we rely heavily on our vendors to bring their strongest assets and resources to the table.
This is also a great opportunity for the vendors to speak to one another and ideate on the best way to combine their properties to achieve, and amplify, the campaign’s goals and objectives. It is in this shared excitement that I have seen the greatest success. Everyone is committed, emotionally invested, and our reputations are on the line. No one wants to be the weak link and it’s exciting to see it come to life. We’re all inspired to do our best work. And it isn’t a surprise that these are the campaigns that are often nominated for an Effie award.
In execution, we are strongly against “set it and forget it” campaigns. This is where a buyer places the dollars and doesn’t look at them again until they get a post-campaign report in their inbox. Instead, at Will Work For Chocolate, we have daily-to-weekly calls to make sure that the campaign is on track and performing as expected. Beneficially, these check-ins give us the agility to pivot at the moment our plan begins underperforming. It is in the optimization in real-time that we can be sure that not one impression is wasted.
Buying is all about EXECUTIONAL EXCELLENCE.