The 5 Basic Steps of Marketing Campaign Design

Learn the basics of any successful marketing campaign with our quick list of the most important steps.

Marketing design
July 23, 2021

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Here’s the quickest guide to launching your next marketing campaign. Master the process in just 5 steps!

Designing a marketing campaign is a long and complex process involving several teams: marketing, design and sales teams.

It’s almost like a micro-branding process as you need to create separate marketing personas and set a clear vision for your campaign.

However, if you need a quick checklist, here’s our guide to the basics of designing a successful marketing campaign.


Set your campaign goals

Without a goal, there is no marketing campaign. A goal can be anything from raising brand awareness to new customer acquisition, so here are just a few common campaign goals you might wish to include in your marketing strategy:

  • Lead generation or lead nurturing: creating a list of potential clients for your business; often done through paid social media ads or lead gen landing pages.
  • Brand awareness campaign: the goal of this type of campaign is usually to direct people to your website; content marketing and SEO optimization are important tools for getting organic traffic and spreading the word about your business.
  • Direct sales campaign: usually short campaigns when you need to add a bit of revenue fast; pay per click (PPC) and paid social ads are usually the way to go here.
  • Raising awareness: you can choose a topic or issue that’s relevant to your target audience and your business and launch a campaign that spreads awareness on this matter; it also helps to build brand loyalty and deepen the relationship with your customers;
  • Product launch campaign: when launching a new product it’s best to use marketing channels where your audience is most active - those who have previously bought from you are usually more likely to be interested in a new product or service.

It’s well known that the best campaign goals are SMART (specific; measurable; attainable; relevant and time-bound), so make sure to tick all these boxes in your campaign planning.

Define your audience

A buyer persona is the personification of your ideal customer. Every small business should have a business plan with details on its buyer persona, and sometimes these will align with the target audience of a marketing campaign.

However, not necessarily. If you’re trying to reach a new target market or want to focus on a specific audience (e.g. with awareness campaigns), your design and marketing plan should be focused on this section of your audience.

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In order to create a persona for your marketing campaign strategy you should:

  1. Define the persona: age, location, job, interests, buying habits, challenges, etc.
  2. Test your assumptions through surveys, focus groups or social media analytics.

If you’re launching a campaign to reach new audiences you might not want to rely exclusively on your existing or most engaged ones.

Create a visual style

Just like a complete brand, a marketing campaign involves creating its own distinctive visual style and identity.

Ideally, the style of your campaign will align with your brand’s visual identity: for example, use the same color palette and/or fonts. But in addition to that, a successful campaign also involves adding a touch of something different.

One of the most famous and long-standing examples is Starbucks’ Christmas cup. Since 1997, the coffee shop has released a new design of their holiday cup. The festive design was meant to help people get into the holiday spirit, but also promote their specialized seasonal drinks.

The design of Starbucks’ regular cups is pretty iconic itself, so something that was so different was bound to generate interest.

Over the years, the Christmas design changed and even caused a few controversies (the 2015 minimalist design was seen by some as an attempt from Starbucks to be “politically correct” by removing Christmas-related symbols).

After the first 2 years, the cup became synonymous with red and green (and since green is also the color of the logo this works perfectly). And though thousands of similar disposable cups are floating around Christmas time, Starbucks designs are impossible to miss. They are always eye-catching and “instagrammable” whether it’s a ton of playful illustrations or a simple, statement red cut.

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Make your call to action pop

No matter how impressive and clever your designs are, if you don’t invite your audience to take action it’s very likely you’re missing your goals.

A call to action should be clear and well-timed. That means telling your audience what they should do once they are ready to take action (e.g. are they at the bottom of your sales funnel and potentially ready to buy, or do they still need to be educated about the brand).

A great CTA button has to work with the overall design. If the style of your campaign asset is natural and soothing colors then a bright red flashing CTA button will look spammy.

Spotify might have some of my favorite marketing campaigns including their witty personalized posters for the Wrapped campaign. This is a much simpler example, inviting people to try their Premium service for free. Of course, the first thing your eye goes to is the giant “Go Premium” button making the CTA very clear.

However, the reason why it works is that the rest of the design supports it. There’s plenty of negative space which allows for the message to be clear and concise. The designer also employed the design principle of hierarchy as the other elements (the woman figure and white spikes) almost “prop” the button up.

It evokes confidence and happiness which are the perfect emotions to inspire when advertising a music streaming service.


Analyze the results

A marketing campaign doesn’t end with the launch of it. Observing and analyzing the results during and after the campaign will help you identify your main strengths and weaknesses, and improve your marketing efforts in the future.

Depending on the channel you’re using as well as your objectives, there are different tools and platforms you may wish to use from Google Analytics to Facebook Ads.

An important part of measuring the success of your campaigns is identifying your KPIs or key performance indicators. This might be your conversion rate, the number of signups or unique website visitors.

Another hack you might want to consider to improve your performance further is to check up on your competitors. Use the Facebook Ad Library to see what ads they’re currently running and maybe pick up some design ideas.

Google has a tool called Auction Insights which allows you to see who else is bidding on your target keywords, which can be helpful in improving your content marketing.

Or you might want to use a marketing automation tool like Hubspot or Marketo, which allow you to store all the campaign information in one place and provide detailed data reports. They might not be the most budget-friendly option for budding small businesses, but if you plan to have regular campaigns these tools can do a lot to help you optimize your campaigns and reach the right audience.

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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