How To Develop & Design Your Next Marketing Campaign

Learn how to plan and execute your marketing campaign design.

Marketing design
July 21, 2021

Table of Contents

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The planning and execution of a marketing campaign can seem a little daunting, so we’re here to guide you through the whole process of how to create a marketing campaign for your business.

Marketing design evolves quickly: from newspaper ads to digital marketing design we’ve certainly come a long way.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the importance of great marketing design.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to approach the basics of designing a successful marketing campaign, along with practical tips on how to design the best ad assets.


Phase 1: Research and goal identification

Strap in, this is a big one.

Many people confuse marketing with advertising and think that it all revolves around one great idea someone got in the shower. Marketers know that there is tons of research and work that goes into eventually birthing that one great ad idea, whether it’s a catchy slogan or a memorable ad design.

Before you even start to think about any of that, these are the steps you must follow in order to be fully prepared.

Identify your goals

Not every campaign has to be about increasing profit. In the very early stages of your business, you might want to invest in raising awareness, without necessarily urging people to buy from you.

Or, if you want to create new target customers for your products or services, you might want to start a campaign that will help you connect with them, such as supporting a cause they feel passionate about or starting up a conversation.

A famous example to learn from (which, admittedly we mention a lot) is Dove’s famous Real Beauty campaign which helped start a huge conversation about unrealistic beauty standards in the beauty industry.

Once you identify the key goal of your campaign (e.g. promoting a new product or service), you need to turn it into a SMART goal (specific measurable, attainable, relevant and timely). This translates the broad vision into smaller chunks or goals.

HA21.22 graphic.png

Finally, before you start running the campaign, remember to do a test run: send test emails, run A/B testing for different ad sets and gather feedback from your sales team. Use their expertise to make final decisions and changes to add final touches and changes to your designs.

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Of course, remember that design isn’t just a part of your marketing strategy, but a key to developing a successful business. This means you should really consider a long-term design solution.


But this year, in celebration of Mother’s Day the company truly went a step further. They launched a bold and powerful campaign that raises awareness of the emotional complexities of motherhood. Instead of the usual tropes of celebrating mums, they revealed a very real side of being a mum and it was both empowering and refreshing.


Just like with branding, you need to create marketing buyer personas that may be tied to specific aspects of your campaign including specific products, channels or where they are in your sales cycle (e.g. new leads or existing customers)

LA Times

If we take the example of promoting a product or a service, this might be how we redefine the goal:

  • 20 new product sales (specific and measurable)
  • through paid social and display advertising (attainable)
  • for existing and new customers (relevant)
  • by the end of this quarter (timely)

This will help you create a better sense of direction and, later on, will be useful in analyzing campaign results.

Define your target audience

Every business plan should include defining buyer personas, or personalizations of your ideal customer.

However, your campaign audience might not always be the same as your target market.

You might want to reach out to only a section of your overall target audience, or you create a campaign to reach new audiences. A famous example from advertising history is the creation of Marlboro Man as a way of selling the then-deemed “lady” filter cigarettes to men.

marlboro man.jfif

Choose the channels for your campaign

The best marketing campaigns use different channels. And different media brings different benefits to the table.

For example, if you want to start a campaign to generate leads, a landing page or paid social media might work well. If you want to increase sales pay per click (PPC) and display ads usually work best.

Instead of going with your gut feeling, if possible, you should do research on where your audience is most active in interacting with your brand (e.g. how do they land on your website). You can also ask them to complete a short survey in exchange for a small prize, like a discount or a raffle.

It’s also a good idea to prioritize your marketing channels so that you can divide or adapt your budget according to their importance.

Set a budget

You might want to set your campaign budget as soon as you have a campaign goal in mind, however, it’s probably better to do it after you know which channels you’d like to use. As we mentioned earlier, this might mean having to rework your budget slightly or perhaps even leave out one of the channels you had in mind.

For example, if your goal is to raise brand awareness you can always decide to focus on the social media channels your audience is most likely to be using and leave out the rest.

Phase 2: Designing your campaign

Yay, it’s time for catchy campaign copy and snazzy visuals! Not so fast…

A marketing campaign is like a micro brand, which means it needs its own mission, vision and values. A successful campaign will be connected to the brand, but will still retain its own sense of identity.

So before you start creating the actual marketing assets, you’ll need to create a thorough concept, maybe a mood board and decide on a  specific tone of voice and style you want to use.

Once you have that, you can go into the writing process (which we won’t talk about in much detail) and design which follows these steps.

Decide on the style and messaging

Once you know what you want to achieve with your campaign, it’s time to decide how you want to achieve that.

If your usual tone is playful and goofy, but are launching a campaign for raising awareness on a serious topic, your usual communication style might not make the best fit.

Don’t be afraid to take a different approach!

You’re probably familiar with Maltesers, a popular light sweet snack. Because of the lower calorie count, Maltesers is particularly popular with women (let’s not get into why that’s problematic though). In their usual advertising efforts, the company uses a playful style fitting to the product itself. And a lot of their marketing efforts are geared towards women’s issues, like this clever ad pushing for gender equality on International Women’s Day.

maltesers 1.png
maltesers 2.png

Create a list of assets

If you hadn’t realized already, the point of a good campaign is that you do very little while running a campaign, and a lot before it even starts. If you’ve ever tried requesting a design the day before you needed it (happens to the best of us!) you know how stressful it is for everyone involved.

That’s why you need to create a list of visual assets that you’ll be needing, such as:

  • A set of Facebook ads
  • A set of Instagram ads
  • A set of display ads
  • Blog post covers or visuals
  • Cover and profile photos for social media
  • Email banners…

This is just a few ideas related to online advertisements, and imagine the exhaustive list you’d come up with in case you also run an offline campaign simultaneously! Knowing what you need designed is also needed so that you can properly choose how to get your marketing campaign design, which is the next step.

Choosing the right design service

Can you DIY marketing assets? Sure. If you have any knowledge in a design software and research all the appropriate technical considerations for every type of ad, it’s doable.

Or you can use a DIY program like Canva that helps you with the technical side of things.

But will this cost you a lot of time and money? Yes. Will it potentially harm the success of your campaign? Also yes.

Although unlike your brand design a marketing campaign is a lot more temporary, it needs the same level of professionalism, care and attention to detail that usually only a professional designer can provide.

If you don’t have a designer in house, you should consider whether to employ someone or outsource design. Full-time employees can be costly, however they’re usually a long-term investment: you’ll have someone with a deep understanding of your brand and completely committed to your projects.

There are a few outsourcing solutions to consider: freelancers, design agencies, unlimited design services and design contests. Each comes with a set of benefits and challenges, so you need to take into account what you need designed and what your budget is to decide.

graphic design solutions pros and cons.png

Make your logo versatile

A globally well-known brand can get away with creating marketing campaigns that don’t include a logo, like the Dorito’s campaign which utilized the chip’s iconic shape in place of the logo.

doritos posters (1).jpg

However, if you’re not at that stage yet, chances are you should include your logo in any and every graphic design used for marketing purposes.

If you’ve got a brand guide, it might include the rules on how your logo is to be used (aspect ratio, color variations, acceptable backgrounds), but if not, you’ll need to create different versions of your logo that will suit different marketing channels and types of visuals.

How to create marketing design

As we said, there are tons of different goals you might identify in your marketing campaign strategy such as:

  • lead generation
  • building brand awareness
  • new customer acquisition
  • referral generation
  • cross- or upselling to existing customers
  • getting customer feedback
  • market research and many more.

As you might have guessed your designs will depend directly on the type of campaign you’re running. For example, in a brand awareness campaign, your designs need to be eye-catching and impressive, while a direct sales campaign might require bolder and more prominent call to action buttons.

In marketing design, it’s really important to know what your competitors are doing. There’s a reason why Burger King and McDonald’s often have a go at each other in their marketing efforts. Or why Apple and Android are always subtly poking fun at each other.

Or this simple yet effective comeback from BMW.

bmw vs audi.png

There’s a difference between getting inspired and plagiarising, but marketing teams know that trends are very important in this field. People will have seen hundreds if not thousands of similar marketing campaigns (often from similar companies), so there is a certain standard that they will be used to.

On the other hand, you also need to find something that makes you different: whether it’s clever ad copy, your unique brand identity or marketing visuals that go slightly beyond what’s expected.

In that respect, contrast is one of the most powerful design principles to use in marketing. Contrast can often induce powerful emotions such as joy or surprise. Reversing expectations of “traditional” marketing styles is always a great way to get noticed.

Like these examples from Spotify and Roladin that use humor and contrast to represent the complex nature of their customers.

spotify marketing.png
roladin ad.png

Phase 3: Monitoring and analytics

So your campaign is up and running - now what?

Although marketing campaigns should be time-bound, they’re still part of the continuous process of building a stronger and better brand.

Monitoring the performance of your campaigns and analyzing results can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses not just of your marketing efforts, but also of the other aspects of your business such as product development, customer experience or brand identity.

You’re probably familiar with tools like Google Ads, Analytics or Google Search Console, that can help you track website visitors data and improve your SEO. And you’ve probably already used Facebook Ads Manager. However, if you want to take things up a notch, there are plenty of more advanced (however paid) tools you can use.

There are tools for almost any part of marketing campaigns, from email automation to A/B testing and social media analytics. There are also some powerful all-encompassing tools like Hubspot, which allows you to keep track of everything: from newsletter signups to conversion rate stats in one place.

If you’re not sure which tool to choose, go back to your marketing goals and the main channels you identified. This will also help you decide what type of data would be most useful to you to decide whether your campaign is on the right track.

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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