Introduction: What is a playbook?

We hear the word playbook quite a bit in martech these days, from sales playbooks to marketing playbooks to tactic-specific areas like an events playbook or campaign playbook. And while you might have a general idea of what a marketing playbook is, it’s important to begin with definitions. Our CEO, Justin Gray talked about playbooks, saying, “If you played, watch or are in any way tangentially familiar with sports, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a playbook in that realm. Every player gets one, and it’s basically the team’s bible of role definitions, formations, and play sets. When new players come on, they get one as well to get them up to speed on the team’s way of doing things.”

And so there you have it. A marketing playbook defines roles (people) and how to get things done (process and technology).

The Case for a Campaign Playbook

Campaigning is synonymous with marketing. Marketers must run campaigns to generate any level of engagement with customers and future customers to ultimately generate revenue. So, campaigning should be second nature. But unfortunately, many organizations, with great intensions, create chaos by snubbing the painstaking details needed to move a campaign from an idea to implementation, testing and eventually optimization. Of course, at LeadMD, we work with marketers who focus on proving their impact on the business. That requires orderly campaigning.

Developing a campaign playbook will create a repeatable process for all your go-to-market campaigns. Using another analogy, picture your campaign playbook as a your grandmother’s famous cookie recipe. What ingredients do you use? What temperature should your oven be? Who will you sell your cookies to? These are just some of the questions you want to ask when cooking but also when you are building a campaign.

Here’s a peak into the elements we’ve found every successful campaign playbook needs.

Your Campaign Playbook Ingredients (Stages)

We all love the perfectly balanced cookie, a little chewy in the middle yet a nice crisp on the outside! The recipe must be followed to a tee or else you may end up with a charred or salmonella-riddled cookie not quite ready to eat. Same goes for a campaign.

Each area of the process will require close attention and intentional execution. Below are the six stages of campaigning, you’ll likely already familiar with, though perhaps terming slightly differently.

Marketing Playbook: Campaign Stages

Marketing Playbook: Campaign Stages

Let’s outline some of the core questions you’ll ask in each stage.

Ideate

Who is your audience? Think about who you are trying to talk to. What is your budget and timeline? If this campaign is a success, what does that mean to you? We love this article on running a great ideation workshop, whether it’s for this purpose (marketing campaigning) or product or really anything.

Strategize

What are you trying to say; what is your message & CTA? Have you performed your audience and historical research? What aesthetic are you going for and does your messaging match?

Plan

Who is in charge of what and what is their role? Do you know what assets will speak to your audience? How will you activate your campaign? Do you have a strategy?

Develop

The copy & the design, what does it look like? Do you have programs & reports built?

Launch

Are you conducting testing before activating? Who is going to monitor?

Optimize

Were your milestones met at each point of the campaign journey? Did you even establish those milestones? Do you need to adjust?

An Example Campaign Playbook

Campaign playbooks and their older brother, marketing playbooks, will all be different and customized to your organization. But examples are often helpful to get closer to a finished product and to know you’re on the right path. To that end, we’ll share a campaign playbook we collaborated with a client to create, specifically with the often missed stage of “Optimize”.

Campaign Playbook: Launch and Optimize Stages

Marketing Playbook: Campaign Launch and Optimize Stages

The dark gray boxes at the bottom of this screenshot are often missing from playbooks. These are the outputs and next steps for each stage. In a discipline like marketing, which can often be fairly ambiguous, it’s important to align your teams on “done”. That requires alignment on a next step or an output from the stage the team is currently working.

Conclusion: Campaign Playbook

An idea is just an idea until you make it happen or fail and try again. With a campaign playbook you have a formulated plan of every step needed to drive a successful campaign. If you have questions or want to chat through your current playbook, leave a note below and we can chat!

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