Some businesses make the mistake of letting their campaigns be their marketing strategy. A campaign is not a strategy and understanding the difference between the two can help your marketing work better.
A strategy is this bigger thing that defines your approach to your customers’ experience. It takes into account who you are as a business, what it is you’re offering customers, who are you offering it to and what are the steps that a customer needs to have to successfully work with you and use your product.
A campaign, on the other hand, is an operational thing. It’s how you take that strategy and make it real. It’s usually a piece of delivering on your strategy.
It’s something you do.
Strategies and campaigns have different time horizons. Strategy is, is longer and shouldn’t change every year – at least not much. Think of it as your company’s truth.
Strategies and campaigns also have different scopes. A strategy is about that whole experience that your customers are living. A campaign is usually about addressing one stage of that journey and creating an experience that helps the whole thing work.
When you make your campaign your strategy, those changes that happen in your campaigns (as they should) – because of a new product, a new competitor or because something changed in the market – those changes give your customers whiplash. There’s not a strategy that grounds it all, that keeps things consistent.
It’s important to get your marketing strategy in place first. Any campaigns that follow that are based on your strategy will reinforce each other rather than cancel themselves out.