What Makes a Successful Marketing Campaign in 2021?

What Makes a Successful Marketing Campaign in 2021?

Marketing is perhaps one of the most important functions that your business has. It helps you to reach new customers and remain in contact with your existing ones. When done right, it’ll allow you to define who you are as a business, demonstrate the value of your products/services, and convince potential customers that they should buy from you.

But not all marketing campaigns are created equally. In fact, a poorly planned, poorly executed marketing exercise can have the exact opposite effect. There are countless examples online of advertisements, promotions, and commercials that backfired for the companies that commissioned them, such as the attempt by Colgate to introduce frozen meals and the time that American Airlines offered unlimited free first-class travel for life in exchange for a one-time fee.


The best marketing campaigns are ones that are based on quality research. Many small business owners prefer to rely on their intuition or opinion, but this is almost never as effective as a well-researched marketing strategy.

Market research will usually involve you studying the competitors in your industry, understanding where they sit in terms of price, quality and convenience, and analysing your own strengths. You’ll also speak to existing customers to understand why they come to you and potential customers to understand what they’re looking for.

With all this information you can create a campaign that positions you in a gap in the market and responds to the things that your customers want.

In 2020, PokerStars launched its I’M IN campaign which centered around showing the company as a platform for “adventure seekers”. The decision to do this was based on extensive research that its marketing team carried out and the subsequent ad contrasts very sharply with anything seen before in the industry.

Similarly, the long running Got Milk? campaign was first created by the California Milk Board in the 1990s after extensive market research. They wanted to understand why people were drinking less milk than in the past, and they found there were three main reasons:

  1. The perception that milk was high in fat
  2. That it wasn’t a drink for adults
  3. That it was boring compared to sodas and other soft drinks

Despite this, 70% of Americans were still drinking milk, so the California Milk Board decided to focus on this group rather than trying to convince the remaining 30% that they should start. The “Got Milk?” campaign therefore focused on reminding existing drinkers that they need to buy milk when they’re at the shop.

Set Goals

Another mistake that many business people make when planning a marketing campaign is that they don’t set goals. Instead they just hope they’ll “get more sales”. However, at the end of the exercise, they’re unable to review the success (or lack of) objectively.

Therefore, it’s important to set clear and measurable goals for your marketing campaign. One of the best ways to do this is to create SMART objectives; these are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.

So, instead of a goal to “get more sales”, a marketing campaign might have the objective of “increasing sales from new customers by 5% after 6 months” or to use SEO to “increase the number of keywords that rank on the first page of Google to 20 by December”.

In both of these cases, it will be possible to review the campaign when it’s finished and understand using objective measures whether it was a success or not. Even if you don’t quite meet each part, either by increasing sales by 4% instead of 5% or taking until January or February to get your target of ranked keywords, you may still deem it a success.


If you’ve planned your marketing campaign well, then the execution should be easy. Therefore, it’s a good idea to spend some time and effort putting together an action plan for your marketing campaign.

This may include the methods you will use, when those parts of the campaign will go live, and how long certain ads will run for.

It pays off to have your campaign spread out over as long a period of time as possible because viewers and listeners need, on average, to see or hear a message around seven times before they act on an ad’s call to action.

As we can see from these points, it is clear that the success of a marketing campaign is determined by the legwork done before any ads are created. You should, therefore, spend a lot of time in these areas.