Setting goals and timelines is one of the most important steps in the marketing process. It allows you to track your campaign progress as it evolves from idea to execution. By creating a reasonable timeline you can boost efficiency and ultimately your marketing ROI.
Marketing results don’t happen overnight
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s easier than ever to outline, design, schedule, and publish content. In some cases, you can access campaign data in real-time when ads go live. It can be tempting to adjust keywords, bids, and other variables as soon as results start coming in. After all, an effective digital marketing strategy depends on interpreting data and adjusting tactics quickly.
But sometimes, patience is the key to campaign planning. There are many components in a full-scale digital marketing campaign. Each part of the campaign deserves time to prove its worth and allow time for tangible results to develop. If you move on from any part of the campaign too soon, you may never know how effective your efforts could have been.
How to build an effective marketing timeline
So, what factors should you consider to develop effective timelines that drive marketing momentum? It’s a careful balance between optimizing as quickly as possible and allowing time to collect truly useful information. We recommend starting with the launch date and working backward from there. It’s important to think realistically about how much time is needed for each individual campaign component (i.e., display ad size, text, branding, design, landing page setup, editing/revisions, etc.). Then, set deadlines for each task’s completion within the boundary of the final campaign launch date. Putting time-based goals in place will help ensure your marketing team stays on track and is working toward an actual event.
Our recommendation for programmatic advertising is to build a three-month minimum timeline, which provides:
Ample time for ad creative, placement, and contextual processes.
Testing and optimization to maximize ad performance.
The ability to scale the best performing ads and media buys.
Of course, every campaign may vary slightly depending on its goals, digital channels, product offerings, and other variables. Some campaigns may be shorter due to seasonality or time-based offers (i.e., a sale event, holiday, or special promotion). If you missed it, check out Pillar 2 of our series, Holistic Performance Metrics and Relevant KPIs, which offers valuable information about how to set effective campaign goals.
Giving your digital marketing campaigns time doesn’t mean you’ll lose ground on the competition. In fact, you could end up being a step ahead. A longer campaign calendar can better demonstrate how successful each campaign component was and for how long. A longer campaign timeframe can also help you properly allocate marketing resources. The more data you have, the more accurately you can decide which campaign components need more—or fewer—budget dollars.
More and more digital agencies use self-serve programmatic platforms to drive momentum in their marketing timelines. Today, media buyers need greater transparency into the buying process and direct access to real-time campaign data. Programmatic platform operators are less reliant on multiple vendors and can act quickly and precisely during the strategic planning processes, as well as the execution and optimization phases. The result is that your agency has more time to analyze results and optimize your client’s programmatic advertising campaigns.