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Technical Models and Guides

Rethinking Campaign Planning

Written by Propolis Experts Barbara Stewart and Stephan Kemish

How marketers need to reorder their planning process for successful marketing campaigns.

With more scrutiny and challenge over marketing budgets, it’s important for marketing teams to distinguish between the necessary and the wasteful. More than ever the profession needs to ensure every pound (euro or dollar) spent is effective at driving awareness, creating demand, implementing various lead nurturing activities, and pushing them down the funnel towards conversion.

One simple and effective way to do this in reverse the usual process of planning a marketing campaign – this approach ensures insight is the core driver of how to spend the budget.

Many organisations make the mistake of starting their planning by deciding how they will spend the marketing budget, where to spend, and what messaging they will utilise. The most critical questions of who to target, why to target them, and what they need are often left to the end.

Our model below shows how to change the order when planning campaigns – maximising the returns and results from the budget you then end up spending.


The usual process = channels — campaign/segmentation — target customer — message

The key concern of a marketing campaign should be revolving around customer needs and requirements. Organisation that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget and adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting customer needs and demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after uncertain times.

Recommended approach = who, what, when, where (W4H)

These key focus areas should be critically analysed and understood in order to develop your marketing campaign.

Define customer

  • Identify and understand key segments of the market
  • Define key marketing objectives
  • Define timescales and measures of success
  • Align sales and marketing – process and outcomes

Segmentation and prioritisation

  • Analyse data – ensure clean and complete
  • Identify best-fit segments to match objectives
  • Confirm and target customers – at the org and contact level
  • Decide approach – one-to-one, few, many, or mass

Establish messages

  • Define key messages
  • Create benefits vs features matrix
  • Screen the key messages to be tested to impact customer behaviour
  • Review existing – recyle, reuse or create new
  • Define message delivery channels

Channel selection

  • Enlist the possible and best channels which can help reach the intended customer groups
  • Map channels to stages of the journey
  • Define next best actions (NBSs) and nurture channels/timing
  • Create comms plans with timings


  • Enlist a set of KPIs to check and calculate the success of a marketing campaign
  • Understand what and how you will revise and optimise the campaign in flight
  • Set waypoints for ongoing review with sales
  • Analyse overall performance vs objectives
  • Close the loop – wash up learning for future campaigns


No marketing campaign can be optimum when it is run backward, starting with channel strategy and budget breakdown. Defining and understanding a customer should always be the first step.

Start with the who not the where.


This is one of eight models and guides produced every quarter by the Propolis Experts, each designed to help develop knowledge and drive efficiencies across your marketing campaigns. The full set of models and guides is available exclusively to Propolis members.

Barbara Stewart and Stephen Kemish

Propolis Experts, B2B Marketing

This model was jointly created by experts Barbara Stewart and Stephen Kemish. Learn more about the experts here.

Barbara and Stephen are two of seven experts on hand for Propolis members to access at any time offering impartial, trusted advice that is tailored to their specific business needs.

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