Marketing is tricky (we all know that), but like many things in life, when we take the time to employ a solid strategy, typically we get better results. While it may seem simple, having a solid goal for your marketing campaigns can and will make all the difference in the world. Many times I find people get confused as to what kind of marketing campaign they are actually running and then get disappointed by the results. So where should you start? Before beginning any digital marketing project (or any marketing campaign for that matter), there is a very important choice you must first address – is your campaign going to be a branding or a call-to-action campaign?

Branding is the elements that make up how your business or product is perceived.

Call-to-Action something that you ask a consumer to do.

How does each of these work in the world of digital marketing? I’m glad you asked…

First off, remember that every marketing campaign you run is always going to be a branding campaign. That is to say that any and all content you show to the world is helping to define your business’s brand to your stakeholders. Whether using pictures, graphics, videos, articles, or otherwise, these pieces of marketing collateral are communicating elements that will shape how your business is going to be perceived.

The call-to-action element is when you ask the user to take part in a specific request; such as come to an event, purchase a new menu item, use a coupon, sign up for a rewards program, or follow you on Facebook. These campaigns are still branding campaigns, but with the added element of the ask.

How and when to use these differ depending on the goal of your overall strategy. Short term goals are usually defined by call-to-action campaigns, while branding is usually a long term play. Don’t miss the message, both kinds of campaigns have the same goal, and are equally effective in influencing someone to do something, but only one has a measurable conversion. The reason is simple because only one strategy has a direct ask for the user to do something.

Why is all of this important?

When creating digital marketing campaigns you must always have a defined goal in mind in order to ensure your campaigns will be successful. Deciding whether a campaign is branding or call to action will allow you to analyze the campaigns in the correct way. Let’s look at a few examples:

*Restaurant #1 wants people in their local area to know they have new items on their menu. To accomplish this, they decide to run a branding campaign. They take high-quality pictures of their food and show them on an aggressive advertising schedule for two weeks using Instagram. They measure the validity of the campaign using two metrics: -analyzing how many people they are reaching in their local area -how many of those people engage with the content

*Restaurant #2 wants people in their local area to know they have new items on their menu. To accomplish this, they decide to run a call-to-action campaign by hosting a prix fixe dinner event for 300 people in their local area. The event costs $20, and tickets are available on Eventbrite. They create graphics promoting the event and run an aggressive campaign on Facebook driving people to their Facebook Event Page, which is synced to Eventbrite for purchasing tickets. They measure the validity of the campaign using three metrics: -visits to the Facebook Event page -clicks to the Eventbrite page -purchases on the Eventbrite page

*Restaurant #3 wants people in their local area to know they have new items on their menu. To accomplish this, they decide to run a hybrid branding/call-to-action campaign by enlisting influencers to come in for a free menu preview dinner and then promote the new menu items to their followers. In addition, the restaurant gives each influencer a $50 gift card to give away as a raffle item for their specific followers when someone provides an email address. Then, the restaurant collects these email addresses and promotes the new menu items to the users via social media and email marketing. They measure the validity of this campaign by using several metrics: -how many influencers they get to come to their menu preview event -how many people they reach via the influencers they have employed -how many email addresses they collect -how much engagement they can get from the email addresses they have collected

As you can see, success in the world of digital marketing is largely dependent on the overall strategy of the marketing campaign. That is to say that digital marketing is only one aspect of the marketing strategy each restaurant is using to promote their new menu items. Understanding how to use branding and call-to-action can have a major impact on how to analyze whether or not your campaigns were successful. Without starting with these aspects in mind, you may be setting yourself up for failure even before you begin.

Joe Sanders @marketingjoes Relevant Elephant