Anytime you begin a new project or campaign, you want it to be successful. But what success looks like in your eyes may not always look like success to others. That’s why you have to get your team onboard up front and work together to determine what success looks like collectively, and part of defining success begins with your overall goal.
When you start a campaign, there is typically a goal that you want to achieve with the work. If you’ve met the goal when the campaign ends, you would generally consider the campaign to be successful. But before you can even determine if you met your goal successfully, you have to dig into turning your goal into a reality. We know not all projects hit the mark each time, and often, that is because there is a gap in information or understanding somewhere along the way. Here are a few reasons why there is a gap:
- The goal is not well articulated to the team
- There are too many goals so the results get diluted
- The goal was not realistic
- There was a delay in starting the campaign or other timing issues
- The team’s priorities didn’t line up
- Team members did not fully understand their roles and/or responsibilities
With that in mind, we want to talk through some best practices to help you reach your goal each time.
Review Past Efforts
Review past campaigns and have an honest conversation with yourself about what the goal was and where it fell short. Even if you weren’t the project lead, you can still do this exercise with any campaign you were a part of.
One of our favorite ways to start this process is to take a look at your past efforts and rate them for their effectiveness (1 = We didn’t do a thing and it shows and 10 = the best campaign we’ve ever run with the best ROI). You then follow up this score by asking “What would it take to make this a 10?” The point of this exercise is not to berate yourself, but to use past experiences to learn from your mistakes to grow and do better next time.
Then, take some time to think about your campaign and what you could or should do differently with the next. To help get you started, examine the following areas of your project:
- Did you have clear goals from the beginning? Were they SMART goals?
- Was your team clear on the goals?
- Did you start and end on schedule?
- At what points in the project do you feel you lost momentum?
- Did the campaign meet or exceed expectations? Make note of what you did right, or what went wrong.
- Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. Strengths & Weaknesses = internal. Opportunities & Threats = External.
- What can you differently or better with the next campaign?
It is also very important to celebrate what went well, so while you are learning from the above list, you also start a list of what went well. BONUS: If key team members really rocked part of the work, be sure to make time to go and tell them.
Preparing for a New Campaign
As you begin to think about and plan your next campaign, keep the following questions in mind.
- What are your goals?
- What sets you apart from other organizations or competitors that you can use to your advantage?
- What efforts do you want to continue with? Is there anything you need to eliminate or do differently
- Is there anything new you want to try or know you need to do?
Success can be pretty subjective and hard to define. It’s different for every organization and every campaign, but you still need to take some time to determine what the desired end results are that will let you know your efforts were worthwhile. The major key to a successful campaign is good communication with both your final audience and the team that is helping you pull this off, so remember that you need to consider this since you have success defined. Regular communication will help your team know when things are going well or when you need to pivot in order to meet your goal based on your interaction with your audience and their reception of your message, which is all a part of the Innovation Cycle.
Ready to plan your next campaign but need some pointers to help your team define success? Download our Meeting Agenda template to help guide your initial conversations.