A marketing campaign is comprised of a number of activities carried out to accomplish a predetermined goal, most commonly the promotion of a product or service. It differs from ongoing marketing or public relations that is designed to provide a reaction to specific events. An effective marketing campaign may cover a wide variety of media and incorporate both paid and unpaid marketing.
Marketing as a whole is a continuous ongoing process of trying to create awareness of a product, service or company, specifically awareness that is in a positive manner. A marketing campaign is more restricted and usually involves a time limit and a budget, as well as a specific goal. It will often concentrate on one aspect of a business or organization's work, such as a new or revised product.
To be effective, a marketing campaign needs clear quantifiable goals. In its simplest form this could be to reach a certain number of people with a message. A more sophisticated goal would be that a certain proportion of people show awareness of a product, showing the message has gotten through successfully. Arguably the ultimate goal is for this awareness to lead to an increase in sales. Having clear goals not only makes it possible to measure how well the campaign has worked, but also to have a clearer focus in planning the campaign to start off with.
There are three main elements to a marketing campaign. One is direct marketing, which involves communicating directly with consumers, for example through leaflets, e-mail messages, mailed letters or mobile messaging. Another is advertising, which is paying the operators of a communications service such as television, radio or newspapers to carry a message. The third is public relations, which is working to have media outlets mention the product, service or message in their editorial content.
One of the keys to a marketing campaign is determining the intended audience. For a retailer, this will be the people most likely to buy a product. For a non-commercial group such as a campaigning organization, this could be the people with the power to make political decisions. The demographic makeup of the intended audience will not only affect the specific outlets used for marketing, but also the general medium and the specifics of the message. For example, text message marketing is much more likely to be successful for a product aimed at teenagers rather than elderly people.