Don't Get Off the Ride
It's okay to recycle lead gen campaigns, if you're smart about it.
By nature, marketing professionals like shiny objects. Account managers want to lead the next big project. Creatives want to write or design the next cool thing. And clients want to keep their programs looking fresh and new.
Too often, though, we move on to the next lead generation campaign before the previous one has realized its full potential. Sure, you may be tired of it and want to try something new, but if it's still producing, why are you getting off the ride? Even if the response rate is starting to slip a little, consider staying with it and seeing how far it can take you.
All returns might not be in
Have you run it more than once? Or even three times? Are you convinced you've reached the point of cost-per-lead insolvency from the campaign? What might feel like a completed campaign to you might simply need to be executed against a new set of prospects.
When you find a winner, congratulate the team for work well done and start looking for how you can run it again. For the next push, you might run it as is, or if you learned something during the first run that can improve results, revise and try it. That's a lot less expensive than developing a new campaign.
Lower your costs-per-lead
Think about it: You've already made the investment in program strategy, list acquisition, and creative development. That's a pretty substantial portion of your campaign budget. Before you decide to initiate a new program with new creative, see if the current one you are having success with can support your strategy. It doesn't even have to be the same product or solution. Yes, it's easier if it is, but a different solution might fit nicely into the campaign.
We've taken winning campaigns and reused the base creative to market an entirely different solution—and saw similar results. So we knew we had the right formula, from the approach and list to the attention-getting creative. In the end, we generated a lower-cost-per lead by reducing the development costs. Plus, we were able to get new solutions to market faster.
Test other programs
If you decide to ride your winner, take some of that unused budget and pilot other approaches; that helps prepare for the next big push. At some point, your successful campaign is going to run its course—a when it does, your next one will be ready.
It's not usual for us to run campaigns multiple times. We've had some run seven, eight, or even nine times before we retired it. During that run we piloted other campaigns and took the winning one to a larger scale.
Extend the program
Sometimes your winning program can live on with a new round of creative. What might begin as a one-off campaign could be reborn as the next chapter in the story or as a new adventure. It could sell the same solution or pitch an entirely new one. We've found this approach to work when we are targeting the same core audience with different solutions. In these cases, the first program helps build a better database to market into. The creative approach gives you awareness to build on with the audience. Combined, these approaches can lead to more fruitful results.
Every marketer has campaigns that were either winners or losers. Always learn what you can from those efforts, but pay close attention to the winners and don't be afraid to run them again and again, as-is or with slight modifications—unless, that is, you don't like speed to market, lower lead acquisition costs, and increased brand awareness.
JD Biros is partner and creative director at Sudden Impact Marketing. He can be reached at JDBiros@simarketing.net.