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9 Different Types of Marketing Campaigns – Ultimate Guide

Types of Marketing Campaigns

A well-crafted marketing plan provides an opportunity to lock your company’s brand message securely in the collective consciousness of your audience for decades. 

Can anyone who was alive during the 1980s stop remembering actress Clara Peller exclaiming “Where’s the Beef” in those Wendy’s commercials? 

It’s unlikely. 

Or, how about the “Mentos The Freshmaker” ads during the 1990s that made the “fresh goes better” tagline famous? 

While there are several types of marketing campaigns, one thing is clear:

Getting any kind of marketing campaign right means a boost in brand recognition, more leads and higher profits and more money overall. Marketing managers, freelance marketers, and even small business owners doing hands-on marketing work know this very well. 

Deciding which type of marketing campaign to run inside your business is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to generating more sales. 

You need to gain an understanding about how to create and run each campaign so that you successfully communicate your brand’s emotion and identity to your customers. 

The following ultimate guide to marketing campaigns is designed to help you gain a significant advantage over your competitors. 

Let’s get started…

What Is a Marketing Campaign?

A marketing campaign is a collection of strategies designed to accomplish a specific marketing objective for an individual, brand or company. These campaigns are crafted to garner the attention of prospects and customers through various mediums, such as:

  • Social media
  • Television
  • Email marketing
  • Print advertising
  • Radio
  • Pay-per-click

Advertising isn’t the only way to conduct marketing campaigns. Video conferencing, demonstrations and other interactive methods can also enter into the picture when it comes to accomplishing the intended result:

Increase overall awareness about a company and attract new prospects and customers. 

Specific goals that might exist inside the various types of marketing campaigns at your disposal include:

  • Reducing negative publicity
  • Building a brand image
  • Introducing a new product
  • Increasing affiliate sales
  • Rebranding a company
  • Revamping an existing product or service

For example, if you’re a coach who recently changed your business model, you might want to launch a new marketing campaign to promote your new course or service.

9 Types Of Marketing Campaigns

Many types of marketing campaigns exist. The following list includes eight of the most commonly-used marketing and advertising campaigns run by businesses. 

  1. Acquisition Marketing Campaign
  2. Product Marketing Campaign
  3. Social Media Campaign
  4. Paid Advertising Campaign
  5. Content Marketing Campaign
  6. Email Marketing Campaign
  7. User-Generated Content Campaign
  8. Brand Awareness Campaign
  9. Affiliate Marketing Campaign

You’ll come across various other kinds of marketing campaigns, such as direct mail campaigns, marketing research campaigns, community building campaigns or event registration campaigns. 

However, some campaigns can be consolidated underneath larger marketing campaigns. Aspects of a direct mail marketing campaign might fit under the umbrella of an acquisition marketing campaign or brand development campaign, for example. 

What follows are strategies for building out the most commonly-used types of marketing campaigns. 

Examples are included for most of the campaigns as well, in order to help you understand how to choose and apply the campaigns most needed inside your business. 

1. Acquisition Marketing Campaign

A customer acquisition campaign is one that not only raises awareness about your brand’s solutions, but also results in acquiring new email subscribers and customers. 

Wordable.io has a “9 point master guide” to doing just that – growing your email list the fast way.

It’s important to note that many other types of marketing campaigns fall under the category of “customer acquisition”. 

Customer acquisition isn’t one simple funnel setup or just one campaign. Instead, it’s a continuous process that uses different marketing campaigns to accomplish the goals of more leads and sales

Acquisition campaigns are top of the funnel marketing strategies and include:

One simple example is Dropbox’s grass roots referral acquisition strategy where they give free space for inviting friends:

dropbox referral campaign

This stage of your marketing makes cold leads aware of your brand and product. It then starts moving them from the awareness stage into the conversion stage. 

Your acquisition marketing campaign needs to engage prospects with educational content so that they decide to opt-in to your email list. This content might include images, social media posts, videos and blog posts

The most critical stage you want to reach with your audience during an acquisition campaign is lead generation. This now gives you permission to continue the relationship via email follow up sequences. 

Keep in mind that acquisition campaigns are less about profit and more about acquiring subscribers and buyers. While that might appear counterintuitive at first glance, know that the goal isn’t ROI (return on investment). 

You may or may not lose advertising money during lead and customer acquisition. If you don’t profit upfront, then the goal is to generate profit further down the funnel. This is a different activity than monetization. 

2. Product Marketing Campaign

A product marketing campaign needs to take four areas into consideration:

  1. Product
  2. Marketing
  3. Customer success
  4. Sales

At first glance, you might be tempted to think that a successful product marketing campaign is simply launching and benefiting when the sales roll in. 

It’s more effective to think strategically about where clarity is needed both before and after a product marketing campaign begins. 

Prior to launch, it’s all about understanding target customer needs and how that affects messaging and positioning. To understand that better, here’s a great guide by Anastasia from Cleverism and FounderJar on defining your target audience.

After a launch, you need to focus on whether initial sales number goals were met and how to continue driving ongoing demand for the product. 

Put more simply, a product marketing campaign consists of three main components:

  1. Messaging and positioning
  2. Making sure customers understand the product’s value during launch
  3. Driving continuous product demand and usage

The campaign starts to take shape when the product’s messaging and positioning becomes clear. This knowledge dictates assets such as sales page copy, webinar content, and email marketing communication for the campaign. 

Feedback from customers helps to refine the process so that the marketing team knows whether messaging is hitting home correctly. 

Better Proposals has some great templates that could help you get your sales driven campaign right. 

Ultimately, meeting sales goals or not dictates the types of adjustments or new tests that must be done throughout the ongoing sales process. 

Product Marketing Campaign Example: Apple’s 2007 iPhone Launch

Steve Jobs gave a MacWorld keynote in 2007 that demonstrated full mastery over messaging and positioning when he said that the iPhone was an Internet communicator, phone and iPod all wrapped up inside one tool. 

Apple understood that their audience was ready for this “best of all worlds’ product solution and the iPhone’s marketing campaign is one of recent history’s most well-known successes. 

See Jobs’ keynote here:

3. Social Media Marketing Campaign

A successful social media campaign consists of four important parts: 

  1. Well-developed plan
  2. Defined goals
  3. Cross-channel promotion
  4. Final analysis

Craft your plan: Start by analyzing your existing social media accounts and followers. Get your team in place and assign roles so that promotion, design and messaging responsibilities don’t overlap during the campaign. Set your budget.

Set clearly-defined goals: Consider the following goals during a social media marketing campaign.

  • Increase brand awareness when you need to set yourself apart from competitors or if the business is relatively new. Use a sharing campaign and measure metrics like influencer mentions, follower numbers, retweets and app downloads generated by social media.
  • Increase website traffic by driving social media followers to website landing pages. Pay attention to metrics like time on site, visits from social bookmarking sites and total website visits.
  • Improve conversion rates via web forms where social followers sign up for discount offers or newsletter lists. Track metrics such as assisted social conversions, total site entries and total conversions. 

Cross-channel promotion: Use a multi-channel approach so that your prospects get reminded about offers via platforms such as website retargeting ads, text messaging and email marketing. 

Analyze the results: This is more easily done if you carefully selected your goals in step #2 above. Evaluate how well the social media campaign performed in terms of engagement metrics, customer lifetime value and new sales numbers. 

Starbucks #WhatsYourName Social Media Campaign Example

In early 2020, a Starbucks campaign that supported gender-diverse and transgender youth used YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that was based on the well-known custom of writing your name on your cup while visiting their stores. 

4. Paid Advertising Campaign

Use one or all of these four paid advertising campaign types:

  1. Paid search marketing: This is a strategy where image and text ads are used on platforms like Bing and Google. Also called SEM (search engine marketing). 
  2. Display marketing: This makes use of display networks that deliver ads to website visitors and is similar to SEM. Use retargeting technology to serve ads based on website browsing activity. 
  3. Paid social media marketing: Based on interactions and interests, target social media users with image and video ads. 
  4. Influencer marketing: Use influencer relationships to promote your products more personally through people with large existing social followings. 

Consider using Google Ads when using this type of marketing plan. Follow Google’s guidelines to improve your quality score. Use A/B testing on ad copy in order to improve ad rankings and decrease average bid costs. 

Pay attention to geographic metrics to change bids based which locations deliver your campaign the best conversion rates. Use Google Analytics information to find website landing pages that benefit visitors but aren’t performing well organically and then use a paid advertising campaign to boost traffic. 

Marketing agency Anomoly helped Converse with a fun paid ad campaign by using a combination of Google Ads and important cultural moments in the lives of their younger audience demographic. 

The PPC campaign consisted of keywords such as “spelling bee”, “how to talk to girls” and “first day of summer” to create “converse-ations”. Using a gamified version of Google Ads, Converse helped their audience experience new cultural moments while building brand awareness. 

5. Content Marketing Campaign

A content marketing campaign differs from a content marketing strategy, which you should already have running. Use a campaign over a period of 30 to 90 days and keep it focused on a specific audience or topic. 

Set definite goals and decide whether you want to generate leads, raise brand awareness, generate additional social media engagement or make a blog post go viral.

Speaking of making viral blog posts, here’s a nice piece by Tim from Capiston that details the process step-by-step.

Your content marketing strategy should have produced specific buyer personas. Develop content ideas based on the content marketing campaign’s topic and your buyer persona information. 

The next step is to identify assets and plot your campaign across a content calendar. Consider using assets such as:

Fill up the content calendar so that your team understands when each content asset will go out during the campaign. 

Finding the time to create content is always a challenge with Content Marketing. Some people have found using AI tools like ChatGPT are helpful however there is concern that Google will penalize sites that use AI content. If you are hiring writers for your content marketing it is best to run them through an AI content detection tool like Originality.AI

Now it’s time to identify keywords based on relevance, competition and volume. Choose keywords that make it easy to create helpful, informative and worthwhile content around your chosen campaign topic. 

Your last step is distribution, where you plan out delivering content via:

  • Social media
  • Your website
  • Email

If you’re able to correctly implement a content marketing campaign, the sky’s the limit.  Not only will your brand get more exposure, but internal assets like your blog will generate more profit in the long run.

6. Email Marketing Campaign

You can’t operate a successful email campaign without clearly-defined objectives. Here are some ideas to help set your goals:

  • Improve welcome sequence in order to educate leads about your value
  • Promote content engagement, such as raising awareness about a new webinar
  • Nurture subscribers more effectively
  • Re-engage inactive subscribers
  • Segment subscribers so that you can deliver more relevant content

Create effective lead magnets and opt-in landing pages when you’re starting a new subscriber campaign. Brainstorm the best ways to create lead magnets for your audience, such as creating short videos, cheatsheets, whitepapers, quizzes, giveaways, or eBooks.

Use different strategies to capture new subscribers, such as blog post content upgrades, homepage lead magnets, lightbox popups and exit intent popups. 

Effective email marketing campaigns require a well thought out approach to the frequency of your email sends. For example, you might use a once per day frequency over the first week with your welcome email campaign so that new subscribers get used to receiving communication. 

Your nurture newsletter sequence, however, might only run weekly, biweekly or monthly. 

Lastly, take time to wisely craft your:

  • Subject lines
  • Email copy
  • Calls-to-action (CTAs)

Pay close attention to your CTAs. Make sure they closely match your overall objectives for the campaign. 

Email Marketing Plan Example: James Clear

James Clear runs a weekly newsletter called “3-2-1 Thursday”:

James Clear Email Marketing Plan Example

His email marketing campaign is successful because his subscribers know exactly how often they’ll receive communication from him and what’s included. At the top of every email send, he reminds subscribers:

  • That they actively subscribed
  • How often they’ll receive it
  • What day it comes
  • The specific type of content he’s providing them

7. User-Generated Content Campaign

User-generated content consists of blog and social media posts that your customers use to share their love for your brand and products. The power of user-generated content is obvious: 

  1. They’re directly telling their friends and family that they need to check out your brand
  2. Your audience is creating content for you 

Start your user-generated content campaign by deciding on a platform. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all work well. 

Using a unique hashtag is critical when employing these types of marketing campaigns. It will help when it’s time to find and aggregate all the content that the campaign generates for your business.   

Create your call-to-action and keep it simple. For example, a make-up brand might use this: “Show us your favorite color on Twitter with #mylipstickfavs.” 

The most important part to running a successful user-generated content campaign is to respond to and engage with your audience when they participate. This process shows your customers that the campaign is just as important to you as it is to them. The more you engage, the more the campaign will take off. 

Example of a User-Generated Content Campaign: Heineken

In 2013, Heineken ran a user-generated content campaign where they encouraged customers to redefine the way people over 60 years old consume beer. It was called the “60+ Challenge”, encouraged customers to provide their own ideas, images and videos and it brought in entries from over 19 countries. 

8. Brand Awareness Marketing Campaign

This type of marketing campaign is all about getting your brand out in front of as many people as possible. However, you also need to target it properly in order to avoid wasting advertising dollars. 

Use these five steps to run your brand development marketing campaign. 

1. Know your audience: Take the time to map out your target audience based on factors such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Disposable income
  • Location
  • Job title
  • Industry 
  • Salary

2. Determine where your audience “hangs out” online: Don’t advertise on LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in a shotgun attempt at putting your brand name everywhere. Use the specific platform that your social media statistics indicate is the best place to invest money on advertising. 

3. Stick to a budget: A budget helps dictate where to advertise as well. If you don’t have a huge budget, then ask yourself which platform can get you in front of the most customers with those ad dollars. Get creative. Could you get brand awareness for free? This might come in the form of podcast interviews or guest posts, for example. 

4. Know your goals: Set specific objectives so that you know whether a brand awareness campaign is successful or not. For instance, do you want brand awareness only or do you want to also track changes in website visits and email subscribers? 

5. Track the results: Pay attention to the data so that you can understand the success of the campaign. Use that knowledge to make necessary adjustments during the next brand awareness campaign that your business runs. 

If you want to learn more about why a unique brand developing campaign is important, here’s a guide from Visme that’d really help.

Brand Awareness Marketing Campaign Example: IHOP

The tongue-in-cheek IHOP campaign that announced they were going to change their name to “International House of Burgers” generated over 35 billion social media impressions and almost 20,000 articles. Use their story for ideas on how your company might do something similar. 

9. Affiliate Marketing Campaign

There’s no doubt that affiliate marketing is on the rise – not going to back down any time soon either. 

Just look at sites like Nerdwallet, NeilPatel, and QuickSprout. Top of the food chain in high intent SERP results. 

Some say affiliate marketing has a bad rap since there are, admittedly, quite a few scammy affiliate programs out there. But that’s simply because those programs are legitimately scammy programs.

That said, here are a few steps for creating and getting a credible affiliate marketing campaign out there.

These networks and systems are the tools that’ll help you manage your affiliates, link tracking, commissions, sales, and analytics.

It’s quite simple. Your business will have third party members that place your brand’s links or banners on their own sites or social media posts. Those will be ‘affiliate links’ that will direct the clicker to your desired landing page.

When one of those links is clicked, the affiliate gets a set commissioned or percentage of the sale (can be customized as you see fit). I would recommend not going with the CPM model as that just leads to a lot of spamming from affiliates.

Affiliate marketing software enables you to recruit affiliates, easily set up unique affiliate links, and track the sales generated through each link using cookies and pixels. With the right affiliate software, you can easily identify your top affiliate partnerships, and instantly compensate your affiliates all on one platform.

Affiliate marketing tools and software allow you to reach out to potential affiliates, customize links to be more ‘attractive,’ and track affiliate clicks and sales with cookies. In addition, some of the top affiliate software provide some advanced analytics that raise flags if something seems off.

With a suitable management tool, you can reward your top performing partners and manage all affiliates on a single platform.

On top of that, if you end up picking a reputable tool like Tapfiliate, Impact, or PartnerStack (just a few examples), the platform will guide you through the setup step by step.

Finding the Right Affiliates

Now that you’ve got your program set up, who’s going to promote it?

Affiliate marketers.

To keep sales consisten and recurring, I’d recommend keeping your focus on acquiring quality affiliates with websites and social media accounts.

For getting good partners for organic search engine traffic, bloggers should be your go-to. Blogging is not the rise too, with a plethora of new site owners looking to make money online.

The strategy for this is pretty straight forward. Let’s say you’re a new VoIP phone service and you’re looking for influencers that can potentially get you “free” organic referrals.

Start by doing a search for a high intent term that you would like your platform to rank for e.g. “best VoIP phone services.”

The search results will, more often than not, include blogs that have a list of the ‘top’ results like this example from yours truly. If they haven’t included your service, it’s a potential win.

Simply plug the domain name into an email finder like Hunter.io or reach out to the site admin on LinkedIn and give a quick intro. Be sure to include in your pitch why your program is better than the others.

Here is an awesome example by Transistor.fm that got me to add their platform in my podcast hosting review.

comparing podcast referral programs

For social media affiliates, the process is similar with regard to outreach. But the process of finding influencers is different.

The simplest way to find quality affiliates on social media is to use a social media analytics tool like BuzzSumo.

Using software like BuzzSumo, you will be able to browse the top influencers in your niche, the type of content they share, and what content gets the most views, shares, and clicks.

Also, it’d be nice to note that if the target influencer is well known and popular, sending a DM might not be the best idea so stick with email or LinkedIn.

Where Do Types Of Marketing Campaigns Fit Within Your Sales Funnel?

We mentioned above that there are many types of marketing campaigns beyond the eight we’ve highlighted for you. Let’s provide you with an additional list to consider for your business, but with a twist: 

Where do various types of marketing campaigns fit within your overall sales funnel? 

Top Of The Funnel Marketing Campaigns

  • Acquisition marketing campaign
  • Partnership campaign
  • Event registration campaign
  • Visual/Infographic asset campaign
  • Research asset campaign (use company research for content, optins, etc)
  • Brand campaign
  • Road show campaign
  • Contest/Sweepstakes campaign
  • Traditional media campaign (TV, print, out-of-home)

Middle Of The Funnel Marketing Campaigns

  • Content marketing campaign
  • Email marketing campaign
  • Retargeting campaign.
  • Re-engagement campaign
  • Direct mail brand campaign

Bottom Of The Funnel Marketing Campaigns

  • Case study campaign
  • Demo ad campaign
  • Product marketing campaign
  • Direct mail demo campaign

Now it’s your turn! 

Which type of marketing campaign does your company need to put in place at this stage of its business growth? 

Remember that you don’t need to use all of the different marketing campaigns that exist. In fact, it wouldn’t be effective to even try. 

Instead, select one or two types of marketing campaigns that exist throughout your funnel’s stages and become an expert at running those. 

Run your campaigns, pay attention to the analytics, adjust or pivot based on results and keep running those same types of marketing campaigns until your lead generation and sales machine increases profit year over year. 

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