Marketing campaigns are a necessity if businesses want to get their products and services noticed.
Thanks to the prevalence of digital marketing campaigns, companies now have more options than ever to boost brand awareness, generate sales, and educate people about their products.
However, not all marketing campaigns are made the same. While some are used to get your brand name recognized by a wider audience, others sell a specific service or tell current customers about product updates.
It's your job to choose the right marketing campaign for your business goals.
This guide will provide you with an overview of marketing campaigns, as well as 14 examples of campaigns you can use to leverage in 2021.
Let's get started.
What is a Marketing Campaign?
A marketing campaign is a set of strategies used by businesses to achieve specific goals, such as building brand awareness, providing information to customers, or launching a new product.
Successful marketing campaigns not only have a clearly defined goal, but they also choose the right platform to try and reach it. Facebook may be used to remarket a product to someone who has just landed on the site, while a search engine campaign aims to drive direct product sales by matching search intent.
No matter what platform a campaign is launched on, the aim should always be the same: to hit the campaign's goal.
The good news is that although choosing the best marketing campaign platform for your goal takes time, it will always have the same components.
Components of successful marketing campaigns
✔️ A goal: Do you want to sell a new product or let your current customers know that part of your service has changed? These are examples of different goals. Once you decide what you want the marketing campaign to achieve, it's easier to create a singular goal to strive for.
✔️ An offer: Are you offering a webinar? A free product trial? Your offer will pave the way your marketing campaign is communicated to your audience.
✔️ An audience: Are you advertising to current customers? Or are you trying to attract new ones? The target audience for your marketing campaign will impact everything from its goal to its messaging.
✔️ A clear message: Are you selling? Creating brand awareness? Giving away some freebies? Deciding on a clear message and sticking to it throughout the marketing campaign is essential to its success.
Now you know the basics of marketing campaigns, let's look at some examples you can leverage for your own business.
14 Types of Marketing Campaigns
One of the most important decisions of a marketing campaign is deciding what type of campaign you want to run.
Yes, design assets and messaging are crucial, but if you launch a marketing campaign on a platform that your target audience does not use, you will not be rewarded for your efforts. Before you even get to the creative phase of a marketing campaign, you need to choose what type of campaign you will run.
Here are 14 types of marketing campaigns:
- Brand awareness campaign
- Rebranding campaign
- Search engine marketing campaign
- Social media marketing campaign
- User-Generated Content (UGC) marketing campaign
- Email marketing campaign
- Public relations campaign
- Product launch campaign
- Referral marketing campaign
- SEO Campaign
- Partner marketing campaign
- Conversational marketing campaign
- Influencer marketing campaign
- Video marketing campaign
Let's look at what makes each one special.
1. Brand awareness campaign
A brand awareness campaign only has one goal—to spread the word about who your company is and what you do.
The campaign should go beyond having your brand or logo recognized. If a person interacts with your campaign, they should be exposed to what your business does, your tone of voice, and the quality of your product or service.
If your campaign is successful, the next time the person comes into contact with your brand, they won't just know who you are—they'll know what you are about, and what makes you different from your competitors.
One of our favourite examples of recent brand awareness campaigns is from Anheuser-Busch.
This American brewery changed its production facility to manufacture hand sanitizer after COVID-19 hit. Whether or not the brewery intended the temporary change in production to impact its branding positively isn't clear, but one thing is for sure: it did.
After the brewery started making hand sanitizer, news networks from around the country picked up the story and soon enough, the company was featured in television and newspaper reports.
The company responded by inserting themselves into the community and emphasizing that they were there to help.
“Our communities and our people are incredibly resilient,” the company said at the time.
“By providing resources to those on the front lines, we are committed to doing our part to support the individuals across the country who truly represent the best of the American spirit.”
This was a brilliant strategy, allowing Anheuser-Busch's brand to be exposed to millions of Americans positively in a time of crisis by offering millions of hand sanitizers to the community.
The next time a customer saw their beer on a shelf in a store, it's likely they'll remember how the company contributed during COVID-19.
2. Rebranding campaign
The most successful companies always find a way to revolutionize their products and stay relevant.
That's what rebranding campaigns are for: to relaunch much-loved products or to introduce your company's new set of values to your customers.
Either way, launching a rebranding campaign needs to be about more than a font change. It needs to be a full-fledged effort to modernize a product or show your customers that you are slowly moving towards something different.
When Kelloggs decided to rebrand its European cereal range, it was the biggest branding change the company had made in over 100 years.
The campaign's goal was simple: to bring a clean, fresh, modern look to their cereal packages to meet the aesthetics of the European market. Before the rebranding, Kelloggs announced its campaign's goal: to have new artwork that reflects the naturalness of the food and the heritage of the Kellogg story.
Here's what they came up with:
The rebranding was a success. After the marketing campaign, Kelloggs found that 70% of customers found it easier to locate their cereals in a store, and their "purchase intent" was boosted by 50% after the branding change.
3. Search engine marketing campaign
When customers use search engines, you can target them with search engine marketing (SEM).
The idea is that when people search for a term or ask a question, you can target them with paid advertisements in the search results.
Since most new visitors now find websites using search engines, launching search engine marketing campaigns is a great way to drive potential customers to your site.
Upwork is an online marketplace that matches businesses with freelancers—and the company drives a lot of traffic to its site using search engine marketing.
Using paid advertisements, Upwork targets specific search intent around freelancing to get clicks. For example, if you Google "best freelancer", Upwork appears in the top position of the site's search results:
It's simple yet enticing: Upwork states it has unmatched quality on its platform and has top-rated talent that it's ready to hire out. It also offers the searcher site extension links to find out more about how the platform works and start hiring instantly.
The campaign is a great example of matching search intent with paid search engine advertising to help drive traffic to a website.
4. Social media marketing campaign
Social media marketing campaigns are everywhere: from Facebook to TikTok, Instagram to Twitter.
Beyond picking what platforms you are going to use for the marketing campaign, you also have to decide whether or not you'll publish it organically (for free), or use paid ads—or both.
Social media marketing campaigns can be used for a whole range of different goals. They can help you build brand awareness, retarget visitors who have bounced from your website, or even push customers to complete an abandoned cart transaction.
Example: Planet Fitness
Planet Fitness is another great example of a company that turned the COVID-19 pandemic into a marketing opportunity.
As one of the most popular gyms in America, the company had to think outside the box when its facilities were shut down. Planet Fitness started offering daily classes on Facebook Livestream to keep its customer base motivated and entice new people to join its gym.
Although the sessions were free, it's obvious how popular they were for Planet Fitness' audience. Each video received thousands of views and got rave reviews from the people at home joining in:
Not only will the campaign keep Planet Fitness's audience engaged until their gyms reopen, but it's also likely they've won over a whole new section of customers!
5. User-Generated Content (UGC) marketing campaign
User-generated content (USG) marketing campaigns is where instead of a business creating content to share—you get your audience to do it instead.
The reason is simple: sometimes your audience will turn off if they think you're trying to sell them something. However, if their friend or colleague is doing the talking, they're much more likely to be engaged in the content.
Using this type of marketing campaign can boost a campaign's trustworthiness as it's being told by a relevant source—the users themselves.
Example: ALS Association – Ice Bucket Challenge
Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
The challenge spread like wildfire across social media. Facebook data shows videos involved in the challenge were viewed more than 10 billion times by more than 440 million people.
And the reason it was so popular? People, not brands, generated it.
Underneath the ice buckets was a genius marketing campaign launched by the ALS Association to spread neurodegenerative disease awareness. Using special campaign hashtags like #IceBucketChallenge and #ALSIceBucketChallenge, the association reached its goal: spreading awareness and raising money.
The final figure proves the campaign's success—a nearly 2000% increase in donations to the ALS Association!
6. Email marketing campaign
Email marketing campaigns are one of the most widely used tools in a marketer's toolbox.
Reaching customers (and potential customers) using email is still one of the best ways to communicate with them. 90% of adults and surprisingly, over 70% of teenagers, are still using email regularly.
Launching an email marketing campaign gives your company the chance to talk to them 1-on-1 in their inbox and encourage them to take a look at your latest product or even just keeping them updated on events.
Example: charity: water
charity: water's marketing campaigns are a great example of using email to regularly communicate with their audience and update them on the charity's progress.
The emails include detailed breakdowns of how donations are being spent, what projects are in progress, and even a feedback form that encourages the recipient to get involved.
The campaign is a great example of how keeping communication lines open can keep audiences engaged with your brand.
7. Public relations campaign
Public relations campaigns are launched to get the word out about an event or product launch.
The idea is that by launching a public relations campaign, your message will be picked up by a larger audience, who will then pass it on. Of course, the ultimate goal for these types of campaigns is to catch another audience's attention: the media.
The right campaign will have a newsworthy angle that media organizations can use to turn it into a story and create even more buzz around your announcement.
Here is another one of our COVID-19 marketing campaign favorites from Carlsberg Denmark.
To keep the public's morale high during lockdown, the brewery launched their Adopt a Keg campaign, where people scan beer they purchased at a shop.
Once customers have purchased and scanned four Carlsberg beer cans, they will have filled their "virtual keg" and are qualified for the prize: two Carlsberg beers when bars and restaurants reopen.
The campaign was so successful that Carlsberg expanded it to four other markets.
8. Product launch campaign
Product launches play a major role in the success of any new company release.
Getting a product launch campaign right means targeting the right audience and creating enough buzz around your offer to get people excited. With more than three-fifths of people not being aware of any recent product launches, it's safe to say that a lot of them aren't creating that buzz.
Here's an example to learn from.
When Robinhood launched its stock trading app, it made its audience wait months to get a taste of the product.
Yep—over one million people waited in line to get early access to Robinhood's product launch.
The message put out was simple: get early access to a product that will charge you
$0 commission for stock trades.
But it was the offer that was the real winner of the launch. To get access, people had to opt-in for the product. If you wanted to jump ahead of the line, you could by inviting your friends to opt-in as well.
Not only did this create an insane level of interest in the product, but it also made sure Robinhood pulled off something rare: a successful launch.
9. Referral marketing campaign
Referral programs give your customers the best of both worlds: they can recommend a product they love to their friends and family, and get rewarded in the process.
The success of referral marketing programs can be attributed to the fact that people trust their friends and family for product recommendations much more than companies. 9 out 10 customers trust recommendations from their peers, and 83% of people say if a friend or family member recommends something to them, they're more likely to buy it.
Creating a successful referral marketing program can open up your company to an audience ready to give you a chance. Referral marketing campaigns have a strong track record. Companies like Uber, Google, Amazon Prime, and Airbnb have used them to build their customer bases.
Lyft is a rideshare company that launched a simple yet (uber) successful referral marketing campaign based on cash incentives.
Every Lyft user is given a unique referral code and is encouraged to invite their friends to try out the service with a discounted ride:
The referral marketing program was insanely successful, with a 28% increase in average monthly rides, and a noticeable increase in customers cashing in on their bonuses:
10. SEO Campaign
Search engine optimization campaigns help drive organic traffic to websites using search intent, keywords, and content.
To get your content to rank on a search engine, you need to optimize a lot of elements like titles, metadata, and keywords. Like your domain authority and page load speed, other factors will also impact how high your content and site rank on a search engine.
OVME is a medical aesthetic practice that used an SEO campaign to drive more organic traffic to its site.
The company focused on simplifying its website and making sure its page titles, alt tags, schema markup, page content, and metadata were focusing on keywords that its potential customers may use in search engines.
Within three months, OVME noticed a 10% increase in organic website traffic, and their online bookings grew by over 1000%.
The proof is in the pudding. Making simple SEO changes on your website can dramatically boost the number of people landing on it and, ultimately—the number of conversions.
11. Partner marketing campaign
Sometimes, products are sold better in pairs.
Partner marketing campaigns are where two non-competing companies join forces and advertise a product or service to a similar target audience. With a successful campaign, the idea is that both brands can benefit from each other's existing customer base, and some crossover will occur.
Example: Apple + Mastercard
When Apple released Apple Pay, it hoped to change the way people purchased products—instead of using a credit card, they could just use their phone.
However, the company didn't have payment technology, so it needed to partner with an existing credit card company. So, it did just that. MasterCard signed up to Apple Pay and became the first company to enable its customers to pay using their phone or Apple Watch.
In this case, it is the best example of a partnership marketing campaign done right: the companies do not sell the same product, but through them working together, they have created a revolutionary way to shop.
12. Conversational marketing campaign
Conversational marketing campaigns aim to engage with website visitors using a more personalized approach.
Instead of asking your customers to email you or ring a customer support line, conversational marketing engages with your visitors in real-time using automated conversations.
Using conversational marketing campaigns give your company a chance to interact with visitors both at scale and on a human level.
A great example of a conversational marketing campaign done right is from JivoChat: an omnichannel business messenger.
The company enables users users to interact with its target audience on a one-to-one level across many different digital channels - live chat, chatbots, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and more.
Here's what the visitor will see:
Using behavioural triggers, JivoChat is able to proactively engage visitors with personalized messaging, and do it at scale across their audience’s preferred channels.
13. Influencer marketing campaign
Influencer marketing campaigns are like referral marketing campaigns on steroids.
Instead of asking your customers to refer your product to their family and friends, you engage a popular social media influencer or blog writer to recommend your product instead. If the campaign is successful, you can potentially open your brand up to thousands (or millions) of new people.
Example: Chase/US Open
Although Chase sponsored the US Open for more than three decades, it decided to try a different approach when the 2016 tournament kicked off.
To give viewers a more intimate experience, Chase partnered with one of the most popular men's tennis players at the time, Andy Roddick. The influencer campaign was simple: Roddick had a huge fan base, and he would engage them (and others) by watching games, commentating live, and hosting Q&A sessions with fans.
The results were immediate. Over 2.5 million people watched Roddick's broadcasts throughout the tournament.
14. Video marketing campaign
With 2 billion people watching videos on YouTube every month, video marketing campaigns are a powerful tool every marketer should be using.
Like many other campaigns on our list, video marketing can be used for several goals, from building brand awareness to selling products. However, the beauty of video marketing campaigns is their simplicity: it gives your audience a way to digest your content easily, without reading or scrolling through lots of information.
Example: Million Dollar Shave Club
If you haven't seen Million Dollar Shave Club's iconic video marketing campaign, now is the time.
The company launched the campaign to sell its low-cost razor subscriptions to men who were, in the owner's eyes, "fed up with the razor monopoly." They decided to get their message across in a 90-second clip:
The video was filled with jokes, and when it launched in 2012—it went viral. Within 48 hours, the company received over 12,000 orders. Four years later, Million Dollar Shave Club sold for $1 billion.
Which Type of Marketing Campaign Are You Going to Try?
Choosing the right type of marketing campaign for your business can make or break its overall success.
You have to really think about what you want the campaign to achieve. Are you trying to sell more products, or do you want to broaden your company's awareness?
Every marketing campaign on this list has a different superpower. While some will drive more organic traffic to your website, others can create viral buzz about your product and potentially bring in lots of interest.
The only choice you have to make now is—what marketing campaign are you going to try first?