25 Jun 2020

Setting Campaign Expectations

Because the marketing landscape has turned towards digital in the past few years, we’ve been able to more accurately measure performance and reach more target consumers than ever before. Does that mean any strategy is foolproof? Absolutely not.

That’s why it’s important to use benchmarks as a way to set delivery expectations for your clients. Let’s take a look at some of the tactics used by ad agencies to narrow campaigns, and how that data can vary.

First of all, targeting.

The more specific you can be when defining your target, the better – at least in terms of messaging. But also, the more factors you add in to the profile of your “ideal” consumer, the harder that person is going to be to find. While it may seem like a waste of money and time to find out after running a campaign that impressions and clicks fell outside your target market, it’s important to remember that those can deliver value in different ways. I can’t tell you how many time I’ve seen an ad and immediately thought of a friend. In most cases, if the price is right, I’ll pass along the information that I saw.

Another factor here is realizing that there are things that are outside of anybody’s control. Demographic data changes, the content that people consume could skew algorithms, and, perhaps most importantly, almost half of the world’s computers are shared between families or businesses, meaning that your ad might have gone to the right desktop, but the wrong person.

The reality of the situation is that the global average for in-target impressions is around 47%. To act like you can deliver 100% is a disservice to not only your client, but your team.

Now, let’s talk about SEO. Search engine marketing is a great way to grow traffic, and it’s something that we often recommend. More specifically, pay-per-click or PPC campaigns put your company’s website directly in front of users searching for similar products and services.

For example, if you are a company trying to promote massage services in Denver, we can set up a campaign that targets words like “massage” or “deep tissue massage therapist” and place those ads directly in the zip codes you’re trying to reach. These ads work because they’re targeting users in a more direct way, which allows for better, faster results.

One of the other strategies we often use in our campaigns is email marketing. Let’s take a look at how we measure exposure there with an example: If we send out five emails, but our open rate is only at 20%, only one of those five emails was actually seen by the potential client. Mathematically, that means that you actually need to send out 25 emails for that person to see the one message you’re trying to get across.

How can we fix this? A few ways.

Keep your list up-to-date. Make your subject line attention-grabbing. Try writing like you would to a friend, and step away from a business-like tone when appropriate. The beauty of not only email marketing, but every strategy we’ve talked about so far, is that there a thousand ways to course correct.

The bottom line?

Consistent, cohesive, and congruent marketing over time is what brings results. Any marketing campaign will take three, four, five, sometimes even six months or more to see fruit, with some very rare exceptions.

We’re not going to hit the bullseye every single time. It’s important to be upfront with your clients about that. In fact, it takes an average of seven touches to for the average sales lead to become viable. Consumers are building up herd immunity to traditional advertising strategies, meaning that agencies need to pivot.

Have these open conversations with your clients, and set expectations that meet the goals of both parties.


I’m Sophie Mann, and I work at encite branding + marketing + creative as Vice President of Strategy. My job entails a continuous study of business, marketing, data and culture, all in the name of driving strategy forward. I’m passionate about helping brands resonate more strongly with their consumers and communicate with their ideal clients. I’m also a proud graduate of the University of Kansas - Rock Chalk!