Campaign management software helps you automate the manual tasks of planning, launching and measuring the impact of your marketing campaigns.
Modern marketing campaigns often have many moving parts. Campaigns may involve multiple:
- Internal departments (e.g., creative, media, brand, legal).
- External partners (e.g., agencies, media, co-marketing).
Campaign management software helps keep stakeholders organized. Once the campaign is live, these tools help:
- Automate data collection on performance
- Generate insights.
Understanding the role of campaign management software
The biggest benefit of campaign management tools?
All team members working on a marketing campaign must be organized before, during and after launch to be efficient and informed.
The right campaign management tools will improve collaboration and help teams move faster at each campaign stage, from preparing assets before launch to summarizing results after the campaign.
However, no true end-to-end, plug-and-play campaign management tool really exists.
But you can look for best-of-breed solutions that integrate well with existing tools and skill sets to build an ecosystem that meets your campaign management needs.
Key features and capabilities of marketing campaign management software
Marketing teams will benefit from campaign management solutions that help them across the campaign lifecycle of planning, tracking and analyzing.
The more tightly the tools are integrated, either out of the box or through the efforts of developers or marketing operations professionals, the better the experience will be for the marketers who use them.
Adopting several point solutions that cannot share information won’t create the efficiency you’re looking to gain from campaign management tools.
Campaign planning and scheduling
Aligning all the people and assets poses a significant challenge for teams, especially in distributed workforces.
Project management tools from several vendors can be used to track progress, assign work and send notifications. These tools offer automation, integrations and personalization capabilities that allow your team members to use them in a way that fits their work style.
The vendors with tools that will help your team with its campaign planning and scheduling include:
Audience segmentation and targeting tools
Using data and segmentation helps you avoid the inefficiency inherent in spray-and-pray marketing tactics. But you must have detailed audience and tool data to help segment that data into lists.
Many well-known cloud-based marketing tools can build lists based on certain criteria. Many also include the functionality to engage with the list members via email or create campaigns running on other channels (like paid ads) and connect to data sources to import data from those channels.
The vendors that make tools to help with audience segmentation and targeting include:
Content creation and personalization
Many segmentation and targeting vendors also offer personalized marketing outreach. Customer data platform (CDP) vendors also help marketers craft personalized messages.
The combination of data and personalization functionality allows you to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, which is a powerful combination for influencing prospects.
Multi-channel campaign execution
“Marketing cloud” vendors also offer visibility into your campaigns across channels, though it will likely require some work from the tool’s administrator or a marketing operations pro to get this working.
Leadership teams love high-level, holistic views, so the fewer data sources for your team to track down the better. You don’t want your team to spend valuable time collecting data from disparate sources to put in a slide deck for campaign updates and reviews.
Tracking and analytics
You might find that your existing campaign management software can’t work with all the data generated by their campaigns.
If that’s the case, you can pull together reporting tools from vendors like SAS, Tableau, SmartSheet and others to help manage your data and monitor campaign results.
Benefits of campaign management software
It’s difficult to coordinate, optimize and report on your campaigns without campaign management software.
While the exact tools and functionality you need will depend on many factors (i.e., your existing martech stack, your budget and your team), the right combination of tools will increase your efficiency and contribute to better outcomes.
Among the benefits of using campaign management software:
Improved efficiency and productivity
Some tools will help your team automate the often-mundane tasks that are simply part of marketing campaigns (e.g., deadlines, reporting). Other tools will help improve collaboration between the various roles that come together to create a marketing campaign.
Planning a marketing campaign often involves an assembly line that takes ideas from concept to reality and then introduces them to the market across various channels. That requires some job functions, and depending on your organization, possibly several departments.
Campaign management tools that establish deadlines and responsibilities keep the assembly line moving.
Data-driven decision making
Campaign management tools that collect and analyze data are important for quickly identifying how a campaign or portion of a campaign is performing. Having this data readily available allows for optimizations, such as diverting budget from an under-performing channel to an over-performing channel or making adjustments to creative units.
Software that helps analyze data also plays a key role in explaining the outcomes of a campaign to leadership teams that just want to know what they got for their investment in a campaign.
Considerations for choosing the right campaign management software
If you’re like most marketers, you’re trying to navigate lofty business goals, resource shortages and a variety of tools in a martech stack you inherited from someone else.
Licensing costs will play a critical role in investing in any technology. Here are four other criteria you can use to help make sound decisions around campaign management tools.
Scalability and flexibility
Tools that are too rigid and can’t grow with the organization make for poor investments.
Marketing is constantly changing, from the channels to the regulations that govern data collection and use, to new leadership with new ideas. You need to focus on tools designed to withstand these changes.
A constant cycle and ripping and replacing tools will hinder progress toward your goals.
User-friendliness and training
Many marketing teams are filled with people who can do a little bit of everything.
Deploying campaign management software with a steep learning curve delays progress but also creates bottlenecks when only certain people are capable of using it correctly.
Everyone needs training when a new tool is deployed, so make sure the vendor supports it. But the easier tools are to use the better.
Customer support and service
Even with training, your team is likely to hit some snags along the way. Good customer service from your campaign management software vendor can help your team keep moving, share best practices and introduce new features and functionality.
Look for the areas where your team has the most need. Start there.
If your campaign is getting stuck at the same point in the assembly line, then that’s your first area to address.
While software is certainly one way to solve a problem, don’t neglect other opportunities to increase efficiency.
If it’s a problem with people or processes, software alone is unlikely to fix it.