Think Like a Great Architect to Design that Historic Campaign

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July 17, 2012

Marketers wear many hats to design campaigns that earn loyalty, likes, sales, or donations. To start your next project with a zero-based obstacle point of view, think like a great architect. How would Le Corbusier design the rollout? How would Karl Rove remove the competition from the campaign, and how would Julia Morgan (first woman licensed to practice architecture in California) approach the challenge to design a resort complex that would become a movie star destination and national landmark?

For nearly 28 years, Julie Morgan was given all the money, creative leeway, and support she needed to design William Randolph Hearst’s Casa Grande in San Simeon, CA. The finished product is 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways.

Consider the similarities of the planning complexity to some of the multi-channel marketing campaigns you must architect.

Imagine the multi-channel marketing campaign you could create if you had all the time, all the money, and all the creative reign you wanted to make your mark in the world. What would you build and what would its impact be on your company, your career, the world?  Would you go down in marketing history with the same notoriety of Steve Jobs, David Ogilvy, Sir Richard Branson, Seth Godin, or Jack Trout?

“Marketing is not a battle of products, but of perceptions,” says Jack Trout

As a master architect of great buildings, Morgan can teach us much about pulling off the seemingly impossible and delivering on a large scale.

Plan Everything In Advance

When designing a great campaign or castle, plan everything in advance. Don’t put a stake in the ground or purchase a URL until you’ve designed the whole project. This will help you see potential glitches, move pieces around before you become committed to a direction, channel, theme, headline, call to action, or timeline.

Planning everything in advance will insulate and protect your budget from unforeseen blunders. The Hearst Castle cost $4 million dollars to build in the early 1900s. Too many buildings (and marketing projects) go way over budget because of poor planning or poor communications or both.

Optimize Every Square Foot

Though Morgan had hundreds of acres to work with, she designed the estate down to the trim on the baseboards. In the marketing realm, use everything at your disposal by working every channel into the marketing mix. When you time your direct mail to land between correlating emails it can yield double the response rate of email alone and have the best conversion.  And when you time your sales representatives to make contact following a drop, they’ll be much better received.

Make it Personal

Ms. Morgan created intimacy among the grounds, guests, and guest houses by weaving in Hearst’s art collection. You can create intimacy by weaving in personalization, most importantly looking in your database for data points that allow you to create highly customized and personalized messages.

Leave a Legacy with Your Artistry

Ms. Morgan designed a Mediterranean Revival style castle that is reflected in the main house and three guest houses. The towers of the main house, or Casa Grande, take their design from a Spanish cathedral. The estate is now a national park for the State of California with thousands of visitors each year. Are you thinking like an architect when you design your campaigns?

Will your campaign be deleted, acted upon, or game changing in your industry? It’s easy to churn out standard email copy, typical landing pages, and to-be-expected self-mailers, but how are you stretching your skills as an architect to design something unforgettable, undeniable, viral, fruitful, and your legacy?

Build it So It Captivates

Building your campaign with a strong foundation, it sets the groundwork for your next multi-channel masterpiece. The rebar you need to strengthen your foundation, is multiple methods to capture any and all activity such as surveys, contact forms, landing pages, 800 numbers, social share buttons and comment boxes.

Be sure whatever response mechanism you use is monitored and responded to by a team that can act quickly. Also make sure each channel has its own landing page so tracking is pinpoint accurate.

Finally, don’t forget to make your campaign speak directly to your prospects with intelligence, integrity, and interesting copy so they’ll be more apt to open your campaigns when they arrive. It’s easy to get focused on the technical aspects of the digital campaign that the human aspect suffers.

I hope these best practices resonate with you and give you a baseline of where to focus your efforts on your next multichannel campaign. If you’d like more ideas for building a campaign, review the 10 Greatest Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns of All Time. Between this list and the designing of the Hearst Castle, you should have dozens of fresh ideas to leave your thumbprint on your next campaign.

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