Marvin - Pervorm

Author: Marvin Duval

Date: March 2018

The overall mindset I want you to have before sinking your teeth in this article is; Be curious about all the stakeholders. The client. The media agency. Perhaps the research agency and CRM department (should they be involved in this effort). All of them have extremely valuable information to make your digital content plan a success. Get to know everyone and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. What is each individual’s goal in this campaign and how can their goals contribute to yours and the overall campaign objective? So… How do you create a digital content plan that will definitely impress your client?

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Know the overall objective of the campaign

Nothing annoys a client more than to see the first 3 slides of a presentation deck realizing it’s not in sync with the overall campaign objective. Therefore, while you’re sitting there all smug and proud of how brilliantly creative your content plan is, your client gets that annoying look on her face and says “Wait a minute, guys. Why isn’t this on brief?”. I cannot stress this enough. The overall objective is sacred. All your campaign deliverables need to collectively work towards achieving that overall objective. Your client is deeply, emotionally invested in this. Why?  Because your client more often than not has a boss just like you do. That boss and your client have agreed on the client’s KPI’s. Just like you do. And those KPI’s form the foundation of the objective formulated in your brief. Deviate from that and your client will get a bad performance review. Fast forward 5 months later and you’re wondering why you have to pitch for the account along with 2 other agencies. Therefore, make it a habit to listen. Take notes. Ask questions. Don’t do silly things such as going off brief. If you have a problem with the brief, then you should’ve asked the questions before you started working on it. That’s what those kick-off meetings and debriefs are for.
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Gather an ample amount of audience insights

Awesome creative ideas and content plans are usually built on the right information. Since we’re in the business of communication, your plan’s purpose is to have the brand engage with a particular audience. Therefore, the right information needed to have a successful content plan needs to incorporate the right audience insights. To gather these audience insights, you have to tap into the right sources:

  • The client’s CRM department or agency (provides insight into its current customers)
  • The client’s sales/e-com department (provides insight into the audience’s purchasing behavior)
  • The research agency (provides information from focus groups)

The digital media agency (provides insight into digital behavior such as from search, social or browsing behavior)

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Incorporate channels and deliverables that are relevant to the overall objective, the target audience and your creative concept

In order to do this, you need to have full knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of your digital channels and its deliverables. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which channels have a good representation of your audience?
  • Which owned or paid formats are instrumental to your creative concept and the overall campaign objective?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each ad format?

For example; a 6 second Youtube bumper ad, even though extremely short in duration, is a very affordable tool to reach a large amount of people. A Facebook canvas ad, even though labor intensive when it comes to creative production, is a very useful format in order to get your audience to digest more in depth, detailed information of a product. To be able to understand which channels and formats will contribute the most to your plan, you need to have a good relationship with your digital media agency. Or more specific; the digital media channel experts.

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Know the overall objective of the campaign

Clients like agencies that under-promise and over-deliver. So instead of just creating a kickass content plan that is in sync with the overall objective, why not go the extra mile and create one that can generate valuable learnings and best practices? For some ad-formats it is possible to split the audience into two and showcase two versions of an ad. This unlocks the ability to perform a simple A-B test that can provide a valuable learning on which further optimization is possible.

Example of an image A-B test:

May provide insight into wether or not your audience has a gender preference.

Example of a copy A-B test:

Provides insight into how to best phrase an offer in order to achieve sales.

Here’s a summary of what you can test in the digital channels:

  • Image testing (Testing colors, day vs night, male vs female etc)
  • Copy testing (Such as testing the tone of voice)
  • Proposition testing (Testing different incentives and discounts)
  • Ad format testing (Which ad format performs best on your objective?)
  • Long video versus short video (Will your audience actually digest your full-length video?)
  • Ad sequencing (What is the best sequence of a series of ads your audience needs to view to achieve the desired result?)

And much, much more.

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Don’t create a content plan. Create a content system

By following the previous 4 steps, you will be able to not just create a good content plan. You will be able to develop a comprehensive, sophisticated content system of which all deliverables will contribute to the overall objective as well as produce valuable learnings and optimizations.

I have taken the liberty to illustrate the difference of a standard digital content plan versus a more sophisticated digital content system:

Standard content plan:

More sophisticated content system:

So, there you have it! My 5 Steps that will enable you to create a digital content plan guaranteed to impress your client! I am a strong advocate of trying to encourage creative agencies to seek out and work together with various other agencies and experts within the digital marketing ecosystem. I’m hoping the information I shared will give you the inspiration to seek out collaborations that will enrich your content plan with perhaps award winning innovations! Feel free to contact us for more information!

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Pervormers who worked on this case:

Marvin Duvall

Sr. Art Director

Bart Bloemsma

Sr. Marketing Consultant

Cesar Swart

Social Consultant