Campaign set-up vs maintenance: what’s a fair split?

As an industry we are stuck in the ‘set and forget’ mentality. As soon as a campaign goes live, we all quickly pat ourselves on the back and move on to the next campaign, only thinking about the campaign when there is downtime (not often) or the campaign is close to finishing. The reason for this is that often there is no consistent process or methodology behind implementing a continuous learning culture. Unless maintenance/optimisation is ingrained in the people working on the campaign, it really doesn’t happen.

To try and change this mentality (both within the client and internally at the agency), we have recently introduced a 80:20 split with our clients. From their overall campaign budget, 80% is dedicated to the initial set-up of the campaign and 20% is dedicated to the ongoing maintenance/optimisation. Ideally, the split should be 60:40, but until we can prove the benefits, 80:20 is a good start.

What’s included in campaign set-up? Set-up is the initial campaign creation. It’s the awareness generating elements (online advertising, offline advertising, 1-to-1 advertising, social networking) and the engagement elements (microsite, corporate landing pages, stores).

What’s included in campaign maintenance/optimisation? Maintenance/optimisation is any updates made to the campaign after launch. It’s the creative optimisation to the awareness elements (rotation and testing of all executions – online being easier and quicker to test and understand results) and results optimisation to the engagement elements (content structures based on search results – both externally and on the site, creative testing and rotation.

WORD OF WARNING

To make sure this is a success, the following need to be considered:

  1. Owner – there must be an owner within the agency to drive this. The best person to do that is either a Data Director or the Account Director. Equally, there needs to be an owner on the client side. Someone who understands the numbers (ROI, CPA, CPC) and the need for making campaigns a success.
  2. Benchmarks – initially, there must be some targets or benchmarks set. Over time these benchmarks will become more realistic after campaign data has been collected and analysed. During the first campaign period, it is critical to ensure that the benchmarks are revisited and molded to reflect the results.
  3. Consistency – all communications (reports, results) must be delivered in a consistent manner: same time frame, format, benchmarks and structure. This will help the client and agency to understand recommendation, requirements, improvements and work more seamlessly together.
  4. Relevance – any recommendations made within maintenance/optimisation must be relevant to the client and the campaign. The recommendations must also be achievable within the remaining budget.
  5. Budget – to ensure the maintenance/optimisation budget doesn’t disappear to fund additional media or other creative ideas, it must be included in the original estimate and signed off by the client. This ensures that the campaign will be remembered and not just put on the ‘set and forget’ shelf.

SUMMARY

The set-up/maintenance strategy is extremely important, particularly now with the current economic downturn. The best and worst thing about interactive is it’s accountability and we can justify why we recommend doing things and what the direct impact is on our clients results.

Written by Dominique Hind.

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One Response to Campaign set-up vs maintenance: what’s a fair split?

  1. lukejanssen says:

    We go more like 60:40, but ultimately it is about two things:
    1. covering the time that people spend ongoing with that client, and
    2. our hosting and maintenance costs aren’t cheap and so the infrastructure that it all sits on needs to be paid. Not just the co-lo costs, but also the development of the platform that runs the campaign too.

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