You know how it goes: “how’s campaign A performing?” “What’s campaign B’s ROI”? “How many Oppties came from campaign C”? Like, a day after it launched. 

“Campaign” as a marketing concept is used rather broadly usually – everything seems to be a campaign: a seasonal message to an account-based audience, an event, even a single, free webinar or an ebook.   

I like to think of campaigns (in a B2B, SaaS sense) as the combination of different audiences & channels. Let’s break it down, and start with the most obvious one: 

Display Retargeting

Channels: GDN (&/or any other DSP incl. AMB platforms), LinkedIn, Facebook

You’re in the middle of digital marketing: Audiences can be further broken down based on cookies (let’s see how that will continue in 2023… thanks “cookie-less internet”). Obvious breakdown (because you can use different bids & messaging): 

  • 1st Party: key pages (Demo, Pricing, Sign up, etc.)
  • 1st Party: Paid Advertising. Coming in from certain SEM and/or paid social campaigns
  • 1st party: “other” intent. Pretty much everything else, but you may want to omit your customers (e.g. logging in via the home page!). Obvious filters include product/solution pages, case studies, integrations etc. as well as long duration and high number of page views/session. 
  • 3rd Party: G2, Trustpilot & e.g. Bombora. 6Sense, Demandbase, Zoominfo & co have similar “topical intent” data for sale. Requires an initial investment & data management! 
  • ABM: enabled by certain vendors, they offer a DSP (Demand Side Platform) connected to an ad exchange to show banners to certain IPs (based on your account lists). 

Messaging should align to this. The best audience for “demo ads” (every CEO wants). Account score can come into the picture. Ideally you make sure to mutually exclude audiences even though at least LinkedIn claims to NOT cannibalize audiences that are targeted in parallel (they just use the ads with the higher bids).  

Going forward, i follow the demand gen funnel/flywheel – this makes sure any campaign is aligned with the CRM. This will also unlock advanced tracking: no longer are you limited to “Pipeline Generated” and attribution wars. But the Marketing Attribution topic is obviously its own blog.

Success can also be seen in the progression of the accounts, any touches are recorded and can be viewed over time (make sure to implement a date property for that!). So here we go: 

Target Accounts

Channels: LinkedIn, ABM platforms, Lead Gen & Sales Engagement

The obvious perfect-fit ICP (ideal customer profile): load your CRM with the customers you would like to have. You see what works from your current customers: talk with them, sales, CS: why are they here, how are they using the product. 

Prospect “similar” companies. There’s a ton of ways to do that – another blog! 

“TOFU” messaging, e.g. based on pain points/use case per industry, per country etc. 

KPI: This is a harder one for data-driven marketers chasing an elusive ROI right down to each ad! This campaign is about driving traffic to the website, the right traffic (i.e. from the right accounts & personas – LinkedIn targeting!). Following that, I’d look at CPM/QS (Quality Score) as well as identified companies on the website next to probably more expensive conversions.
And of course progression through the pre-sales funnel & a general uplift from e.g. Demo requests from the “direct” channel from these. 

Aware Accounts

Channels: LinkedIn, ABM platforms, Lead Gen & Sales Engagement

Somewhat similar to Target Accounts, but these already know about your company! Or at least… should, looking at e.g. (behavioral) account scores, sales activity & manual input. 

“MOFU” messaging, can assume they “know you”. 

KPI: clicks, engagement and conversions as well as “demo booked” rate and “time to demo” (needs a more elaborate setup to measure the pre-sales funnel). See why alignment with the CRM is so important? 

Deal acceleration 

Channels: LinkedIn, ABM platforms

Sales and Marketing are on the same team: reps have always appreciated the help marketing could provide with their most crucial deals. A case for 1:1 ads, and Usergems’ LinkedIn is a great resource for examples. Or this:

Ideally, these can have 1:1 messaging. Doesn’t scale too well, but can help get those crucial deals over the line!: 

KPI: “Time spent in Stage: all sales stages from Opportunity right up to won”and “Close (won) Rate”. Don’t do all Companies, but a random sample to be able to prove success. Will need a reasonable sample size and time to run.
OR use anecdotal evidence – ask the sales team for help, they talk to the prospect!

Customer campaigns 

Channels: LinkedIn, ABM platforms

  • Up-/Cross-sells:
    Audience ideally needs to be defined by software usage and/os Client Success giving pointers. Product adoption, usage, ACV vs. size/potential etc. 
  • Renewal / churn prevention: 
    This campaign is relying on data: e.g. NPS scores and renewal date being accurate and actionable in the CRM. 

Search Engine Advertising 

Channels: Google, Bing

  • Brand campaigns. A no-brainer (and a solid source of “Sourced” oppties…)!
  • Product offering keywords: everything around your use cases, solutions and pain points you solve. Could be further distinguished for different product lines for example.
  • Competitors: a no-brainer to get visibility in an audience you know has bought a solution similar to yours already! What’s not to like. Beware: poor QS incoming, make sure to have killer landing pages. 
  • (Search) retargeting: a bit like the above, but a lot broader: afraid about targeting beasts like “Marketing Automation” for example (& going up against the likes of Salesforce, Hubspot & Co.)? Don’t do it – only do it with retargeting lists applied!

What about “one-off” campaigns, events, content?

You get this all the time: the team is going to events, doing webinars or launching a new product to name but a few. So are these campaigns in their own right?
I like to ask a simple question following that: Do they cater to/create a new audience (incl. a new persona) and/or open a new channel?
The answer also answers the “is this a new campaign” question.  If tit doesn’t target a different audience or enables a new channel (e.g. direct mail), it’s not a “campaign”.

Now of course you get questions from leadership like “How did Event A go?” or “What’s the ROI of Webinar B?”. I discuss the setup in a different blog – it’s a bit more involved, but entirely possible (outside of a “simple” SFDC campaign anyway). 

I see all these – yes, even new products if they don’t cater to a new audience – as different/new messaging. It’s for the same audience. You don’t run an “Event A” campaign – you run “Event A”, Accounts frm across the lifecycle stages will come in. Event B might be your own – you run it against your open Opportunities & of course Customers. Much like content assets, these help your audiences to convert as well as find new interested accounts.

It might also help to think about campaigns as “buckets of money”. Setup in the respective platforms is built around it. As is tracking & reporting, so you can show ROI.  
But as these questions are still coming up, you need to have an answer. It will need to get tracked as well. I’ve always been referring to them as “Assets” – they exist alongside “Campaigns” (a.k.a. Lead Sources).  

Less is more – it’s in the details

I like to think great marketing isn’t defined by the sheer number of “campaigns”: more isn’t better – …better is better. Within that framework, you can now focus on what really counts: making each ad as relevant as possible for the persona and channel. Obvious tactics:  

Refine by persona!

Obvious ones incl. by Job Title / Department (Marketing, Sales, CS etc.)

  • By Seniority
  • By country/territory/language

Run “integrated” campaigns

all that means is that Sales & Marketing need to attack the SAME audiences simultaneously: ads need to go out in parallel with (coold) outreach from business development for example. Almost famously called “Marketing & Sales alignment” – it starts with selecting the right Target Accounts, but definitely doesn’t end there. 
Unifying themes can help, say “Industry A” Q1. Or seasonal topics – a “Summer” messaging or “Holiday” ads come to mind. Replacing/complementing the general persona/lifecycle stage copy that’s out there all the time.

Continuously optimize messaging (content)

there’s 3 broad options here for each audience:

  • One-to-many – Smaller Accounts, Target Accounts
  • One-to-few – Medium Accounts, Awareness stage
  • One-to-one – Key Accounts. They need to be defined by sales & marketing, e.g. of a certain size (“Tier 1”), of high importance (strong brand, perfect fit, showcase customer). 

Audience size for LinkedIn: 300

Overview Table – Audiences & Channels:

(min. 300)
ABM PlatformsDisplay
(GDN, FB, PA etc.)
Lead GenSEM

Target Accountsx


Aware Accountsx


Deal accelerationx

Customer campaignsx


Search Engine Advertising


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