Traditionally, PR and marketing was all about the long haul. Everyone wanted retained campaigns running over at least three months, or ideally much longer. For many clients this is still the case, but developments in media and technology have made short term, activity-heavy campaigns – referred to in the industry as ‘Burst Campaigns’ – a genuine contender.
The concept of the Burst Campaign is very simple. Instead of a long-term commitment, the client commits to a high spend on a high-profile campaign that may only last a few days or weeks. It is usually focused on a specific hook like a product launch or calendar date, such as Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day or Halloween. By focusing assets and spend like this, the idea is that you will reach out to more people than a less high-profile, longer-term campaign.
Of course, the idea of a Burst Campaign is nothing new. Leading brands have always focused their spend around key dates, with Christmas being the most obvious, but the emergence of online marketing has made them a much more effective option. By combining traditional advertising and PR with social media, mobile apps, blogs and other web-based promotional channels, this type of campaign can reach more people and deliver enhanced ROI.
This type of campaign has to be done right in order to deliver long-term benefits. You only have one chance to hook the customers and reel them in before their attention moves onto something else, plus there is then the challenge of getting them to come back once your marketing spend has gone down. The way to address this is by ensuring you secure details from as many customers as possible so that you can follow up the lead and maintain contact, something that is easier for online operators, but possible for all businesses if you get it right.
For most businesses, a middle way is probably the most effective solution. Spread your spend across the year, but focus greater emphasis on key dates or seasons relevant to your business. Work closely with your marketing team or consultancy to review outcomes at regular intervals and be ready to adjust your strategy accordingly. As with all successful marketing campaigns, flexibility and the ability to move quickly are key factors for success.