10 Great Marketing Campaigns You Can Learn From

Marketing campaigns promote your products and services through different media channels. For example, you might feature a campaign on social media, local radio, neighborhood publications, printed collateral, or even at a trade show. Campaigns aren’t just advertising. They can include in-store or online demonstrations, video conferencing, and other interactive techniques.

If you’re in a highly competitive industry, launching frequent marketing campaigns can elevate awareness of your brand and positively impact revenue.

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Marketing campaign goals

Successful marketing campaigns help brands big and small meet their goals. Here are goals you might have when planning your marketing activities and budget:

  • Increase lead quality
  • Shorten the sales cycle
  • Increase customer lifetime value
  • Reduce percentage of lost deals or sales
  • Improve awareness and demand for new products
  • Engage the audience
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Garner positive reviews

Examples of successful marketing campaigns

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Anheuser-Busch

Many companies pivoted to help fight the coronavirus during the pandemic. Anheuser-Busch made the announcement via Twitter. A company spokesman explains, “We are using our supply and logistics network to produce and distribute bottles of hand sanitizer to our internal teams and, with the help and direction of the American Red Cross, to the communities where it’s needed most.”

Campaign takeaway

Anheuser-Busch was one of the first U.S. companies to successfully produce a new product in the wake of the 2020 pandemic. Speed is important these days with brands able to launch a campaign online in minutes. Of course, solidifying their brand as one of the “good guys” was a factor in this campaign. The bottles of hand sanitizer are branded and enforce the good deed that can really make a difference

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Chick-fil-A

By now, parents are probably pretty worn out trying to keep kids busy. Chick-fil-A has stepped up to offer kids an at-home musical project.

The popular fast-food chain has created a virtual band to help kids from kindergarten through 12th grade “#BandTogether” as they continue to stay home. The campaign encourages kids to help create a rendition of “Rockin’ Robin” to be shared across its social accounts and elsewhere. Note that parents can’t step back completely. They needed to film the kid’s performance, fill out a talent release form, and email the entry in by a deadline, keeping the dinner decision makers involved.

Campaign takeaway

Addressing the biggest world-wide pandemic in modern times and offering some wholesome relief is a good way to keep your company top-of-mind. In addition to providing some fun for families sheltering in place, Chick-fil-A’s campaign will remind consumers that their drive-thru and take out business is still operating.

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Aflac

Insurance isn’t exactly the sexiest service to promote. However, the long-running Aflac duck campaign is one example of a campaign that significantly raised brand recognition. On January 1, 2000, Americans got their first glimpse of a new, innovative marketing campaign for a little-known supplemental insurance company in Georgia. When a little white duck with a lot of personality stormed upon the scene, Aflac made advertising history and became an international sensation. Since then, the Aflac Duck has appeared in more than 75 commercials. The company's brand-recognition rate was just 12% when it launched the campaign in 2000, and more than a decade of advertising boosted recognition to 90%.

Campaign takeaway

Using a mascot was a brilliant move. Once you get viewer’s attention, you can share the message of your brand.

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Old Spice

Thanks to witty marketing campaigns (and hunky spokespersons) Old Spice has become a top men’s personal care brand. The company greatly impacted user engagement when they gave Instagram followers the opportunity to win prizes. The hook was creative: Post photos of your exercise routes in the shape of prizes you want to win.

Campaign takeaway

The Old Spice television ad campaigns are already successful, the brand needed to engage younger consumers who have pulled the plug on traditional television. Leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube was a great move. The Dream Runner social media marketing campaign was creative and effective.

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IHOP

IHOP pulled off a prank on consumers that worked big time. They claimed a name change from International House of Pancakes (the widely recognized IHOP) to International House of Burgers (IHOB). The announcement went viral and performed better than any other fast food restaurant. The goal was to introduce a new range of burgers with this simple logo change. Ultimately, the campaign quadrupled its sales.

Campaign takeaway

Initially, people belittled, questioned, and snickered at IHOP's IHOB stunt on social media. But the restaurant had a clear objective in mind and met their overall goals.

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Go Pro/Red Bull

GoPro doesn't just advertise cameras, and Red Bull doesn't just distribute energy drinks. Instead, they are established as lifestyle brands, representing adventures performed by the fearless.

The partnership between the two was announced in 2016. GoPro equips athletes and adventurers from around the world with the tools and funding to capture things like races, stunts, and action sport events on video -- from the athlete's perspective. At the same time, Red Bull uses its experience and reputation to run and sponsor these events.

Campaign takeaway

Finding the right marketing partner is important but if you get it right, the payoff can be huge. Make sure you’re aligned on your goals.

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Birchbox

Founded in New York City in 2010, Birchbox is now valued at more than $485 million. Subscribers, reported to be 1 million plus, receive a box of premium beauty-related items, from lipstick and skincare for women to socks and earbuds for men. Growth can be attributed to content like multiple daily blog posts on topics like makeup application, box sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes office happenings. Birchbox shares videos on their blogs and social media platforms, and encourages subscribers to post pictures of their boxes and tag them #birchbox for a retweet or regram.

Campaign takeaways

A great product is a good start but content marketing can take your business to the next level. Be sure you’ve got an authority writing for you and that topics are tailored to the audience you want to reach.

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Dollar Shave Club

Shaving is boring, right? Well Dollar Shave Club’s legendary launch video let viewers know that they aren’t just another razor distributor. They’ve continued to use YouTube to share humorous content like “Is It Bad to Pluck Nose Hairs with My Fingers?” and “Do I Really Need to Wash My Hands After I Pee?”

Today, Dollar Shave Club has over a million subscribers and its promotional video has been viewed over 26 million times. Recently acquired for $1 billion by Unilever, the Dollar Shave Club has kept its humorous voice and tone across all social media platforms.

See the Dollar Shave Club launch video.

Campaign takeaways

A high-impact marketing campaign isn’t just for established businesses. If you have a great hook and a product that fulfills a market need, your launch can put you on the right track and establish your brand.

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Mint

Personal financial management company Mint was launched in 2006 to help consumers track spending. The company was acquired by Intuit for $170 million. Their blog, Mint Life, played a big part in the company’s growth and insiders confirm that the overall plan was “Whatever we can do, basically, for cheap or for free.”

The blog covers finance topics and has special features like “Trainwreck Tuesday” featuring personal finance disasters – and readers could submit their own. Another popular feature was “What’s in your Wallet” - interviews with experts regarding their own personal relationships to finances.

Campaign takeaways

Mint promoted its product as simple to use and supported that claim with strong content marketing. The founder did extensive research and focus groups to determine the best promotional avenue.

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Milk Handmade

Milk Handmade is a women’s boutique that specializes in ethically and sustainably produced goods from independent designers. Most of the clothing and accessories in the shop are made locally in Chicago.

Milk Handmade planned a sale that allowed email subscribers to take 50 percent off everything on the sale rack. When they came into the store they had to mention that they were there for the Secret Sale, and then they would be rewarded with an exclusive discount. The email short and simple featuring one photo.

Campaign takeaway

The goal of the campaign was 2-fold – it rewarded loyal customers along with infrequent customers who subscribed to Milk’s email list. The campaign successfully upped inventory sells, helping the store prepare for the upcoming season.

Additional resources

If you’re planning marketing programs, the SmartBiz Small Business Blog has plenty of resources to help. Check out these articles for great ideas and actionable strategies.

Be sure to check out our blog regularly for updated content about lending, credit, employee management, finance management, and more.

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