All too often a brand will launch a new product or service that flops because of a poorly thought through marketing campaign – so here are 8 tips for a successful marketing campaign.

Be crystal clear in your objectives

The key to any successful campaign is having a clear goal – what are we trying to achieve with this campaign? By setting clear objectives you are allowing yourself to measure the success of your campaign. A recent example is Coke’s One Brand campaign in the UK. Coke is attempting to consolidate its four separate beverages under one global brand as it battles both declining sales and widespread ignorance about its low calorie drinks.

Try and only do one, or at the very most two, things Strategy is all about sacrifice – be ruthless in what you can’t do.

The best campaigns drive home a homogenous and unambiguous message. Becoming bogged down trying multiple strategies at once is a surefire way to reduce the overall effectiveness of your campaign. For smaller businesses it’s important to find a message that your business believes in. If you can nail this it will help rally your whole company behind the campaign.

Make sure the campaign has impact – if people don’t notice it, you’re wasting money

All campaigns need to turn heads, some take this further than others.Protein World’s “Are you beach body ready?” ads on the London Underground elicited a barrage of complaints over ‘body shaming’ but Protein World’s CEO, Arjun Seth, stuck with the campaign and their sales tripled.

While stirring up controversy is perhaps not the best way to create an effective ad campaign, all campaigns should be profound in their own way. Using campaigns that play upon people’s emotions is a proven way to increase their reach as people are far more likely to talk about stories that have emotional pull – simple things like worthwhile charitable causes are ideal for small businesses to throw their weight behind.

Make sure it communicates your message

While this sounds simple, in many cases marketing campaigns have failed to get across to people what they’re selling or promoting. With the whole spectrum of digital and physical media at their disposal, campaigns must be intelligent in how they transmit their message in order to reach their target demographic.

For companies that can’t afford large set piece marketing campaigns, networks like Instagram or Snapchat are a perfect way to directly convey effective campaigns that would cost a fraction of the one noted above –Good Greens health foods built its brand from nothing using only networking from friendly local bloggers. Comarketing with similar firms is another effective means of raising brand profile.

Make sure it persuades people of what you want them to do

For most brands this is a simple case of promote a product in order to increase sales. It can be difficult to strike the right balance between promotion and audiences feeling like they’re having a product pushed on them. The ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ viral campaign or Save the Children’s ‘If London were Syria’ ads both engaged audiences effectively but in completely different ways.

Many companies were able to raise their own reputation and profile by participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge in creative ways, and it is important for all businesses to keep a close eye on internet trends to stay ahead of the game.

Make it funny

Humour is also crucial for smaller businesses. Lacking the reach of larger companies, humorous and original videos and pictures are one of the best ways to get people interested in your brand in the first place – look at howDollarShaveClub spent $4500 on an ad that got more than 20 million Youtube views and propelled them to instant success.

The most successful marketing campaigns in recent years have been humorous on some level. One way to do so is by joining in with pre-existing hashtags or other social media campaigns and brand awareness will follow naturally – Snickers taking advantage of Jeremy Clarkson’s fracas last year for example.

Execution – campaigns are 1% strategy, 99% execution

While a sound overall strategy is always the basis of a solid campaign, it is the detail that wins the day. Many a campaign has fallen flat because of a gaffe that was overlooked or because of technical glitches. In the days of mass digital literacy, it is seen as inexcusable for brands to bungle using social media platforms. Sony’s ‘Black vs. White’ PSP ad campaign back in 2006 quickly descended into ridicule and condemnation over racial overtones which should have been obvious when designing the campaign.

Adapt as you go

Large companies often have trouble adjusting the direction of their campaign owing to their sheer complexity and size, and will often abandon a campaign if it proves to be too much of a disaster. By contrast in a smaller business it is easier to pick up and adjust any marketing drives, allowing more fluid campaigns that can change as frequently as the company can assign someone to manage their Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat account or their website.

Even internet advertising and sponsorship is far more flexible than the multi-million pound campaigns of larger firms and can be changed to keep track of current social media trends. If a campaign is proving successful you can quickly reinforce it; if it is having little impact, you can quickly alter or pull it altogether.