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If you only run 1-2 marketing campaigns out of your entire marketing automation system, you can stop reading, this isn’t for you. If, however, you run tens to hundreds of campaigns for your organization – keep reading!

Ever feel like your marketing campaigns are one huge traffic jam? How do your customers and prospects flow in and out of your campaigns without getting overwhelmed? How do you really send the right message to the right audience at the right time?

These questions have been boggling marketing automation users for years, mainly because no technology platform provides a true, single view into your ecosystem of campaigns. While we still are waiting for a platform to be able to show us our ecosystem of campaigns and how leads flow in and out of them, we can strategically create a master plan to control the customer experience through our programs and campaigns.

I’d like to introduce you to the concept of a master engagement architecture:

A Master Engagement Architecture (MEA) is an operationally strategic map of how a company plans to engage their various audiences across integrated tactics to meet their marketing objectives, per their go-to-market strategy. It defines what audiences will be communicated with uniquely vs. collectively and how the company will engage with them in various channels along the buying journey.

Step 1: Identify Your Objectives

In my years of working with marketers, I’ve never met a marketer who didn’t have enough to do – why? Too many objectives to meet. This step is all about prioritizing your objectives from a business perspective and from a marketing perspective. Focusing on what really matters helps guide your foundation for a master engagement architecture. In the Master Engagement Architecture 101 series, we identify all key questions needed to narrow your focus

Step 2: Identify Programs by Persona and Buying Stage

Objectives help you focus, but we know that true campaign success comes from customer centricity. Your campaigns should be driven by your defined buyer personas and their buying journey. What are your personas doing at every stage of the buying journey? Are they involved in every step? We have a grid exercise to help you align your core campaigns to your prospects and customers. You’ll list out a ton of campaigns in this step, don’t let that overwhelm you!

Step 3: Identify Operational Programs

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Every campaign ecosystem needs operational programs. These are sets of campaigns that serve an operational purpose such as securing a double-opt-in, welcoming leads that have just entered your database and obtaining your lead’s preferences. You may also have some discovery campaigns to help identify the persona and the buying stage of your leads. Without this information, your leads may get lost or sent a message that doesn’t resonate with them. Develop your digital relationship the right way by setting an expectation as to how you will interact with your leads.

Step 4: Identify and Prioritize all Campaigns

By now, you’ve probably identified a ton of campaigns. I’ve had clients who have identified upwards of 200! In this stage, we will cull down this list by ranking the viability and business impact of a campaign. You may have a campaign that is super easy to develop but has little to no business impact based on your stated objectives. You may also have a campaign that tackles your hairiest objective but may take months to develop content for. This step may feel like an intense negotiation, but remember, all of these campaigns will eventually be created. You’re only figuring out which to build in the first phase.

Step 5: Create Messaging and Identify Content Per Campaign

In keeping with our mantra of being customer-centric, this stage begins the messaging for each and every campaign. Each touch of your message map should include three elements to truly be customer-centric. The first should be the pain point as stated by the customer – get inside their head! The second is your organization’s response to this pain, your main message. Finally, for every message you provide, you need to back it up with proof. This proof is typically in the form of a content marketing piece to engage and establish trust with your customer. Content that is developed along the buying journey will engage your customers the fastest.

Step 6: Create a Campaign Development Calendar

Our final step may feel familiar. Campaign calendars are nothing new to marketers. What is new, however, is how you think about them. What are the steps needed to develop and optimize a campaign? How do you estimate development such that you are being realistic AND you can achieve your stated objectives? Strategic planning and priorities listed from steps 1 and 4 will help you develop your calendar. In step 5, you identified all the content needed for your campaigns which will help you figure out which campaigns need longer development time and which campaigns have content that is ready to go. Remember, your master engagement architecture is a system of campaigns that will be built over time. It can take a year or 2 to install the evergreen campaigns of your master engagement architecture. Be strategic in your development plan and calendar, but also remember that your first phase isn’t the last phase of planning!

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