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How To Set Up A Marketing Campaign

Marketing campaigns can span months, years, and dozens of tasks and activities. Here's one example of how a marketing team can use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to plan, run, and track its campaigns from start to finish.

A new product launches
Benjamin is the marketing manager for Adventure Works, a company that designs and manufactures a wide range of bicycles. Ben's company is launching a new, affordable bicycle – the AW1234 – targeted at urban and suburban commuters. To support the launch of this bike, Ben and his manager Julia want a comprehensive marketing campaign with collateral for mailings, print media advertising, and sponsorship of a local event. They also want to make sure they can keep track of everything in one place.

Plan for success
It's January, and the launch of the AW1234 bike is about six months away, at the beginning of summer. Well-rested from the holiday season, Ben begins identifying the planning tasks he and his team will need to perform in order to develop a successful marketing campaign.

Ben starts Microsoft Dynamics CRM and creates a new campaign. In the Marketing area of the application, he clicks Campaigns, and then he clicks New. Ben names his campaign and gives it a status of Proposed for now. With the bicycle's product launch scheduled to coincide with the beginning of summer, Ben sets the start date for the campaign to March 21 and the end date to September 21 – he wants the campaign to coincide with the peak outdoor season in his region.

Tip: For step-by-step instructions on the options available when you set up a basic campaign, first click New on the Actions toolbar in the Campaign area. Click Help on This Page on the Help menu. In the Help Pane, click Create or edit a campaign.

After saving the basic campaign, Ben can begin adding his planning tasks and campaign activities.

Planning tasks
Planning tasks are Microsoft Dynamics CRM tasks associated with a specific campaign. For the collateral, advertising, and events that are part of this campaign, Ben and Julia have identified the following planning tasks:

  • Identify collateral pieces to be created.
  • Identify advertising channels and supporting materials.
  • Contact media channels to reserve time or space for advertising.
  • Contact local charity to confirm annual sponsorship of 25-kilometer charity bike race.
  • Review and approve collateral and advertising.

Campaign activities
Campaign activities are similar to tasks, but include additional, campaign-specific information, such as budgets and vendor names. Ben has identified the following early campaign activities:

  • Create or refine target marketing lists.
  • Contact design agency to request creation of collateral pieces and advertising materials.

Ben will add additional campaign activities as he and his team mark these initial tasks and activities as completed in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. As he creates his tasks, Ben delegates some tasks by assigning them to other members of his organization. For example, he asks Adventure Works' PR representative to contact the charity, and Julia will approve the collateral pieces, as she requested.

For step-by-step instructions on creating new tasks, first click Planning Tasks in your campaign and click New. On the Help menu, click Help on This Page. In the Help Pane, click Create or edit an activity.

Tip: For step-by-step instructions on creating campaign activities, click Campaign Activities, click New, and then click Help on This Page on the Help menu. In the Help Pane, click Add a campaign activity to a campaign or campaign template.

An important early campaign activity is to create or refine the marketing lists that each piece of collateral and advertising will support. In the Marketing area, Ben clicks Marketing Lists, reviews the existing lists to see how they might be reused for this campaign, and concludes that no new lists are necessary – he'll just use his “All Retailers,” “All Local Customers – E-mail,” and “Repeat Customers” lists for now. (Ben knows he'll need to create a new list to manage follow-up responses to the campaign, but he can do that later, after the campaign has begun.)

Note: For an introduction to creating and refining good marketing lists, see
Leverage marketing lists across your team.

Implement the plan
As Ben and his team complete each planning task and campaign activity, the campaign begins to take shape. Ben and Julia can use the Campaign Performance report to track the progress and completion status of tasks and activities in Ben's campaign. Later in the process, Ben can take advantage of additional information the report provides, including all the dates, targets, definitions, responses, and financial returns from the campaign.

After six weeks, Adventure Works has worked with the design agency to create a range of collateral and advertising items to support the campaign:

  • Brochures for retailers
  • Postcards for existing customers
  • Two-page ad for the free weekly newspaper available at bus stops
  • Branded water bottle labels for the charity bike race
  • Multi-purpose banners for conventions, the bike race, and other events
  • Booth design for events
  • Posters for “guerilla” urban marketing

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Ben adds each of these items as sales literature. In the Sales area, Ben clicks Sales Literature, and then clicks New. Ben can identify himself as the employee contact for the materials, and he can specify an expiration date to make sure the collateral isn't used after the end of the campaign.

Tip: For step-by-step instructions on creating sales literature, in the Sales Literature area, click Help on This Page on the Help menu.

Adventure Works has also partnered with a local charity to sponsor an annual 25-km bike race in the city. The event requires banners, a booth setup, and giveaway items such as co-branded bottled water, postcards, brochures, and a two-page newspaper ad in glossy poster form. After the event is over, Nancy, the sales manager for Adventure Works, and her sales team will follow up on the phone with people who signed up to receive more information.

The campaign heats up
Summer is just around the corner. With many of the planning tasks complete and some campaign activities well underway, Ben can begin creating and scheduling core campaign activities. Based on the work he's done so far, Ben wants to create the following campaign activities:

  • Send boxes of brochures to retailers using the “All Retailers” marketing list in a mail merge in Microsoft Office Word.
  • Send postcards announcing the new product to the “Repeat Customers” marketing list.
  • Send an e-mail blast about the 25-km charity bike race to all local customers.
  • Send the two-page ad to the newspaper.
  • Hire college students to plaster posters in high-traffic areas downtown.
  • Attend the charity bike race (with booth, banner, water bottles, posters, and other collateral).
  • Follow up by phone with leads generated at the event

Note: Campaign activities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM include a Type list you can use to distinguish between many of these activities. For example, Ben can categorize his brochure and postcard mailings as “Content Distribution” and telephone calls after the event as “Direct Follow-Up Contact.”

Ben can also create a Microsoft Office Excel worksheet of all the leads generated from the event and then import the list into Microsoft Dynamics CRM using the Import Data Wizard. To start the Import Data Wizard, on the Tools menu, click Import Data, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Track progress and measure success
On the first day of summer, AW1234 bikes arrive in bicycle shops throughout the region. The campaign has been underway for three months already, and the salespeople say that interest is high. They've begun sending out follow-up communications to leads using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and some leads are being converted to accounts. The salespeople may be happy with how busy they are, but how are things really going? What tools do Ben and his team have to validate what's being said by the sales team?

Even though the launch is out of the way now, Ben has three more months of tasks and activities planned after the AW1234 hits the streets to track and manage the marketing campaign. For example, Ben and Julia need to crunch some numbers. In addition to the Campaign Performance report described earlier, at each stage of the campaign, Ben has other reports he can use to track progress and measure success:

The Campaign Activity Status report displays a summary for one campaign, including planned and actual time parameters, parent campaign details, and definition status.

The Campaign Comparison report identifies Adventure Works' most and least successful campaigns. The report compares two campaigns based on parameters such as cost effectiveness and number of responses.

Note: For step-by-step instructions on working with reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in the Workplace area, click Reports, and then click Help on This Page on the Help menu.

Wrap it up
By September, the AW1234 launch campaign is winding down. Sales continue to be strong. With a successful campaign using Microsoft Dynamics CRM under his belt, Ben looks forward to the holiday season campaign with confidence.


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