June 2, 2023

Expedition tips for success in seasonal campaigns

How to conquer the distant summit and deliver year-on-year impact

Occasionally as an agency account handler, you get to work in a sector where sales and marketing are highly seasonal – turkeys, Creme Eggs and red roses spring to mind. Here in the healthcare sector, we also have to manage a range of seasonal campaigns, including the yearly push to ensure as many people as possible are protected by the flu jab.

In the UK, every September, two annual sales and marketing cycles kick off, each a year apart. First, flu manufacturers need to take orders for the following years’ flu vaccines, contacting and cajoling thousands of GP practices and pharmacies over the next six months with a high-profile campaign to secure vaccine orders. The vaccines will then be manufactured starting in February of the following year when the World Health Organization (WHO) announces the recommended strains.

In that same month, those manufacturers are also delivering last year’s vaccine orders along with a complimentary flu awareness campaign to encourage behaviour change and engage the at-risk public in the importance of getting vaccinated.

Seasonal campaigns like these offer their unique challenges for any agency or client joining an expedition for the first time. The metaphor of climbing a mountain is appropriate for several reasons.

First, it is a pre-existing obstacle - the challenge it poses has been around for years, and you’ll meet plenty of seasoned climbers familiar with the journey and what lies ahead.

The destination is established and often visible high above, but getting there takes thousands of small steps.

And finally, late in the journey, you’ll raise your head as the clouds clear and suddenly appreciate the great heights you’ve reached.

As a veteran of four such annual campaign cycles, I can offer my own five tips to help your seasonal campaigns run smoothly and deliver high-impact results.

  1. Learn from the experience of others. The first year will inevitably be a steep learning curve if you are joining a team that already knows the terrain ahead. Try to establish where the crevasses lie and the open slopes with the risk of avalanche. It is in everyone’s interest to learn from the mistakes of previous expeditions. In order to do this, we employ a behaviour change model called CHANGE that turns data and learnings into insights you can act on to build the best chance of success

  2. Start your planning early every year. It is tempting in year two to think you are replicating a lot of what has gone before and, therefore, can reduce time. Like mountains, though, the terrain is always shifting, but your weather window to hit your summit may not be.

  3. Stagger engagement with other teams. Much like planning supply replenishment, if you are working with a review team, you will need to plan far in advance the order in which materials are uploaded to meet printing deadlines or media go-live dates. Regularly share and update timelines and make sure you secure time in your review team’s calendars.

  4. Plan to evolve your approach. If you are in competition to reach the top each year, be prepared to explore alternate routes or introduce new technical innovations. Our strategic and creative teams work together to identify compelling truths and evolve them into captivating creative ideas.

  5. Use tools and measurement to generate efficiencies along the way. Data and metrics can help you understand how to make your journey smoother, faster or better next year. Our CHANGE planning model identifies the factors that really matter and how to measure them to maximise results.

As a fully integrated marketing and communications agency that works across pharma, consumer, healthy beauty, and animal health, we have experience taking on many different marketing and comms endeavours.

So whether you are interested in joining a future expedition or have your own metaphorical mountain that you want to climb, please drop us a line.

Join us in making health more human™

If you like how we think, what we offer, and our mission to make health more human™, check out our open roles.

Inizio logo

We are proudly part of Inizio

Inizio is a strategic partner for companies in health and life sciences that connects a full suite of advisory, medical, marketing, communications, and patient and stakeholder engagement services across the lifecycle of a drug.

Learn more