What it means

A marketing communications campaign is a strategic mix of paid, owned, and earned media efforts combined with partnerships, promotions, or grassroots initiatives calibrated to meet objectives such as expanding audiences, building awareness, growing earned and contributed revenue, or supporting raising capital.

How it’s used

Aligned with goals and budget, the marketing communications campaign can range from a full multimedia suite of owned (e.g., email, social, and website with built-in audiences), paid (e.g., advertising to reach current and new audiences), and earned (e.g., publicity) media channels coupled with promotions, which are especially effective for launching new exhibitions or brand awareness initiatives.

A micro-campaign consisting of only digital marketing communication efforts is typically used for driving audiences to museum programs or motivating redemptions for special promotions.

Integrating partnerships and grassroots efforts to the campaign mix is especially important for goals that include engaging non-traditional museum audiences and communities. These relationships are built on trust—something that paid, owned, and earned media efforts alone cannot cultivate without listening to and partnering with the community.

It’s essential to measure a campaign’s success during implementation, to gauge performance and deploy responsive measures as needed, as well as post-implementation to determine if KPIs (key performance indicators) of goals have been met.

Why it matters

Campaigns break through the clutter of too much information and a fragmented media landscape by providing consistent messaging and imagery that touches the audience in multiple contexts to strengthen retention and recall.

Campaigns offer a strategic, actionable, and measurable approach for any marketing communications operation to balance the implementation of year-round media initiatives and partnerships in support of various department and institutional goals at the museum.

For this reason, cross-functional support from visitor services, the shop, design, programming, curatorial, and other departments all contribute to the success of a campaign.


An oldie but still relevant more than a decade later: Advertising in the Facebook Age, Bronx Museum Campaign

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