Closely Blog

It’s Time for Campaign Reform

At Closely, we’ve been refining channel product models that enable digital marketing channels to better capture the opportunity from the convergence that is emerging between LBS, Daily Deals and Mobile Commerce.

It has become crystal clear that traditional media approaches have to significantly shift to deliver on the opportunity. Our experience has led us, through multiple iterations across several channel types, to a sales and delivery model that is really starting to hit stride.  For lack of a better term, we’ve begun using the label “Promotions-As-A-Service” to describe this packaging, building off the familiar SAAS paradigm.

The Campaign Trail

Promotions have historically been packaged, sold and delivered as Campaigns.  A business signs up to run a specific promotional program, the offer is constructed, the distribution is agreed upon, and everything flows into an Insertion Order for scheduled completion.  We think about promotions as discrete individual ad activities.

This Campaign model, an artifact of an old media era, is a terribly inefficient sales and delivery model. It’s also a fundamental roadblock to the incredible future potential for adaptable and live marketing to mobile consumers and for delivering sensible merchant services that integrate lead and loyalty together smartly.

Blather, Convince, Repeat

The merchant decision, content creation and distribution management have all been treated as discreet events that are constantly repeated. Today’s competitive landscape further accentuates the problem.  Every business is being constantly pitched on running their next promotion using (yet another) deal or promotion channel.  And, again, the process of sales, design, distribution and reporting repeats itself – commonly from scratch.

This event centric approach is out of touch with today’s living marketplace filled with customers and prospects that are enabled to connect and transact with merchants anywhere, and now!  It also makes no connection to the everyday promotions such as Happy Hours or Seasonal specials that businesses have run “by themselves” forever.


A recurring service solution approach to Promotional Commerce dictates a clean re-think of every component in the food chain of sales, content creation, scheduling, reporting and distribution. PaaS rethinks the processes as a continual service for improving how the business stimulates demand, interacts with and learns from customers and local leads.

Promotions-as-a-Service (PaaS) encompasses several elements.

Onboarding Service. Capturing the business’ promotions once, and creating the foundation to turn them on/off and increase/decrease their volume is an efficient model for establishing a recurring Promotion Plan.

Distribution Hook-up. Today’s merchant can smartly leverage their own media via social media synchronization, customer list integration, and website integration. However, we all know this is never enough, and is too narrowly cast to deliver fresh new customer activity. So, behind this layer, we construct a cloud of premium distribution choices, delivering ways to pump up the volume when the business needs more demand.

Live Redemption. Campaigns create disjointed connections between consumers and businesses.  PaaS delivers a foundation for turning every redemption event into a critical new way to tag, rate and enrich your customer information.

A Live Control Panel. Redesigning promotions as a continual service, we give the business a dashboard and report foundation to observe, tune and test promotions – continually improving and adapting to their own unique market and business dynamics.

Monthly Plan & Report Processes. A simplified model of scheduled promotions, supported by recurring posts and live control is key as we deliver the right balance between “set-and-forget” and higher involvement optimization.

Boost Campaigns. So no, the concept of a campaign isn’t entirely dead; it resurfaces as a tool for purchasing media (rethinking the Insertion Order as a set of Distribution Management rules).  An efficient sales dialog can occur monthly or quarterly, when the Merchant can order up “Boost Campaigns” to drive demand when it’s most valued, and plan effectively for slow periods and upcoming events.

For More Years?

The shifting buying activities of an increasingly attention-challenged consumer demands that we progress from traditional media and search marketing models. We’re poised to help the local business find new ways to apply and improve the reach and impact from their own traditional everyday promotions.  Today’s promotional commerce products offer potent new tools for the merchant to grab the consumer’s attention and drive impact.

The industry will progress when we stop thinking of discreet media campaigns, and deliver a service model that supports continual interaction with the new live mobile marketplace of consumers and customers.

We can choose to become a campaign reformer, or be stuck banging our heads against the opportunity ceiling that we’ve imposed upon ourselves!

One Response

  1. Your article is so dead on. Many consumers have become numb to abusing conventional media ads. Combine that with shorter life cycles in everything Tech, evolving and novel social networks and media. The trending outcome is increasingly catered and socially relevant state-of-the-[consumer]-art promotional marketing and content fostered by evolving technology and modernizing consumers, or should I say, software user communities.