Step 5: Implementation

General information

Implement your campaign plan.

Now it’s time to put your marketing plan into action! Depending on your situation, that may mean jumping right into message and material development, or stepping back to find the money and partners you need to get started.

While your marketing plan lays out your strategy, tactics and overall budget, implementation requires some planning as well. Since most college access marketing campaigns are multi-year efforts, it helps to break things down into phases. Your first phase may be fundraising and partner cultivation, or you may have the resources to get your campaign started right away.

Here are four key questions to consider for each phase, from the leading textbook on this kind of marketing.

  • What will we do?
  • Who will be responsible?
  • When will it be done?
  • How much will it cost?

It’s easiest to give detailed answers for the earliest phases, but even broad estimates will help you stay on schedule and on budget as the campaign evolves.

Hiring Outside Firms

Learning from Experience

Tobacco control agencies have a rich history of working with creative firms, and they have learned some valuable lessons. For helpful tips, read Finding and Working with a Great Advertising or Public Relations Agency, developed by Colleen Stevens, MSW, Chief, Media Unit, Tobacco Control Section, California Department of Health Services.

Few campaigns have all the creative and technical expertise they need in-house. But before you hire an outside firm to do PR, advertising or other marketing activities, make sure it’s a good fit for your organization and your campaign. That means looking beyond the creative zeal to its style of work and strategic approach. Here are some key questions to ask the agency staff members in the selection process:

  • How well do they know the audience you’re targeting?
  • How sophisticated is their understanding of this kind of marketing?
  • Can they explain how their proposed activities will help you change your audience’s behavior, not just raise awareness of your campaign?
  • Do they understand the constraints you’re working under, both budgetary and bureaucratic? Have they worked with organizations like yours before?
  • Does their proposal respond directly to issues raised in your RFP, or do they seem to be offering a pre-packaged approach?
  • What priority would your project have in their portfolio?
  • Do they have the infrastructure and expertise to do what they say they’ll do?