Creative campaigns: 8-step guide for membership organisations

Photo of glowing filaments in lightbulb against nighttime background

If you work in an advertising, marketing or design agency, creativity is part of the job. But what if you’re a membership organisation tasked with needing to ‘be creative’? 

This blog was originally written for and published by Memberwise, the independent professional network that provides practical help and support to circa 6,500+ membership and association professionals based in the UK and overseas.

The most successful marketing campaigns don’t happen overnight and marketers have different processes they follow to unleash their creative genius. 

So if you need to create brilliant campaigns, this 8-step process that we use at DTW is a good place to start. 

1. Conduct your research 

Research is vital preparation where you start to answer important questions that inform the direction of the campaign.

Once you know your campaign’s purpose (e.g. member recruitment, member renewal, member benefits, brand awareness), objectives and target audience, do your research. Find out what resonates with your audience, what has worked well previously and what your audience want.

2. Start mood boarding for inspiration

This is where you mull over what might work, explore different approaches, look at other examples, do visual mind-mapping sessions with the creative team and start mood boards to collect all your brilliant ideas in one place.

3. The Ah-hah moment

By now you’re inspired. You’ve got some great ideas of how you could progress. Get together with your team, share and discuss your ideas. Suddenly, probably when you’re least expecting it, you’ll get an ah-hah moment – that lightbulb moment when one or two of those ideas start to form into a brilliant creative concept.

4. Challenge the concept

As great as the idea might be, it might not be a solution. This stage is where you reflect, criticise and assess. 

Discuss the concept with your colleagues. Do they like it? Is it worth pursuing? How do you pursue it?

5. Create design solutions

You’re there, you’ve got a brilliant concept so now it’s time to get your team working on creative designs for your campaign.

Take the time to expertly present the message, focusing not only on what you are saying but how you are saying it – the headline, strapline, body text and call to action – and bring the concept to life with engaging imagery.

6. Test, test, test

However amazing your concept is, if it’s not right for your audience it won’t work. It won’t get you the results you want and it will be a costly mistake.

So test. What does your audience think of the concept? Does it make them think positively of your organisation and what you are promoting? Do they understand the messaging? Is it engaging enough? Is it informative? Is the call to action clear? 

If your campaign is for members, hold focus groups or online surveys with your members. If it’s aimed at the public to promote the services of your members, do your research with the public. After all, your members may have very different opinions to the customers they are trying to reach!

7. Refine your creative

Refine. Take on board the research findings and tweak and improve the creatives and campaign messaging so it captures the attention of your audience for all the right reasons. 

8. Implement your campaign

So now you have the perfect campaign it’s time to execute it, which we all know involves just as much work to get right.

So there you have it, DTW’s 8-step creative campaign guide – Research, Inspiration, Ah-hah, Challenge, Design, Test, Refine, Implement. I hope you find it useful!