Campaign Playbook – A Marketing Playbook Template

By Natsha Ness

Published on 9 Nov, 2021

A lot of marketers use the term “playbook,” but few actually use a playbook. Our bias for action means that our brand of playbook is more action-oriented, practical and agile than other playbooks we’ve seen. Here’s the approach that kept our clients growing during the Pandemic. 

What is a marketing playbook?

While many people have a general idea of marketing playbooks, our Chief Commercial Officer, Justin Gray, describes playbooks in this way: “If you played, watch, or are in any way tangentially familiar with sports, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a playbook in that realm. Every player gets one, and it’s basically the team’s bible of role definitions, formations, and play sets. When new players come on, they get one as well to get them up-to-speed on the team’s way of doing things.”

A marketing playbook defines roles (people) and how to get things done (process and technology).

The Case for a Campaign Playbook

Campaigning is synonymous with marketing. Marketers must run campaigns to trigger any level of engagement with customers to ultimately generate revenue. So, campaigning should be second nature. Unfortunately, despite having great intentions, many organizations create chaos by snubbing the painstaking details needed to move a campaign from an idea to implementation, to testing, and eventually to optimization. We work with marketers who focus on proving their impact on the business. That requires orderly campaigning.

Develop a campaign playbook to have a repeatable process for all of your go-to-market campaigns. Take baking for example. As baking requires focus on many aspects (ingredients, oven temperature, recipients, etc.), so does building a campaign.

Here’s a peak into the elements we’ve found every successful campaign playbook needs.

Your Campaign Playbook Ingredients (Stages)

Each area of the process requires close attention and intentional execution. Below, we have six stages of campaigning, you’ll likely already be familiar with, though perhaps the terms might be slightly different.

Marketing Playbook: Campaign Stages


Who is the audience? What is your budget and timeline? What does it mean to have this campaign be a success? We love this article on running a great ideation workshop, whether it’s for marketing campaigning or anything else.


What is the message and CTA? Do we have historical research data on the audience? Do we have a desired aesthetic, and does the messaging match?


Who is in charge of what, and what is their role? Do we know what assets will speak to our audience? How will we activate the campaign? Do we have a strategy?


What do the copy and design look like? Do we have programs and reports built?


Are we conducting testing before activating? Who will monitor?


Did we establish milestones? Were the milestones met at each point of the campaign journey? Do we need to make adjustments?

Campaign Playbook – A Marketing Playbook Template

Customize campaign playbooks and marketing playbooks to your organization. Examples help by providing suggestions and encouragement that you’re on the right path. That said, here’s a campaign playbook we collaborated with a client to create. This one includes the often-missed “Optimize” stage.


Marketing Playbook: Campaign Launch and Optimize Stages

Playbooks typically don’t include the dark gray boxes at the bottom of the screenshot. These contain the outputs and next steps for each stage. Marketing and similar disciplines can have fairly ambiguous goals. Align your team on  what specifically “done” or “completed” means. And then provide specific next steps or outputs from the stage the team is currently tackling. 

Conclusion: Marketing Playbook Success

An idea is just an idea until it either happens or it fails. A campaign playbook provides a formulated plan of every necessary step for driving a successful campaign. Because you’ve made it to the end of the blog, here’s the framework we use with our clients: Download for free.

Written By Natsha Ness

Natasha Ness leads the go-to-market team at Shift. She has a blended background in marketing, product, design, UX, and sales where she's helped both small, mid-size and enterprise companies launch new solutions and optimize their existing. When she's not dabbling in the latest technology or building a campaign, she spends her free time with her two girls and husband, likely watching an anime together.
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