This week celebrates the 10th anniversary of Advertising Week where the most brilliant creative minds converge in The Big Apple to talk business strategy, emerging trends and next-gen talent. I’ve been following the action on #AWX, and it’s great to see that top news outlets are engaging in the forums, from Cosmopolitan to AdWeek to Digiday and countless others.

Listening to the conversations around new technologies and award-winning case studies got me thinking about the ways advertising has evolved over the years. Where we could only rely on print mediums to tell stories, we now have digital and social channels to deliver messages to a deeper audience in a shorter period of time.

The PR purist in me would be remiss not to mention that although the platforms have changed, the core values and formula for success have not.

  • Objectives. If there’s one thing I’ll always remember from my earlier days as a public relations practitioner, it’s that objectives need to be two things: measurable and time stamped. So, don’t skip this part of planning ad campaigns. Yes it’s exciting to see mind-blowing creative come across your desk, but if you don’t know what that creative is meant to accomplish and how long it should take to see results, you’ll have problems.
  • Audience. You still need to put your audiences in the center of every campaign. Otherwise, no one will care. Or the wrong people will care. The good news is that demographics can be much easier to come by and many channels are now offering more advanced ways to target. So there’s really no excuse for not reaching your key publics.
  • Key Messages. It’s still just as important, if not even more critical, to develop clear messaging that aligns across all campaign tactics. What you say in your banner ads should be reflected in your sponsored Facebook post and in your full-page in-book ad and in the :30 clip on the local radio station. Nailing the key messages is hard, but repurposing them is actually quite easy.
  • Evaluation. Thankfully, measurement is resurging as a trending topic in the creative world. Marketers, ad execs and PR pros are becoming more accountable for measuring their efforts and not just showing small metrics but analyzing the results and presenting big data trends that affect business goals. Defining clear, measureable objectives at the start of a campaign doesn’t make evaluation a cake walk, but it certainly helps.

Of course research and strategies and tactics all fold into a campaign’s success, but these four tend to be missed if you’re not careful. It’s much more exciting to get tactical and start brainstorming taglines and visuals. But you need the building blocks to go from good to great.

What exciting things have you seen from this year’s Advertising Week? What ingredients have you found make a campaign successful?