The crux of marketing communications is to develop and create your unique voice that allows your business and brand to stand out from the crowd. There are several avenues available for doing so today, especially in the digital space. Some channels have grown to have become indispensable, particularly mobile or M-marketing.
Whatever be your choice of medium, creating a marketing communication plan is paramount. You need not worry as the helping hand from a communications firm stands to serve this endeavor.
On that note, the five steps to a successful marketing communications plan are –
1. Conduct Situational Analysis
First, know the situation. The world is currently plagued with the Covid-19 pandemic, embodying movement restrictions. And therefore, given the times, most business activities took to the online space. The same is with your marketing communication plan. You communicate your brand voice where the audience and the business marketplace is – online.
Knowing the avenues and options is one thing. However, every choice involves a trade-off. That is, letting go of something to receive something. For instance, if your marketing communication plan revolves around reaching your target audience through physical addresses, it’s best to now start comparing using a virtual address vs po box. So, assess and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of platforms using SWOT analysis. Doing so will help you find the ideal fit for your marketing communications plan.
As mentioned above, you should understand the current market. Well, the pandemic situation is an anomaly. Apart from this, keep a check on your rivals. This is where doing a competitive analysis will know your standing in the industry. A comprehensive and holistic analysis will offer insights into your products and services. Also, you get to know the gaps in your competitors’ approaches. Answering questions such as, “what are they missing?” and “what are your unique selling propositions?” helps you create that advantage.
2. Know Your Target Audience
Now that you have assessed the market and company situation, next up is knowing the target audience. For established firms, buyer personas are handy as they know their market. Redoing this step will help you refine the current personas. Given the radical anomaly that plagues the globe – the buyer decisions, priorities, intent and other aspects have changed.
If you are a startup company or entering a new product or geographical market, you need to start with market research. The buyer persona includes demographic aspects such as age, gender and income, and psychographic aspects such as pain points and goals (including buyer intent). Your market research must be able to answer the questions:
- What are the factors that drive your audiences (the intent)?
- What problems do the products and services fix (unique selling propositions)?
3. Write SMART Goals
The acronym SMART stands relevant even today. It represents specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In simple words, your marketing communications plans have to be precise and time-sensitive. And, of course, they should be feasible – both financially and by application. However, the good news is that the digital space has a host of analytical tools that can help with SMART goal setting.
Say, the goal is to increase your following on Instagram by 25 percent in six months. Keeping your approach and overall marketing goals in mind, this objective should be relevant and feasible. The good thing is that this perfectly fits the gamut of SMART goal setting as it is measurable (25 percent), specific (raising Instagram followers), and time-bound (six months).
4. Evaluate Your Tactics and Techniques
You now have the blueprint ready! The current situation is assessed, the target audience identified, and SMART goals are written. Now that was the easy part. Now come the tactics and techniques that shall help you achieve the goals and objectives.
When doing so, you need to look at the correct options for executing your marketing communications plans. With the digital arena, you can go for influencer marketing and affiliate marketing within this type, online quizzes, video or audio blogs, podcasts and others. In the general scheme of things, experts suggest that you go for a collaborative pursuit through an omnichannel communications strategy. No longer is one channel or medium sufficient, and picking and integrating the different (the best ones) options is the way forward.
To refer again to the goal of increasing your following on Instagram by 25 percent in six months – some of the tactics you can use are sponsoring an event or a podcast, offering freebies, responding to every comment, and posting, say, thrice a week on Instagram. So, it is the collective action plan that will get you close to that objective. But, only responding or posting will not do the trick. These are just some of the options. You, however, should spend considerable time brainstorming the various tricks and techniques.
5. Setting the Budget for Your Marketing Communications Plan
The planning pieces of the marketing communications puzzle are done. There remains only one thing – setting the budget. You can pen down elaborate plans, but if you cannot afford them, they are irrelevant. Before going ahead with the implementation, make sure to have a detailed bottom line in place.
Let’s say that social media advertising is one of the channels you intend to use. If your budget does not support this tactic, it is not feasible, and hence, unattainable. You cannot know the exact spending amount beforehand. Nonetheless, you must have an estimated amount kept aside for your marketing communications plan. While doing so, you can add timelines for each tactic and even specific assets or purchases for each of the techniques, for instance, ad space.
Marketing communications is vital in setting the tone for your brand values and company vision. It lets customers, stakeholders and prospects understand and connect with your voice and know what your business represents. It essentially helps create long-term value.