It is only natural for brands to want to be the center of attention. These publicity goals are direct drivers when it comes to creating a marketing communications plan.
However, while attention is great, it doesn’t necessarily pay the bills. You see it often: the marketing department finds their program being questioned, even though they think it is successful.
Why? Because the “success” they are seeing doesn’t tie to business goals. I have seen on a number of occasions that a marketing communications team has its own goals separate from the business, and that is when I ask about their internal alignment. These two should work together and not against each other. So ask yourselves, are your business goals the basis of your marketing communications plan?
When embarking on a marketing communications program, you need to have a few things in place. I’ve listed a few pointers to get you started.
Having each of these elements of a marketing communications plan in place will set your program up for more than just metric success. You will be viewed as an important part of the overall success of the organization.
For an effective marketing communications plan to be successful, it needs to be aimed at two or three top business goals.Whether it be venturing into a new market, or increasing revenue around a certain product line, the communications program needs to develop a plan that allows the organization to take its target audience on a journey.
A marketing communications plan has to sufficiently answer internal questions like:
Communications professionals need to direct and consult their internal stakeholders on a regular basis in order to keep their programs fresh, connected, and differentiated. But all of this comes after the marketing communications plan is developed.
You might say that it’s insane to think business goals aren’t fueling a marketing program. But I’d argue that for whatever reason, success is usually tied to vanity plays. How can we get our name in front of the most people? How can we get executive A in front of a specific reporter/outlet?
When these programs begin to shoot for the vanity plays and disregard the elements of a marketing communications plan, that is when most programs begin to slide downhill and lose the larger buy-in from others across their organization. With so much ability to measure impact in all of your programs today, it is more important than ever that everything you do is tied back to the larger business goals – because that is what will help fund your next campaign or help you garner more support from colleagues in other departments.
Your marketing strategy should always align and compliment your organization’s consumers and business goals. So how can you craft a marketing communications plan that is viewed as a critical part of your organization’s goal to ultimate success?
Simple. You can begin by going back to early journalism lessons and to the simple questions who, what, when and where.
First, make sure that the intended audience is crystal clear so that you can then begin to think about what they care about, where they get their information, and what the headwinds are in their world.
It’s crucial that you know who your intended target consumers are because you want your marketing communications plan built upon their core values, beliefs, and concerns. Modern consumers tend to be more responsive to brand storytelling that share similarities with their own sentiments and goals. Consumer-facing communication from any company needs to adopt this way of thinking into their marketing strategy.
The next step is to identify and establish your business goals. Are you setting the stage for a new round of funding? Maybe it’s to become a new entrance within a specific vertical market. Whatever it is, keep that a priority in each campaign you develop and future strategy that you will implement.
The next thing to do is take a step back and see what the larger business calendar looks like. When would be the best time to begin a public sector push if you know that the budgeting cycle is in the planning phase during the summer months? What about the heavy construction industry? Would it make sense to make a big push during their busy time of spring/summer months?
And finally, where will you aim to make your mark? A lot of people have their top 2-3 media outlets and web sites where they want to be. But how much impact will those really drive? By answering these questions, you can formulate a marketing campaign that is effective and scalable.
A good marketing communications plan conveys its message through effective storytelling while addressing the organization’s top marketing needs and business goals. Remember that alignment to the larger business goals is what will ultimately show the value that you and your team bring every day. There hasn’t been a time in business when cross-functional teams are more important to the success of an organization.
For communications professionals this means coming together with the larger business and putting a marketing communications plan in place that supports its direction while also getting the broader attention everyone is desiring.