Marketing communication is, essentially, everything you do and use to communicate with your target market. It’s your blog, it’s your ads, it’s the emails and promotional materials you send out.
Independent research from Safari Digital UK found that businesses that invested more than 30% of their marketing budget into deliberating their marketing communication strategy (channels, target markets) saw a positive improvement in ROI as a result.
In this post, we’ll dig into the role of your marketing communication strategy and give you actionable steps for creating a winning one.
The Role of Your MarCom Strategy
Marketing communications (or MarCom) strategies essentially serve as a blueprint.
Their aim is to compile all important information in a single document that you can later turn to and reference.
A clever and informed marketing communications strategy can help you:
- Segment your audience effectively
- Identify the right marketing channels and assets
- Streamline your marketing spend
- Gain an edge over your competitors
In order to write a strategy that delivers results, you need to arm yourself with as much information as possible.
Take a look at your current marketing channels and strategies and define what is working well and what’s not. Take a look at your competitors and how they’re communicating with their audiences.
Figures are often the cold-hard edge of marketing communication strategies, so the more you have access to, the better.
Gather yours from Google Analytics, your social media profiles, third-party audience and traffic analysis tools.
Now, let’s break down some concrete steps you can take to define and implement your MarCom strategy.
1. Compile Data
As we’ve just touched on this point, let’s briefly reiterate that the first step in your strategy-writing process is to compile the data you will be basing your decisions on.
If you have no data to rely on, research your competitors. Not your top competitors, but the companies you are similar to in size and budget. Otherwise, you’ll soon find you can’t quite match what the biggest names in your industry are doing.
2. Define Your Target Audience
Your next step is to define the audience you are trying to communicate with.
These should be your potential customers, as well as leads, current customers, influencers you might want to work with, people who have mentioned or reviewed you in the past, and so on.
Work on segmenting this audience based on different criteria, such as:
- Purchasing ability
- Sales funnel stage
And so on.
The better you understand the audience, the easier it will be to craft your messages.
3. Define Your Goals
Another key step is to define the goals of your strategy.
Goals are there not only to help you measure your progress but also to inform your budget and help you prioritize different messages and marketing channels.
Here are some of the goals you might be setting:
- Improve brand awareness
- Improve brand loyalty
- Improve understanding of the product
- Improve use of product, etc.
You can set more than one goal for each communication asset.
You will also need to set metrics to track each goal, and the metrics are going to vary depending on the goals. You will likely be looking at:
- Increase in brand name searches
- Increase in number of website visitors
- Increase in number of social media followers
- Improved engagement with marketing assets
Be very careful to set specific metrics you are able to track (i.e., you have access to reliable data).
4. Choose Your Communication Channels
Different messages are better received through different marketing channels. You have a practically unlimited number of them at your disposal. You can do it in person, over the phone, in print, across digital channels, and so on.
Consider everything you’ve just defined – audience, message, goal – and choose the channel that will work best for the combination of these three factors.
5. Determine Your Budget
One more thing you need to define is your marketing communications budget. There are dozens of ways to make this decision, and they will also depend on the combination of your goal, target audience, and marketing channel.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you also take your potential ROI into account, and go for something that can be expected to deliver a reasonable ROI.
6. Create Actual Communications
This is the fun part of MarCom strategizing. Now is when you actually put your creative hat on and start designing your marketing copy, visuals, etc.
Think about three key questions:
- What are you communicating?
This is your actual message, what it is you want your target audience to know. It can be information, emotion, value, or anything else you think will benefit your audience base.
- How are you communicating it?
This is now a question of format and tone, point of view and voice. You need to align the format to the message and the audience it needs to reach. For example, if you are trying to tell people who have never been in contact with your brand what it is you do, you won’t be using the same language as when writing an email to a long-time customer to offer them a discount.
- Who is communicating?
Finally, you want to consider the person who will be communicating. Is this a message that should best be delivered by your CEO? Can a marketing manager do it?
7. Track Your Results
Once you send your message out into the world, don’t forget to keep track of it and carefully measure how it’s doing.
Tweak as much as you need to. If the results are subpar, work out what your message is lacking. If it’s working well, consider ways to improve it even further.
Try to base as much of your decisions on data, as opposed to a feeling or hunch.
Working on your marketing communications strategy will take up a lot of your time – be prepared for that. Also be prepared for setbacks and difficulties. You will certainly come across them, whether in the data gathering or creativity department.
Don’t expect a strategy to be created overnight, either. It will take time to process and analyze data and ideas. But in the long run, a well-thought-out MarCom strategy will certainly pay off.
Sarah Kaminski is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She works with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.