Ever ask yourself: How should you position your company in the market? How should you differentiate yourself from competitors? How should you reach your customers? What are your sales goals? Where should you advertise?
These are all questions that you should be asking when thinking about your marketing communication plan!
So, what is a marketing communication plan? It's your guide to successfully promoting and growing your business, helps develop your brand awareness and defines:
- Where you're going
- What you need to say
- Within which channels to communicate
Why is it important to have a marketing communication plan? It ensures your message and communication activities are aligned with business goals. Specifically, it lays out clear goals, objectives, strategies, and the tactics to reach those goals--including the appropriate metrics to help you track your progress.
Here are the 7 ingredients of a killer marketing communication plan!
- Know Your Audience. Find out who your customer is, including their age, gender, household income, needs and interests. This is at the foundation of any successful marketing effort, helps your speak their language and pinpoint your advertising strategy.
- Perform a Situational Analysis. Do a thorough examination of the internal and external factors that affect your business--better known as a SWOT analysis. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will help you better understand your situation in the industry.
- Goals & Objectives. Understanding how to set goals and objectives that maximize your marketing efforts helps you effectively capitalize on your business's strengths and minimize its weaknesses.
- Goals detail the direction you want your business to take.
- Objectives detail how you are going to reach those goals, and include the strategies and tactics that will get you there.
- Establish Your Marketing Budget. It's important that you budget for planning, communications expenditures and tracking of each marketing effort/activity. This ensures that people responsible for activities know how much they have to work with and prevents overspending. Where do you start?
- Organize your financial information - how much you make, monthly expenses, etc.
- Determine where to spend marketing funds - look at your budget, focus funds where your target is, and set aside funds for testing
- Assess data and make appropriate changes - compare past performance to performance after the marketing plan has been implemented
- Sharpen Your Brand Voice. What is your main benefit that, when communicated effectively, drives sales of your product or service? Strong brand representation makes values and benefits clear to customers, and sets your business apart.
- Choose Your Communication Mix. These are the specific methods used to promote your company or its products to targeted customers. This includes advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, PR & sponsorships, and direct marketing.
- Measure and Optimize. Whatever the communication medium, you want to ensure that your marketing efforts are measurable so that you know what is working, what isn't, and how effective you are.
What now? Get out there--get to know your target audience, establish goals and tactics to reach your goals, share your goals with your team to generate excitement, develop your brand identity, launch your plan, and most importantly--analyze your plan and optimize it!
Want more information? Check out the playback of our recent webinar on the 7 ingredients of a killer marketing communication plan.