1) You will improve your marketing activities with the creation of a Marketing Communications Plan. In their simplest form, your marketing communications plan should review the Situation or Environment, set Realistic Goals and Objectives, the Tactics that will be employed and Resources to be allocated. The process of creating the Plan also serves to organize and focus the team. We often find during the interviewing phase, that key executives and managers have conflicting information or opinions. It’s essential to resolve these differences in this early stage to enable a unified strategic marketing approach. The plan should be reviewed and updated often as product and market changes dictate.
Marketing communications plans will be covered in more depth in subsequent articles.
2) Take the time to create or update your company’s S.W.O.T. Market conditions and target audience profiles can change continually. Your organization needs to recognize these dynamics, respond and evolve. The S.W.O.T. exercise, often facilitated with expert counsel, engages key stakeholders to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the organization. This document is a starting point and most important element of the Marketing Communications Plan.
3) Reflect on what has worked in the past and what has not. Trying new methods and tactics and perhaps even failing can be a great learning experience if you identify what happened and what improvements can be made. Also document the successes with brief notations of the outcome and circulate to the marketing and sales teams.
4) Listen to the customer. A wealth of knowledge can be gained through understanding the needs and wants of your customer, including their experiences with and expectations for your product or service. Listening can take many forms: formalized structured studies to more qualitative conversations or storytelling. This Voice of the Customer (VoC) insight is useful in many areas; from product discovery and brand positioning to messaging and customer retention.
See 5 Key Ways Research Can Add Value to learn other ways market research can help your marketing programs.
5) Be Consistent. A communications plan is executed over an appropriate time (most 12 to 18 months) and not recreated with every change in management. We help to establish the foundational elements first and build on this base with a consistent brand presence. All tactical elements such as web, public relations, electronic communications, sales tools, trade shows, lead generation programs, social media etc. are developed to work together in the overall marketing communications program. Continuity across these elements is essential for a strong brand presence.