4 Steps to Developing a Marketing Communication Strategy
Feb 03, 2016
Your marketing communications strategy will promote an awareness of your brand within your target market. When your audience gets to know you, and you get to know them, the sales process begins. When you create a consistent brand experience, you lay a foundation for better relationships and more sales. Use these four steps to develop a comprehensive marketing communication plan and jumpstart your success.
1. Identify different marketing communications
You can access a variety of marketing communications as part of your strategy. Choose from your available options and include as many as possible:
Content Marketing: Make your content available online through blogging, premium content, marketing automation, and dynamic website content to help your potential buyers connect and learn more about you even before they start the sales process.
Advertising: Advertising gets your message and brand in front of the people who most likely will buy your products and services. You can do this through pay-per-click ads, social media marketing, and a variety of other channels to ensure you are capturing the attention of your target audience.
Sales Promotions: Incentives, if used correctly, can definitely help to accelerate the sales process. Bonus offers, special discounts, trial offers, and other limited-time promotions can inspire a sense of urgency among shoppers, prompting many to make the buying decision.
Social Media: Social media has opened the door to building relationships, developing brand awareness, and generating website traffic. When combined with email marketing and search engine optimization, online marketing campaigns utilizing social media can truly bring exceptional results.
2. Develop a marketing communication plan
Focus your marketing communications to support your overall sales and marketing mission. Your marketing communication efforts need to align with all of your marketing and sales programs to ensure your messaging is consistent across channels.
One key to keep in mind is delivering the right content, at the right place, and at the right time. Your message needs to be focused on the buyer persona, or ideal customer segment, to help the message resonate, and pull them through the buying process.
For example, if you have an individual that is at the beginning stages of the buying process, you want to communicate higher-level information to help bring them through the marketing and sales funnel. Once they have done their own research, and have engaged with your brand, sending them more sales-focused communications is more appropriate because you have given them enough time to gather their own data at their own pace.
3. Understand the customer decision-making process
Understand what makes customers decide to buy a product or service, and then discover why they would decide to buy from you. Some customers use an extended decision-making process, but others use low levels of involvement to make limited, nominal, or spontaneous decisions. Most customer decisions follow a basic pattern while involved in a particular situation that could result in a sale:
- They recognize a problem.
- They search for information.
- They identify products and services that can solve the problem.
- They choose which alternative they will buy.
- They assess the after-the-sale experience.
Companies that understand the complex nature of consumer behavior can enhance the effectiveness of their communications by tailoring their message to the decision processes of their audience.
4. Implement your marketing communication plan
Create a customer-focused marketing communications mix that educates and bonds with your customers and prospects in ways that favorably differentiate your company as one that can best satisfy their needs. You must choose the communication methods that most effectively reach your audience and present an integrated, seamless, and consistent message. This will help separate you from the rest, and engage your prospects and customers at various levels of the buying cycle.
To help make your marketing communication strategy comprehensive and results-driven, continue to monitor the needs of real clients, focusing on the capabilities of your product that solve their problem, inspiring confidence in your brand, and generating audience excitement. And lastly, always stay ahead of the curve to find new ways to make your marketing communication strategy different from your competitors, so your communications effort contributes to the value of your brand.
Author: Elyse Meyer
Elyse Meyer is the founder of Prism Global Marketing Solutions, an inbound marketing agency, HubSpot Gold Partner and partner of the London Management Centre.