7 Steps to Develop an Effective Marketing Communications Strategy

Paul Provost, President

Gaining awareness is one of the first steps in the sales process and the main focus of your marketing communications (marcom) strategy. Getting to know your audience, crafting your message and tracking results are only a few pieces of the puzzle.

Why all the fuss? An effective marketing communications plan results in a better, more consistent brand experience. The end result: more sales.

1. The Better You Know Your Audience, the Better You (& Your Team) Can Appeal to their Interests

All successful marketing efforts begin with a thorough understanding of your audience. Start by analyzing your current clients and why they chose your products or services. Don't have enough data to get the full picture? Put a research plan in place to help fill in any gaps relating to demographics, purchase patterns and other insights into when, where, why and how people purchase your products.

2. Uncover Your Unique Selling Proposition

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the main benefit that, when communicated effectively, drives sales of your product or service. It focuses on a unique problem that you solve better than anyone else. Your USP must be compelling and strong enough to move people to act. Your USP will be central to all of your marketing communications, so don't take this step lightly.

3. Sharpen Your Brand Look and Feel

From logos to business cards and marketing collateral, your brand must speak to the customer in a contemporary, relevant manner. It needs to support your operational USP and accurately represent your market position – don't mislead your audience by creating a marquee brand if you're aiming to be a low-cost option. Be honest, sincere and true to the heart of your business.

4. Ensure that All Messaging is Consistent

While most people think of logo and stationary when it comes to branding, your brand voice is equally important. A good place to start is to generate a few key positioning statements to feature in your communications. Start with a tagline, single sentence version and then a standard short paragraph. Try spooling out a handful of key messages (up to 5) that your company should be communicating (note that they cannot all be in all places). Outline key descriptive words to use and not use, and make sure that your new messaging standards are adhered to in all future communications.

5. Choose Your Marketing Mix

With all of the recent advancements in online marketing, there are more ways to communicate than ever before. Every industry and brand is unique, so there is no standard marketing mix that will work for everyone. The key is to understand your options, and choose a media mix that fits your audience (where do they spend their time / attention), budget and marketing communications goals.

6. Establish Marcom Success Measurements (Metrics)

Whatever the medium and message, ensure that your communications are measurable. Whether it's email open rates, social media exposure or direct mail response rates, establish key communications goals and put systems in place to chart your success. Tie this data in with sales metrics to get a true sense of what's working and what's not.

7. Manage Leads and Client Data

You know your audience, you've built your brand and you've told your story. People are interested – now what? A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is a database of your contacts (customers, prospects, others) that allows you to organize information (contact info, records, files, calls, emails, etc) to streamline and scale sales and marketing processes. This will help you better understand how clients move through the sales funnel and help you close more leads.

Successful marketing communications efforts are much more than a shot in the dark. Each of these seven steps needs to be explored to the fullest in order to gain the greatest return on investment possible.

If you'd like help with your marketing planning, we'll be covering these topics and much more at our May 21st Marketing Planning seminar.

Call or e-mail Paul Provost now for a free consultation.

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