It’s no coincidence that planning and executing a communication strategy results in a degree of success for your business. It goes without saying, if there’s no document of marketing planning, how can you really measure success? Ensuring that your communication strategy is relevant, precise, and aligned with your marketing strategy objectives, will generate leads and long-term benefits. Why is communication so important in marketing? If your message isn’t resonating with the right audience, at the right time, your product will be launched into a brick wall. Your communication strategy must also hold value and not be too noisy. A noisy campaign can develop negative disruption, to the point where no-one is listening, and acting upon your efforts.
If you’re acquainted with communication theory, you will understand the core basics according to Lasswell’s model (sender – message – channel – receiver – effect). Although there are plenty of theories out there, the most digestible theory to remember is Lasswell’s. The problem is, how can you adopt a basic communication concept to marketing strategy, and most importantly, to the growing demand of contemporary methods for marketing output? Let’s begin from scratch. Here are our 8 quick-fire steps to a killer communication strategy!
1) Identify Your Campaign Objectives
What is the purpose of your campaign? What are your goals? Research by CoSchedule suggested that marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success. Build your strategy around your purpose. Set clear, precise, and realistic business objectives that are attainable.
2) What is Your Budget?
Understand what resources you have, and to what extent you’re willing to spend on marketing. You can plan the most extravagant integrated communication strategy (TV, radio, out-of-home, PPC, content marketing) but if you don’t have the financial viability, it can’t happen. Be realistic and prioritise what is essential within the budget, to attain your objectives. At the same time, figure out a viable time-schedule to your communication plan. Time is invaluable, so monitor your time spent on tasks, to ensure you aren’t spending too long on tedious activities.
3) Establish Your Target Audience
This is one of the core-steps to a communication strategy. You need to refine your target audience, even if your company is already familiar with who they are; current trends can influence behaviour. It’s important to do this early, because it becomes the foundation of who you’re actually communicating your message to. If you’re struggling with defining your target audience, read this.
4) Analyse Your Marketing Environment, With an Internal & External Audit
Now you know who to target, you need to conduct an internal & external audit, which can disturb your marketing output. The marketing environment is always changing. The external environment is always changing. Therefore, a communication strategy must focus on what’s happening in the world right now, and adapt accordingly.
For an internal audit, consider a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), to determine what factors can strengthen or weaken your campaign objectives. Do you have enough resources internally to execute the strategy? Do you have enough employees to manage the workload?
For an external audit, complete a PESTLE analysis (Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal, Ethical/Environmental), to gain an insight on what can be a potential aid or issue for your communications. Questions you need to ask yourself are; how can these factors affect my communication efficiency? How can the external environment affect prospective consumers from buying my product?
5) Determine Your Communication Message
Your message should be clear and shouldn’t cause confusion from receivers. Don’t make the same mistake as Pepsi, which was an attempt to enter the Chinese market with a slogan of “Pepsi brings you back to life” which actually translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”. A multilingual marketing failure indeed.
Your message should be aligned with your campaign objectives and should consider external forces which could change your message down the line, i.e. competitors who could potentially have a similar message.
6) Select Your Channels, and Prepare to get Creative
Discover where your target market is, and select appropriate channels to execute your communication strategy. Do you need social media? Does your audience regularly watch TV? Have you looked at website content? Only choose relevant channels that will attain the utmost revenue and ROI. Rally up your employees in the agency, and prepare for a long day of strategising.
7) Start Content Planning
This is where the fun starts, planning your communication strategy to your respective channels. If your audience is on social media, start planning your social media content calendar. Plan for each quarter. Every social media channel requires different forms of content, so focus on individual channels, if that’s where your audience is. For example, you would create conversational content for Twitter, and visual/vibrant content for Instagram. Start planning website content (blogs, eBooks, whitepapers) and focus on an SEO strategy that increases your visibility and improves your search rankings on Google.
Our advice? Adopt a value first model to content creation on social media and your website. Create snackable content that is relevant to your audience, grabbing their attention, to increase your chances of generating leads. All methods of communication boil down to one thing; revenue for your business.
8) Implementation of Strategy, Measure & Follow-up
You now have your entire communication strategy ready-to-go. The only thing to do now is to implement it. Remember to stick to the time-frame negotiated and most importantly, the communication strategy that has been planned. However, inconsistencies and problems may arise, perhaps a month down the line, depending on the efficiency of the strategy. Therefore, it’s crucial to measure the effectiveness of the strategy, either daily, monthly, or quarterly, and tweak it accordingly, to the results.
A well-planned communication strategy is important to business success. The same research by CoSchedule, found that marketers with a documented strategy, are 538% more likely to report business success. A communication strategy gives your business the chance to cut through the noise and make an impact on the digital marketing environment. It entirely depends however, on your strategy. There are many businesses that receive little to no result from their marketing strategy. This can be a result of inefficiencies from in-house work or agency work. Knowing your market and where you can penetrate, alongside clear objectives and a solid strategy, will help you generate leads and revenue for your business in 2019.