Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy
Are you making it up as you go? Your marketing communications will only be as successful as your weakest link!
The importance of planning
Business owners frequently have a very good idea of what they need most, from a press campaign to a newsletter or more effective website. These ideas often form an excellent starting point from which to build your plan. But don't stop there!
A good marketing communications plan begins with a careful assessment of your company, your customers, and your competition. What's your brand? (It's what comes to mind when people think about your company. Your graphic design and messaging should always reinforce your brand, showcasing what sets you apart from your competition.) If you're just starting up or aren't sure what your brand is, we can help you figure that out.
Audit your current marketing. (We can help with that, too.) What kinds of promotion are you already doing well? Where are the holes that let your competitors get a foot in the door? Does a critical mass of prospective employees, customers and investors know who you are? Are you generating enough qualified leads? Are you closing sales?
What can you stop
doing to free up resources so you can try something new?
- Consider the problems you have that could be solved with better communications. There's always more you can do! What needs the most attention?
- Ask yourself where you'd like to be in three months, in six months. Be realistic about how much time you can devote to the project. Most people are better off outsourcing all or a portion of the work.
- Determine your budget. (We'll help you figure out how to use your time, staff and financial resources to optimize your results.)
The most successful promotion plans use a variety of marketing communications techniques, each one reinforcing the message of the other.
- You send out a direct mail postcard with a QR (quick response) code leading to an optimized landing page on your website.
- Your website cross-markets your current products and services, and you team it with an e-mail newsletter to let prospects know what's new.
Everything that goes out to your publics (including internal communications to your employees!) should look and feel like your company, reinforcing your firm's image and core competencies.
- If your message is that you keep transactions simple for customers, your ads shouldn't be cluttered.
Your marketing communications plan is a fluid document. You should
continually assess the results you get from your new promotion
channels. Even the best ideas occasionally don't pan out. We'll help
you figure out when you're on the right track and when you're missing
the mark and help you revise your plan accordingly.
Market research is one of the cornerstones of successful marketing communications plans. Techniques are available for generating new ideas, for testing the validity of your assumptions, for discovering how your customers interact with your promotions.
Wendy Van Parys Marketing Communications is experienced in the design,
production and interpretation of commonly-used market research models.
We can also suggest firms for specialized research needs.
Some of our clients like to maintain an active role in their promotional activities, even handling some tasks themselves. Others prefer to concentrate on their business and turn over the lion's share of responsibility to us. Whichever route you choose, it's important that your expectations, including budgets, approvals and timing, are clearly understood by everyone who will be working on your project.
If you decide to use several agencies to handle different types
of communications (advertising and web design, for
example), someone should be responsible for monitoring the
look and content of all of your projects. That could
be you, or we are happy to fill that role for you. Otherwise you risk
mixing up your messages and confusing your target audiences.
Every day, companies like yours get press online and in newspapers across the country, clever, well-placed ads stimulate action, enticing seminar invitations make it onto prospects' calendars, and content-rich websites are visited and lead to conversions. The result? Prospective employees forward their resumes, customers sign purchase orders and click on shopping cart icons, and investors and donors confirm that needed funding is assured. Are you sharing in all this success? Or could you use some help?