How to Develop a Marketing Communications Strategy That Works (Template)Click To Tweet
- Speak directly to your ideal customer’s pain point instead of addressing a vague audience.
- Align your messaging to each channel based on what your target customers already expect on it.
- Build an easy-to-reference marketing communications document, so your team, other teams, and future hires can use it with ease.
Marketing Communications: The DefinitionA marketing communications strategy depends on four elements: Your marketing communication strategy is a set of tools and processes. It will help you deliver the right marketing message, to the right person, at the right time, and through the right channel. This is also its key benefit, which we’ll dive into in a moment. It supports your marketing and business goals, including everyday marketing activities as well as product launches, limited-time promotions, hiring goals, partnerships, and more.
Why You Need a Marketing Communication StrategyHere’s the thing: you could just publish what feels best at any given moment. At times, that might work. More often than not, this approach won’t get you where you want to be. You’ll miss your goals, and you’ll even struggle to analyze and understand what went wrong. Here’s why having a marketing communication strategy helps you avoid this scenario.
The Right People Will Get the Right Message at the Right Time and PlaceThe important thing about this benefit is that all four parts need to be fulfilled in order for the marketing communication strategy to work.
- People (your audience)
- Message (what you’re saying/selling)
- Timing (day, week, month, season, etc.)
- Place (channel you chose)
- People: Primarily newlyweds, young families, and new homeowners
- Message: Customizable furniture to match spaces of all shapes and sizes
- Timing: Evenings and weekends
- Place: Instagram and YouTube
Maintain Brand Consistency on Every ChannelLucidpress analyzed the state of brand consistency and found that:
- Brands with consistent branding expect to earn 23% more annual revenue than inconsistent brands.
- Brands that are consistently presented to consumers are four times more likely to experience brand visibility.
If your online presence is inconsistent, you risk confusing your potential customers and losing them for good.Click To Tweet
Drive Business Growth By Delivering Value to Potential CustomersWant to show your potential customer how you can make a difference in their life? One of the hardest ways to do that is to use the same, generic message — regardless of how focused it is on their pain point or how aware they are of you and your product. In other words, if a sales person called you and interrupted your family dinner, you’d have a very different conversation if they’re from a company you’ve never heard of compared to the one from a company you’ve been buying from for a decade. Although the content marketing funnel is far from linear, it can still be divided into the top, middle, and bottom. Your marketing communications strategy will help you tailor your message based on where your target customer sits in the funnel. This way, you will deliver value to your future customer and support your company’s launches and sales goals.
Plan Your Marketing Communications Strategy in Six Simple StepsFollow these steps to build out your marketing communications strategy. Remember, this isn’t supposed to be a weeks-long process and a 75-page document. It should be an easy-to-reference, straightforward document that guides your marketing activities across all your channels.
1. Identify Your Target MarketYour target market is the distinct group of people you want to reach with your marketing message. Focusing on your target market, instead of trying to sell to everyone, lets you get specific with your messaging and smart about where you invest your marketing budget. People in your target market are far more likely to buy from you than those outside of it. Here’s some criteria you can use to define your target market.
- Business size
- Level of expertise
- Education level, age, and gender
2. Identify Your Target CustomersYour target market can include one or more types of your target customer. Your next step is to define them. This is where you should get extra specific within the ranges you’ve defined earlier, and one great way to do that is to use a buyer persona approach. A buyer persona is a simple character description of a company’s target customer. To define your target customer, dive into the specifics such as their:
- Current job title (if applicable)
- Goals (in your field or in their job — if B2B)
- Pain points and challenges
The key is to focus on the why for each of your target customers. What hurts enough to make them look for a remedy?Click To Tweet
- Who are our best customers?
- What qualities and behaviors do these customers share?
- What made them search for a solution like ours?
- What is the outcome these customers want to accomplish?
- Why have they chosen us instead of our competitors?
- Target customer 1: People who want to eat well and have food ready quickly. They want to avoid the hassle of lengthy cooking and always having the right food in their cupboard. They don’t want to end up eating junk food just because it’s faster to get.
- Target customer 2: People who want to lose weight and/or eat healthier. They’re intimidated by calorie-counting a large variety of foods and struggle to consistently put in the effort to do it.
3. Identify Your Unique Selling PropositionYou may be tempted to skip this step, but power through it — it will help you be specific in the following steps. Your unique selling proposition (USP), also called unique value proposition (UVP), is the core benefit or solution that differentiates your product or service from the competition. It positions you as the best option on the market. The only case in which you wouldn’t need a unique selling proposition is if you don’t have any competitors in your market. My guess is that you do. Here are some questions to consider when you’re creating your unique selling proposition.
- How does your product solve your customer’s pain point or improve their situation?
- What are the specific benefits of your product?
- Why should customers buy from you and not from your competition? What is your unique differentiator?
- Domino’s Pizza – Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.
- Allbirds – The comfortable shoe that’s easy on the planet.
- Kiva.com – Loans that change lives.
- M&Ms – The milk chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
- CoSchedule – Organize all of your marketing in one place, from any place.
- Company culture USP from Buffer, “We're a small team on a mission to help innovative companies grow their businesses — and along the way, we're championing a more human way to work.”
- Hiring USP from Intercom, “We help the people behind internet businesses talk to their customers — like people. We’re always looking for the right people to make that happen.”
4. Match Your Audience Problems to Your Product SolutionsNow, map the pain points you identified in the second step with the solutions you offer. A quick and easy way to do this is by creating and filling out a customer problems/product solutions messaging matrix. In a blank table, fill the first row with your offerings. Then, fill the first column with all the customer pain points you’ve identified. You’ll end up with a matrix that looks like this: 5. Match Your Messaging to Channels You Choose Then, add a check mark to each pain point/offering match. Once you’re done, make this matrix available company-wide. This will help you align your product-focused messages with customer pain points, not only on your promotional channels, but also sales calls, customer emails, trade shows, and anywhere else you talk about what you do. For your aligned messaging to work, you need to map it to your channels.
For your aligned messaging to work, you need to map it to your channels.Click To Tweet
- Top of the funnel content: educational, valuable, and pain-focused content
- Middle of the funnel content: content that helps your target customers identify solutions
- Bottom of the funnel content: conversion-focused content that helps customers make a purchase decision
- Company culture content
- Hiring-focused content
6. Set Your Goals and Identify a Way to Measure ThemAs we defined in the beginning, your marketing communications connect your messaging about your products/services with your target customers. To know if your marketing communication strategy is working, you need to know how to measure it. An easy way to do that is to clarify:
- Your business goals (such as revenue), which are supported by
- Your marketing goals (such as lead generation, new sales, repeat sales), which are supported by
- Your reach and engagement
- Your blog traffic
- Your social media reach
- Your social media engagement (such as clicks, comments, and direct messages)