In the second blog of this series, we address how to start planning a marketing strategy.
If you’re not sure why you need to create a marketing strategy, take a look at the first post in this series here.
Look at your business objectives and create goals that will help you to achieve these. There may be a clear focus on making more / higher value sales, which requires product and service communications or, you may be looking to build equity in your brand, which requires a different approach.
It is helpful to consider any time bound activity, such as product launches or landmark events and also set milestones, which will help you to chart progress, e.g. achieve media coverage in specific publications or grow your marketing database 20% YoY.
Understand your audience
Effective marketing depends on engaging the right people. The people who buy from you, work with you and recommend you. It is likely that you will need to tailor your communications to different audiences, whether it is investors, customers or staff. To prioritise activity, first you need to analyse where each audience fits into your business plan. Reaching more customers may push you towards your sales targets, whereas engaging with skilled individuals in the industry could grow your talent pool and support future growth.
Once you know the types of people you are targeting, profile them. Capture data such as age, location and industry as well as when and where they will engage with your brand, their interests and what they care about from a product and a brand values perspective. This helps you to deliver content that appeals and incites action.
Map out your audience touchpoints
Take stock of the different communications platforms your brand is present on. Whether this is owned, earned or paid for activity, each will target a specific audience and have a slightly different approach. A Tweet requires a different structure to an email newsletter or a company white paper, but all have the power to build brand perceptions.
Learn from past activities
Review, previous marketing activity, to understand what resonates with your audience.
Pay attention to:
- Content that achieved lots of engagement
- Low-performing content
- Timings and method of publication
- Topics and keywords
Understanding what has worked previously, helping you to repeat successful activity and serve content that appeals. It also helps to track what your competitors are doing to see and incorporate.
Schedule a messaging meeting
Involve key stakeholders early on to secure internal buy in. We always hold a meeting to share initial findings and make strategic recommendations before creating a final strategy. Fairly often, information or sales initiatives come to light, which will steer messaging as well as recommendations on how to roll out communications.
In our next post, we’ll discuss running effective messaging discussions and using this to inform the final strategy.
To discuss marketing and communications strategies, contact Caroline Walker or call 01732 779 087.