How to Conduct Marketing Communications: The Complete Guide

How to Conduct Marketing Communications The Complete Guide

The modern marketing arena is over-saturated. And building a remarkable brand reputation is even more difficult. Even if you’ve introduced a terrific product or service, you won’t sell if you’ve not communicated with the right customers. Enter marketing communications, and the tide is likely to turn for the better.

Luckily, the small and established business has a trove of communication channels to leverage. It’s through these mediums that you-the business owner gets to market your product, increase its demand, improve its reach, and eventually drive up business performance and revenue.

Simply put, you’ll need more than a killer product and an A-list marketing team. If you can hack it when it comes to persuading prospective customers to buy from you instead of your competitors, your revenue streams will take an up and up trajectory all the time. This is where marketing communications come in.

What is Marketing Communication?

Marketing communications refers to the techniques and tactics that a business uses to disseminate info about their product or services. It entails the use of different media, direct or indirectly. It has to do with every message you deploy to communicate with prospective customers and markets.

From another perspective, marketing communications revolve around promoting your brand or services. It powers how you convey specific messages to a target market. These marketing techniques embody a company/brand’s voice, thus enabling it to build a relationship with consumers.

Through marketing communications, an organisation connects its brands with its publics, events, experiences, and emotions. This way, a business can display how products work, why you need to use them, their benefits, and value to the specified user demographics.

Marketing communication comes with distinct objectives. It’s charged with creating and sustaining product demand and preference. On the other hand, you can leverage it to cut short the sales cycle, and you bet you want that too for your venture.

As long as you and your marketing ensemble know how to design promotional messages persuasively, your target audience will keep the demand curve on a steady rise. Don’t forget; there’s the emotional aspect in play if you expect your prospects in a receptive frame of mind.

What are the Marketing Communication Tools?

You already know that you can’t grow your business if selling ability is in the doldrums? Well, this is where you’ll need to consider proven strategies, a profound grasp of buyer behaviour, and an aggressive communication campaign. But what tools will you leverage?

Here’s the good news. There’s no shortage of tools and channels you can use to attract and persuade your target audience. You only need to consider aspects such as location or product popularity. Some preferred tools include newsletters, email, online and offline ads, brochures, exhibitions, promotions, and campaigns.

Elements of the Marketing Communication Mix

As a discerning marketer, you need to craft a solid marketing communication strategy. However, a crucial component you cannot ignore is the marketing communications mix. Sounds technical? This refers to a mish-mash of tools that enable you to locate and interact with your customer base. There are specific tools in this mix explained below.

Advertising

They are usually paid and indirect. Advertising informs potential customers about products and services via different channels. This method can reach a large number of prospects while informing them succinctly about your company’s offering.

Sales Promotions

Essentially, sales promotion entails rolling out periodic incentives to convince and encourage buyers to make purchases. The technique is ideal when you want to attract and retain customers. You can leverage coupon offers, discounts and buy one get one free incentive.

Events 

This happens when your company sponsors popular events such as entertainment or sporting events. The idea is to reach out and impress upon specified communities to view your brand as a caring partner. It can create a long-term association with your publics leading to profitable ends.

Public Relations

Want to create a brand positive perception with your prospects out there? PR is the way to go. This entails efforts aimed at building goodwill where customers think of your company as a favourable partner. With product-focused press releases, newsworthy events, and consumer publications, you can persuade your target audience to make a purchase.

Direct Marketing

Today, technology facilitates email, newsletters, mobile device communications, or social media to communicate directly with customers.

Interactive Marketing

Interactive Marketing is a productive marketing communication tool. Potential customers can liaise with your brand online and get quick solutions.

Personal Selling

Although it’s somehow conventional, personal selling is still a high impact tool. Your sales reps can talk to customers directly. It becomes easy to address product queries face to face or through text messaging, personalised emails, or direct mail. Additionally, word-of-mouth marketing can fall under this category, and you cannot afford to miss out on its benefits.

Why is Marketing Communications Important?

You already know that marketing communication’s primary intention is to capture an identified customer cluster and influence its buying behaviour by notifying, convincing, and reminding.

Communication alone is an essential condiment in the entire marketing mix. You won’t enjoy a steady stream of leads if you’re not leveraging marketing communication to build brand awareness or encourage prospects to try your products or services. It tells you that marketing communication is fundamental and essential. Here are some reasons why:

It Creates Brand Awareness

Those prospects you want to turn into buyers won’t materialise if they don’t know that you and your offering exists. But, in advertising and promotions, you’ll communicate to your leads what your brand is all about. The beauty of it is that constant reminders about your business drive up the possibility that your target audience will buy and want to be associated with your brand moving forward.

Forms Competitive Advantage

Marketing communications and related strategies serve to position your business as a better brand compared to the competition. You only need to persuade the customer to buy from you briefly. Highlight competitor weakness and reinforce that with messages that tell prospects that you can solve their problems. The rest is easy.

Nurtures Goodwill

Did you know that by making marketing communications a continuous and consistent undertaking, it becomes easy to foster customer goodwill? Let’s say if your strategy keeps reminding your leads about your value proposition, they’re likely to perceive you as genuine and the go-to solutions provider.

Attracts Talent

Don’t be fooled. Marketing communications appeal to more than just prospects. You want top talents in your company, and marketing communications can deliver exceptional hires, vendors, investors, and stakeholders who want to be associated with a company with a high affinity for success-and that’s you.

Change Attitudes

Ever heard of negative publicity that can down a blue-chip enterprise? Marketing communication can transform brand perception if you want to liberate your business from misconceptions that could hurt performance, trust, and revenue.

Tips for Effective Marketing Communications

Did you know that the style you deploy for your marketing communications determines its overall effectiveness? That said, it’s a key denominator when you want to convey a message, and it determines the best time to send that message. Additionally, it determines the “where” and the “when” you need to send the message for maximum returns.

Since marketing communication is a prized intellectual property for your venture, you need to reinforce aspects to cement its effectiveness. They include:

  • Leveraging persuasive messaging−your prospects come with varying needs and expectations. The secret here is to customise your messaging to address every customer cluster’s exacting needs on your radar.
  • Go for design accuracy-whether you intend to use digital media, TV, or brochures, consider their unique design requirements when crafting your messages.
  • Leverage feedback– either way, the feedback you get from your prospects helps you to make necessary changes. You cannot ignore it.
  • Obtain support- your communication efforts will flop if the management doesn’t chip in. the up and coming company will need the decision-makers to lead the way if the specified communication efforts are to bear fruit.
  • Get technology– to support marketing communication initiatives.

The only way that your marketing communication initiatives will exceed your expectations is by enabling the process with technology. By availing, sharing, and incorporating tech with different departments, it becomes easy to achieve intended goals.

What’s The Purpose Of Marketing Communications?

You already know that marketing communication empowers upcoming businesses to find and engage leads. However, it’s challenging for a company to maintain such a connection if communication was a one-off thing.

The very purpose of marketing communication is to build upon any initial relationship you’ll strike with your target audience. It’s the cog that drives performance, business security, and eternal revenue. What else does it do?

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It Builds a Connection.

Your social media page or monthly newsletter fosters a connection between you and your customers. That continuous exchange and feedback helps to create trust, familiarity, and the probability that a customer will buy from you repeatedly.

Offers Input

With the ideal marketing communications tools, it’s easy to drive useful feedback from potential customers. You make prospects feel like they’re part of the bigger picture. Their candid responses can help you improve services and your products.

It Educates

No doubt, marketing communication tools enable you to inform customers about your product/service offering. Think explainer videos or virtual product demos. Equally, a dedicated FAQ page will offer useful insights about your niche or industry-and position you as an industry leader.

Boosts Branding

Consider this; every marketing communication facet you introduce becomes a billboard that reinforces your brand through concise information. Not only does it bolster brand loyalty, but it sustains brand recall in the face of stiff competition.

Generates Sales

Marketing communication and the knack to grow sales are inseparable. By sustaining communication with customers, it’s easy to build profitable relationships in the long-term. The referrals you’re likely to get as a result will keep the leads streaming endlessly.

Is Marketing Communications And Corporate Communication The Same?

Trust me; many entrepreneurs struggle to differentiate between marketing communications and the corporate version the same way you do. Luckily, you can differentiate the two using simple illustrations.

In essence, the significant difference in between is the target audience. With corporate communication, the audience comprises investors, the media, stakeholders, clients, and industry specific experts. In the Marketing communications arena, consumers are the primary audience.

Elements of Corporate Communications

Corporate communications seek to inform more about a company’s culture. The idea is to build relationships, depict a positive image, and maintain a reputation. Here, public relations, advertising, crisis communication, and social media management play a huge role.

Marketing Communications Elements

The marketing communications your business deploys drive your sales. They publicise your offering, its benefits, and its features. These communications tell your prospects more about your discounts, promotions not to mention they influence specific buyer behaviour to your advantage. Here, PR, social media, landing pages graphics, and an array of sales material take centre stage.

Who Are The Primary Audiences?

The audience factor in marketing and corporate communications may overlap. However, distinction and goals may not. For instance, a corporate communications manager focuses on a broader audience in the public domain. On the flip side, the marketing communications manager channels the focus on specific customers whore likely to show interest in your products and services.

Choosing the Right Channels for Your Marketing Message

The marketing communications channel you employ when interacting with potential customers to determine your ROI. As such, you need to be apprehensive about your choices. Do it haphazardly, and you could end up losing money and brand credibility.

Unfortunately, there are too many options in today’s marketplace. The best way forward is to pick channels that help your business align your messaging with the overall marketing objectives.

Before you choose a channel, remember you’ll need to measure the returns based on the performance of the same. It’s the only way you’ll discover whether you’re making headway or chasing the wind. So how do you settle on a best channel fit?

Here are questions that help you find the right marketing communication channel.

  1. Will it reach my prospects?
  2. Does it appeal to my audience?
  3. Will it fit my budget?
  4. Does it communicate effectively with potential customers?
  5. Does it mesh with other channels I’m already using
  6. Can I measure performance accurately?
  7. Can I measure how well it performs?

Quick tip: you must evaluate the performance of the channels you’re currently using. Don’t board more channels before you weigh the performance and success of existing ones. The best option here is to:

  • Assess the metrics of other channels you’ve used
  • Check them for market viability, customer appeal, and their potential ROI
  • Identify a new channel mix and assess its suitability from a customer and ROI perspective

Every time you ponder over the best marketing communications channel to leverage, it’s crucial to evaluate its capacity to reach, influence, retain, and grow your customer base and profitability. It’s the difference between success and failure.

Do You Need A Marketing Communications Strategy?

Do not be fooled; there’s not a single niche or industry; however unique that doesn’t come with stiff competition. What does that tell you? You’re competing with newbie and established business to attract the attention of customers.

The one thing I can vouch for unapologetically is-consistent sales won’t happen without a solid marketing communications strategy. With it, you have the perfect roadmap detailing how to signal prospects and keep them engaging with your brand.

If the dream is to keep the qualified leads coming, some distinct steps can help you craft an effective marketing communication strategy.

What Is A Marketing Communications Strategy?

Marketing communications strategy refers to the plan that you intend to employ to reach your potential markets through different communication modes.

It’s an inter-pay of what you want to convey, the channel you intend to use, and the target you’re aiming to address or reach.

The strategy can entail different aspects and tools, ranging from logos, branding, promotion campaigns, product positioning, CSR, advertising, and sale exhibitions.

If the objective is to keep the qualified leads coming, some distinct steps can help you craft an effective marketing communication strategy.

What Guides The Marketing Communications Strategy?

A well thought out strategy needs to address three fundamental principles as follows:

Brand alignment:

To achieve success, the marketing channel you appoint should rhyme and resonate with your brand perception. For instance, if you’re in the luxury goods niche, you need to go for a channel that appeals to the ostentatious class and not your local printing press.

Check Customer alignment:

To breakthrough here, the secret lies in tapping the channels where your customers hang out. If you’re dealing with millennials, consider social media networks such as Instagram or Snapchat, not interest or Facebook.

Consider Budget alignment:

Marketing communications will work if you pick a marketing channel that fits with your budget. If you’re running on a tight budget, consider getting complimentary press mentions. Trust me; it’s possible if you know how to build the right relationships with journalists, bloggers, or modern day influencers.

How to Build a Marketing Communications Strategy for Small Businesses

Start-up and small; businesses can make do with a marketing communications strategy that differs from that of established blue-chip enterprises. The big-box businesses can afford to shell large budgets to communicate on various channels, both online and offline.

Your start-up venture is better off using an efficient yet cost-effective approach. If you’re on a budget, you can go for free press to get your product message out through the free press. As mentioned previously, it means talking to journalists or bloggers with the view to share and later disseminate news about your business, brand, and offering.

Progressive start-up owners will consider guest posting on highly ranked publications, special interviews, press mentions, and bolster the marketing communications strategy.

Look at it this way, getting your brand story to feature on a high profile media channel gets your message in front of thousands of potential customers. If the channel’s demographics sit well with your product, it generates new leads, amplifies brand awareness, and attracts backlinks.

To achieve this with a marketing communications plan, you’ll need to factor in the following:

  • Craft a credible message that works well on your preferred channel while aligning with your company image. It would help if you highlighted the interests of your prospects.
  • Liaise with press channels that gravitate interest towards your product and the audience that is synonymous with your target market.
  • Cement your relationship with friendly press channels/targets and forward your ideas.

Steps to Creating Effective Marketing Communications Strategy

A marketing communications strategy indeed defines your organisation, your products, and empowers you to communicate with your prospects continuously. But there’s no magic wand effect to it. Some steps you’ll need to make the plan effective from the get-go include:

Identifying your Target Audience

Don’t think you can run with a generic audience and end up with excellent results. What you need to do is research your specific customers. You need to define what you need to say, how you should say it’ when to say it, and from what location.

Outline Your Unique Selling Proposition

The marketing arena is already congested. Your prospects are getting bombarded with the noise from the competition. Your sure-fire way out is to place your Unique Selling Proposition on the highest pedestal. It helps you and your brand to stand out.

Define your Marketing Communications Mix

Yes, you’ll need to determine your communication goals and objectives, but you need to define your marketing communications mix. It’s essentially the amalgamation of channels you’ll appoint to reach your prospects. This mix can be a combination of:

  • Online ads and traditional billboards
  • Direct marketing and product exhibition
  • Personal selling and content marketing
  • Sponsorships and end of year sales promotion, and the list is endless.

Stick to Consistent Messaging

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You’ve already told your customers what you’re selling, and they’re raring to go. What you need to avoid is sending a barrage of messages that end up confusing your prospects. If you’ve got it right with the demographics, use the language and design they relate to in the emails, web copy, or social media blurbs.

Leverage Compelling Messages

Once your strategists get it right with the target audience, consider using compelling messages. It’s what attracts, captivates, and encourages specific action stipulated in the calls to action. You only need to fine-tune the message structure, content, and format.

Check Feedback and Metrics

After you’ve undertaken the above steps, don’t ignore the feedback. You need to monitor and use a relevant response to fine-tune the process as an ongoing task. The metrics from your sales should tell you whether you are redoing it right. If not, make necessary changes Asap.

How to Improve Low Impact Communication Marketing Strategy

The opportunities that come with well-crafted marketing communication strategies are in abundance. But did you know that event the perfectly designed plans fail? However, you can turn a low impact stagey around by implementing the following:

Assess Current Marketing Communications Strategy

Start by evaluating the current marketing strategy in place. Check whether they are well aligned with the demographics and the brand messages you’re sending out there. Don’t stick to a plan that worked magic years ago. Leverage new market analysis and see whether there’s message consistency online and offline.

Check How Your Communication Strategy Stacks Against the Competition

A unique value proposition is what keeps the smallest business afloat in a sea teeming with established competitors. Remember, the market is disrupted and awash with all manner of marketing messages. You need to check what your competitors are doing, the tactics they’re using, and how to sink them in your favour. To succeed, spice it up with some emotion and valuable product information.

Ensure Your Marketing Communications Convey Marketplace Savvy Messages

Your business will connect more with your prospects if it’s not just about you. Don’t sell but educate them instead. Step away from hammering product features in your ads or brochure. Instead, show your customers that you understand their pain points, and you can solve them with your offering. Leverage testimonials, how-to content, and customer success accounts and see the magic.

What to Know About Integrated Marketing Communications

Imagine you’ve come across an appealing brand or product and you’re there trying to absorb the value you’ll get after purchasing. Then you realise that the sales team is hammering a different message compared to what their social media page is fronting. In such a scenario, you can get lost trying to understand what the brand or product is all about.

As a business owner, there’s a need to leverage the Integrated Marketing Communications concept to clear the fog. This is the only way to confidently send consistent messages regardless of the department or channel used.

The Definition

Integrated Marketing Communications is the tactical, collaborative, and promotional marketing approach that delivers consistent and convincing messages through different channels to influence a buyer’s purchasing decision.

IMC, as commonly abbreviated, this strategy combines various channels-social media, personal selling, direct mail, digital channels, or PR and feeds them with a unified and creditable message. Seamlessly, this tactic offers the same voice and style to drive the product’s core message.

When you leverage IMC, you’re exploiting your promotional tools as a suite rather than going for disjointed elements that can hurt your efforts.

Is IMC Beneficial For Your Venture?

There’s a lot that goes into making an IMC strategy successful. When implemented well, there’s a full tray of benefits for your business. Some include:

  • It provides a competitive edge
  • Makes communications a cross-functional tool
  • Streamlines communication with prospects
  • Drives profitability through effective customer engagement
  • Drives sales through message augmentation on different channels
  • Save our budget by reducing duplication
  • Builds brand credibility via consistent messaging
  • The use of one communication agency saves money
  • Seamless integration of off and online channels

The Golden Rules Of integrated Marketing Communications

When you think about the entire IMC process, you’ll realise that it’s more than meshing a few channels to roll out a campaign. However, the crux is about presenting a consistent narrative through every channel and tool you appoint. The benefits you get in the end help you to eliminate confusion regarding your core brand message. Here are some cardinal rules to abide by:

Integrate at all management levels

Whether you’re doing an annual review or a follow-up session of your IMC plan, it pays to integrate at all levels. Make managers at all levels your message “point men.” Also, facilitate message consistency from the PR, advertising sales, and promotions departments.

Appoint a design manual

Again, consistency needed to be reinforced by a brand manual that dictates uniformity where logos, theme colours, type fonts, and templates are concerned.

Employ a concise marketing communications strategy

You’ll need to work with a clear-cut communications goal. Every message should depict the core value while adding substance to the brand voice.

Don’t bloat your budget

For starters, you’ll need to go for a manageable budget. When you start small, you’ll identify priorities step by step. With time, you can scale your communication activities while allocating funds where they’re needed most.

Prioritise customer needs

Always make your messaging about the customer and the sales process. Map out the buying journey and employ tools that fit every stage. It helps the buyer to move smoothly through every stage.

Change at all times

Marketing communications isn’t rigid. As you build brand value and relationships, consider changes and tweaks. Follow the metrics and keep experimenting with the best communications mix.

Why Hire A Marketing Communications Company?

Single-handedly, progressive business owners can build better performance and revenue by leveraging marketing communications. However, we know that you’re not the quintessential jack of all trades in this regard. At this point, the prudent thing to do is to engage a marketing communications company to fast track your growth. But why should you engage one?

  • Outsourcing marketing communications presents you with amalgamated services that facilitate your entire sales cycle. Of course, you want experts handling your branding, logo designs, strategic plans, and advertising collateral.
  • At the same time, these outfits are flexible. You enjoy the prerogative to engage one-off or on a full-time basis.
  • Professional marketing communications firms are the gurus in marketing. They specialise in science, and they know what works best for your start-up or established venture.
  • We already know that you’re adept in the business process but engaging a marketing communications outfit brings a different perspective. These firms have worked in different industries, and they can inject fresh ideas into the mix.

Overall, engaging marketing communications experts say your business is willing to offer better. You’ll need someone looking from the inside-out. In fact, your prospects and shareholders are likely to perceive you as a long term partner that prioritises effective and market-realistic strategies.

 

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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