Reaching Out to your Audience: Creating an Efficient Marketing Communications Plan

Communication is a key element of marketing in any type of business organization. From small or large businesses, profit or not-for-profit, in all segments; it is an essential part of business planning.

Organizing objectives and how to accomplish them allows business leaders and their teams to stick to the plan, resulting in strategy continuity.

Make sure your communications plan is clear and straight to the point, including the following items:

1. Communications Objectives

Use this section to nurture general actions that will deliver your positioning, and the information needs of your audience. List a minimum of two but no more than four or five key objectives for the period. Be specific, and try to make your goals measurable. Some examples are:
  • "Effectively reach key targeted audience."
  • "Cultivate a long-term relationship with the audience to gain credibility."
  • "Position the business as a niche leader."

2. Audience Profile

Define your targeted audience and be as specific as possible. Learn where your audience is located, and how they live, their standards and beliefs, what, how and when they use your product or similar, what they like or dislike. Is there a primary and secondary audience? List them in order of importance, and identify who and what influences that audience. Focus on the audience-related data that is important to your organization. Understanding consumer behavior is critical in order to successfully build your strategies and action plan.

3. Key Messages

Think about the concept you want associated with your brand. These messages will deliver your objectives, positioning your brand through all media and points of contact with customers, such as brochures, advertising, website, call center, locations, press releases, etc.

Here are some examples:
  • "We deliver customized services."
  • "We provide the fastest service in its niche."
  • "Professional development courses at reasonable costs."

4. Main Communication Channels

Identify the most important and credible channels for your audience, the ones that are popular and would best deliver your message. Take into consideration your objectives and budget. You want to maximize your dollars and exposure, reaching out to your current and potential customers at the right timing, and with significance. Make sure the channels you choose are in line with your objectives, and that they reach a very targeted audience. Don't waste money delivering your message to unqualified customers.

5. Key Strategies and Programs

Strategy is how resources are distributed and utilized to achieve your key objectives. Tactics are important to make the strategies action-oriented. List no more than 5 top strategies, and underneath each one, align programs in support. Keep them organized with time schedules.

For example:

Strategy 1:
  • Utilize Press Releases to increase visibility to corporate organizations.
  • Combine the schedule of topics with marketing activities.

6. Budget

Prepare a detailed budget chart, breaking it down by activities. Prepare year-over-year comparisons to evaluate results and calculate ROI.

7. Evaluation Plan

In addition to the numeric targets, it is important to establish parameters to measure the effectiveness of your activities. Establish standards of performance to use as a benchmark, which will allow you to take corrective action, adjusting your strategies along the year.

  • Increase in volume of contacts and inquiries after key communications.
  • PR exposure and ROI by type of publication.

8. Attachments

Attach a calendar of activities and the timeline.

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