By Sophy Edmonds.

As a marketing and PR specialist, I’ve lost count of how many marketing communications plans we’ve delivered for clients over the years. And with Edmonds Marketing being nominated recently for the 2016 Australian Marketing Institute Award for Excellence, it got me thinking about what leads to a successful campaign.

So I thought I’d share my tips on how to go about preparing a strong plan – a plan that delivers real outcomes to support brand growth and development. If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, why not come along to our final pow-wow for 2016 on Thursday 17 November called “Marketing Communications: Planning and Implementation”, where we will workshop these fundamentals in more detail.

Above all, I think setting a strong foundation via a well-developed plan is really key to successful communications and delivery. When making one, there are a few points you need to cover.

Creating an effective marketing communications plan

  1. Understand your brand, its products and services. This is actually very important. Before you embark on developing a tactical campaign of activity, take the time to define what your brand offering is. While this may sound simple, it takes objective insight and expertise to define the business you are in, what your organisation stands for, and how you will position the brand and its point of difference to meet the needs of customers.
  2.  Make sure you really know your customer. If they’re a consumer, consider their age, status, interests and concerns. If they’re another organisation, think carefully about the issues they face and their functions – this may require research to inform your understanding. This understanding enables you to develop a targeted approach so that when it comes to the communications delivery you are able to reach them through clearly defined channels and speak to them about topics they care about.
  3. Develop consistent, visually engaging and well-designed marketing tools. They need to incorporate your key messages and reflect your brand positioning in order to drive calls to action in a consistent and coherent way. Whether it’s your website, brochures, adverts or other materials, they need to project a similar look and feel that quickly garners attention and motivates potential customers to seek out further information.
  4. Be focused in all your activities. Be clear about what success looks like and the most effective, concentrated way you can deliver on these goals. You may have a vision to conquer the whole of Australia, but in the short term, realistically, where do you need to focus your attention to gain traction? Every organisation is limited by budget or human resources. Ensure maximum bang for buck by remaining clear about who your focus is, where they’re based and the most efficient ways to reach them.
  5. Draft a plan and set out the associated steps and timelines to deliver on this. Again, be realistic and define roles and responsibilities. Setting up and agreeing on a plan up front with clear milestones will help drive success and enable you to deliver a focused, consistent and integrated plan of activity.
  6. Review and evaluate your activities on an ongoing basis. A strong plan provides clear objectives. In delivering the plan you need to evaluate activity in relation to these objectives and supporting goals. Make sure you take the time to review activities, understand what’s working and what’s not working. In this way, you will develop a process of continuous improvement and refine your activity on an ongoing basis.

A success story

In relation to our Australian Marketing Institute Award for Excellence nomination, our client Medical Financial Group commissioned us to develop a focused, ongoing month-by-month plan of marketing communications activity. This was underpinned by a clearly defined brand proposition. Edmonds Marketing developed an integrated and structured process to deliver consistent, credible messages via targeted communications. In this way we helped drive awareness with their target audience and strengthened their positioning with the key ‘measure’ being uplift in referrals.

So before implementing marketing communications activities, invest in developing an effective plan based on sound insight and understanding. Prepare tools which support a consistent and coherent brand message and undertake targeted activities which deliver ongoing momentum and outcomes to meet agreed objectives. Photo sourced from istock photo.

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For expert assistance in defining your marketing communications strategy and delivering effective plans, please get in touch with Edmonds Marketing by calling 07 3175 9905 or emailing sophy@edmondsmarketing.com.au.

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