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Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy
This is the second in a series of 15 posts I’m sharing on Integrated Marketing Communications. No, I’m not searching for more bright shiny objects to distract me. This is the curriculum I’ve created (some of it) to provide tips on online marketing and communications and what I’m currently teaching at Northwest College.
Ultimately I’m a student, just like you.
Okay, I admit I am also a marketing and small business expert in addition to being a student. I am however, quite clear I am not an expert on all that is unfolding online. I am though, eternally curious about how democratization of content, sociology and technology offer new ways to bring buyers and sellers, problems and solutions together and therefore I am teaching because I want to keep learning.
Click here for other posts in the KISS Integrated Marketing Communications Plan
Integrated Marketing Process
So how do we keep this simple?
CANI: Constant, Always, Never Ending Improvement
The entire marketing process and life for that matter is best done with a spirit of CANI. All things are in a never ending process of either improvement, growth and becoming or decline. Accept that change is constant and commit to life and marketing as a process of CANI; continual, always, never ending, improvement.
Do and evaluate. Evaluation and ongoing engagement informs the process, strategies, tactics and tools. CANI is the eco-system from which we create. Stay flexible, embrace reality and change as necessary.
1. First Things First:Who is the client and what do they want from you?
Who is your client, the client segments you are targeting? Not just demographically but psycho-graphically; who are they? Where are they online and offline?
2. Listen & Hear
Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Listen. Hear. Engage. Act.
Engage in listening and hearing online; first. Customer insights drive all marketing. Period. Customers, not you or your aunt Velda drive everything. Can I get an amen?
3. Confirm The Business & Marketing Goals
What is the end in mind for the venture, business or organization and how does this translate into marketing goals?
What are the goals for product/service, client service, training, communication, distribution and pricing. All of the elements of the marketing mix are informed by the overarching business goals.
Don’t go one step further without first confirming what success looks, feels and smells like for the ENTIRE venture then and only then begin asking what this means for the marketing strategy and then move onto what it means for the integrated marketing communications strategy and plan.
4. Create Your Brand & Online Communication Platform.
To maintain a consistent message we create a very specific brand persona, personality complete with a communication platform that identifies the specific words and phrases we want to be found around. Yes search matters. Yes words; very specific words drive strategy.
The communication/branding overview will be the filter used to evaluate all content and messaging. Consistency, authenticity matters; it’s essential for trust building and we all know this marketing, engaging thing is ALL about trust right? RIGHT?!!!
5. Align Business & Marketing Goals with KPI’s ( key business drivers- performance indicators)
A KPI is a key performance indicator. Most entrepreneurs and business leaders still think in terms of the key business activities. The activities that create sales and profits. Every business has it’s own set of activities that drive the numbers. Yes, I l have to admit I’m partial to words such as; key business number, metric, key business activity, measurement, over the term KPI but the business world is in love with this term, so let’s go with them for now. Here are a few examples of key business drivers, KPI’s: average client ticket, ( average order value) CLV ( customer lifetime value), PPR ( project rate of return), Cost Per Action, Close Rate, Cost-per-lead.
6. Develop Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies for each Marketing Goal
So now it’s time to depart from the ethereal heights of business and marketing goals and drill down into the integrated communications strategy. What online and offline communication strategies offer the highest probability of achieving the goals and KPI’s we’ve set? Come on, be creative we want to communicate in an innovate manner at the lowest cost possible!
7. Develop Key messaging/content for each Integrated Marketing Strategy
Each strategy consists of numerous tactics and tools and is decided upon only after brainstorming a variety of messages, content and tactics. Strategy discussions are never without tactical discussions but experienced marketers understand the cost of premature tactic and tool discussions. Goals and strategies inform tactics and tools so make sure you keep first things first or you will find yourself out in the middle of the marketplace with an oar or two and no vessel or boat…NOT FUN!
8. Confirm the tactics and communication tools that will drive each of the IMC strategies
Step 6 and step 7 are done in tandem, yes in concert. They are taught separately and often practiced backwards (how many meetings have I been at where the client or consultant suffers from severe social tool infatuation or marketing tactic obsession?)
The key is not to fall in love with a tool or tactic before you’ve committed to the overarching goals and integrated marketing strategies to achieve these goals and KPI’s. I mean why buy the ring before you’ve decided it’s the girl and who moves the furniture in before the walls are framed?
Sequence my friend, sequence.
9. Confirm Messaging/Content for each online social tool/tactic
Now it’s time to confirm and finalize the content and choose the online tools and tactics to execute the integrated marketing communication strategy. All the detail orientated execution fanatics are saying, “AMEN.”
It’s chunk down time. Get the microscope out and finely filter all messaging and content for alignment with the brand/communication overview and congruency with the strategy, business and marketing goals, KPI’s.
10. Develop the Integrated Marketing Communication Plan: Strategies, tactics, budget, timelines, benchmarks of success.
Now layout the strategies, tactics and tools, create a budget and identify the timeline to reach your goals benchmarks; KPI”s.
11. All measurement, analytics and 24/7 feedback systems ( listening, engaging, hearing outposts) are in place and being monitored.
As in life, so to in marketing we show up, get clear, play all out and evaluate.
Integrated marketing communications; it’s a process. A process we’re all learning in this new 24/7, globally connected, digital age.
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Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy
pam @ pamhoelzle. com