Develop an Effective and Creative Marketing and Communications Plan
As marketing communications professionals, we have a lot of strategic options to consider when developing marketing communications programs.
- What marketing communications elements should be included in the marketing mix?
- Where do I find the talent to implement each element?
- And how do I prioritize my marketing investments so they deliver maximum return?
We can’t always respond to these questions by immediately taking action. So, if you’re looking for a refreshed communications plan, give your future self the gift of at least 15 minutes and up to three months (with a team) to construct a communications strategy utilizing the techniques outlined below to help you drive the direction of your marketing plan in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
What defines a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a document that represents the marketing activities that an organization undertakes to create and maintain a competitive advantage. To put it simply, marketing strategies are broad directions or plans for how specific marketing tactics will be used over time to help organizations meet their business goals.
Every good marketing plan starts with a good business strategy; this is where JSR often supports our clients. Whether your objective is to educate, entertain or sway behavior JSR encourages strategic development prior to launch.
For some, defining your goals will be easy; sell more red shoes to 28-32-year-olds. For others, goals may be harder to define; make us look better than our competitors. What are you (as marketers and you as a business) trying to accomplish? Think SMART.
Set SMART marketing goals as a function of business goals and prioritize the top three.
If the SMART model is difficult, begin by developing objectives for each marketing objective area. For example, if you have an objective of increasing awareness among a target audience, ask yourself the following questions:
- How will we know if we’ve succeeded?
- What metrics can we use to evaluate our progress?
- How often will we report on these metrics?
- What are the most important checkpoints along the way where we may take a step back and assess our progress?
Target audiences are the center of your plan.
Once marketing goals are set, it’s important to identify your target audiences. Answering key questions will help you prioritize the marketing activities you will focus on for this time period. Who are they? Where are they? What do they want or need? Why should they care about what we have to say? How can we reach them? How can we prove we reached them effectively? How can I easily talk to ten of them?
Tell the story with content and creative that resonates
Build a creative campaign to reach your audiences. If there is time, use their feedback prior to development and test the slogans, calls-to-action and design prior to launch. Having a clear campaign allows you to produce materials more quickly (which upper management will love). JSR Strategies loves the power of communication through design and have worked hard to build a team of designers, producers and developers that are obsessed with storytelling.
Build a work plan and a reporting schedule.
Prioritizing marketing activities and projects helps you to prepare a marketing work plan that can guide the marketing activities with the resources you have. In many ways, this will be your baby-stepping guide moving forward.
Watch reporting closely. JSR recommends that clients continue to refine their marketing objectives throughout the marketing effort to ensure alignment with business goals through reporting and metrics.
We are nationally recognized specialists in health care, energy and government with expertise in reaching hard-to-reach audiences. Since no two clients are the same, JSR creates a custom team for every new client or project. We think different projects require different qualified specialists, so we pull from a pool of experts who have been working in a specific field for a number of years and have had ample opportunity to hone their skills. Because they are able to lean on their specific experience to provide quality work and get the job done efficiently, our team flattens the learning curve and is ready to serve our clients right away.