Marketing Communication: Optimising Business Promotion
Marketing communication is the seven Ps – product, price, place, promotion, process, people and physical evidence of business promotion. This should purposely influence every single touchpoint your business has with its customers.
Why is marketing important?
Marketing is extremely important – if done well. It can generate brand awareness, interest in your product or service, enquiries and engagement, sales and repeat customers. This will help your business grow exponentially.
One of the key benefits of marketing is that it helps to generate brand awareness. By consistently promoting your brand through various channels. Such as social media, email campaigns, and advertising. You can increase the visibility of your business and make it more recognisable to your target audience. Activities like these can lead to increased interest in your products or services.
Marketing also plays a crucial role in driving enquiries and engagement. Creating compelling content and using effective marketing strategies can encourage potential customers to reach out to you for more information or to schedule a consultation. Deliberate and focused engagement can convert leads into paying customers and increase sales.
Another important aspect of marketing is retaining customers and driving repeat business. By building strong relationships with your customers through personalised communication and excellent customer service, you can encourage them to come back and purchase from you again and again. Prioritising repeat customers is essential for long-term business growth and sustainability.
Investing in effective marketing strategies can take your business to new heights and achieve exponential growth.
Furthermore, an integral component of these marketing efforts is marketing communication, which serves as the conduit through which your brand message, values, and offerings are conveyed to your target audience.
Through adept marketing communication, you can ensure that the essence of your brand and the benefits of your offerings are articulated in a manner that resonates with potential and existing customers, thereby amplifying the impact of your marketing initiatives and fostering a deeper connection between your brand and your audience.
Components to successful marketing communication
- Clearly understand and articulate your product or service offering.
- Understand your target audiences and buyer personas.
- Look after your current clients/customers.
- Identify your sales process or customer journey.
- Plan your marketing activity and implement identified tactics.
- Consistently review your marketing plan.
- Ensure continuity between sales and marketing.
Let’s look at these in more detail.
Nail your product or service offering.
It seems obvious, but it’s crucial to remember that in order for people to be interested in your product or service, it needs to solve their problems and serve as a direct solution to their needs. The likes of Airbnb, realestate.com.au and Uber exist today because someone had an idea built of a need that, at the time, no business could meet.
Look after your current customers/clients.
We know that acquiring a new customer costs six to seven times more than retaining an existing one. Wow, right? Investing in customer retention is vital to keep valued customers coming back, grow their value and also to grow your reach. People talk, so make sure you are front of mind when you customers and suppliers network ask for a recommendation.
Identify your sales process or customer journey.
We continue to be amazed by the number of businesses that don’t know what their sales process looks like or the journey their customers have taken to become exactly that, a customer. Identifying this is key to understand what marketing tactics are suitable for your business. This will also help to highlight your bread-and-butter marketing opportunities.
Plan your marketing activity and implement identified tactics.
A well-thought-out marketing promotions plan is born from a great marketing strategy. A considered marketing plan will address tactics to be executed, then prioritise them in digestible tasks making it much easier to take valuable steps.
Consistently review your marketing plan.
It’s really important said promotional plan is reviewed consistently with your overall business objective as the driving force. You may find yourself getting off course. If this happen do a quick check-in with your marketing plan will have you back on track.
Ensure continuity between sales and marketing.
From your customer’s perspective, they don’t see different areas for sales and marketing, they know you as one brand. Each customer interaction should portray the same tone of voice and inflict the same feeling. No matter if they’re talking to you on the phone, looking at your website or visiting your Facebook page. A detailed and considered marketing strategy will help you achieve continuity. You need to addressing things like customer journey and customer care. Also, include collateral to support the sales process and customer service experience.
Developing your marketing communication plan.
- Make sure your marketing activity plan is supported by a marketing strategy.
A rock-solid marketing plan is an extension of your marketing strategy. While a strategy looks at your brand positioning, the market you play in and sets an overarching business objective, an activity plan outlines what actions you will take in what order to get there. So, it’s imperative that a marketing strategy comes first and is followed by an executional marketing plan.
- Identify your target audience and buying personas.
We can’t stress enough how significant identifying your target audience is for purposeful marketing. We’re not just talking about their age, location and occupation – although important – the real magic is found in identifying how they think, behave and interact. Cue buying personas. B2C demographics, B2B firmographics – clarity on defining depending which market you operate in.
Buyer personas accurately describe your ideal customers, explaining what their days are like, the challenges or problems they face and how their decisions are influenced. This is extremely useful to help understand and empathise with your customers so you can do a better job of communicating with them through messaging that will resonate.
- Define your marketing goals.
It’s important to recognise that your marketing goals and your business objective are two separate things. Your business objective (acknowledged in your marketing strategy) is all-encompassing and sets the trajectory for every action that follows. Marketing goals (you will have several) are bite-sized pillars if you will, all working together to reach your objective. Each goal should also have a measure so down the track you can understand if you’ve met that goal or if you need to tweak your approach.
- Decide on your budget.
Everyone’s marketing budget is going to be different depending on where your business is at in its lifecycle – are you a start-up or more established? Some other factors include what industry you’re in, your business goals and how you allocate marketing budget e.g. do you include staffing. Essentially, your budget should help you reach your business objective and support your marketing plan.
For more on this, read our blog here – How much budget should I allocate to marketing?
- Set your tactics.
Tactics are the promotional elements of marketing that you implement to work towards your objectives. Breaking down required tactics by goal is important to make sure you’re addressing each item with care and not overlooking anything. Hold up – before you dive in and create a Snapchat account for your business, build actionable steps to ensure you’re staying on task.
- Build actionable steps.
Often a marketing action plan is a beast to look at in its entirety. To make sure you don’t become overwhelmed or feel unsure about where to start, building actionable steps and highlighting priorities is key. Because your actionable tasks will be a direct reflection of your marketing goals, you’ll have comfort in the fact that every step, no matter how small, is edging you closer to your objective.
While a marketing strategy looks at your brand positioning, the market you play in and sets an overarching business objective, a marketing activity plan outlines what actions you will take in what order to get there. So, it’s imperative that a marketing strategy comes first and is followed by an executional marketing plan.
Types of marketing promotion (online and offline).
We’re sure this is not news to you, but digital channels are huge players in the marketing game. Everything you do for your business that involves a device and the internet is digital marketing – website updates, search engine optimisation (SEO), blogs or articles, social media activity, Pay Per Click (PPC), webinars, eDM sends, database automation, content marketing, sponsored campaigns and online PR are some examples. Read more detail about these digital marketing channels here.
Public relations (PR) is managing the communication while building trust between your business and third parties (customers, stakeholders, journalists, the general public etc.). PR is all about driving a positive reputation through an effective and considered strategy. Media outlets include newspapers, magazines, influencer marketing, industry award recognition and public reviews, just to name a few. The PR world has changed over the last 10 years – now businesses have the ability to better control its PR with owned media, think social media, website content and eDMs, unlike other traditional media outlets. However, there’s a reason that PR is measured at a higher value than owned and paid for content and that’s because ultimately, while you can influence your public relations, they are just that, public and thus not exclusively within your brand’s control.
Events & conferences
For B2B businesses, conferences, seminars, exhibitions and trade shows are places where people with a common interest or working experience gather to learn about trends and discuss common issues. For B2C businesses, events, launches and other PR driven activities can be great for brand exposure and to meet other businesses you could collaborate with. If you’re attending as an individual, they present great educational opportunities, allow you to network with peers, meet new vendors, suppliers and customers and can position you as an expert. As a business, if an event attracts your target audience, you could sponsor and/or exhibit to gain brand awareness and generate potential leads. This should be done with a specific event strategy.
Marketing collateral is all about the print and physical presentation of your brand to your audience. It’s everything from your business card and letterhead to your brochure and capability statement. There are a few key components that go into creating a professional and attractive suite of marketing collateral items to make your brand stands out on the kitchen bench.
Copywriting – Copywriting should be clear and communicate your key points to your audience. It should always be written in your brands tone of voice for consistency with other marketing initiatives.
Graphic design – Great design is absolutely key to impress your audience upon first contact with your brand. Design should complement the copywriting and be created in line with your style guide so its easily recognisable as your brand.
Printing – Bring the beautiful design to life with quality printing that appropriately positions your brand in the market i.e. should your collateral be luxurious to touch, stand out with Spot UV or appeal to people at a particular price point?
Video & photography
High-quality video and photography should be used across digital channels. Proprietary visual content lifts the level of professionalism and overall appearance of your brand. Investing in a professional videographer or photographer is essential if you’re after slick brand appeal.
Advertising can be highly effective to raise brand awareness, attract attention and engagement, and create a want and need for your product/service. They key to effective advertising is to be clear in what you want to say and the people you want to reach. We talk about this in more detail in marketing campaigns.
Rather than reaching a much larger audience with advertising, direct marketing is a two-way communication with a pre-selected customer base that relies on exactly that, direct communication.
A sales program is a broad set of coordinated, repeatable and standard activities that drive sales. They generally involve several departments within a business.
Marketing communication campaigns.
What is a marketing communication campaign?
In basic terms, a marketing campaign is a planned communication that promotes your product or service with consistent messaging through different media.
We would expect to see some similarities in a business’s marketing campaigns – like branding and tone of voice – but it’s likely they will be different depending on the objective, offer, channels, audience, budget and tactics.
4 Stages of marketing funnels
One of most important things to understand with marketing campaigns is the marketing funnel. Bear with us, we’ll explain. There are four stages to a marketing funnel – awareness, consideration, conversion and advocacy:
Stage 1 – Awareness
We know it takes between 20 to 30 brand impressions before people will remember a brand, so it’s important to understand how critical the awareness stage is to the success of your marketing campaigns. You want to make sure you’re always filling the top of the funnel with brand impressions.
Stage 2 – Consideration
This is where people will recognise your brand if they see it and they’ll likely start to interact with your content (browse your website, like an Instagram post or view a video on your Facebook page). We call this group of people a ‘considered audience’.
Stage 3 – Conversion
The action starts here. Whether that be ‘enter your email address’ or ‘purchase an item’ (the conversion options are many), this where your audience takes action. They know your brand, they’re familiar with your product or service offering and they’ve done their research. Keep in mind it can take up to 6 to 12 months to acquire a customer depending on the cost of your product or service – i.e. a 60 second consideration for a takeaway coffee or a 12-month consideration for a brand-new car.
Stage 4 – Advocacy
We love this stage; you can expect to achieve significant return on investment (ROI) here. Your customers rave about you, refer you to friends and share your brand on their own social media. Business that comes from referral costs you $0, the sheer power of a brand advocate.
Steps to launching a successful campaign
Plan your marketing communication campaign
Planning your campaign strategy sets you up for success and is crucial to a striking execution. Planning a campaign has many different components – set your objective, identify your target audience, brainstorm concepts, craft the messaging, create tactics, outline KPIs, decide on channels and lock in your budget. Market, message, media put simply.
To craft a compelling message with content that will resonate, really think about your target audience and give them a reason to believe in what you’re saying. Change your point-of-view – if functioning from your own point-of-view, you’ll make assumptions and fill in the blanks. Your customers won’t do that.
To help you craft a compelling message, try applying the ‘so what?’ rule. For example, the work boots have a supportive midsole. So what? Your feet are less fatigued and better supported throughout the day. So what? You’ll have plenty of energy to run around with the kids at the end of a tough workday.
Another way of looking at this is with the features, advantages and benefits exercise. For example –
Selecting your channels to market is a key element to a successful campaign. You could have a great message and really attractive offer, but without reaching your identified target audience the result of your campaign will be compromised. If you don’t already know, do your research to understand the behaviour of your target audience and exactly where they spend their time, online and offline.
Tactics are the content you need to create to execute the campaign. Some examples include blogs, videos, white papers, case studies or customer testimonials.
It’s best to be realistic about your campaign expectations and KPIs. Remember, the true ROI comes from your brand advocates (refer to our marketing funnel from earlier), so set your KPIs accordingly. Some examples of campaign KPIs include number of leads, total number of people reached, total engagements or number of website landing page users.
Design the artwork
Find a clever bunch of designers (like our friends over at PIER Creative) to bring your campaign to life. To ensure you’re happy with the output and the ads resonate with your audience, you’ll need to provide a detailed creative brief. Your brief should outline your brand guidelines, objective, target audience, channels and artwork requirements, including copywriting and dimensions.
Launch your marketing communication campaign
Launching your campaign is both exciting and nerve-racking. Be patient and trust the process. If you’ve done your due diligence in planning, you should see a positive result.
Monitor & measure results
It’s key to check on your campaign along the way, it’s not a set-and-forget situation, and it’s really simple to do when running ads online. Refer directly to your KPIs to understand how your tracking and make adjustments where you see fit.
Outsourced marketing communication.
What is outsourced marketing communication?
Outsourcing is where businesses call on an external source outside of its organisation to undertake particular tasks. Some businesses choose to outsource all their marketing, while some opt to have both an internal resource and outsource certain projects or elements where the skills and expertise are a better fit. Outsourcing has become a mainstream strategy for businesses to streamline expenditure and create efficiencies to enable growth. Three reasons to outsource: expertise, manpower, shift the risk of employment.
Benefits of outsourced marketing communication
Scale your marketing investment depending on what you need.
You have the flexibility to scale your marketing investment depending on what your business needs at that point in time, giving you peace of mind that you’ll always be adding value to your business.
Idea generation is on hand.
Idea generation runs best on brainpower. With a group of highly skilled and experienced individuals, you’ll be sure if it’s appropriate, it’ll be thought of. An outsourced department will divide, conquer and share across the team so there’s always an expert on hand, and you can lean on this.
Access to broad range of skills and expertise.
Generally speaking, you can have access to a whole marketing department for a year for the same cost as one individual. We know there’s a bunch of different wheels constantly spinning to make a business’s marketing effective, and it’s almost impossible for one person to achieve without support.
Reduce cost and shift the risk of employment.
No recruitment fees, no personal leave and no office politics. The sign of a great outsourced agency is one that takes time to get to know the ins and outs of your business from the get-go to ensure they are equipped to market your brand with clarity. If you find an outsourced agency that’s the right fit, they’ll feel like an extension of your team (just not always in the same postcode).
Increased efficiency and productivity.
You engage an outsourced marketing agency to complete a particular task or achieve a set of goals, so they’ll be super driven to achieve that for you in a productive manner. It’s not to say an internal employee won’t, but they’re more likely to be distracted and pulled in different directions. You can rely on an outsourced team to get the job done proficiently.
Not sure where to start?
Feel free to contact PIER with any questions this content may have posed for you. We’ll happily guide you through the process.