How To Develop A Marketing And Marketing Communications Strategy And Plan
For Small Or Midsized Companies
Planning for the year ahead is never an easy task. Lack of resources (people, time, budget), keeping up to date on what’s going on in your market, obtaining quality leads and improving brand awareness and reputation have become increasingly difficult for all organizations – for profit companies as well as nonprofits. This has become especially true among US CEO’s who are concerned with not just domestic but also international uncertainties.
Developing A Marketing And Marketing Communications Strategy Is Critical
This should be your priority. Without a strategy for a plan there are way too many opportunities to get off track and chew up your investment. Your ROI will suffer. Consider the following to focus your efforts when developing your strategy and plan:
Be sure to avoid industry and company “myths” and internal “opinions”. Employ primary and secondary research to understand your audience. With so much information available about companies and brands, it is truly the Age Of The Consumer and will be for a very long time.
Also, recognize that millennials (23% of the US population) are not a homogenous group. At the younger end (20 – 28 years), 40 percent are currently living rent free with family, while at the older end (29 – 35 years), 43 percent have already purchased a home. With that in mind, how should your strategy differ if you’re targeting adults 55 years and older (21% of US population)?
· The target audience, in very specific detail
· The category in which you complete and its relevance to customers
· The brand’s benefit and point of difference
· A reason for the customer to believe – the most compelling proof
All marketing and marketing communications should flow from this positioning, and it should be fully understood and embraced by all employees, sales reps, partners and management.
Be sure these influencers completely understand, believe and can articulate your brand premise. And provide them with the training and tools to convey their trust-worthiness in a believable manner.
Developing A Focused Marketing And Marketing Communications Plan And Budget
After the hard work of developing a meaningful strategy, recognize it’s equally important to develop a specific plan and budget. The following should be taken into consideration:
Regardless of the specific marketing tactic, or type of digital or traditional media, you’re evaluating, keep in mind that cost efficiency does not necessarily lead to effective results. Also, and most importantly, the best source of marketing communications leverage is the quality of the message, not the marketing tactic.
· Sales promotion ($83 billion), telemarketing ($60 billion), direct mail (($46 billion) and events ($40 billion) highlight projected 2018 US Marketing Services expenditures;
· The Internet ($78 billion), television ($68 billion) and the combination of radio, newspapers and magazines ($47 billion) are projected to be at the top of the 2018 US Major Media spending categories.
Source: Zenith Total US Spending
And while it may surprise you, 90 percent of consumers (and 94 percent of millennials) still use coupons. The coupons come from a variety of on-line and traditional mediums, but mail is most popular. Why do marketers still use coupons? The simple answer is because they’re effective in guiding purchase. In developing your own plan and budget, determine and recognize the effectiveness of all marketing tactics, not just their efficiency.
ROI Focused Marketing And Marketing Communications Consultants
If you’re like most small and midsized companies, you and your team may not have the expertise or time to develop an ROI focused marketing and marketing communications strategy, plan or budget.
Even major global brands are seeking outside advisors. In my May article, I discussed the dramatic growth of management and accounting consulting practices (33% increase in US revenue) at the expense of traditional global advertising agencies (0.3% increase in US revenue). One reason for this 2017 growth of consultants is their focus – not on trends or what’s in the news – but on marketing and marketing communications effectiveness, profitably and ROI.
While you may not be able to afford the large global consultants, you should consider hiring a marketing and/or marketing communications consultant. The type of people you should hire should:
In today’s challenging environment, a greater focus on strategy, planning and budgeting can go a long way toward leapfrogging competition and improving brand profitability. And the fresh eyes of a consultant can go a long way to building a meaningful future for your brand.
Gary Kullberg is the CEO of the Kullberg Consulting Group, LLC ( http://www.KullbergConsultingGroup.com ), founded in 1994 to provide companies and nonprofits with strategic and executional marketing communications solutions. The Company consists of sixty entrepreneurially driven senior level professionals, across disciplines, who have worked with over 585 organizations in 21 major industry groups. Because of its unique structure, clients are able to "cherry pick" the specific disciplines(s) to meet their needs, in a timely, cost efficient and unbiased manner. Gary is considered an authority in the B2B, B2C and nonprofit marketplaces. He has served as the outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for three companies, as well as on five nonprofit Executive Boards, one as Vice Chair and two as Chair.