Build a Simple Yet Effective Marketing Communications Strategy

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business that believes marketing communications strategy is an ideal just for huge corporations with large marketing staff and that you don’t need one, you’re doing yourself and your company a major disservice.

It’s just like that old adage: if you don’t know where you’re headed, you will end up somewhere else. You wouldn’t embark on a cross-country road trip to a destination without a road map or GPS. Similarly, you shouldn’t be marketing without a strategy- no matter how simple or complex.

Now that we’ve established that you need a strategy. What do you need to do to create one? Take a step back and assess your business objectively. Yes, you need to be able to understand your strengths and weaknesses- be honest with yourself. Start a simple document that answers these questions:

What is the opportunity? (Examples: To position XYZ company as the preferred supplier of Product or Service C; Creating a market for ABC; Creating awareness of ABC brand, etc.)

Where is the primary market located? (Examples: Downtown Cincinnati, online on particular types of websites, etc.)

Who are the main/ideal clients? (Examples: Small businesses, attorneys offices, work-at-home-mothers, etc.)

When is the ideal time they are in the market for my product? (Examples: spring for summer lawn service, morning for coffee, etc.)

How can my company best reach them? Consider different marketing communications tactics. Following is a list for consideration: advertising, public relations, promotional items, conferences, networking, direct mail, collateral (business cards, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, etc.), newsletters, website development, search engine optimization/pay per click (SEO/PPC) campaigns, etc.

Answering these questions will give you the basics of a developed marketing strategy. There’s one additional step that’s critical. You need to ask yourself a couple more questions:

What are the Keys to Success? (Examples: Commitment to plan, training on software, etc.)

What are Things to Avoid in the Strategy? (Example: Selling on Price)

Once complete, put this somewhere where it will be a continual reminder to focus on your marketing strategy and implement it. Don’t file this strategic overview where no one will act upon it. This is a living document that should change and grow as the business does.