How To Write A Marketing Communications Strategy

To gain strategic advantage in your Marketing Communication Strategy, an organisation has to formulate and implement a value-creating strategy – that is, a comprehensive set of decisions and commitments on the direction to take in order to fully achieve its aims and goals.

  1. This process begins with a marketing audit, which has five components:
  2. The marketing environment audit.
  3. The marketing strategy audit.
  4. The marketing organisation audit.
  5. The marketing systems audit.
  6. The marketing mix audit.

Findings in Marketing Audit for Marketing Communications Strategy

The findings of the audit can impact both external and internal communications strategy.

The marketing audit has three purposes, according to authors Wilson and
Gilligan (2004):

  1. To identify the organisation’s current market position.
  2. To understand the opportunities and threats it faces in its environment.
  3. To clarify its ability to cope with demands in its environment.

The strategy must be conceived and objectives formulated to address the issues identified in the audit. Then, subject to senior management approval, the internal marketing plan can be implemented.

What Is A Marketing Strategy Audit?

The marketing strategy audit covers the following elements:

  • Mission statement
  • Is this clearly stated in a functional, customer-centric way?
  • Does it reflect the organisation’s corporate and marketing objectives?
  • Marketing objectives and goals
  • Are they stated clearly?
  • Are the objectives consistent with the resources and the market situation?
  • Strategy
  • The best way to evaluate strategic options is to ask ‘will we reach our objectives by this route?’

Marketing Systems Audit

The marketing systems audit should cover the following elements:

New product development (NPD) – Do we have a continuous and
effective process for developing new products? Do we encourage
staff to come up with new ideas?

Marketing information system (MKIS) – How effective is the flow of
marketing intelligence? Is information clear and timely for decision-making?
Is it easily available to those who need it?

Marketing planning system – Is the system well designed
and effective? Is the system effective at forecasting sales and
future trends?

Marketing Mix Audit

The marketing mix audit should look at the following:

Products and services – How does our product line compare with
those of our competitors? What products should we add or withdraw?
Pricing – Are the pricing objectives appropriate?
Distribution/place – How effective are the various channel members?
Promotional mix – Are our promotional objectives correct? Is the
advertising effective? What research do we conduct before or
after advertising?
Salesforce – Are the sales targets achievable? How effective is the
sales team compared with the competition?

Implementing Internal Marketing Communications

Factors In Implementing internal marketing include the following:

  • Internal customer segmentation.
  • Choice of internal communication tools.
  • Building supportive working relationships.
  • Staff empowerment and involvement.
  • Personal development and training.
  • Recognition and rewards.
  • Performance measures and feedback.

When implementing any change, including introducing a new customer
focus, you have to expect that some people will be resistant to change,
others will welcome it and yet others may have personal objectives
that are different from those of the organisation.

So, as in external
marketing, it is essential is to know your audience – in this case your
internal audience. To help you do this you can apply the techniques of
‘segmentation, targeting and positioning’ (STP) to internal marketing,
with segments likely to be ‘supporters’, ‘opposers’ and ‘neutrals’
(although different segmentation could be equally valid).

Internal Marketing Communication Strategy and Tools

The tools used in internal marketing communications are similar to those used in marketing communications in general (see
chapter 5) although the more personal media shown below will be the most appropriate in this context.

Because employees work for your organisation, they are already involved and, to varying degrees, engaged.

The principles of internal marketing require the free flow of communication and managers should share as much information as
possible with all relevant parties so that they feel involved, empower and trusted. If employees understand the roles and motivations of their
colleagues they are, generally speaking, better able to work with them in a collaborative manner.

Typical internal marketing tools are as follows:

  • Staff or house magazines – These may contain elements typical of a
    consumer ‘lifestyle’ magazine, such as interviews with key members
    of staff, and corporate news and policy is communicated in a nondidactic
    way.
  • Internal printed newsletters – On bulletin boards or as desk dropped
    leaflets, email attachments and so on.
    Digital communications – More usual nowadays than printed
    formats, these include blogs, intranets (see below), dedicated web
    pages and the full range of social media such as Twitter, Facebook,
    Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and so on.
  • Staff meetings – The onus is on the organisers – perhaps the
    marketing department together with HR – to make these as
    entertaining, memorable, informative and motivational as possible.
  • Team-building exercises – ‘Away-days’ or afternoons where different
    teams can visit each other to find out what they do and how
    they work.
  • Employee awards – Most people appreciate being recognised for
    a job well done. Some organisations have ‘employee of the month’
    awards, but many prefer to run annual awards ceremonies, which
    also allow informal socialising and networking.
  • Suggestion box – It’s important to have a recognised system, either
    virtual or physical, to receive new ideas from employees.
  • Video conferencing – The growth of home-working, along with
    rising numbers of virtual and often multinational and geographicallydispersed
    teams, makes tools such as Skype, webinars and
    telephone conferencing invaluable.
  • Intranets and extranets – These are powerful tools in stakeholder
    relationships, owing to their restricted access, the possibility of
    personalisation and the fact that they are easy to access on the
    move through smartphones and tablets. A restricted-access intranet
    is arguably the best channel for internal communication, because
    it allows the instantaneous transfer of electronically-held information
    such as reports, letters, photos, videos and data, and makes the
    organisational address book available to everyone. An extranet
    extends the intranet capacity to suppliers and distributors.