How to Move the Needle
April 12, 2019
Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked on marketing efforts for a great deal of clients, ranging from wireless communications to consumer packaged goods and from education to transportation. While the brands, their business objectives and key audiences may differ, there are underlying truths that remain constant when building a good communications strategy and an impactful campaign.
Insights Are Everything
As you embark on campaign development, it’s imperative that you anchor yourself in the who, what and why of the brand and their customers. These insights should lead all decisions and help shape your strategy, creative execution and media plan across owned, earned and paid channels.
In an ideal world, you’d have access to industry and audience research (or even conduct your own) before you start campaign development. But in an often imperfect world, in-depth conversations with organizational leaders or key stakeholders can be just as helpful to unearth valuable insights and emotional underpinnings that will inform the work.
Keeping those insights top of mind will ensure you develop a campaign and message that speak to your customer’s unique needs and experience. From content to color to calls to action – no detail is too small. Coupling that with a thoughtful media plan allows you to reach your key audiences when it matters most – breaking through the clutter and creating action – clicks, downloads, purchases and more.
The Customer Is King
There’s a good chance your audience represents an ethnically and economically diverse and demographically broad spectrum of people who use your product, service and even technology differently. That said, each customers’ journey should be accounted for through all phases of product and system development, communications planning and creative concepting.
If a website isn’t designed with the end user in mind, a transition to a new way of doing things isn’t outlined properly or an English ad is placed in a predominately Spanish-speaking area, you’ve missed the mark. Brands live and die by popular opinion — even more so in the world of social media — so maintaining an optimal customer experience and nuanced messaging is critical for success.
Consistency Is Key
To ensure a smooth rollout of any new products, systems or campaigns, a strategic plan should be put in place early, processes should be tested thoroughly, and nothing should be communicated to the public prematurely. Any incorrect information could lead to customer confusion or set unrealistic expectations resulting in bad press or negative public feedback.
Establishing a consistent brand experience across all channels is imperative, so be sure to invest in employee training — specifically among sales reps, business development teams, social media teams and customer service reps who interact with customers on a daily basis. They are your brand ambassadors on the frontline. You don’t want a perfectly planned campaign to fall apart because one person is misinforming your customers.
It Takes a Village
Finally, when working on projects that involve multiple partners and ever-changing targets, it’s imperative to maintain clear and transparent communication throughout the campaign. The communication team should be at the table for the entire project to ensure an optimal customer experience is upheld from start to finish. This also ensures valuable customer insights are being shared throughout the project and allows you to have a pulse on the customer’s journey or any bumps in the road.
And should a crisis or system-wide issue arise, the PR, customer service and social media teams should be alerted immediately. This will ensure they are communicating appropriate and consistent information to the audience across all channels. Also, establishing relationships with key stakeholders, influencers, community leaders and even the media, can help spread communications support and build brand trust.
So, no matter what marketing initiative you’re working on, a strong communications plan anchored in audience and industry truths will help your clients move the needle.
April 12, 2019