What is a Communication Strategy in Marketing? – In-Depth Analysis, Tips & More
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A communication strategy is something that is utilized by many brands to get in touch and interact with their target audience.
This is done through many different avenues of communication. These communication channels primarily depend on the target audience of the brand.
There are many reasons why you would want to develop a communication strategy for your brand as we’ll explore in this post.
In this post, we will discuss:
- What is a communication strategy in marketing (sometimes called a marketing communications strategy)?
- Why it’s important for brands
- How you can develop an effective marketing communication strategy for your brand
So without further ado, let’s get started.
What is a Marketing Communications Strategy?
A marketing communication or marketing communications strategy essentially deals with how your brand plans to communicate its message to its target audience.
There are three essential components to a marketing communication strategy:
- The audience: People who you want to communicate your brand’s message to.
- The message: What the brand message actually is.
- The channel: The platform or marketing channel that is utilized to deliver that brand message.
For you to have an effective marketing communications strategy, it’s extremely important that all three components are thoroughly researched and defined. The three components should complement each other in order for your brand to achieve the best results possible.
Oftentimes, if you have a larger team working for your brand, you can have separate marketing and communication departments. The former typically handles the actual messaging while the latter handles how that message gets delivered to the masses.
It’s very important, if that’s the case for your brand, that these two departments coordinate with each other in order to have cohesive brand messaging.
Oftentimes, when two different departments are involved in the development of brand messaging, it can become confusing. As a result, the message comes out to be extremely disconnected.
As you can probably imagine, something like that will fail to grab the attention of your target audience and your brand will suffer the consequences.
Even worse, some brands don’t even take the time to develop a marketing communications strategy and jump straight into the thick of it.
As you may have gathered if you’ve read any of our other posts, when it comes to brand-building and marketing, it’s never a good idea to jump into things without planning. Unless you’re super lucky, things will end up bad for you.
Essentially, you want all of your brandings, messaging, advertising, and the overall tone of your business to be cohesive and consistent. That’s why it’s important to have guidelines and train your teams on what you want the public perception of your brand to be.
A marketing communications strategy can help immensely when it comes to that.
However, before you actually start to develop a marketing communication strategy, you must first decide what you actually want to achieve with it. As in, what are the goals that you want to set for your marketing communications strategy?
The most common goal that a brand can have for a marketing communications strategy is to generate more demand for its products and services. This, in turn, increases the conversion rate of your brand.
While that’s the most common goal, marketing communication strategies can have other objectives such as:
- Expanding your brand’s message worldwide
- Developing brand recognition and awareness
- Providing high-quality customer service through social media platforms
- Studying competitors to gain an advantage over them
Why Do You Need a Marketing Communication Strategy?
Many new business owners fail to understand the importance of a marketing communications strategy.
Here’s why it’s definitely worth your time as a business owner to spend time developing a cohesive marketing communications strategy:
It Builds Brand Trust
Remember how we said that consistency is the key when it comes to effective brand messaging? Well, you have to be consistent in both your tone as well as how regularly you post content to your preferred platform of choice.
It’s a fact that humans tend to trust brands that they see over and over again. If they’ve seen posts from your brand on social media or other platforms, they’ll already be acquainted with you and your products.
Hence, when they have the need for a product that your brand sells, they’ll most likely come to you rather than any of your competitors that they may not have heard of.
That’s why a consistent message that is regularly shown to audiences can be extremely effective. Disjointed or jarring customer experiences that are caused by inconsistent messaging can be the death of a brand.
Another thing that may be a part of your marketing communications strategy is collaborations with other individuals or brands within the same niche.
Collaborations can be extremely beneficial for your brand since there’s a high chance you’ll have overlapping target audiences. Hence, you can introduce your brand to your collaborator’s audience and they might end up buying your product or service.
However, even in the case of collaborations, you have to ensure that you remain consistent. Not only in your messaging but you also have to be consistent with the values and beliefs that you represent with your brand.
For example, if you’re a brand that promotes recycling and ecological solutions to help heal the earth, it wouldn’t make sense for you to collaborate with an airline company.
While that’s a fairly extreme example, you get the point. Don’t collaborate with brands that go against your core beliefs. Otherwise, you’ll start to lose the existing customer base that you already have.
The bottom line is that, as long as you’re smart with it, you can gain the trust of a large portion of your target audience with the appropriate messaging.
It Helps You Find the Appropriate Audience
The number of marketing channels you have at your disposal in today’s day and age is mind-boggling. That’s why it can definitely be very confusing to choose the right ones for your brand.
In the past, you only had a few standard options such as TV advertisements, billboards, etc. While these methods were effective sometimes, they did not always guarantee that you’d achieve the results that you want with them.
Furthermore, you have to spare a hefty chunk of change to develop and run TV ads or have billboards up for months.
However, in today’s digital age, you have far more sophisticated options that can help you run targeted ads. These are primarily run through different social media platforms that come with extensive options for you to find the audience you’re looking for.
Targeted ads are far superior to traditional methods of the past. This is because they are displayed to individuals that would most likely be interested in what your brand has to offer.
But how does that work?
Well, first of all, you’d need to conduct extensive market research in order to find out what type of individuals would be most interested in what your brand has to offer. Audience research is something that you will conduct no matter what when you first start out as a brand.
You can look towards the audience and even conduct competitor research to identify what type of people would be most receptive to your brand messaging.
One practice is to create buyer personas which are fictional representations of individuals that would be the ideal buyer for your brand. You can bring these representations to life by giving them particular traits and characteristics.
Some common traits that you can provide to a buyer persona include:
- Marital status
- Geographical location
And much more.
Then, once you have defined the ideal audience segment or audience segments, you can start to develop personalized ads and content for them. This would be content that speaks directly to them and has a much higher chance of resonating with them.
Once this content is developed, you can use the different ad targeting options provided by different social media platforms. These options help your content be displayed to individuals belonging to those particular audience segments that you defined.
Since you don’t broadcast your content to a wide audience and rather, use a precise approach, it’s also much cheaper.
You would display your content to a particular audience and that audience would be much more receptive to your brand, according to your research.
As you can probably imagine, this can provide you with a high number of conversions as well as a high number of individuals that become loyal to your brand.
It Helps You Achieve a Positive Return on Investment (ROI)
A marketing communications strategy typically deals with displaying ads to customers in a way that has a high chance for them to interact with them.
However, the ultimate goal for most marketing communications strategies is not for the audience to just interact with your content but rather, for them to make a purchase.
Of course, your marketing communications strategy can have other goals but if your brand is not seeing an increase in sales, it’s not sustainable.
You’ll be pleased to know that a well-defined marketing communications strategy is something that can help you out immensely when it comes to increasing revenue.
We mentioned above how targeted ads can help you display your content to an audience that is more likely to be receptive to them.
Since they’ll be more receptive to your ads, the number of people that will make a purchase from your brand will also be much higher compared to traditional marketing methods. Hence, you’ll definitely see an increase in revenue after you implement your communication strategy.
Furthermore, as we mentioned earlier how a targeted approach is much more cost-efficient than a broadcasting approach, this will increase your profit margin. Thus, you’ll see an immense increase in the return on investment (ROI).
That’s how initial marketing communications strategies are built and that’s what they’re primarily focused towards.
Once your brand starts to see a positive and sustainable ROI, it’s important that you don’t get comfortable with its performance. This is a mistake that many newer entrepreneurs and business owners make.
After your brand has built a loyal customer base and starts to see steady, sizable revenue, you have to work to stay relevant within your niche. It’s important that you constantly tweak your marketing communications strategy in order to stay on top.
Not only do you have to maintain your sizable revenue and loyal customer base, but you must also work on scaling things up.
For this, you can adopt many different approaches such as conducting marketing campaigns geared toward individuals from other audience segments. These audience segments could be ones that you didn’t target initially but may hold promise.
How to Develop an Effective Marketing Communication Strategy?
Most brands tend to develop a cohesive marketing communications strategy when they first start out and then, they forget about it.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important that you reconstruct or, at least, revise your marketing communications strategy annually or semi-annually.
This will help your brand stay relevant for years to come.
The steps you should take to develop a successful marketing communications strategy for your brand include:
Step 1: Conduct Thorough Audience Research
This is something you may have already done for your marketing strategy. Hence, you can pretty much utilize those findings for your marketing communications strategy as well.
However, there’s a chance that your marketing communication strategy may require more research. It’s up to you to decide whether the information and data you have regarding your target audience is enough for you to effectively execute your strategy or not.
The simplest way to conduct audience research is through surveys, questionnaires, and interviews. These can give you unique insight into what the pain points and unmet needs of your target audience are.
You can then use this information within your content and ads to highlight how your product or service can serve those unmet needs.
Another great way to identify customer needs is to read public conversations on social media. You can find these conversations in groups related to your niche as well as on the social media pages of your competitors.
We already talked about how you can create buyer personas to help your brand imagine what the ideal customer looks like and what their interests are. This can help your content creation team create ads that resonate with them and entice them to interact with your brand.
Furthermore, this also gives your communication team insight into which platforms your target customers are most likely to frequent. You can then use your budget to only focus on the platforms where the chances of interaction are highest.
Step 2: Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your unique selling proposition should be the core of all of your marketing strategies. It’s something that should be highlighted within all of your brand content and advertisements.
A unique selling proposition is something that your product or service has that none of your competitors have. It’s what makes your brand stand out from competitors and the primary reason why a customer would buy from you rather than your competitors.
Again, audience research can help extensively with identifying your unique selling proposition. Perhaps you come across an unmet need that none of your competitors are fulfilling and it turns out that your product does fulfill it.
You can exploit this and highlight this fact within all of your PR content and advertisements. This will communicate to audiences that if they’ve been annoyed by that particular unmet need, your product is the one to buy.
Naturally, this will help your marketing and content creation team craft ads that resonate with the people who come across them.
It’s a good idea to conduct a SWOT analysis from the perspective of potential customers for your company.
Some questions you can ask yourself include:
- Why would a customer choose your company over your competitors?
- What is something that your competitors have that you don’t have?
You can also conduct surveys and interviews of existing customers for your brand. Ask about their purchase intention and why they chose to buy from your company.
Understanding the rationale behind why a customer chose your brand can really help you understand what your shortcomings are and what you’re better at than your competitors.
Step 3: Determine Your Marketing Channels
Next up, you must decide what the channels will be that you will use to bring your content in front of the eyes of your target audience.
In today’s age, while traditional marketing methods such as TV ads and billboards are still utilized, brands have started to increasingly rely on digital marketing methods. These include:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising through Google Adwords, Facebook, etc.
- Affiliate marketing
- Online giveaways
More traditional marketing methods that are still in practice today include:
- Print ads
- TV ads
- Personal selling
- Direct marketing
- In-person giveaways
Larger brands have several different teams that coordinate and control each particular marketing method that the brand dabbles in.
However, as a smaller business or a brand that is just starting out, you may not have the budget or the team to dip your fingers into so many marketing methods.
Hence, it’s a good idea to stick to one or two marketing methods that we have defined above until you are able to secure a sizable and loyal audience.
How do you choose which marketing channels to use?
Well, that will depend on a number of factors.
The most important factor that you should consider when you choose a marketing channel is who your target customers are. This is because, of course, you want your marketing message to be displayed to them.
Hence, you want that message to be present on a platform that individuals from your target audience segment frequent.
For example, if you have a product that appeals to teenagers, the appropriate marketing channels would be social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.
You would not waste your time and money to set up billboards or print ads as a way to market your brand.
Hence, it’s very important to take audience behavior into account when you want to choose which marketing channel to start with.
Another factor that plays a part to determine which marketing channel to choose is the expertise of your marketing and content creation team.
As we mentioned earlier, there’s a high chance that if you’re just starting out, you won’t have a lot of resources at your disposal. Hence, it’s more than likely that your team may not be proficient in creating certain types of content.
You have to play to the strengths of your content creation team.
Ensure that the marketing channel you choose is something your audience frequents and that your content creation team is proficient.
For example, if your content creation team is proficient in creating long-form video content, then Youtube could be a great marketing channel for you to use.
This is also particularly true because Youtube is a platform that is used by the majority of different audience segments out there.
If your content creation team is proficient in long-form video content but you choose to host the majority of your content on a platform like Instagram, you may not see the results you want.
Step 4: Define Your Content and Branding Elements
Once the marketing channel and the target audience are defined, you’ll have a pretty good idea of where to start and what type of content to create.
However, if you’re dealing primarily online, you have to keep in mind the fact that people don’t want to spend too much time and effort understanding your ad. You have to ensure that your content is easily understandable and as concise as it can be.
For example, if your content is primarily text-based, then you must ensure it’s formatted in a way that it’s easily scannable. This can be done through the use of bullet points, tables, headings, and subheadings.
Anybody who comes across your content should be able to roughly scroll through it and get an idea of what your brand is all about.
Another way to keep things concise is to use link shorteners to shorten any links that you may include within your content.
To shorten your link through Pixelfy, register yourself and log into your account.
Step 1: After logging in, you’ll be at the dashboard page for Pixelfy.
From here, you can check out past analytics from previous links that you shortened.
You also have access to the fast shortener box at the top of the page.
Step 2: Copy and paste any link that you want to shorten into the fast shortener box. As soon as you paste it, you’ll be taken to the next page.
If you are not automatically taken to the next page, click on the Shorten button to manually go to it.
Step 3: On the next page, you’ll get the shortened URL. You can copy it and paste it into any of your brand content.
Step 5: Determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Based on what the goal of your marketing communication strategy is, you’ll need to define appropriate metrics to measure your success.
These are also known as key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics need to be easily measurable so that you can track the progress of your marketing communication strategy as it’s executed.
A strong marketing communications strategy is one that is regularly being adjusted and modified according to analytics.
It’s important to keep a close eye on these metrics so that if you feel that your strategy is not performing how you expected it to, you can go back and make some changes.
That’s the great thing about digital marketing methods.
They allow you to easily make adjustments on the fly as your marketing campaigns are running.
Sometimes, you may have to make small changes and other times, you may need a complete overhaul of your entire marketing communication strategy.
The goal is to create a strong marketing communications strategy that is relevant to the time and landscape of your target market.
Always remember that a strategy that worked a year ago may not necessarily work in the present day. Hence, analyze metrics regularly and make changes accordingly.
Wrapping Things Up…
That’s how you develop an integrated marketing communications strategy that keeps all of your different departments on the same page.
Overall, it’s extremely important to take everyone in your team into the loop for this because you don’t want your marketing message to be inconsistent.
Find out all the insights about marketing strategies on our blog, HERE.
If you have any further questions, please reach out in the comments section below.