The Importance of the Strategy
Before starting a marketing communications plan, you need to have a strategy. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of a strategy during this process.
Let’s first look at the communication plan. It is the plan that precedes the development of a marketing campaign. The communications plan consists of four stages, which are analysis, strategy, tactics and control.
The situation analysis is the analysis of the initial situation. What are your current strengths and weaknesses? What is your USP? Are there specific opportunities or threats in your environment? Why are you communicating this message? To whom are you communicating this message? What are your objectives?
Once the team is on the same page regarding the situation analysis, it’s time to develop the strategy. The strategy takes all of the information gathered in the first stage and answers the question: HOW.
The strategyThis is a crucial step because this is where you make or break your campaign.
The first step is to define in which phase of the product life cycle your product is in. (Phase 1: introduction, phase 2: growth, Phase 3: maturity, Phase 4:decline). The specific phase of the product will determine which objectives need to be achieved. In phase 1, the objective is knowledge. The target audience needs to be made aware of the product. Then in phase 2, it’s the brand preference as competitors may arise so you will need to stand out. In phase 3, you want loyalty and you may even make slight changes such as a new design in this phase. Finally, in the 4th phase, the objective is to sell all left-over stock. Usually, price discounts are communicated here.
With your specific objective defined, you can begin to think about what exactly you want to say. You have to keep your initial situation in mind and define where you want to be. With your target group in mind, formulate the message you want to send out and focus on one benefit you can offer them. It could be a USP (unique selling proposition) or an ESP (emotional selling proposition). This decision will determine the tone of voice, the language used, and even the wording.
Stage 3, the tactics, is the actual implementation of the strategy. This is where you decide on the specific touchpoints (places where you will come into contact with your target audience) and the tools you’ll use to do so. It could be deciding between online or offline communication, PR, sponsoring, sales promotions, etc.
The final stage is control and evaluation, which is used to determine the success of the campaign. The evaluation will show you what works, what doesn’t and what needs adapting.
We hope this helped you to understand the importance of a strategy in a communications plan.
Danica Van der Merwe