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- You may be a small business or you may be a group of team members within a department in a larger organisation. Regardless, you will have ideas – perhaps partial and/or a trigger for others to create an idea, or you may be more experienced with a higher level of knowledge and experience, and have a strong feeling for taking a risk and doing something new by way of trialling.
- This may be for a product, or new channel of distribution, or for a new creative agency, or for a new media plan for an innovative communications vehicle. (Either rebranding of existing brand)
- Alternatively, you may find yourself in the right place at the right time. For your idea or team to survive, you need to be organised so that you can prosper and thrive. Committing your ideas and approach to a plan, and thereby developing a plan (be it in a marketing strategy or a marketing communications plan) requires you to organise your approach in a more structured manner. Planning gives you a framework around which to organise those ideas, and provides a ‘clarity’ check in the process.
- See Chris Fill’s (2013, p.161) ‘The Marketing Communications Framework’ for further information below
A written strategic marketing communications plan (SMCP). You should take note that:
- The SMCP should be 4,000 words (+/-10%)
- As with all planning templates, there is no ‘ONE agreed format that fits all’. But there are definite common themes and for this reason we can capture a structure from the text (e.g. Fill, 2013) and from practice (e.g. CIM).
- Thus, you are to use a combined structure drawn from Fill (2013) marketing communications framework, (Context analysis) as outlined above, and one drawn from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) as your template. The CIM outline is from Marketing Expert which is the resources arm of the professional body (CIM) and is only available to members. For this reason, you can assume that this template is used by most professionals in practice. You will also note that the lecture programme is designed to meet the needs of both planning structures and processes. For this reason, there are links to analytical frameworks as outlined in the learning materials for your information and direction.
A suggested structure of coursework from Fill (2013: 164) should include:
- Context Analysis
- Communication Objectives
- Marketing Communications Strategy
- Co-ordinated and integrated communications mix (tools, media and content)
- Resources (human and financial)
- Scheduling and implementation
- Evaluation and control
- Select an organisation of your choice – it may be small, medium or large; it may be a producer of consumer or business goods, or it may be providing a service, or it might be a social enterprise
- Your choice must NOT be an existing marketing communications campaign.
- You may choose an existing firm, but the development of a marketing communications campaign must be your own.
- You have a total budget of £600,000. This is inclusive of costings of producing promotional material, and of buying space in media as well as service costs for specialist consultants. It is also inclusive of VAT, tax and any other regulatory business costs.
- You have a timeline of 2 years – the average campaign in the UK, according to CIM.
- Your effort MUST include at least two elements (or more) of the communication mix and must include both traditional and digital.
Consider the components of ‘context analysis’ for your chosen organisation:
- Customer insight – segment characteristics, what media do that consume/respond too, existing brand awareness/perceptions of positioning in market place, motivations, levels of involvement with media and so on.
- Business context – how does this plan fit in with existing business strategy and marketing plans (don’t duplicate!); competitor analysis and positioning statement of where you’d like to be is important here.
- Internal environment – stakeholders, financial constraints, organisational identity, culture (values/beliefs), marketing expertise.
- External context – STEP issues and challenges, identify key stakeholders and link to their communications needs.
Others elements of Marketing Communication Plan are explained well in book.
Illustration of Communication objectives
- Introduce new product (brand name, packaging, advertising, sales promotion, WOM buzz generation, and point of purchase, or POS, displays)
- Build sales of existing brands by increasing the frequency of use, the variety of uses, or the quantity purchased (advertising, sales promotions)
- Inform the trade (wholesalers, agents or brokers, and retailers) and consumers about brand improvements (personal selling, and trade-orientated advertising)
- Position the product in the forefront of consumers minds (all elements)
- Modify behaviour (advertising, PR)
- Output-orientated – tend to be Sales-related
- Market share
- Sales revenues
- Profitability indicators
Marketing Communication Objectives
Forecast for future brand position, and the overall predisposition towards the brand
- Awareness, Perception
- Attitudes, Preference
- Repositioning, Refinement
- Choice of promotional
Example of a Marketing Communications Objectives (or Promotional goal)
- The marketing communication objective (or goal) for the period between January and March 2013 (timed) is to create 65% (measurable and achievable) prompted awareness (specific) in the Male, 35-50, open, “rugged individual” segment (targeted)
Marketing Communications Strategy (Positioning ap should also be done if required for better plan)
- Flow (simultaneous or serial ‘bursts’)
- Target Audience
- Corporate Strategy
- Key message(s)
- Brand positioning
- Communications mix
- Personal selling
- Public Relations
- Direct Marketing
Approaches to Marketing Communications Strategy (Any one strategy approach should be used, which better fits in plan)
Strategy Approach 1 – Positioning (STP)
- Identifiable and distinct group(s) which display common characteristics and who recall, and respond to, messages in a similar way
- Target Markets (audience):
- Perception shapes audience-centred communications
- Target and concentrate resources to fulfil potential