Marketing Communication Strategy

Marketing Communication Strategy entails not just the management of sales materials and your marketing message but having a process in place for effectively interacting with all business stakeholders. These include employees and partners in addition to customers. The primary function of sales and marketing is creating customers but your interactions with all stakeholders is part of business.

While a Marketing Communication Plan provides you with the tools to develop a concrete "plan of action" with regards to your overall Marketing Communication Mix, the Marketing Communication Strategy guidance provided below is more of a general "how to". In addition to "nut and bolts" advice, you will learn how to define your customer and your "Marketing Personality" and select the correct Marketing Communication tools.

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Marketing Communication Strategy:
Nuts And Bolts

As well as customers, employees and partners your business stakeholders may include the media and analysts, shareholders, your Board of Directors, regulators and a host of others. Regardless of who you are speaking with, the following Rules of Marketing Communication hold true. Marketing Communication covers all official communication and messaging and should be approached as follows:

(1) Be Relevant

Specific stakeholders require specific kinds of information and a specific tone of delivery. Not everyone needs to know everything and you will not address customers in the same way as employees. Make sure that everyone has access to all information that is pertinent to them and that it is delivered so as to be received correctly by the intended audience. This includes using a suitable delivery channel and a suitable message.

(2) Be Timely

Being too late with an important message does not help anyone and so a cardinal rule of Marketing Communication Strategy is to be on time. Customers and partners should be notified of pricing and support changes. Employees should be made aware of changes in strategy and corporate messaging. Your job is to make sure timely information is available to those who require it.

(3) Be Concise

Once you have made sure that the right person gets the right message the #1 rule of all business communication is to be brief! No one has time to go over long e-mails, PDFs and other communications. Whether you are leaving a voice mail or stopping by to say "Hi" to a good customer, make sure you value their time and make your communication as succinct as possible.

(4) Focus On Message

Further to the need to Be Concise, another golden rule of Marketing Communication Strategy is to deliver the message first. The first and most prominent part of any communication should be your message, whether that is a product update, a call to action or a general announcement. Always follow the business communication formula of M-A-D-E: Message, Action Required, Details and Supporting Evidence in that order.

(5) Be Systematic

Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool and follow a specific system of how you communicate with your business stakeholders. Be consistent in your communications and make sure you set up appropriate feedback channels. While you cannot always control the outcome of your communications, you can certainly control their quality and quantity over time. With regards to customers and prospects having a systematic follow-up process in place is crucial to success

(6) Know Thy Customer

Marketing Communication Strategy is typically seen as customer interactions more than anything else. Certainly, with regards to overall sales and marketing efforts this will be the focus of the rest of this section. With regards to creating effective communications, the first step is knowing who customers are, what they want and how they respond.

Who Customers Are

This incorporates customer demographics, market research and your own intuition and observations in coming up with a picture of your ideal customer. While in reality you may have several different "ideal customers", the point here is to create a picture of who you are talking to so that you can in effect address that person in your communications.

What Customers Want

This includes market research and your own knowledge to understand customer needs. Why do customers buy from you? What are the various factors that go into influencing their choice of solution? Are your customers trying to solve a problem or simply purchase something that makes them feel good? You should leave nothing out in studying this question which is central to your Marketing Communication Strategy.

How Customers Respond

This is the last piece of the puzzle in creating effective Marketing Communications. How they respond generally means two things: (i) responding to value and (ii) responding to message. In the first instance, can you make the purchase more attractive with offers, value-adds and exceptional service? In the second instance, creating the right tone and content of your message is essential. The Copywriting section has more tips on creating effective communications.

(6) Know Thy "Marketing Personality"

The concept of your "Marketing Personality" is covered in the Integrated Marketing Communication section and elsewhere on For the purposes of this Marketing Communication Strategy section it is important to consider this idea again in helping to create effective marketing communications.

A central idea in "You" Marketing is imbuing your sales and marketing efforts with your own personality. After all, your business and your overall communications should be a reflection of yourself, right? While this is the case for the majority of small businesses, larger organizations generally develop a more generalized "Marketing Personality" which can be one or a mix of the following:

Organizational Personality

This is the voice of the organization that speaks directly to customer via TV and print ads, the website and other marketing collateral. For most small businesses this will be your voice and in general this voice is professional, courteous and knowledgeable. Can you make this voice humorous, personable and friendly as well? Customers today are more turned on by intimate service and personalized attention than the trumpeting ads of the past that declare how good your product is.

Representative Personality

This Marketing Personality is the person - or other - that comes to represent the company in TV and print advertising and via your website. Representative Personalities include the "customer" or expert in a TV ad or the credible businessman who represents ING Bank in their "Save Your Money" ads. It might be the Michelin Man who embodies trustful caring or Mr. Clean who represents cleanliness in customer's minds.

Entertainment Personality

This Marketing Personality is a fictional, entertaining character represented in company ads and used for getting the message across with humor. Funny characters like the Geico Gecko appear in funny situations in ways that are both endearing and effective in influencing viewer. The point here is not that the character represents the company - they may often be ridiculed in fact - but that the company creates an entertaining setting in which to market to you.

What is your Marketing Personality? Does your "voice" represent just you or will your imbue your marketing communications with one or more of the various personality depicted. You have no end of choice in how you communicate with customers with the caveat that you should be consistent in your tone and style of delivery. This is why it is useful to think of and create the Marketing Personality that is the basis for all of your marketing communications.

Making sure that you are consistent in your tone and style of delivery - be this humorous, professional or other - is an important part of Integrated Marketing Communication. Every customer contact with your business should reinforce your message and the way to do this is with a consistent message and consistent voice. A defined Marketing Personality is also a differentiator that familiarizes customers with you creates a level of expectancy.

Marketing Communication Strategy: Tools

The Marketing Communication Plan page contains detailed guidance on choosing the rights components of your Marketing Communication Mix. In terms of overall Marketing Communication Strategy, the following points are useful to the overall questions of general guidance as well as choosing the right Marketing Communication Tools:

(1) Have Clear Objectives:

All of your Marketing Communication Strategy activities should be guided by well-defined objectives. In addition to overall Marketing Communication Objectives for the whole business you should have clear objectives for every campaign and every communication. Do you want your audience to respond to a call of action? Are you simply seeking to inform? Think these objectives out and document and share them as appropriate.

(2) Have Range

Your Marketing Communication Strategy should encompass a range of different tools and tactics. Once you have defined your target customer and market segment, make sure you expend efforts in utilizing various channels for engaging buyers. Your sales and marketing success will come from reaching the right person at the right time with the right message and you add considerably to your chances of success by using a wide range of approaches.

(3) Have Reach

Make sure that whatever tools you utilize as part of your Marketing Communication Strategy are effective in engaging customers. There is no point in handing out 5,000 flyers if most of these end up in the trash. Similarly, radio ads that none of your customer listen to is a waste of money and effort as well. Tracking can help asses the reach of various promotional efforts. Ask customers how they found you and have a way of gauging the success of various marketing activities.

(4) Be Creative

You will not know at the outset what marketing message and medium will "strike a chord" with customers. Therefore, in addition to utilizing a range of approaches as part of your Marketing Communication Strategy be prepared to experiment and be flexible in changing your tactics until you find what works. What are similar businesses to yours doing? How do customers respond to each of your various promotional activities? You "bag of tricks" should include many small tweaks and changes to tried and tested methods over the course of time.

Get help with your Marketing Communication Strategy!

Marketing Communication MixMarketing Communication PlanIntegrated Marketing CommunicationMarketing Communication ProcessInteractive Marketing Communication"You" MessagingEmail Marketing StrategyMass Email Marketing Basics35 Email List Marketing TipsEmail Marketing ListsChoosing an Email Marketing SystemBusiness Email TipsMarketing Communication Strategy Consultant

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