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Marcom Strategy – The Basics (part 2)

August 5, 2009

media mixThe Marcom Strategy – what does it look like?

Many folks in our industry immediately think ‘media mix’ or ‘discipline mix’ when they hear the words “marcom strategy”. This is understandable because an important outcome of a marcom strategy is specifying how budgets will be allocated between both media channels (television, print, internet, etc.) and disciplines (advertising, promotion, PR, interactive, etc.)

The problem with this way of thinking is ‘media mix’ and ‘discipline mix’ decisions are often made early on by brand management and used as the starting place. This top down approach greatly limits strategic, creative and tactical possibilities.

Ideally, the media mix and discipline mix is a co-equal outcome of the marcom strategy. This often means agencies taking a bottom-up approach, thinking of the consumer experience first, and figuring out the media/discipline mix last.

psychologyThere are ten essential outcomes of a marcom strategy…ten that I can think of anyway. Keep in mind these are not necessarily sequential. I’ve framed these as questions a strategy should answer.

  1. Target Consumers – What consumer segments and internal audiences will be targeted?
  2. Actionable Insights – What insight(s) provide the richest opportunity for connecting with and changing consumers?
  3. Measurable Goals – What thoughts, feelings, or behaviors do we want to activate? What metrics will we use to measure each?
  4. Core Messages – What is the emotional message? The rational message? Is there a story we’re telling? Is that story compelling?
  5. Touch Points – Where and when will consumers encounter the brand? What rationale is there for the timing, context, and relevance of each touch point?
  6. Experience design – What’s the experience? What value does the experience provide consumers? How is it different from other experiences consumers have access to? Why should consumers care? What tactics will be used? What experiences are passive? Interactive?
  7. Experience & decision paths – What activities need to be integrated? How? What paths will consumers take to experience more than one marketing activity? Are there behavioral triggers? What are they? What role does consumer/human psychology play?
  8. Discipline Mix – What disciplines need to play a role executing the marcom strategy? Advertising, PR, Promotion, Interactive, etc.?
  9. Media Mix – What mediums will be used in executing the strategy? Television, print, internet, etc.? What is the budget for each?
  10. Action Plan – What is the high-level plan for implementing the strategy? What are the risk factors? Can the strategy be executed successfully within budget?

You probably noticed there’s a lot more here than deciding the discipline/media mix.

KFC SIGNIntegrated Marketing Communications

‘Integrated marketing’ is a buzz phrase that has been echoing through our industry for over a decade now. To many, Integrated Marketing means ‘matching luggage’: where every marcom activity has a consistent look, voice, and message. This is not integration folks, its brand consistency.

Integrated marketing communications consists of marketing activities that have functional relationships to each other. Developing those functional relationships so each marketing activity increases the effectiveness of each other is what integrated marketing is really all about. Most marcom efforts I see today are only loosely integrated if at all.

Next time…

In my next post I’ll discuss outline the five things a strategist really needs to know before they can develop a marcom strategy.

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