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Marcom Strategy – The Basics (part 4)

August 15, 2009

corkscrewWhat makes for a good strategy?

Good strategies have qualities that may sound obvious, but are often overlooked. Two important qualities of a marcom strategy are 1) they are easy to understand and 2) meet goals with a high level of efficiency.

Strategy statements – simple is better

Ask yourself: can I summarize my marcom strategy in a single sentence?

Below are a few examples of strategy statements. Notice that each begins with a high level goal and none include descriptions of specific tactics or mediums.

  • Improve purchase continuity by reducing effort for working women; making product information easier to access and opening more channels for ordering.
  • Increase awareness and acquisition by giving chatty advocates reasons to start a conversation and turn their friends onto the brand.
  • Get people to think differently about [brand] by creating incentives and opportunities for people to taste and talk about the new menu items.
  • Create awareness with time relevant messages and unusual purchase incentives at multiple touch-points.
  • Generate trial by demonstrating the brand’s [key benefit] by giving women access to expert advice, and following and rewarding their success [in achieving benefit] in a nationwide challenge.
  • Increase continuity and up-sell by attracting current [brand] owners who may be ready to move up by letting them experience the prestige of high performance handling in exclusive and unexpected ways.
  • Increase affinities for [brand] by letting customers observe and participate in our employee’s personal passion and commitment for [brand benefit/outcome].

RubeGoldbergEfficiency – fear and habits drive waste

Efficiency results from insights and choosing the right combination of tactics, mediums, and methods. It isn’t the result of cutting corners on execution.

Many brand marketers still use an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach. In order to check all the boxes, critical components are not adequately funded or developed to their maximum ROI potential. This is partially driven by fear and habits – checking all the boxes keeps everyone in their comfort zone.

flightRisk-taking is good, but…

On the other hand, there’s a good measure of calculated risk-taking when developing a marcom strategy, but experimentation should never be a big roll of the dice.

A good strategist always knows how much of a plan is experimental, and how much relies on elements that can be trusted to deliver.

marathonLong-term vs. short term

Many brands have no long term (1-3 years) communications strategy, only long term marketing goals. Think about this for a minute: Do the brands you work on have a documented, long term marcom strategy? Or is your long term strategy nothing more than a result of a string of shorter term (3-12 month) campaigns?

Short term marcom strategies usually have a specified beginning and end, only to be followed by another campaign. The problem with this approach is consumers begin to see the brand as a series of chance encounters and schizophrenic messages. There’s no glue beyond the brand architecture that connects one engagement to the next.

In my next and final post in this series, I’ll touch on the how strategy and creative can be developed together and the importance of execution.

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