16 Oct Where Are You Aiming Your Marketing Communications Strategy?
I wholeheartedly agree with the notion that communications must flow out of an organization’s communication strategy. In a world that offers a plethora of communications channels, many organizations and companies can unknowingly find themselves taking a “shotgun” approach to marketing communications. Unfortunately, this “shotgun” approach lends itself to less impact and effectiveness. In stark contrast, effective strategic communication involves a laser-like focus on an intended target that’s in alignment with a company or organization’s overall strategy. As Todd MacKenzie, senior vice president of corporate communications at PepsiCo states, “The communication function supports the business and brand-building efforts. The messages articulate the strategic direction of the company and motivate people to move behind it” (p. 84).
The Need for Alignment
For communications to be effective, alignment is imperative. The communications strategy must be in alignment with the overall strategy for it to accomplish results. T. Michael Glenn, president and CEO of FedEx services says it this way: “Communication is at the center of everything. You can’t execute a strategy if you can’t communicate about it” (p. 84). The strategy must be clear and understood so that marketing, advertising, public relations, social media, and all other components of IMC work together to fulfill the clear objectives of the organization’s overall strategy communicated to its publics.
The Need for Consistency
The second essential component for effective communications strategy is consistency of message. Todd French, executive vice president and CFO of Textron Inc. says, “Communications now have to be crisper and give more clarity” (p. 86). It’s crucial that the message of the organization remain simple, clear and consistent. Where there is no unity and frequency of message, there is no ability to accomplish objectives and build a brand. Thus, it’s important that whatever message is given and however it is communicated, that it is done consistently for maximum impact.
The Need for Measurement & Adjustment
Lastly, effective strategic communications needs to be measured, monitored and adjusted based on results. Engagement is possible to measure through digital marketing dashboards, social media engagement software, Google Analytics, and other methods. This gives the strategic marketing communications professional an ability to monitor if the message is hitting its intended target and to make the adjustments needed accordingly.
IMC professionals have the ability to use an organization’s resources to ensure that proper messaging is implemented within their allotted budget with intentional outcomes that are viewable to upper level management. Social media plays an important role in actively creating two way conversations around these strategic messages. The strategy part is essential to ensure that there is a clear call to action that justifies the effort and builds the brand of the organization.
Argenti, P., Howell, R. and Beck, K. 2005. The Strategic Communication Imperative. Retrieved on February 3, 2014, from: MIT Sloan Management Review: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~opa/communicators/fall08/reading/Sloan_MIT_Strat_Comm_Imp.pdf