The 5 Dimensions of Effective Marketing Communications

Marketing can encompass many functions, operations and decision points. It can mean different things to different people in different organizations. So you’ll notice in the title of this article that we’re NOT focusing on the entirety of marketing, but rather on marketing communications.

Now, you might think that marketing communications is synonymous with advertising. Indeed, advertising can be one facet. But marketing communications really includes much more and it requires that you embrace and execute the 5 D’s: define, design, develop, devise and deliver.

DEFINE Your Target Market: It’s hard to measure success for your marketing communications if you haven’t clearly defined your ideal customer. This essential step can be the most difficult. For many of us it’s tempting to say that we can serve anyone and everyone. The problem with that is that it’s difficult to get specific and actionable referrals with such a loose definition. Success Coach Tom Barnes (find him on TipTopics.com) tells of a financial planner who determined that nurses were his ideal customers. Being that specific led the planner to serve not only nurses but others stemming from these leads. People want to make referrals. You can make it easier for them by tightly defining your target market.

Keep in mind, however, that some ideal customers might be surrounded by gatekeepers. Want to sell to a CEO of a major corporation? Your initial target, then, should probably be someone already professionally or personally connected to your ultimate target. LinkedIn and Facebook can be good resources to help you identify these referral partners.

What are the rest of the 5 Dimensions? Read on:

DESIGN Your Distinctive Brand: With your ideal customer, target market and initial targets identified, you can more expertly design or fine-tune your brand. Simply put, a healthy brand is <em>the trustworthy, memorable (and referable) essence of your company’s values, people and products/services.</em> It’s an accurate summary that consumers can understand, remember and share with others. Your brand should clearly convey what sets your business apart from competitors. It must appeal to your target market. If it doesn’t, either your brand is off track or you are pursuing the wrong prospects. Remember, a well-crafted brand sets the tone for all subsequent communications.

DEVELOP Your Marketing Presence: With your brand established — including logo, tagline, key marketing messages and your Unique Selling Proposition — you can create or update your marketing collateral and website. Design these so that they are brand- and message-consistent across all media. In other words, someone reading your brochure should come away with the same impression as someone visiting your website. This is not to say that these are necessarily designed or written to be identical (after all, each medium is unique and requires a different approach), but they should nurture the same overall image of your company.

DEVISE Your Marketing Communications Plan: With cornerstone identity pieces in place, it’s time to plan and deliver your marketing communications. By devising a strategic and focused marketing communications plan you’ll stand a better chance of actually connecting with your targets. A communications plan is necessary because creating relationships through marketing communications is a marathon, not a sprint. Thus, your communications plan should determine the best media (print, web, email, social, video, etc.) and timing for delivering your messages over the longer term.

DELIVER Your Messages: Now that you’ve planned your work, it’s time to work your plan. Remember that your ultimate goal is to convert targeted contacts into customers. Raw talent alone won’t make this happen. Neither will a noble purpose or passionate drive. Hard work, a strong brand and appealing marketing collateral are key factors, but it’s in the execution of the plan — the delivery of well-crafted individual messages — where your company will shine and help you gain the trust required to create a lasting professional relationship.

For this to happen organically you must deliver the right messages in the right way to the right targets at the right time via the right media. Simple, huh? Of course not. Professionalism is key. No matter how well you’ve built the foundation, if you stumble in delivering your messages, you’ll face an uphill battle. If you don’t feel confident that you can communicate professionally to present your company in the best light, seek help.

Bottom Line:

By strategically and professionally implementing the 5 D’s of marketing communications, you can more easily convert targeted contacts into customers. If you’d like to learn more about any of these five dimensions, contact me. I’ll be glad to help you define, design, develop, devise and deliver the kinds of marketing communications that can help your business connect and succeed.

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~ by Bob Chenoweth on 04/07/2011.

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