Whether you are building a brand, messaging strategy, go-to-market plan, or reinventing/expanding your position in the market—it’s a Science and An Art. As you prepare to develop your strategy, it is critical to begin with the end in mind and ask yourself, your team, and your audience the important questions that will ultimately lay the foundation for driving your creative and guiding your integrated marketing plan. Here are a few tips to get started.
- Evaluate—Start by asking what does success look like? How will I measure success? What do I want my audience to see, do, and feel? What do we do better (and worse) than our competition? Why does my audience need my product or service? What is the market potential? What are the competitor product pricing models and how does that compare to mine? What trends and economic conditions will affect my opportunities and threaten my success?
- Identify—Who is my audience? Who is my competition? Where is my biggest opportunity for reach? What are the behaviors and interests of my audience? Who else is selling to this audience that I could partner with? Is my audience aware of my company and product? What does my audience think of my product(s) and company? What processes and people do I need to put in place (or change) to achieve my goals? What are the current benchmarks I am measuring against?
- Create—It’s hard to create a consistently winning brand and message strategy without taking the time to research the steps and questions as laid out above, but once you do, the magic happens. Your brand develops a voice, a story, and a strategy both in content and design. Remember that pretty pictures are no good if they aren’t built on strategy, communicated to your employees, or answering the important question from your customers of “so what?”
- Action & Assess—You’ve done your homework, and now, you can put a realistic and effective integrated marketing plan around your efforts. You have defined benchmarks to measure against and a tactical plan around each communication vehicle—working them into a unified content strategy on a timeline and within a budget. You can remain focused on driving your goals on paid, earned, social, and owned with a plan built from a customer-facing lens. Good pre-planning and regular monitoring are critical for success!
Good luck! And if you need help hugging the hippo, let’s talk 😉
Kara Demirjian Huss