What is a marketing communications strategy all about?

My experience of all these years, as a communications expert, has taught me that Public Relations profile cannot be limited to media engagement, press releases, coverages, etc., and gets evolved into Communications which is a much wider area of responsibility.

Communications is a vital part of a marketing strategy. A communicator becomes involved in operational and customer-focussed activities as they directly involve communication. All inputs and roles are accepted positively as long as they make a sincere and useful contribution.

A business marketing communications strategy does not have to be complex and overwhelming. The single most important objective of a marketing communications strategy is to increase brand awareness and recognition in order to drive sales and revenue. Also, it must be customer-centric, something which the customers can easily relate to and which leaves a lasting impression for brand recall.

To work on an impactful marketing communications strategy, one needs to separate the content and communications into different segments that align with all the available marketing channels. The approach must be to integrate marketing efforts by identifying opportunities and gaps.

One vital model is paid media which includes social media advertisements, sponsored content, and any other online content and paid advertisements. Creating brand awareness through sharing model on social media without paying for it, is also a good model.

Owned media is another way of doing things. This will include content created, owned and controlled by the communicator such as website, blog, emailers, online presentations, online videos, e-books, white papers and social media content.

Next we come to another very important element, that is earned media. This would be information about the brand, product or service created by someone else such as media coverage, quotes in articles, interviews, social media mentions, reviews and other online content that talks about the brand, which is neither created nor paid for, by the communicator.

All these elements are important in creating an effective marketing strategy. These help in creating the right content for the right audience at the right time.

An effective message can also be created by prioritizing the who, when and why of communicating which, in turn, result in motivating the audience to take a notice of the brand.

Another important way is to get new people into the top of marketing game, for them to become aware of the brand and start acknowledging it. This can be done with the usage of tools such as search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, advertising, social media, content publishing and blogger outreach.

People must be interested in a respective product or service, which must be sustainable and is an ongoing process. It is imperative to get the audience’s interest and attention and keep them engaged after the initial communication. This is doable by the usage of tools like email marketing, personalised content, blogging, guest blogging, video content, infographics and more. The bottom line is to understand the customers’ psyche, and accordingly produce the communication.

The content created must be for the existing as well as for new customers in order to continue pushing them through individual campaigns as well as through overall marketing campaign. Remarketing and retargeting are effective too. Communicator, along with marketer, must create automated marketing campaigns, personalised campaigns and highly targeted content.

However, a communicator’s job isn’t over by conversion of target segment, but there needs to be a sustainability and there must be a regular ongoing engagement with audience. Email marketing, social media, educational content and special, targeted promotions work well to maintain regular engagement.

So we see that Communications and Marketing go hand in hand, and together, can create hugely effective campaigns towards the brand’s benefit.

Ritu Bararia
A passionate Public Relations and Communications professional with a progressive experience of over 18 years, Ritu is an expert in the realm of Travel, Hospitality and Aviation. Her forte lies in strategising communication plans basis the essence of a brand with a strong focus on media management aiming to create focused visibility and awareness.

Some of her professional milestones include, setting up of Aviation Industry Group for CII, facilitating launch of India’s first Premium Airline – Kingfisher Airlines and establishing the brand in media as the official spokesperson, facilitating launch of Luxury Retail Brands like Porsche Design, Bally and strategising and executing launch of the brand Roseate Hotels and Resorts.

Prior to founding Little-joy Communications, Ritu was Group Head - Corporate Communications with Bird Group/Amadeus India.

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