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Creating a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan
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Creating a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan

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Don't blink - you might miss something! This is how it feels to live in our nanosecond culture, where everything is changing at an accelerated pace. Our nanosecond culture has changed nonprofit ...

Don't blink - you might miss something! This is how it feels to live in our nanosecond culture, where everything is changing at an accelerated pace. Our nanosecond culture has changed nonprofit marketing communications forever. The controllable flow of information through easily identified channels is disappearing. This makes your strategic marketing communications plan even more valuable to rise above the noise to put your organization in the spotlight!

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  • Strategic communications is more than a business buzzword. A well-designed communications plan is a strategic asset; it can boost brand value, enhance relationships with customers and partners, and build reputation while reducing inefficient PR and communications spending. A well thought out plan focuses on the right message mix, communications channels, and tactics, to reach your target audiences.
  • It’s lovely and hopefully entertaining! But, is it true conversation?Communication is everything in marketing. If you can’t get your messages out to your target audience, your nonprofit will shrivel and die. Marketing communications is about understanding the needs of your audiences and finding the best way to talk to them. It may be a mix of face to face visits, email marketing, newsletters and press advertising. Good marketing communications tell a story and use emotion and personal examples to stimulate interest. And, the story has a purpose – unlike cocktail chatter.
  • Myriad benefits of strategic marketing communications planning. These include:Provides a thoughtful focusDeals with expectations of management and boardsArticulates the organizational culture (mission, vision, values)Increases ability to be proactive instead of reactiveEnhances the allocation of resourcesBuilds and energizes the teamReady? Okay, let’s get started!
  • A well designed plan is a strategic asset; it boosts brand value, enhances relationships with customers & partners & builds your reputation, while reducing inefficiencies.Fundraising quite often quite often pulls the fire alarm that awakens nonprofit leaders to the need for targeted appeals; your mission drives your marketing. Behavior change and desired actions to support your mission come from marketing & communications; don’t forget your brand is how your target audience feels about you. Mission impact, your fundraising initiatives and your efforts to build your brand are actualized through powerful, targeted & focused appeals.
  • The strategy is very important because you are building the components of your organization brand, identity, and everything in-between. I would go so far as to say that an integrated marketing communications plan is a matter of survival.As one of my favorite pundits – the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said – “If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter which way you go.
  • Being participative means delegating appropriate authority & responsibility. And, this empowers participants and creates a shared ownership.Dynamic describes something that is continually evolving and adapting able to respond quickly to changes in internal and external environments.In an ideal world everything will go as planned. But, since most of live in the real world, flexibility is a strategy that should be built into any MarComplan. As John Steinbeck said “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”Audience-driven communications ensures that messages reach their target audiences. This is accomplished through research which we’ll discuss next.When it comes to planning there should be no differentiation between PR and marketing. They are ‘joined at the hip to provide heart & head.We’ll spend significant time discussion the relationship of strategy and tactics. Written strategy that guides the tactics is not an option; it’s essential to your success.
  • These are my favorite tools for starting a marketing communications plan, be it for the organization as a whole or for specific projects. I’ll briefly touch on them here. At the end of this session, Kenny will send you more detailed information:Brainstorming - Brainstorming is by far the most widely used tool to stimulate creative thinking. It was developed in the 1940s by the American advertising executive Alex Osborn who believed that anyone could learn to generate creative solutions for a wide variety of problems. Write the objective of the session where everyone in the room can see it. Put it in a question form, starting with either "How can we…?" or "What can be done to…?" A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project. I conduct a SWOT after brainstorming sessions.Audience Discovery Interviews give you insights about what your partners, supporters, prospective donors – all external to the organization, feel about the nonprofit. Although it is increasingly difficult to set up phone calls, it is doable. Some people opt for surveys, but I find them lacking, unless used as a first stepFocus groups can give you great insights into how audiences feel about your nonprofit and how you position yourself. They are also a great way to test the effects of your messages, images, personalized direct mail before actualizing the projects. Social Media Listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about your nonprofit and your services. Both social media and person-to-person information-gathering have value, but social media listening is quickly becoming an important customer intelligence tool. 
  • Vision: Our ultimate goal is to rid our community of hungerMission: Our mission is to fight hunger by engaging, educating and empowering our communityVision: Our vision is healthy people in a healthy worldMission: To promote health & quality of life by preventing disease and disability
  • A goal is an overarching principle that guides decision making.Organizational Goal - Improve community health by reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in the environmentCommunication Goals - Build awareness about orgs workIncrease understanding of the relationship between health & environmentMotivate area residents to advocateAll communication efforts need to be rooted in a vision for change. What is the big ambitious goal your organization has for change?
  • Specific—What exactly are we going to do for whom?Measurable—Is it quantifiable and can WE measure it? Attainable/Achievable—Can we get it done in the proposed time frame with the resources and support we have available?Relevant—Will this objective have an effect on the desired goal or strategy?Time bound—When will this objective be accomplished?Writing SMART objectives helps you think about & identify elements of the evaluation plan & measurement - indicators and performance measures.An indicator is what you will measure to obtain observable evidence of accomplishments, changes made, or progress achieved. Indicators describe the type of data you will need to answer your evaluation questions. Performance measure is the amount of change or progress achieved toward aspecific goal or objective.
  • Example – Goal – Save the Children; Objective – pass legislation this year to ensure every child in the state has access to quality healthcare; Communication objective – create advocacy white papers by start of session; meet with x# of state reps during session; add new information about initiatives to the website every month.Goal: Save the environment – objective – increase the # of households recycling in our community by 5% this year; communication objective – launch social media campaign in partnership with state agencies by start of fiscal year;
  • Know who you are targeting.What resonates with them?What is important to them?Do not build a beautiful marketing campaign that isn’t for them. Demographics refers to selected population characteristics. Commonly-used demographics include race, age, income, disabilities, mobility (in terms of travel time to work or number of vehicles available), educational attainment, home ownership, employment status, and even location.Psychographics is the study of personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.[Psychographics should not be confused with demographics, for example, historical generations may be defined both by demographics, such as the years in which a particular generation is born or even the fertility rates of that generation's parents, but also by psychographic variables like attitudes, personality formation, and cultural touchstones.Economic environment is the totality of economic factors such as employment, income, interest rates, productivity and wealthWho must you reach to meet your objective? Why this target group?Is this a target group identified in your organization’s communications plan?What do they know or believe about your organization or issue? What will resonate with them?What key points do you want to make with your audience?What new & traditional media tools are they currently using? What are they talking about in relation to your brand/goals/issues/competitors? (Describe based on secondary research, direct observation, or primary research.)What additional research do you need to do to learn about your target audience’s behavior or understanding/perceptions about your organization or issues?
  • What is your most frequent doodle?~ - Sex- Freedom- Achievement/SuccessO – LoveThere are four personalities that reside in every mind:Amiable – responds to other peopleExpressive – responds to anything new. Sean Kernan reveals this shocking neurobiological discovery. “Our brains notice and respond to what is new. Not what is interestingly new or significant, but new I any way at all.”Skeptical – we’re untrusting and cautious by natureBottom-liner side – wants to know what to do nextWhen you speak to all four sides of personality you give yourself 4 chances to hook the reader’s interst:Glow with humanity and heart and attract amiable sideRadiate news value & urgency attracts the expressive sideAnticipate & answer the predictable objections and ally the doubt that resides in the skeptical sideCall to action, never forgetting to tell people what to do next attracts the Bottom-liner side of the audience.
  • The message is not a sound bite. It’s actually more like a goal. This message is the one idea we want to plant firmly inside the heads of our target audience. When the members of our target audience hear and understand this message, we’re much more likely to gain their support.Threshold – What do people need to know believe or care about to become engaged?Action - What is the purpose of the message? What do you want people to do? Link to a specific campaignReinforcement - How do you keep people involved? Do your supporters carry your messages? What do you give them to do so? Do you have statistics, anecdotes, or sound bites?Solution - And, the world would be a better place. . . What is the projected positive outcome? How would people’s lives be better?
  • Every day it seems like we feel hundreds of different emotions. But, research shows we’re really only capable of 4 basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. These four “mother emotions” meld together in myriad ways in our brains to create our layered emotional stews.Plutchik’s famous wheel of emotion shows just some of the well known emotional layers.Happiness makes us want to shareSadness helps us connect and empathizeFear/surprise make us desperate for something in which to clingAnger/disgust makes us more stubbornReason has very little to do with decision making! People give because you have moved them through emotional triggers.What are emotional triggers? AngerExclusivityFearFlatteryGreedGuiltSalvationWithin your messages, you want to use emotional twin sets, a pair of emotional poles.One pole is a catalyzing trigger, which is often negative, where you introduce the problem. These include fear, disgust, anger, guilt and flattery (which is not negative).The other pole is a calming trigger, positive, often a solution that offers donors relief if they will act. These include compassion, hope, exhilaration, optimism, relief and surprise.
  • a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.Strategy is the practice of figuring out the best way to get from here to there.A strategy is a larger, over all plan that can comprise several tactics, which are smaller, focused, less impactful plans that are part of the over all plan. Tactics: How you will achieve your strategy and when.Nonprofit strategy is a coherent set of general ideas which explain how the organization is going to pursue its vision and carry out its mission during the years ahead. The strategy explains how the key functional areas of revenue generation, staffing (paid and unpaid, i.e., volunteers), and mission impact will operate and interrelate. The strategy is generated by the organization’s commitment to accomplish its mission and attain its vision.
  • Customer service is the biggest driver of WOM, a most powerful tactic, according to Forrester’s research. What does that say about the power of how your organization interacts with donors and sponsors.
  • Web & mobile technologies have fundamentally changed the way we communicate.You must use a variety of tools to reach your audience where they are, not where you want them to be.Your website is a must have! Everything leads back to your site so your audience can take action!
  • Non-profits face an already exhausted consumer that is bombarded with thousands of brands and advertisements each day. Peoples' time is pulled by work, family, commitments, necessities and the like. Most want to give back, but there is only so much giving that can be done.Inbound marketing can help your non-profit connect on a meaningful level with your target audiences on their terms, making them more willing to commit time and resources to your mission. Sharing is caring and inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream audiences, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your nonprofit and keeps them coming back for more.Win-win? Yes. Inbound marketing: helping non-profits save the world - one delighted consumer at a time. 
  • …don’t die solo in the silo.
  • Post Method is simple yet profound in that it provides a user-friendly system for using traditional and emerging communications channels. Although developed as a for-profit system, it is easily adaptable to nonprofits. The acronym refers to the four-step approach:P is for People. Don’t start a strategy until you know the capabilities of your target audience and know their social behavior.O is objectives. What are you trying to accomplish? Decide on your objectives before you decide on a technology. State your objectives in SMART terms.S is Strategy. How do you want the relationship to change with your target audience? How do new and traditional media support your objectives with your audience?T is Technology. What are the appropriate tools and tactics to address your target audience? What do you have the capacity to implement?
  • “You are a brand whether you like it or not….you’re going to leave some impression in a person’s mind [and] it’s your choice whether you want to actively manage that impression or whether you want them to come to theirown conclusions of what they think about you.”Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participationhttp://elainefogel.net/2012/04/03/theres-still-confusion-about-nonprofit-branding/
  • 80% is Strategy. 20% is Technology Forrester Research
  • Roles & Responsibilities:Everyone is a communicator.Who does what?How do you involve volunteers?How do you train?Who has final sign-off on initiatives?Is there a protocol for sign-off?
  • Staff costsMaterials developmentWebsite implementation and maintenanceSoftware & hardwareConsultingTechnology systems
  • Measure ImpactUse anecdotal as well as quantifiable measurementsBenchmark prior to startingIdentify mix of outputs & outcomes. Outputs are a measure of your efforts. Outcomes are the changes that occur.
  • Reference blog post & put link in resources

Creating a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan Creating a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan Presentation Transcript

  • In The Spotlight: Creating a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan Deborah Spector NPO Connect Marketing Communications Expert Creative Solutions & Innovations | www.creative-si.com | 404.325.7031
  • Communications without direction… …is like cocktail conversation!
  • Creating a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan Goals for today’s session: – Understand the role of marketing communications – Why knowing your audience is most important element of communications – Research tools to get you started – Review the elements of a marketing communications plan
  • Strategic Marketing Communications Your lens to focus on the people you serve, the individuals you seek to influence and the donors you wish to cultivate. Creates powerful, focused & targeted appeals for mission impact, to build your brand and for fundraising.
  • Marketing Communications Plan Supports your mission and the objectives laid out in your strategic plan. Focuses your marketing and communications, making sure that all activities work together to support the big picture. Gives you the focus to know where you’re going, what you need to say & what channels you need to positively interact with your audiences.
  • Characteristics of a Good Strategic Marketing Communications Plan 1. It is participative 2. It is dynamic 3. It is flexible 4. It is audience-driven 5. It combines the best of PR and Marketing 6. It contains a mix of strategy and tactics 7. It is doable 8. It is measurable – Hollister, Trubow & Associates
  • Research Tools Marketing Audit SWOT Analysis Audience Discovery Interviews Focus groups
  • Start with your Vision & Mission Think of the words “visionary” and “missionary.” A visionary imagines possible futures, whereas a missionary does the work to achieve the desired future. The vision is your guiding force; the mission is your guide to all your initiatives. Creative Solutions & Innovations | www.creative-si.com | 404.325.7031
  • Elements of a Marketing Communications Plan Goals & Objectives Target Audience Strategies Tactics to engage target audience Create Messages Choose Channels to deliver messages Roles & Responsibilities Work Plan Budget Evaluation
  • – Zig Ziglar A Goal is a dream with a deadline.
  • Objectives must be SMART: Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound
  • The Difference between Goals and Objectives Mission Goal Objective Goals are broad, Objectives are narrow. Goals are general intentions, Objectives are precise. Goals are intangible, Objectives are tangible Goals are abstract, Objectives are concrete. Ethereal Actionable
  • Know your Audience! Be curious & formalize your curiosity using marketing research: Demographics Psychographics Economic Environment Social Media Usage Donor Habits
  • Everyone’s Involvement In Life Is Through Different Sets of Filters. ~☐O Marketing Perspectives in the 21st Century Christopher Lemley, J. Mack Robinson School of Business, GA State University
  • Effective Non-Profit Message Cycle Here are the results of your money Here’s the story of what we do How what we do affects you Send us money
  • Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion
  • Strategy - Ideas of how communication goals can be achieved. Develop Key Messages Prioritize Key Audiences Identify Ways to Reach Audiences Conduct Ongoing Blogger Outreach Develop Best Practices for Social Media Define & convey brand & brand value to target audience Expand marketing reach to engage more people in each target audience
  • Strategy & Action Communications Awareness Comprehensio n Conviction Commitment Mass 40% 10% 5% 5% Direct 40% 50% 20% 10% Small Group 10% 20% 35% 15% Person to Person 10% 20% 40% 70% • Awareness brings your nonprofit to the attention of an audience • Comprehension develops an understanding of an organization • Conviction matches individual interests to institutional offerings • Commitment assists in the decision process – Adapted from Barton-Gillet Company
  • Comm Channel Provide Info & dialog Fundraising News & Link Promote Research Provide Resources Promote Events Website      Blog    On-line Newsletter      Email Facebook YouTube Podcast Twitter Webinars Conference Face to Face Meetings SEO Press Releases PSA Conference Call Special Events
  • Relating Key Audiences to Messages Audience What they need to know Key Communication Messages Communication Tactic Service Users What we offer them How to access our services Where to go for advice We provide useful, practical information & support We are trustworthy & reliable We put services users first & value their opinions Website Webinars Face to Face Local Elected Officials What we want to see changed in policy terms Our strong evidence base and supporter base We have a strong evidence base and our calls are grounded in robust evidence We have a good knowledge of the policy environment We are a well-respected, authoritative organization Email Face to Face e-newsletters White Papers Supporters We have the ability to make change if they help us We need you to support our campaign by writing to your elected official, signing our e- petition, donating to us etc. Direct Mail Email Facebook Special Events
  • Don’t forget – Money Follows Communication “Any group that does not have an effective communication program will raise only a fraction of the money they would otherwise attract.” – Fundraising Guru Roger Craver Strategic Communications for Nonprofits
  • We live in a connected culture
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Integrate your mix…
  • Look at your brand strategy Does your brand story not only inspire you to tell stories, but also inspire customers to tell stories?
  • It’s Not About Technology … It’s About People!
  • Work Plan How do you roll out the implementation? Create & manage steady stream of activities. Ensure coordination in timing and impact. Build in evaluations before the end of the year. Be clear on who does what & by when.
  • Budget
  • Remember: Objectives & Goals Drive Measurement & Evaluation!
  • Wanted – Great NPO Communicator! Sampling of necessary skills: Great writer in multi-mediums – annual reports, web, online newsletters, press releases, SM Prolific content generator across mediums (written, video, audio, & photo) Marketing generalists – New & traditional media Proactive communicator & connector Driven project manager Compulsive commitment to brand consistency Driven by metrics Up-to-date on best practices and emerging trends
  • Thank you! Please visit my website for blog posts, resources and more: www.creative-si.com To connect with me via my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Creative Solutions & Innovations www.creative-si.com | 404.325.7031 October 16, 2008