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marketing
Smiling Eye Communications
communications
in eight simple steps
successful
How can small companies overcome
complexity and generate insightful,
compelling, and cost-effective
communications?
Within life science, IT and technology-
based markets technical expertise is
prized above all else. This is especially the
case for start-ups and small companies.
(But also true for a good many mid-sized
companies too.)
The development and delivery of complex
products and services is the priority.
Communications are not.
The person responsible for marketing
communications usually has one or more
additional roles within the company. This
means activities tend to be carried out on
an opportunistic, ad hoc basis.
A typical response to acquiring an email list of relevant
decision makers – “OK, great. Let’s get something created
quickly and get it out there next week.”
Such an emailing may generate a positive response. Or it may
not. What is almost certain is that any response could have
been improved with a little more time and effort invested.
Working through the questions on the following pages lets you
know where that extra time and effort should be spent.
By following this simple eight-step guide, small companies
can ensure they develop consistent and effective
marketing communications.
Example
Communications do not take place in a vacuum. There is
always context.
The first step is to understand the different factors impacting
on your company and offering.
What does the marketplace look like? Who are the key players?
Where does your product/service fit in? How do customers and
prospects view your company compared to your competitors?
What are the trends and external factors affecting the industry?
Equally important is to assess your company’s capabilities,
strengths and weaknesses, development plans, and long-term
goals.
A sense of vision is needed to provide overall direction for
communications. Where are you trying to get to and what will
things look like when you get there?
WHERE
①
In order to be successful you first need to define ‘success.’
Create clear and concise descriptions of what you want to achieve. Here, it is better to
focus on the desired impact of communications rather than the physical deliverables.
Having specific, measurable objectives helps downstream thinking and also helps to
prioritize limited time and budget resources.
Deliverable focus – “Send an emailing to the acquired email list to
promote our new Software X.”
Impact focus – “Convince email recipients that Software X is best-in-
class. Get 20% of recipients to click through to our website. And get 5%
to sign-up for a free demo before the end of Q1.”
WHAT
Example
②
HOW
Using your newfound knowledge, you can
now start joining up some of the dots.
Based on your understanding of the market,
your customers and your company’s
capabilities, what is the best strategy to
adopt in order to achieve your objectives
and build towards your long term vision?
Don’t be concerned with details at this stage.
Simply define the key factors (in broad
terms) that will help you to be successful.
These might include; specific audiences, how
you should communicate with them, which
channels to use, core values to focus on, etc.
If your industry is plagued by
suppliers who make exaggerated
claims, you might choose an
“aggressive truth” strategy – e.g.
use credible external sources to
back up your claims while
questioning who is backing up
the claims of your competitors.
Example
③
USP-based message – “Software X is the first ever double-encrypted, multi-site,
cross-platform instant messenger system.”
Benefits-based message – “We help you minimize your response times. Software X
lets you deliver business-critical information to defined groups instantly and securely
– no matter where individuals are located or what device they are using.”
Of all the steps, this is the one most
deserving of your attention.
Answering this question enables you
to generate powerful and relevant key
messages. These messages will form
the backbone of your communications.
USP
Example
To do this, however, you need to view the world
through the eyes of your customer. Your
Unique Selling Points (USPs) need to be translated
into tangible customer benefits.
How does your product/service improve the life
of your customer?
④
When reaching out to prospects you need
to offer something of value to draw them
in. By sharing valuable content you
strengthen your relationship and can
eventually convert them into customers.
Be creative and look beyond the obvious.
Identify the materials and channels that
will maximize your exposure, impact and
value.
For our ‘Software X’ emailer, why not also create a website landing
page which the email links to. Here, readers get a ‘free and exclusive’
white paper – plus a promise of more free reports if they register.
BITS&
PIECES
Example
Keep your core messages consistent.
But don’t be afraid to adapt how you
express them according to where they
will appear.
For example, an aggressive sales pitch
style might work on an exhibition
poster, but it is not suitable for a social
media post.
⑤
PRESEN-
TATION
Beauty is no substitute for substance. (Unless you happen to be selling
cosmetics.)
When it comes to high-tech products and qualified services, the
‘content’ of your marketing communications outweighs how it
looks.
That is not to say that design and creativity are unimportant. On
the contrary, they are the difference between good and GREAT!
Design should elevate your content, allowing you to present
information in a clear and concise manner. At the same time, it
needs to provide visual impact and make a strong first impression.
Most importantly for small companies, design should be used to
ensure a consistent look and feel to your communications.
Consistency is the key to building a durable and coherent
brand identity on a small budget.
⑥
WHO
It’s time for action. But before diving in,
make sure you have a plan.
Everyone needs to know who is responsible
for what, when materials will be produced,
and where they will be delivered.
No matter what the make up of your team is,
somebody needs to oversee the plan,
coordinate efforts, and flag any issues that
arise.
At the production phase, being small can be
an advantage. Stay flexible and make use of
short decision cycles to increase your
responsiveness.
When sending out a white paper
to selected prospects, create a
personalized front cover for them
with their name and company
logo. This takes a little extra time,
but it also increases the perceived
value of the paper ten-fold.
Example
⑦
After delivery, once the dust has settled, it’s time to revisit your objectives. How
did you do?
If results can be measured and analyzed, then do so. But don’t forget to review
softer values too.
Which parts of the project worked well? What lessons can be learnt? Does the
strategy still make sense? Should key messages be refined? Could the working
process be more efficient? Have new opportunities come to light?
Even an informal thirty minute follow up over a cup of coffee can prove very
beneficial. The goal is simply to identify what you can do better in the future.
With a consistent approach and regular follow ups, creating successful
marketing communications becomes a habit.
The more you practice, the easier it gets. Before you know it, you’ll be the brand
powerhouse in your market segment.
⑧
Jem Baker
www.smilingeye.se
© 2015. Smiling Eye Communications AB.

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8-steps-to-marcoms-success_2

  • 2. How can small companies overcome complexity and generate insightful, compelling, and cost-effective communications?
  • 3. Within life science, IT and technology- based markets technical expertise is prized above all else. This is especially the case for start-ups and small companies. (But also true for a good many mid-sized companies too.) The development and delivery of complex products and services is the priority. Communications are not. The person responsible for marketing communications usually has one or more additional roles within the company. This means activities tend to be carried out on an opportunistic, ad hoc basis. A typical response to acquiring an email list of relevant decision makers – “OK, great. Let’s get something created quickly and get it out there next week.” Such an emailing may generate a positive response. Or it may not. What is almost certain is that any response could have been improved with a little more time and effort invested. Working through the questions on the following pages lets you know where that extra time and effort should be spent. By following this simple eight-step guide, small companies can ensure they develop consistent and effective marketing communications. Example
  • 4. Communications do not take place in a vacuum. There is always context. The first step is to understand the different factors impacting on your company and offering. What does the marketplace look like? Who are the key players? Where does your product/service fit in? How do customers and prospects view your company compared to your competitors? What are the trends and external factors affecting the industry? Equally important is to assess your company’s capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, development plans, and long-term goals. A sense of vision is needed to provide overall direction for communications. Where are you trying to get to and what will things look like when you get there? WHERE ①
  • 5. In order to be successful you first need to define ‘success.’ Create clear and concise descriptions of what you want to achieve. Here, it is better to focus on the desired impact of communications rather than the physical deliverables. Having specific, measurable objectives helps downstream thinking and also helps to prioritize limited time and budget resources. Deliverable focus – “Send an emailing to the acquired email list to promote our new Software X.” Impact focus – “Convince email recipients that Software X is best-in- class. Get 20% of recipients to click through to our website. And get 5% to sign-up for a free demo before the end of Q1.” WHAT Example ②
  • 6. HOW Using your newfound knowledge, you can now start joining up some of the dots. Based on your understanding of the market, your customers and your company’s capabilities, what is the best strategy to adopt in order to achieve your objectives and build towards your long term vision? Don’t be concerned with details at this stage. Simply define the key factors (in broad terms) that will help you to be successful. These might include; specific audiences, how you should communicate with them, which channels to use, core values to focus on, etc. If your industry is plagued by suppliers who make exaggerated claims, you might choose an “aggressive truth” strategy – e.g. use credible external sources to back up your claims while questioning who is backing up the claims of your competitors. Example ③
  • 7. USP-based message – “Software X is the first ever double-encrypted, multi-site, cross-platform instant messenger system.” Benefits-based message – “We help you minimize your response times. Software X lets you deliver business-critical information to defined groups instantly and securely – no matter where individuals are located or what device they are using.” Of all the steps, this is the one most deserving of your attention. Answering this question enables you to generate powerful and relevant key messages. These messages will form the backbone of your communications. USP Example To do this, however, you need to view the world through the eyes of your customer. Your Unique Selling Points (USPs) need to be translated into tangible customer benefits. How does your product/service improve the life of your customer? ④
  • 8. When reaching out to prospects you need to offer something of value to draw them in. By sharing valuable content you strengthen your relationship and can eventually convert them into customers. Be creative and look beyond the obvious. Identify the materials and channels that will maximize your exposure, impact and value. For our ‘Software X’ emailer, why not also create a website landing page which the email links to. Here, readers get a ‘free and exclusive’ white paper – plus a promise of more free reports if they register. BITS& PIECES Example Keep your core messages consistent. But don’t be afraid to adapt how you express them according to where they will appear. For example, an aggressive sales pitch style might work on an exhibition poster, but it is not suitable for a social media post. ⑤
  • 9. PRESEN- TATION Beauty is no substitute for substance. (Unless you happen to be selling cosmetics.) When it comes to high-tech products and qualified services, the ‘content’ of your marketing communications outweighs how it looks. That is not to say that design and creativity are unimportant. On the contrary, they are the difference between good and GREAT! Design should elevate your content, allowing you to present information in a clear and concise manner. At the same time, it needs to provide visual impact and make a strong first impression. Most importantly for small companies, design should be used to ensure a consistent look and feel to your communications. Consistency is the key to building a durable and coherent brand identity on a small budget. ⑥
  • 10. WHO It’s time for action. But before diving in, make sure you have a plan. Everyone needs to know who is responsible for what, when materials will be produced, and where they will be delivered. No matter what the make up of your team is, somebody needs to oversee the plan, coordinate efforts, and flag any issues that arise. At the production phase, being small can be an advantage. Stay flexible and make use of short decision cycles to increase your responsiveness. When sending out a white paper to selected prospects, create a personalized front cover for them with their name and company logo. This takes a little extra time, but it also increases the perceived value of the paper ten-fold. Example ⑦
  • 11. After delivery, once the dust has settled, it’s time to revisit your objectives. How did you do? If results can be measured and analyzed, then do so. But don’t forget to review softer values too. Which parts of the project worked well? What lessons can be learnt? Does the strategy still make sense? Should key messages be refined? Could the working process be more efficient? Have new opportunities come to light? Even an informal thirty minute follow up over a cup of coffee can prove very beneficial. The goal is simply to identify what you can do better in the future. With a consistent approach and regular follow ups, creating successful marketing communications becomes a habit. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Before you know it, you’ll be the brand powerhouse in your market segment. ⑧
  • 12. Jem Baker www.smilingeye.se © 2015. Smiling Eye Communications AB.