Creating a marketing communications plan tools


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A Creative Solutions & Innovations Tool Kit that describes the tools included in Creating a Marketing Communications Plan. Tools include: SWOT & SWOT Interplay, Positioning your NPO, Channels, POST Development Tool and Message Development Box.

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Creating a marketing communications plan tools

  1. 1. Strategic Marketing Communications Tools“Any group that does not have an effective [marketing] communication program will raiseonly a fraction of the money they would otherwise attract.”Fundraising Guru Roger CraverStrategic Communications for NonprofitsTOOLS: SWOT & SWOT Interplay Positioning Your NPO Channels Post Development Tool Message Development BoxDeborah
  2. 2. Key Research Tools - SWOT & SWOT InterplayWhat is a SWOT?SWOT in an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The internal part is aboutan organization’s strengths and weaknesses; opportunities and threats are from outside theorganization.A SWOT is used for auditing an organization and its environment. The exercise helps identify strategicissues and the internal and external factors that are favorable – or not, to reach a goal. SWOT is animportant research tool for marketing communications & branding initiatives, strategic planning,preparing for a specific project and special events.How to conduct a SWOT: Pull together a team including senior staff, board members & volunteers. Use the SWOTexercise to involve and engage people and to develop a sense of ownership. Hang four flip charts on wall or place on easels. Title each one with a different category. Identify a team member or outside volunteer to serve as scribe. Ask each person to name strengths & weaknesses as well as opportunities & threats. Since a SWOT is subjective at times one person will see strength in what another sees as aweakness. Be sure and capture these differences and record everyone’s comments. Develop a series of questions for each category. The questions will vary according to goal ofSWOT.Strengths/Weaknesses:What are your strengths/weaknesses?What are your competitive strengths/weaknesses?Do you have needed staff, volunteers, IT, marketing, management, strategic plan?Opportunities/ThreatsWhat external factors provide opportunities/threats?Relationship with competitors in your marketplaceSocial, economic, government opportunities/threatsSAMPLE SWOT AnalysisInternal Strengths: Staff capacity Volunteer Corps Committed leadership Our momentum of changeExternal Opportunities: Disseminate data to increase partners Untapped opportunities with othernpos in our market niche Grant opportunitiesInternal Weaknesses: Lack of capacity Lack of events to engage prospects No crisis communications plan No board commitment tocommunications planningExternal Threats: Weak economy Unsettled political environment Funders shifting funding focus Competition from other npos forfunding
  3. 3. What is SWOT Interplay?SWOT Interplay is designed to take the information summarized in the SWOT analysis and tell you whatactions your nonprofit should and/or should not take. This is where you look at the interrelationshipof Strengths and Opportunities, Strengths and Threats, Weaknesses and Opportunities andWeaknesses and Threats.How to Proceed:Take the points listed from your SWOT. On the new table, list the strengths and weaknesses onthe left side. List the opportunities and threats at the top. As you proceed you might discoverthat a strength and/or weakness will link to a number of opportunities and/or threats. And,sometimes you will not find any connections. Stay focused on those points that interplay.Deborah Spector, an NPO Connect Content Expert, ispresident of Creative Solutions & Innovations, anindependent consulting firm that empowers nonprofitsto do good! Deborah specializes in strategic marketingcommunications and special event management. Stayconnected – Follow me onTwitter @CreativeSI.
  4. 4. Positioning Your NPOPositioning is at the heart of nonprofit marketing. As described by Philip Kotler, marketerextraordinaire, positioning designs an organization’s image and value offer so that its customersappreciate what the organization stands for in relationship to its competitors.Marketing “pulls” a nonprofit’s audiences from where they are to create a desired action.Communications “pushes” out messages. Positioning is the linchpin between the two.Positioning flows from a nonprofit’s mission. Positioning guides an organization into the futureand works to build its reputation with its key audiences.Positioning is strategic. Can you think of anything more valuable than your nonprofit’sreputation? And, in this changing landscape where nonprofit’s must be nimble and quick,positioning takes on even more importance in competition to be loved “or be out.”A positioning statement is a tight, focused description of the core target audience to whom anonprofit is directed, and it provides a compelling picture of how the organization wants itstargeted audiences to view them. A well-constructed positioning statement brings focus andclarity to the development of the marketing strategy and tactics.How does the positioning statement effect a nonprofit’s marketing strategy? According toBrandeo, an online marketing resource, every decision that is made regarding a brand is judgedby how well it supports its positioning statement.Brandeo describes the four elements or components of a positioning statement. I havequalified these for nonprofits:1. Target Audience – Knowing your target audience is fundamental to an organization’ssuccess.2. Frame of Reference – the marketing niche in which a nonprofit competes.3. Benefit/Point of Difference - the most compelling and motivating benefit that anorganization owns in the hearts and minds of its target audience relative to thecompetition.4. Reason to Believe - the most convincing proof that the brand delivers what it promisesCreating a Positioning StatementStart with the discovery process. The discovery process should be inclusive. I like to convene ablue ribbon panel composed of at least senior management and leadership. Task them toidentify their niche in the market, e.g., market leader, challenger, follower or nicher. Chances
  5. 5. are people sitting around the table will have a feel for the role their organization plays in themarketplace. Audience discovery phone calls provide insights from the nonprofit arestakeholders.If the leadership and staff identify themselves as a market leader, you will have to decidewhether to emphasize expanding the total market, protect current market share or expand themarket share; as a market challenger, decisions include whom to challenge and how; as amarket follower, focus on following closely, at a distance or selectively; or as a market nicher, inwhat parts of the marketplace the organization will specialize, e.g., which services can beoffered through specialization better than larger nonprofits.The next step involves identifying challengers and collaborators within the niche. Time andagain I hear that an organization is unique, that there are no challengers. More unsettling is thebelief, especially by leadership that collaboration is not necessary.Interestingly, as the exercise unfolds, the discovery of challengers (and what they do as well ifnot better) spurs very dynamic conversations.SWOT is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment, and is extremely useful. Thevisioning exercise sets the stage; the SWOT analyzes the strength, weaknesses, opportunitiesand threats to your preliminary plan.Be realistic when you do a SWOT. Be as specific as possible.Next explore SWOT Interplay. This is where you look at Strengths and Opportunities, Strengthsand Threats, Weaknesses and Opportunities and Weaknesses and Threats.From this you’ll learn: Clear matches of Strengths and Opportunities through which you can leverage yourstrengths to take advantage of an opportunity With the organization’s Strengths and Threats if you need to mobilize your resources,either alone or through your network, to avert a possible threat Judgment calls to invest, divest or collaborate where you have Weaknesses andOpportunities The need to do damage control where the nonprofit has Weaknesses and ThreatsOnce you’re finished the discovery process it will be time to write the positioning statement.Don’t forget that a mission statement defines the nonprofit’s purpose, whereas the positioningstatement speaks to the organization’s uniqueness.The positioning statement is internal. All external communications should flow from and referback to the positioning statement.
  6. 6. CHANNELSCommunicationChannels toListen, Monitor& EngageProvideInfo &startdialogFundraisingNews &LinkPromoteResearchProvideResourcesPromoteEventsPersonresponsibleforChannelsWebsite      DSBlog   On-linenewsletterEmailSEOFacebookYouTubePodcastTwitterWebinarsConferences,trainingFace to FacemeetingsSEO PressReleasesPSAAdvertisingOn-lineadvertisingMeeting withCommunityPartnersSlideShare
  7. 7. People: Evaluate social media activities of your community.Objectives: Identify the goals & accomplishments you want to achieveStrategy: Plan how your organization’s relationships with community will changeTechnology: Decide which traditional & social media tools are most applicable based on P, O & S
  8. 8. Message Development BoxThe message development box helps you develop the messages you needfor your communications plan and/or for a specific campaign. Use a cleancopy (see next tool) at message development sessions.You do not need to use the messages in any particular order. You need todecide where to start depending on your audience.Messages for The MediaTHRESHOLD MESSAGES:What do people need to know,believe or care about to becomeengaged? What obstacles do youhave to overcome to get people overthe threshold?SOLUTION MESSAGES:And, the world wouldbe a better place. . .What is the projectedpositive outcome? Howwould people’s lives bebetter?ACTION MESSAGES:What is the purpose ofthe message? What doyou want people to do?Link it to the goal ofthis specific campaign.REINFORCEMENT MESSAGES:How do you keep peopleinvolved? Do your supporterscarry your messages? What doyou give them to do so? Doyou have statistics, anecdotes,or sound bites?Put your organization’sname or the name of thecampaign here
  9. 9. Message Development BoxThreshold Message & supporting points1.2.3.Solution MessageandSupporting points1.2.3.Action Message andSupporting points1.2.3.Reinforcement Message and supporting points1.2.3.