If you are reading this post, then you probably have a solid idea about what marketing communications means. But before we dive in, I’ll recap exactly how I define it:
Marketing communications are the techniques that the company uses to convey messages about their products or services, value, and work culture. The goal is to ensure outside audiences know exactly what your company is about and what your brand stands for.
It can be tough to get this message across with all the digital noise, but it’s necessary for any business to achieve profitable and long-term results.
The Importance of Marketing Communications
We know that marketing communications is important for long-term growth of your business. Particularly sales and generating revenue.
But marketing communications serves many purposes and here are some of the major impacts.
- Helps Develop A Strategic Company Vision
- Increases Overall Brand Awareness
- Builds Company Reputation
- Creates the Value Proposition
- Helps Drive The Corporate Narrative
- Attracts More Talent to the Organization
- Engages Stakeholders and Investors
- Improves Customer Communications
The list can go on and certainly more in-depth.
But the purpose of this article is to cover more about the types of strategies and tactics your company should be doing to get the most of your marketing communications.
Types of Marketing Communications
Most organizations know at this point in time, how valuable marketing communications is to the brand.
Yet, in order to get your value proposition and brand voice out to the world, there are a few techniques to consider implementing.
Every company’s marketing and communications team may approach these areas differently too.
However, as digital trends continue to shift and the need for more personalized communications grows, some strategies will be better than others.
But there are many organizations who still miss the mark and ignore some of the best types of marketing communications. Even the company you currently work for might be missing the mark!
The below are areas I feel are critical for your company to focus on in this new decade. Although your particular strategies within each may be unique, the overall concepts are imperative for your company to succeed.
Granted, I’d like to assume that all companies are focusing time on market research, but surprisingly there are many who do not put enough emphasis on this.
A key area for effective marketing communications is understanding the market and researching who, what, where, and why people would consider your product or services.
Before your organization can execute proper messaging and consistent marketing, you need to know everything about your primary targeting.
- What needs does your product or services solve?
- Who specifically can this help?
- What pain points can you solve for them?
- What are your target audiences’ interests?
- How do they respond to messaging? What resonates with them?
Generally, this will be done in the early stages of your company. But, this may need to be revamped and looked at on some consistent basis to ensure your markets have not evolved.
The last thing you want your marketing communications to do is be outdated or not connecting with the right audiences anymore.
So what can your organization do?
Tons of options like focus groups, surveys to customers or to target audiences, online research, etc. This way you can begin to build various buyer personas and truly understand your market.
And this doesn’t just apply to your potential customers. It applies to how you communicate and market to employees (internal marketing), business stakeholders, and potential investors.
How will people know about your messaging, brand voice, value prop, and insights? One of the best ways is to build and focus on those efforts is via content production.
For the most part, every organization is creating content right? However, most are not doing it well or diversifying their efforts to make a strong impact on their marketing communications.
The obvious tactic is company blog posts, which can be used to rank in search engines so you attract people to your brand, through social media, email, etc. These content pieces help connect your knowledge and voice, so your target audiences are attracted to your brand.
But the challenge is, writing content requires using your research effectively and ensuring you are helping solve pain points for your audience.
Besides that, content production is more than just blog content.
It’s everything from creating videos, podcasts, guides and case studies, direct mailers, images and pictures — creating a vast army of multimedia options to extend your communications in multiple ways.
Individuals from your audience connect to your marketing and communications in various ways, so diversifying your content methods and delivery matters.
A big piece to your company’s marketing communications comes from the internal workforce. Previously the idea of employees outside of marketing being involved in content creation and sharing on social media was a bit ludicrous or scary.
But with the vast changes in company culture and the power of social, the idea of employee advocacy was born and continues to be essential.
Employees all have social connections via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or wherever they may be active. And their networks are untapped markets for your brand.
Plus employees are more trusted than other forms of communication like ads, info from the company social handles, and even executive leaders.
- For employees, employee advocacy lets them get involved, builds their personal brand, helps create thought leadership and can create more career opportunities.
- For their organization, it helps expand brand reach, drive real marketing and sales, improve overall external communications, and more.
Imagine having 10,000 employees sharing content or marketing messages and lets say they have an average of 1,000 social media connections each. That is a 10,000,000 reach!
Additionally, adopting an employee advocacy program helps internal communications as well.
When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information. (McKinsey)
Getting employees on the same page, informed, and knowing what your company stands for is just as important as them sharing information to expanded audiences.
Related: Learn how Dell created an employee-driven social program to extend their marketing communications and become brand ambassadors. Download your case study.
Besides employees, your customers are the most valuable asset to the success of your company.
And just because they are paying for your product or services, doesn’t mean your communications and work with them ends.
By ensuring your marketing communications gets to customers, you are keeping them in the loops, improving customer loyalty, and strengthening your existing relationships to ensure long term partnerships.
But just like employee word of mouth, your customers can be the best advocates for your brand as well.
When they are being communicated properly about your value and genuinely feel valued, you’ll find them quite often referring you to others or buying your product/services again if they switch companies.
So is your company taking customer marketing seriously? Ensure your marketing communications includes a plan that focuses on your customers. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Communicate with them often and consistently to keep the value proposition and brand voice top of mind.
- Provide the best service as possible as it relates to support, product changes, new hires, features, account changes, pricing, etc.
- Create content and materials that resonate with customers too, not just prospects and general audiences.
Advertising is a long standing and traditional way to get your marketing communications out to the world.
While many forms of advertising have shifted thanks to the internet, technology, and social media — many traditional forms of ads are still in use today. Think billboards, T.V. commercials, magazines, newspaper, radio, etc.
By paying for ad messages, you typically have greater influence over time and placement, as well as the message itself, since you buy this service from the medium.
The average person gets bombarded with over 1,700 banner ads per month, but only sees half of them, according to this article.
What that tells you is, people are so used to ads that they are tuning ones out that are not resonating immediately. Another reason why employee advocacy has become more popular.
But from that same article above, they mention that 76% of marketers fail to use behavioral data for online ad targeting. Which is where account-based advertising should be in your company’s arsenal for improving marketing communications.
At a high level, account-based advertising uses digital ad campaigns to target highly-relevant people and accounts with the most potential to convert and generate revenue.
But, it’s also to ensure the message you want to convey about your company is seen by the targeted audience.
There is more personalization, less wasted ad spend, getting your message to the right people, and you’re driving more potential sales because your message is connecting with who it should.
While your company’s marketing communications strategy may focus more on driving marketing, sales, and brand voice — the other added value is how people view and describe your work culture.
This is important to help attract top talent and even drive more business, as other people want to work with companies who have great work environments and missions.
Since social media and the internet have made information so accessible, the need for creating and maintaining employer brand has developed.
Building a great work culture that employees want to talk about and one you can share to the world is key.
You can’t fake this or pretend to care as audiences will see right through it. But once you establish an awesome place to work, you can start communicating that.
A great start is to begin on social media and even via your employees (see employee advocacy above). But building your company employer brand can be through any form of medium besides social, like company blog, PR, videos, reviews from employees on career sites, website landing page, advertising, etc.
While you can’t exactly control what the outside world or media will say about your company, you can influence the market with your efforts. And while employer branding is a separate tactic, it certainly works hand in hand with marketing communications.