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How Do I Develop a Marketing Communications Plan?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

A marketing communications plan dictates how a company will go about spreading a message, and to whom that message will be directed. To develop a marketing communications plan, it is first necessary to understand what you are selling and how it has been sold in the past. If you are working with a new product or service, you might want to study the history of a company that is selling a new item or see how products were sold to similar demographics. This is an important part of any marketing communications plan, since most outlooks are largely based on historical market data.

Once you have a sense of what to expect, you will want to get a sense of how the present media receives similar ideas. Likewise, look at which kinds of ideas are most impressive to shareholders and investors. Ideally, plan to tap into the ideas and trends that are exciting consumers and investors and which are gaining much media attention. At the same time, however, work on finding a unique niche market.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

An important aspect of any marketing communications plan is the image a company wishes to maintain. Many marketing professionals consider that there are two different images to be conveyed: the image of the business and the image of the particular product. For example, a company that has a reputation for manufacturing cutting edge housewares might introduce appliances that are inexpensive and directed toward consumers who don't like to spend a lot on housewares. A communications plan should recognize both images independently and discover ways in which they can compliment one another.

Once marketers have decided on images and messages, they should create strategies that dictate how messages are conveyed. Most marketing communications plans cover several media outlets, such as the Internet, television, and magazines. At this stage, marketers might create sketches of advertisements and pass them down to creative marketing managers.

It is common for marketing managers to develop their ideal plans before setting up budgets. In most cases, marketers have to edit their plans as projects progress. Unforeseen issues and budgetary changes often cause a marketing communications plan to be a set of guidelines that constantly are adapting to circumstance.

Once a campaign is launched, marketers need to have a way of evaluating its performance. Guidelines for assessments normally are part of a marketing communications plan. As executives observe sales, there might be changes in pricing, image, and target demographics. When this is the case, marketers rewrite a marketing communications plan to reflect new messages.

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