Why writing a marketing communications plan is good for business
A marketing communications plan isn’t something that ALL businesses will have. In fact, I’d say that it’s mainly SMEs (small and medium sized businesses) that don’t have one.
But why is that?
It could be for a number of reasons. Either:-
- they don’t have the time
- they don’t have the knowledge, or
- they don’t have the resources (people or budget), or
- all of the above
A marketing communications plan doesn’t have to just be for big businesses. SME’s can also benefit from writing one. It needn’t be a massively complicated document; just a tool that you can use to plan and organise your communication activities that will encourage you to set goals, implement activities and monitor their success.
So what should you include in your marketing communications plan?
Depending on the complexity of the project, program, service or activity, marketing communications plans range from simple documents to more comprehensive records of information and actions.
Here is a list of headings you can include in your plan which will guide you in the planning process, defining goals and objectives and mapping out activity you will implement in order to achieve them.
PROJECT/COMMUNICATION PLAN TITLE:- Insert a name for your plan, helps to keep everything organised!
OBJECTIVES:- These need to be precise and follow the SMART principle. An example could be “to increase the number of subscribers to your quarterly newsletter by 5% by the end of September 2014.”
STAKEHOLDER(S):- This is where you insert details about your target audience – the people you are communicating with
KEY MESSAGES:- What information do you want to communicate to your target audience? What is it you want them to do? Remember to include clear calls to action
TACTICS:- List the communication tool you will use to reach your target audience to get your key messages across, ie a new website, media release or quarterly newsletter
TIMING:- Include specific deadlines that you are planning your tactics to be completed by. For example, if you are going to send out a quarterly newsletter, you would insert distribution dates like 30 March, 30 June, 30 Sept, etc and work backwards to ensure that each issue is ready on time.
BUDGET:- Allocate a budget for each activity so you can determine whether the money was well spent when analysing the success of each campaign
RESPONSIBILITY:- Determine who’s doing what. It could be a member of staff, or yourself if you are a small business owner or possibly a third party if you are outsourcing the project
When you implement your marketing communications plan, remember that it is an action document and the outcome is dependent on the commitment and delivery of each part of the process.
Plans should also be flexible to accommodate change. Communication plans should always provide for strategies when something doesn’t go according to plan.
Finally, remember to evaluate your communication plan, both during and after implementation. You’ll be able to assess how things are going or how they went and make changes to the process for next time.
For more information or to get a pdf copy of our template which includes concrete examples so you can start writing your own marketing communications plan, send a message via the Contact Us page.