Modern Marketing Communications is Truth
Marketing communications is a method to gain customers, build community, and nurture support. Modern marketing communications is a two-way street of information:
It learns from people to adapt products, services, and ideas to them.
It conveys the benefit within a product, service, or idea that matters to people, to them. It aligns what you offer to what they value.
Communicating in both directions is vital to create transactions.
However, there’s too much information.
The digital age provides immediate access to information. Some Information is valid and useful, some is “misinformation” and defective. The vast majority of information is irrelevant and time-wasting. In the digital age, highly important information – your information – may go unnoticed, as part of the clutter.
Truth is what cuts through the clutter. Truth creates successful marketing communications.
Customers and communities: your mentors, not your audiences
“Target audiences” is how old-fashioned marketing communications calls customers or communities whom a marketer seeks to attract.
Rather, people are the sources of value in your product, service, or idea. Don’t target them. Define who they are and learn from them.
Researching people has many forms. Performing some research is vital. Your own experience is one form of research. Focus groups and surveys are structured forms to reduce bias. Observational or experiential research, interacting with people in-person or online through social media in unstructured ways, can provide important insight. However your personal biases may distort your findings.
The purpose of research for marketing communications is to discover what people value in a product, service, idea, or behavior you profess. What they value may be different from what you value. Or they may use what you offer as an opportunity to enjoy what they value. (Example: people who hear perfectly well using amplified telephones to obtain affection from grandparents.) Aligning to what they value may change the product or service you offer to them, or at least what you convey to them about it.
Data analysis is another way to learn what people value. There are many forms, ranging from analysis of shopping and buying choices, website analytics (who visits the website, which pages they visit, where they go), and keyword analysis.
Structured research is more expensive than unstructured. It needs expertise to design and implement to meet certain standards to reduce bias. Unstructured research however ,may be enough to start. Data analysis requires data sets. Website analytics are available through Google analytics and keywords analysis requires expertise.
A complete marketing communications program starts with a brand platform. It defines the “value” of what you offer in several ways useful to guide the marketing program.
A small business may need to postpone developing this platform in the rush to market. We recommend scoping out as much as possible, such as these components
A brand is the experience you provide through your product, service, idea, or even a behavior you promote, that creates the benefit which people value. Likewise it builds the value of your company itself. A logo and tagline, or other imagery, often identifies the brand.
Positioning and Value Proposition
The value of what you offer, based on the features, accessibility, style, price, or even how you promote or express it, should be better than or at least at parity with competitors. The “value proposition” is why – what you offer – is worth the price or effort, compared to other offerings available.
These define who are most likely to value what you offer. They are a “segment” of the total population.
Creating the message, story, and experience
Express what people value in what you offer (product, service, idea, or proposed behavior) with emotion and in ways easy to absorb.
The brand itself may be what you express: an experience that creates value. People have the strongest experiences through and words and images, and especially if they tell a story in their imagination.
Remember, the message is more than features and benefits, it’s what people value in them and why.
Media as a form
Choose the forms that will best convey the message, that fit your capability and budget to produce. They’ll also need to match up with the Media Channel (see below) you’ll use to engage with customers or community .
Text and visuals combine for many uses such as social media posts, digital display (banner ads) web pages, posters, print advertising, “out of home”, articles, scripts for others to use, presentations, brochures and handouts.
Static visuals include photographs, illustration, typographical treatments of words
Video and audio
Engaging with the customer or community
Based on your Demographics (in the Brand Platform) choose the medium that will reach them in the most cost-effective way.
Media as channels
Choose media which will expose your message or experience to people who are demographically a good fit for what you offer. Ideas:
Website, including site optimization for search engines to find what you offer.
Social media platforms build organic communities and expose paid messages (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others)
An app providing your product, service, idea, or promoting a behavior
Videos on YouTube, both organic and paid exposure
Digital display advertising banners and tiles
Search engine marketing (e.g., advertising using AdWords)
Radio – both streaming and broadcast, major exposure opportunities
Television is still a major exposure opportunity
Out-Of-Home: transportation, billboard and a variety of digital displays
Emails to an opt-in list
Print advertising: Newspapers and magazines
Journalists, broadcasters, and editors need news and feature story ideas
Point-of-sale signage and displays
Booth or table at trade shows and consumer fairs
Public-speaking, articles, blogs
Outreach street teams
Social media influencers
If considering to use paid media, we recommend consulting a professional who specializes in particular medium (such as social media or search engine marketing), or a generalist media planner and buyer, to save you time and expense.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Marketing communications is an art, craft, and science with many choices. The key however is to direct all efforts at the objective: engaging with customers and communities in a way that encourages positive action.
Marketing what is true to people – a positive alignment of benefit in what you offer to what people value – is a powerful strategy. People notice, remember and act on truth.
As an advertising and digital marketing agency in San Francisco, OneWorld Communications has many choices too! We’re in the heart of great talent and innovation. But we’ve developed strategic process to keep ourselves focused: ACE – Align, Create, Engage® . Feel free to learn from it, by watching the video series we provide here.
Also, if you need assistance with your program, Jonathan Villet, our Strategy Director, and our team of experts, are happy to assist.
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