The essentials you need to know about Marcomms
Updated: Aug 21, 2022
What is MarComms? Quick FAQs
Marketing today is not an add-on. It shouldn’t be a ‘nice to have’. It is an essential part of a successful business. In fact without the basic four P’s - Product, Price, Place and Promotion - you have nothing to sell. Business success is more than a product; it’s how you sell it, where you sell it, to whom you sell it.
In today’s low-touch economy making a sale requires more than picking up a phone. The process can be long. There is a journey which buyers go through to make their purchasing decisions, whether consumer or business. To be a success, you need to understand that journey and how to best communicate the value of your product.
So let’s have a look at the basics.
What is MarComms?
Short for Marketing Communications, it takes its lead from the marketing strategy, which is your broad concept of strategies to meet and exceed customer expectations and engagement in your business and products. MarComms are the specific tactics you use to implement the marketing strategy.
MarComms is a combination of your key messages and the marketing channels you use to communicate and engage with your market or stakeholders - the audience with whom you want to develop a relationship with. This can either be based on revenue or sales goals, or wider business development metrics for the company.
What is required for MarComms?
The three essential pillars of a MarComms plan are:
The Objectives: What do you want to achieve? Why are you doing this?
The Message: What are you communicating?
The Target: Who is your audience?
Once you have identified these, you can then address the Medium - which channels to use to communicate your messages to the target audience.
What’s the difference with Integrated marketing communication?
Integrated MarComms is simply the notion that messages are consistent across channels and among audiences, and each channel and activity reinforces one another.
Companies achieving significant bottom line results provide a consistent approach to corporate communications and branding. This includes aligning with companies and partners that reinforce your own brand values and messages, and ensuring you are present where your customers and stakeholders already are.
What constitutes a MarComms plan?
To get the most from your resources and investment it’s important you address your plan in a seven-step approach:
1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives
Why are you doing this?
What do you want to achieve?
What qualitative and quantitative measurements are important?
2. Identify and Prioritise your Target Audience/Stakeholders
Who are your stakeholders?
What are your buyer profiles?
Who is involved in the decision making?
What are their pain points?
What are their barriers to purchase?
3. Craft a Compelling Message
What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
What is your value proposition and value framework?
What can it do for your customers - professionally and personally?
4. Develop Integrated Strategies and Tactics
What channels are relevant to your audience?
What are the best performing channels?
What are the key phases of the campaign?
What content do you need?
5. Build a Better Budget
What investment do you need to make?
How can you make the budget flexible?
What measurements are important for ROI?
6. Create an actionable timeline
When will you execute the campaign?
When will you gather results and measurements?
7. Define success
How are you measuring your goals and objectives?
What are your ROI calculations?
What denotes success?
How long does a MarComms plan last?
A Marcomms plan is usually created for each campaign, and therefore it has a limited shelf-life, compared to your marketing strategy which is usually a document you hold in place for 3 - 5 years.
MarComms plans should be agile and flexible, capable of responding to the market and its conditions but firmly focused on the messages and its intended audience. You may have several MarComms plans running simultaneously each with their own specific objective.
Some companies take an holistic approach with one single annual marketing plan for all products and services. When doing this, be careful to check clarity of messaging and the value proposition - as mentioned above - it’s essential that brand messages are aligned and consistent.
How long before we see success in MarComms?
This depends what channels you are using and the metrics used. It also depends on the type of product and purchase price, and ultimately who the decision maker is. But it’s important to understand that marketing communication takes time and requires consistency, especially if you want to make an impact with your market positioning and brand awareness.
To really benefit from MarComms across the business there requires a significant commitment. You should bring together your product, customer and sales team to develop a fully integrated plan with compelling messages.
What commercial goals will benefit from MarComms?
There are many long-term commercial benefits from investing in MarComms. They include:
Shorter sales cycle - especially for large ticket items. Understanding your customers’ buying process provides critical insight into how to reduce that time to purchase.
Targeted market - you can be more precise when identifying sales opportunities.
Improved revenue - either secure larger orders or customers, or increase upsell opportunities.
Customer retention - satisfied and engaged customers reduces the likelihood of contract cancellations.
Staff retention - if they feel part of the journey and of the solution, they will provide more value to the company and your customers.
Industry awareness - the more the sector is aware of your products, services and positioning, the more you will be invited to be part of industry dialogue through press coverage or speaker opportunities.
What if I have short-term goals for marcomms?
That is fine and this is why you should build a plan for each campaign or goal you have, especially if it is time-sensitive. Be clear what metrics will denote success, and what channels fit your short-term objectives. Generally, digital activity offers much a quicker turnaround from conception to results than print, but whether your activity plan is centred on social media, retargeting digital ads, direct mail or out-of-home billboards, it’s all about matching your strategy to your objectives.