Keeping marketing communications fresh is always a conundrum for business professionals. To do this, you must continually bring new vigor and energy to your strategies. The rumblings heard most in marketing communications today are about the need for innovation and ideation that not only bring awareness but create new revenue growth. Here are some insights to consider as you build your marketing communications roadmap for the rest of the year.
- Nurture your brand asset. Your brand is your No. 1 asset and the core of everything you do. Your unique brand identity and the values tied to it will continue to be the primary drivers of your business and its success. From always staying true to your brand promise to refreshing your brand playbook, a focus here will help take you far. It’s critical to understand the essence of your brand in order to create a sustainable brand promise. Specifically, brands need to be dynamic and continually reinvented to represent an authentic and timely story. Whether it’s your visual brand identity or your brand promise, your brand is a reflection of who you are as an organization, not simply what products or services you offer.
- The buck stops with messaging strategy. Without a messaging strategy that sets you apart from your competition, all the words in the world can’t help you succeed. Think key messages and support points, solutions that meet needs, and benefits rather than features. Without a strategy in place, you cannot deliver the consistency in messaging that is central to staking out your territory and building your business. If you don’t have a clear messaging strategy in place, it’s critical to embark on a formal or informal process with stakeholders to create a messaging platform that will resonate with your audience.
- It may be time to consider a social media makeover. Your business has probably been on social media for a while now, so you have history and analytics to measure what is or is not working and the platforms that are and are not right for you. Make the needed changes early, while planning your overall marketing strategy. Although there are many emerging social media sites, it may be time to fine tune what you already have in place by reinvigorating your message, expanding your audience or refreshing your visual presence on that platform. Most importantly, invest in your social content with compelling, fact-based and shareable information, rather than just churning the same content over and over again.
- Be aware of the “fluff factor.” It pays to do a “fluff check” to ensure that your messaging and communications are depending on more than superlatives (and, heaven forbid, hyperbole) to convey the value of your products and services. Replace useless adjectives with solid benefits. Be careful of overstating or exaggerating your offering and then later trying to defend your position. Authenticity will always resonate with your audience.
- Make innovation a part of your marketing DNA. Innovation has made its way back into the buzzword lexicon as a prized attribute. The world is changing quickly, and people want to align themselves with businesses that not only keep up with change but also anticipate it. It’s worth asking: Are you missing a chance to position your product or service in this light? If so, what course will you follow to correct this deficit and what resources need to be dedicated to move to the next level of innovation?
- Optimize your trade show presence. With trade shows today, less can equal more as companies are being far more strategic in their choice of venues and closely tracking their costs per lead. By putting increased focus on pre-show traffic generation, successful companies are ensuring worthwhile exhibition experiences. They key to your success will be in how you engage your audience prior to the event versus just showing up and expecting to generate traffic. Instead, spend time on pre-show targeted communications, social media posts and appointment setting prior to the event.
- Make your events strategic. Whether events are external or internal, they require consistency in messaging and energy behind message delivery. Event management requires the same strategic methodology as all your communications, ensuring you take advantage of each and every opportunity to establish your brand identity. At the core of every successful event is a comprehensive project plan with a flow of activities and objectives; without this in place, your event will just be another date on the calendar and not a true networking or relationship building endeavor.
- Content still matters. Tired of hearing that “content is king”? Then think of it as your servant – a means to share your expertise and solidify your industry knowledge in a helpful way. Content helps you prove what you say about yourself with white papers, case studies, how-to videos, fact sheets, etc. Once a theoretical concept, content management is now a marketing necessity.
- Align with the experts. There’s an art to knowing what you don’t know and it’s as important in marketing as it is to any endeavor. Every organization should ensure that its core competencies in marketing align with its tactics and goals and seek outside experts when needs and skills don’t match up. It’s the best way to save time and money while protecting your professional image.
- Build partnerships. Are there strategic marketing communications partners just waiting to join forces with you to further both your businesses? It’s quite possible there are and teaming up with those organizations can produce exponential benefits. Whether it’s a local complementary business partner or a national high-end entity, the whole will always be greater than the sum of its parts.
This article by Joseph Grano was recently published on Forbes.com.