Why your communications strategy and plan is dead
The new information landscape has changed the way we work. The other day someone asked me – what happened with the “old school” communications strategy and plan, why is there not anything online which is consistent and why can’t one find an example? My theory is that digital came and evaluated (I hate the word disrupt its so negative) the entire marketing and communications game and way of working. For the better. And thus killed communication strategy and plan and left only strategy in it’s wake as it paired itself with marketing and content.
I have my own conclusion and theory base on my experience and perspective and I think it’s because the context has changed so much:
Building a brand – is very different now from perhaps 25 years ago. Whereas the company dictated what they are through advertising in print and tv commercials to their customers. Today we have social media and the entire exiting digital sphere whereas a brand can not rely on old school advertisement to tell people who the are anymore. Now brands more than ever has to take a stand, tell a compelling story, have values to attract and repel. To stand out midst the competition. Hence a direct correlation between how to work with accomplishing this.
An even playing field – digital has enable anyone and everyone to build a company or a strong brand. Now more than ever everyone has the tools right on the tip of their fingers with a bit of tenacity and savviness, and a good computer, anything is possible. Ûber, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and AirBnB are great examples of how technology is changing our world rapidly as well as the expectations and behaviours of customers. And how large corporations are not necessary a head of the game with their big advertising budgets and hundreds of dedicated staff members.
Digital is always on – as Seth Godin so wisely put it – advertisement does not work anymore. That means you can not rely on old advertisement campaign tactics anymore to get your message across. A company need to shift focus to their customer and audience. Within performance marketing – we call this always on. Which essentially boils down to tap into your customers or desired customers existing needs (through investigating search patterns for example) way of talking, context, behaviour and so forth. This changes, everything changes, that’s the only constant.
Demands a new way of working – which brings me into my next point. This 24/7 information society demands a new way of working. You need to focus on your desired customer, your goal and keep an eye on the horizon then just jump in there and start working. Define who you want to reach, why, where they are, who your brand are and your role and goal (discover & plan) – then you invest and test (act), evaluate and (optimize). With that you need clarity within your organisation, who does what, responsibility and so fort and an agile way of working.
Large brands now have Media Investment Managers (agency side) – which evaluate and distribute budgets on a daily basis, to Media Planners who change the tactics depending on the daily performance to align activities with increased revenue or against the defined KPIs.
Data and insight – you now have so much more data and insight to base decisions on then ever before. This means you have more insight in what is working and not, as well as who your customer are and what they are like and like. To gain insight from data means that you need to understand how to use it and also to be able and adapt and change the way you work as a result of the data. Why bother with having Google Analytics on your website or track marketing activities if you never change anything?
So it all boils down to who is your customer, your desired customer, your competition and your end goal. Match that with resources available and you can make a very simple strategy for who, what, how and when you should and should not communicate, then you start, test, optimize, refine, evaluate and create communication that fits the specific channels and mediums. For that you only need one simple core strategy document to align and inform your organisation. It could even be as simple as an infographic or a speadsheet.
Simple as that!
If you still are unsure about what I mean, then check out this article – aimed at companies that have never really thought about digital marketing or have a very limited digital presence, that need help to take the first step and create clarity within your organisation in terms of resources, ownership and other key areas that are associated with digital marketing and communication.
For more insight on a way of working, to get things done, an illustrative approach on how to get things done which I have used for both small and large projects (ongoing marketing to digital transformation projects).
Image borrowed by Huffington Post.