How To Create an Integrated Marketing Plan

Integrated Marketing Plan Campaign objectives

Marketing communications objectives form part of an organisational
hierarchy of objectives – marketing objectives cascade down from the
organisational objectives, and communication objectives cascade down
from marketing objectives.

All objectives should be ‘SMART’ – Specific,
Measurable, Achievable/Actionable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Typical marketing communications objectives could be to:

  • Differentiate a product or service from competing offers.
  • Provide information on features and benefits.
  • Create or build awareness.
  • Improve the positioning of a product, or reposition it.
  • Create a ‘call to action’ (buy now!)
  • Win new business or retain customers.

Get your Value Proposition right

A value proposition is a short, succinct statement of the bundle of
benefits that your product or service will deliver to its target audience.
This must be very specific and focus on what your customer really
wants and values.

A useful approach is to place yourself in the shoes of
the typical consumer and ask: “Why would I want to buy this product?”

It is very important to be single-minded in identifying the proposition
for any given communication.

There is a rich history behind this: Rosser
Reeves of the Ted Bates agency first identified the concept of the
Unique Selling Proposition (USP) in the early 1940s.

Nowadays it is rare
to have a product that is entirely unique – that is, head and shoulders
above any potential competitor in terms of the benefits it offers to
consumers.

However, this is not to say that
clever marketing and advertising planners can’t identify benefits even
of ‘me-too’ products and communicate these convincingly to generate
demand and sales, effectively creating a USP where none exists.

You identify a USP by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes:

  • As a customer, what do I want or need?
  • What problems do I need the product to solve?
  • What do I expect from this product/service?
  • What benefits do I get from it?
  • Why should I choose this one over competing offers?

Once you’ve identified a USP you can work out how best to
communicate it to your target audience.

Allocating Resources to Implement the Plan

You can divide organisational resources into the following four areas:

  1. Physical resources – Manufacturing capacity, retail outlets, etc.
  2. Human resources – Managerial, key staff, skills mix.
  3. Financial resources – Net worth, capital, credit reputation, cash flow, share price.
  4. Intangible resources – Brands, image, market reputation and goodwill.

To create awareness, changing attitudes and ultimately motivating people to buy, and to
do it successfully marketers need to harness all the organisation’s resources.

Communications Planning

According to author Chris Fill marketing communication plans should consist
of the following elements:

• Context analysis.
• Communication objectives.
• Marketing communication strategy.
• Co-ordinated communications mix (tools, media and content).
• Resources (human and financial).
• Scheduling and implementation.
• Evaluation and control.
• Feedback.