The First Steps in Developing Your Multichannel Marketing Plan
To develop your multichannel marketing plan, it is important to define your goals and objectives, so let’s look at the main steps in creating your plan. Once your plan is in place, you can then determine what marketing channels will best reach your audience.
1. Establish a Communication Objective
Based upon your business goals, you will want to define, as specifically as possible, what your marketing objectives will be. Your messaging will be most powerful if your objectives are clear and narrowly defined. When developing your objectives have a clear understanding of the response you are soliciting. Possible objectives include:
- creating awareness
- imparting knowledge and educating
- projecting a brand image
- shaping attitudes and opinions
- stimulating desire for the product or service
- generating a sale
2. Define Your Target Audience
You will want to clearly identify your target audience. A target market is a group of individuals that have some distinguishable characteristics, for example “mothers with children ages 5-12” or shared interest, “people that have a membership at the local museum.” You want to understand your audience so that you can craft meaningful messages for them. Here are some of the specifics you are looking to identify:
- household income
- attitudes and values
- interests and hobbies
3. Analyze the Marketplace
You need to look out from your business and take note of what is happening in your community and the larger marketplace that will affect business and sales opportunities. You want to fully understand the outside forces that will be affecting your business. That will allow you to plan for challenges, as well as take full advantage of opportunities. Here are the core topics that you should cover when doing a marketplace analysis:
- who are your competitors...this includes businesses aiming for your target audience that may be in another industry
- competitors strengths and weaknesses...who poses the greatest challenge?
- current strategies used by your competitors...check their websites, advertising, sales offers, etc.
- the market outlook in your industry...is your market growing, shrinking, dividing?
4. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition
This may be the hardest part! What can you say about your product or service that will convince your target audience that it is superior to the competition? Your proposition needs to be one that your competitors cannot, or do not, provide. A variation of the unique selling proposition is the positioning statement. Here, your intent is to determine what place your brand (goods or services) should occupy in your customer’s mind. What is the meaningful difference between your product and the competition? For example, yours may be made locally, be the best value for the cost, safer than all the others, etc.
5. Craft Your Support Points and Find the Benefits
Developing your support points is a little easier, since they are the facts that support your selling proposition. When creating copy about your product or service, it is usually easier to develop a list of features. This list is very important, but we also want to translate those features into the benefits they provide. Features are facts. Benefits are more intangible but will affect your customers life in some positive way. The benefits are generally more personally compelling than the facts. In essence, what problem will your product or service solve for your target audience? It may be a problem they didn’t even realize they had, until you pointed it out and also provided a solution.
6. Create A Themeline to Keep on Track
You can define your entire marketing objective by distilling the information into its essence and developing a themeline. This will keep your campaign consistent from one element to another. Your theme line can be for your internal use or your public campaign slogan.
Now that you have defined your goals and objectives, you can move on to reviewing and selecting the best channels to reach your target audience.
Please feel free to send your thoughts, questions, and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.