Marketing communications has a vital role to play in every firm. Closely allied with business development and sales, it engages with customers and prospects to keep the dialogue going and update them with new developments. And, ultimately, it delivers qualified leads. So what does it take to run a highly effective marketing communications function. Here are my five secrets for success.
Have a plan
Marketing communications need to be planned so they provide a continuous stream of relevant information to customers and prospects, but don’t bombard them unnecessarily.
Here at LexisNexis we use a marketing map that clearly sets out what we want to achieve with our marketing communications and how they dovetail with our company objectives. Then, for every campaign we run, we produce a briefing document. By doing so, we focus all the stakeholders involved in the campaign on what we are trying to achieve and have a baseline against which to measure the results.
Know your audience
A scattergun approach to marketing communications is never going to work. In fact, it may well have the opposite effect – antagonising rather than wooing recipients and causing them to unsubscribe.
People respond best to targeted, relevant communications based on factors such as their job function, the services they already use, expressed areas of interest, who they deal with in your firm etc, etc. The more tightly you can categorise and segment your audience, the more successful your communications will be.
Your CRM system should be able to provide you with the information you need to make every communication interesting and appropriate.
Constantly refresh your data
Pinpoint targeting means having accurate data, so it’s vital to continuously refresh it. Obviously bounce-backs and unsubscribes need to be actioned immediately. There is little point in continuously sending emails out that can’t be delivered. And constantly mailing someone who has unsubscribed or opted out will not only not go down well - it is also contrary to the Data Protection Act and could land your organisation in serious trouble.
However, a good CRM system combined with email marketing tools will help you go one stage further, allowing you to enrich the information you hold by capturing audience preferences and internal ‘intelligence’ about contacts.
Measure the results
Effective measurement is crucial. At the planning stage you need to decide how you will measure each campaign’s success. Will it be click-throughs, event registrations, phone calls or information downloads? Will it be potential leads passed through to telesales or your sales force? Whatever you set as the criteria for success at the planning stage, you need to measure the results to see whether you achieved them.
By measuring the results you have a great opportunity to continuously improve the campaigns you create. Analysing such factors as which lists provided the most activity, which offers generated the most response, what communications delivered the highest click-through rate, even what time of day you sent the campaign out, will help you drive better and better results.
Adopting these five secrets meticulously will improve your marketing communications’ effectiveness. A key enabler of all this is the technology that underpins your efforts. An effective CRM system combined with efficient marketing communications tools can not only make your life a lot easier, they can help you keep up with marketing best practices and, very importantly, the ever changing legal requirements in this area. At LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions we practice what we preach by using our own Lexis® InterAction software.