Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marketing Communications for Laumeier

Outline for Marketing Communications
 Prepared for Laumeier Sculpture Park on March 4, 2013 and revised April 22, 2013

The first order of business will be focused on developing a plan-of-action for public relations, sales and marketing designed to grow the business and engage all key stakeholders/audiences. A written plan to formalize a sustainable and scalable marketing communications program will go a long way toward setting priorities in spite of limited resources. The existence of the physical document will help you evaluate and modify initiatives in months and years to come. The development of a formal written plan which becomes the roadmap (and a benchmark). The points outlined here represent areas for development of a comprehensive marketing communications program.

Discovery Phase - A discussion of specific targets: decision-makers, influencers, industry leaders. A thorough and complete understanding of the organizational vision is essential.

Market Overview - Development of an overview of the market and opportunities can come from secondary research (industry trend data, association research, etc). This is an important part of the plan as it includes assumptions about the market potential. A summary of findings will be included in the plan document.  

Research - The development of our market overview will coincide with our assessment of market opportunity. Our ongoing efforts should be guided by a couple of critical research areas. We want to have a thorough and complete understanding of our target audience and we want a thorough understanding of our brands (as perceived today). A systematic advisory panel and/or ongoing focus group research will be explored as a way to keep the company on strategy. Quantitative and Qualitative research needs will be evaluated as a research plan is developed. We have a number of audiences of course. Members/visitors, benefactors, volunteers, community/corporate etc.    

Development – a specific and targeted plan for identifying individuals, business opportunities and infrastructure for ongoing business development (BD). The marketing plan should include an understanding of how the organization plans to effectively manage repeat business (retention) and new business (acquisition). A summary of BD structure will be in the plan document. Note that Development (fundraising, cultivation of patronage and ongoing sustaining activity is an important part of the broader term implied by BD).

Personnel/Staffing - Identification of appropriate team and leadership to pursue opportunities. Marketing, Communications and Development will need to work effectively together. A list of BD needs and proposed marketing support will be included in the plan document, including any sales training that may be worth exploring.

Print Advertising/Media Relations – We need to audit, discuss and review all targeted media: interactive/social media/print/broadcast/and other media regarded by our targets and their decision makers/influencers. We need to develop a list that will guide advertising and public relations planning. Paid media will be limited but a balanced approach to paid and editorial interface with media will be necessary. Creative strategy and messaging should be incorporated early on.

Public Relations – A careful review of editorial calendars, opportunities to feature expertise, case studies and testimonials will help to build our PR strategy. Emphasis will be on programs designed to earn credibility and trust. This is will be accomplished with ongoing efforts. Part of this initiative may include arranging for a clipping service to monitor placements and a system for tracking output and results. Message strategy, boilerplate and talking point development is key as well.

Direct Response/Collateral/Catalogues/Literature – Development of a format for ongoing direct mail to prospects, supporters and visitors in data base (contact management system). This includes creative strategy for content as well as a format and budgeting for ongoing communication. The content developed for this effort will also be repurposed for interactive use such as e-mail blasts and social media. The DM program will have application for managing trade show/conference leads and may also include high-impact 3-D mailers that are memorable and engaging for our best prospects.

Sales Presentation/Proposal development – Develop a meaningful process for timely response to opportunities, (a well-crafted overview of the company and its brand offerings). Part of this exercise will be to develop a format for customization of relevant materials, testimonials, case studies, articles, etc.

Website – Naturally a web/interactive/digital strategy will be a part of the effort. As with Print, Direct Response and Sales Presentation elements, digital content needs to be edited and prepared for the medium. Web/Internet strategy must be an ongoing process that is managed effectively and creatively. Blogs, video, FAQ, SEO and testimonials are just a few topics that should be reviewed often. A discussion of this will be included in the plan along with a list of anticipated deliverables within the calendar year.

Social Media – Leveraging fans, supporters, opinion leaders, contributors and others we can structure a conversation around critical issues/topics. The key is to deliver value that keeps prospects coming back to us as we lead a dialogue/conversation. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and e-mail marketing are tactics we can cultivate.  

Trade Shows/Conventions – As specific targets (segments/geography) are identified, a system for managing ongoing efforts must be in place. A schedule of trade shows, conventions, conferences and/or annual meetings will be developed. A schedule and support for participation will need to include collateral support for exhibits at shows, pre-show and post show activity. In some cases additional sponsorships or prizes/contests can add some excitement. Speaking engagements and or presentation opportunities should be pursued as part of the planning/scheduling each year. 

Telemarketing – A carefully orchestrated effort to engage customers as membership renewal decisions approach should include script development and special offers. On Hold and recorded messaging could be a part of this initiative as well.

Geography – Start with a regional effort to work though the system and how ongoing efforts become routine for business development. The marketing plan will always be looking to identify “scalable solutions” that may be considered for additional implementation and company-wide growth opportunities. Schools could be an important part of this regional effort.

Budgeting – The discovery phase and the market overview bullets at the beginning of this process will be essential for the team projections on the opportunities in terms of revenue and profitability. Reasonable assumptions of future revenue should be considered. Budgeting for marketing is always a challenge. Strategies that may be explored:

o   Percent of sales

o   Competitive Share of Voice

o   Pre-emptive

o   Investment

o   Development goals/expectations

The plan will only be as good as the true commitment to work though the details of each area and stick with it for a full calendar or fiscal year. A seasoned marketing communications leader in place will give the company the greatest chance for success at managing and growing that plan from year to year.  

KEY POINT SUMMARY: Build a plan and put it in writing so each year is one in which you build upon best practices and fund initiatives that produce results.

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