Marketing Strategy

11 Steps to Creating an Effective Marketing Communications Plan (Template) 

May 2, 2022

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of any company’s success. It directs customers to your business and helps them understand what you have to offer, but many businesses do not know how to create a marketing communications plan that best suits their needs.

This article provides tips on creating an effective marketing communications plan that will help you improve your marketing communications and grow your business.

What is a Marketing Communications Plan?

A marketing communications (or MarCom) plan is a strategy document outlining key information about your business or service and how you will communicate with your target market. It is considered a living, breathing document that should be updated as new learnings or changes occur. 

Though these can be made public, typically, MarCom documents are used internally by multiple members of the marketing and business team.

How to Create a Marketing Communications Plan:

Fortunately, to create a strong marketing communication plan, you don’t have to start from scratch. These 11 steps can help you along your journey.

 1. Evaluate your current marketing communication methods.

Evaluating your current marketing communication methods is the first step in creating an effective plan. You’ll need to take stock of what’s working and what isn’t and identify any areas that could be improved. This process will help you create a more targeted and efficient communications strategy. 

Once you have a good understanding of your current methods, you can begin developing a plan to improve them. This may involve changing the mediums you use, altering your messaging, or increasing your frequency or outreach. By evaluating what you’re currently doing, you can ensure that your marketing communications are more effective and efficient moving forward.

2. Make a list of your marketing communications goals and objectives.

Any successful marketing initiative starts with clear and well-defined goals. What are you trying to achieve with your marketing communications? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or something else entirely? Once you have a goal in mind, you can start to develop a plan of action.

Some tips for defining goals:

  1. Select a mix of easy and hard-to-reach goals.
  2. Determine how those goals will help you grow or develop your business.
  3. Be as specific as you possibly can.
  4. Pick goals that will make the most significant difference in your work or business.
  5. Determine how long each goal should or could take.

3. Determine your Unique Selling Point and Brand Statement.

What makes your business unique? What sets you apart from your competitors? Once you have answered these questions, you can craft a brand statement that encapsulates the essence of your business. This statement will serve as the foundation for all of your marketing communications, so it is essential to take the time to get it right. If you already have an established brand statement, read it over and compare it to your current plans, and set goals to make sure it aligns. If not, adjust your marketing communications plan accordingly.

 4. Determine your ideal audience for your marketing communications.

Some businesses think that any marketing communications strategy will do, regardless of who they’re targeting. But to be truly effective, your marketing communications plan needs to be tailored to your ideal audience. Who are they? What are their needs and wants? What will resonate with them? Once you understand your target audience well, you can develop a communications strategy that will reach them where they are and inspire them to take action.

As the saying goes:

“If you’re trying to speak to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.”

5. Write your plan with your target audiences in mind.

When writing your plan, keep your target audiences in mind. What are their needs and wants? What are their pain points? What motivates them? Answering these questions will help you create messages that resonate with your audience and drive results. Additionally, consider the communication channels that will best reach your target audience. A mix of traditional and digital tactics can be compelling, but make sure to select the channels that will reach your audience where they are most active.

6. Choose your communication channels to deliver your message.

One of the most essential parts of any marketing communications plan is choosing the right channels to deliver your message. There are various options available, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Traditional media such as television and radio can reach a large audience, but they are also relatively expensive. 

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are less costly, but they typically have a smaller reach–and require paid spend to expand that reach. Other communication channels to consider include email, direct mail, print advertising, etc. The key is to choose the channel or combination of channels that will best allow you to reach your target audience. Once you have done that, you can develop your messaging strategy and understand your expected costs.

7. Connect your messages with the right channels and audiences.

Finding your people is as important to your business success as developing your product and service. After all, what good is the best product in the world if no one uses it? Part of building out a strong marketing communications plan is figuring out who your target market is and what digital and traditional channels they rely on for information. 

Consider all this to determine what channels make the most sense for you, your product, and your audience. 

8. Define the metrics for your marketing communications goals.

Metrics are an important part of any marketing communications plan. Without metrics, it is difficult to gauge the success of your marketing communications goals. There are a variety of metrics that can measure success, but some of the most common metrics include reach, frequency, and response rate.

Other metrics that can measure the success of your marketing communications goals include brand awareness, brand recall, and brand preference. It is important to link your metrics to your overall goals and objectives, but also to understand how they relate to each other. 

Some metrics, especially across social media channels, are considered mere vanity metrics, while others might have a direct correlation to your business KPIs.

9. Create an estimate of how long each process should take.

Estimating the time required for each stage of the process helps you ensure that resources are used efficiently and that deadlines are met. Instead of one big daunting plan, you can provide allotted time for each by taking the time to develop a comprehensive and well-thought-out marketing communications plan. This way businesses can increase their chances of success in today’s competitive marketplace.

10. Determine which team members will be responsible for executing the marketing.

Before any marketing campaign can get off the ground, it is essential to have a clear and well-organized plan where everyone understands their roles and what steps they’re required to take. If you are alone in executing your plan, look for tools and resources you can bring into the fold that could set you up for more success.

11. Measure the results of your plan.

It is essential to measure the results of your plan to ensure that it is achieving its objectives. Regularly assessing metrics such as web traffic, sales conversions, and social media engagement will give you a clear picture of what is working and where improvements need to be made. By tracking your progress and making data-driven decisions, you can ensure that your marketing communications plan is driving real results and you can fill gaps as they develop.

Remember, your marketing communications plan should be treated as a living, breathing document that can be updated and shaped as you incorporate your learnings.

Marketing Communication Plan Template

This template is designed to provide you with a baseline for developing your marketing communications plan. It can be more or less comprehensive, based on your company’s size and current needs. Consider the template as a jumping-off point that you can apply and run with as you develop a living, breathing marketing communications plan that suits your business.

1. Perform a communications audit.

The goal of an audit is to avoid snap judgments and look directly at the results. It should be less concerned with opinion and more focused on quantifiable and qualifiable metrics. Any information that can help you form a strong plan for this upcoming year should be included.

communication platforms

Other questions to consider:

  1. Which communications had the greatest business impact?
  2. Which channel(s) underperformed?
  3. Which channel(s) overperformed?
  4. Did you meet your goals during this past year?
  5. How much did you spend (in time or resources) this past year?
  6. Was the spend worth it?
  7. Should you have spent more or less?
  8. How would you rate your overall marketing communications from the past year

2. List your goals and objectives.

Everyone has heard of SMART goals:

effective communications

Write each objective and goal as specifically as you can and ensure that you can measure and achieve them. Later we will go through relevancy and timing.

communication goals

 Other questions to consider:

  • Which goals are most important?
  • Are there short-term and long-term goals?
  • Do these goals offer value to my business?

It’s okay if you don’t have all your goals or answers now. As you develop your plan, these may change or new objectives added.

3. Write out your brand statement and unique selling point.

A unique selling point or unique selling proposition (USP), is the one thing that makes you better than your competition. It’s what sets you and your business apart. Consider your strengths and the unique value that you bring to your customers. It’s more than a slogan, it’s what your brand or business embodies.

Follow these steps to create a unique selling point and a brand statement:

It may take a few tries to get this right, so don’t spend too much time if you are unsure. Simply write it out and make adjustments/fine-tune it as your plan develops.

communications planning

Creating a personal or business branding statement is all about writing out (in one or two sentences) what your brand does for its customers. It should be simple, memorable, and attention-grabbing. A good format to use is “I help ____ do/achieve ____.”

marketing strategy

If you find yourself struggling to fill these out, don’t fret. Try your best right now and know that it can change as you explore.

4. Who is your ideal audience?

When it comes to identifying your audience, it’s important to consider who is actually using your product or services. If you have access to demographics or psychographics (either through your social pages, email marketing dashboards, site, or other), you should gather those reports.

Sometimes, there can be a disconnect between who we think our customers are and who they actually are.

Questions to consider:

Who do you think your current customers are?

  • What is their age?
  • What is the mix of male/female?
  • Where do they live?
  • Are they married, single, or divorced?
  • Do they have kids?
  • Other pertinent information?

Based on the evidence, who are your actual customers?

  • What is their age?
  • What is the mix of male/female?
  • Where do they live?
  • Are they married, single, or divorced?
  • Do they have kids?
  • Other pertinent information?

Based on those answers, is there a disconnect between who your customers are versus who you think they are? _______________________________________________

Who is your ideal customer? ____________________________________

Again, if you don’t know the answers, you can always come back to this. But, as we get into channel information and build out your marketing communications plan, knowing your customers will help you determine the best way to speak to them about your business and services. 

5. Which channel(s) is (are) your audience on?

Based on your findings, which channels are your audiences most likely to be present on? 

  • Social media channels?
  • Websites and blogs?
  • Email?
  • OOH or traditional channels?
  • Other?

Knowing where your audience spends their time can help you determine where you should spend your time and resources. 

6. Compare your current channels to those you should be focusing on.

Just as there can be a disconnect between ideal versus actual audience, there is sometimes a disconnect between what channels you believe your audience is on versus the channels you focus your efforts on. 

Based on your audience, which channels should you be on?

[H4] According to information from Sprout Social, here are the popular digital channels, including their key demographics and usage trends.

strategic communication plan

7. What should you measure?

The most important part of measuring your results on your digital or traditional marketing channels is understanding how they relate to your success as a business. While high numbers of impressions and engagements (often considered vanity metrics) on a social media platform seem nice, they may not directly reflect your company’s business performance. It’s essential to measure the things that will make a tangible difference for your brand. However, vanity metrics shouldn’t be completely ignored, because they can help you determine how many users see your message regularly.

Measurable metrics across platforms include (but are not limited to):

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Engagements & Engagement %
  • Leads
  • Form fills
  • Email opens 
  • Email click-throughs
  • Sales
  • Website traffic and page visits
  • Followers and subscribers
  • …and more.

There is no shortage of things to measure. Be sure and select the ones that make sense for your brand and business.

8. Estimate timing and responsibilities.

Remember those SMART goals? Now, it’s time to put some timing in place. Want to double your followers? Okay, by when? 

Do you want to expand your frequency of posts or content production? How long until you do that?

Once you have some timing in place, consider who is responsible for making sure it gets done. If it’s just you, should you consider hiring help or finding a third-party service that fits your needs? If it’s your team, who is most equipped to handle the work? Now is the time to discover any gaps in your plan and adjust accordingly.

9. Develop a report.

As the saying goes, “what gets measured, gets managed.” Don’t save developing your report until the results come in. Instead, build out a template now that you think will be the most helpful for tracking your results throughout the month, quarter, and year. When you have a clear understanding of your goals, you become much more likely to achieve them. As with this entire plan, you can adjust as needed.

10. Put it all together.

Now, let’s plug all that information into this handy worksheet that you can view and update as often as you need to.

How to Create a Marketing Communications Plan: a summary

Developing an effective marketing communications plan may seem daunting. But following this guide and taking it one step at a time will ensure that you get it done and that your results are better than ever. It will also ensure that your organization is heading in the direction you want to take it and that everyone involved can play a significant role in growing your business.

A marketing communications plan is a living, breathing document that is designed to help you achieve your marketing goals and grow your business.

Though a lot goes into the plan, these 11 steps can help you build a marketing communications plan:

1. Evaluate your current marketing communication methods

2. Make a list of your marketing communication goals and objectives. 

3. Write out your brand statement and unique selling point.

4. Who is your ideal audience?

5. Which channel(s) is (are) your audience on?

6. Compare your current channels to those you should be focusing on.

7. What should you measure?

8. Estimate timing and responsibilities.

9. Develop a report.

10. Put it all together.

If you have questions, we can provide answers.

Your Questions on Marketing Communications Plan Answered:

What is a Marketing Communication Plan?

A marketing communications plan is a tool businesses use to map out and track their marketing goals, strategies, and tactics. By creating a detailed plan, businesses can more effectively allocate their resources and measure their progress. The components of a marketing communications plan can vary depending on the business, but typically include an analysis of the current situation, objectives and target audience, key messages, communication strategies, and a budget and timeline for implementation. 

While developing a marketing communications plan may require some upfront work, it can save businesses time and money in the long run by helping them to focus their efforts on the most effective methods of reaching their target customers.

What should be in a marketing communications plan?

A marketing communications plan is a document that outlines the messaging and communications strategy for a product or brand. The plan should consider the target audience, key messages, channels, and resources. The plan’s goal is to ensure that all marketing communications are consistent and aligned with the overall brand strategy.

An effective marketing communications plan should be comprehensive and cover all aspects of the product or brand’s communications, from advertising to public relations to digital marketing. It should be flexible and updated regularly to reflect changes in the marketplace and growing consumer needs. A good marketing communications plan can be a valuable tool in helping a product or brand achieve its objectives and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

What is the Purpose of a Marketing Communication Plan?

A marketing communication plan is a strategic document that details the how, what, when, and to whom a company will communicate its marketing messages. Such a plan aims to ensure that all communication efforts are aligned with the company’s overall business objectives. 

To develop an effective marketing communication plan, businesses must first conduct a comprehensive analysis of their target market, including assessing needs, wants, and purchasing habits. With this information in hand, businesses can then determine the most effective channels for reaching their target audience and craft messaging that resonates with them. By taking the time to develop a well-thought-out marketing communication plan, businesses can increase the chances of achieving their desired results.

Why You need a Marketing Communications Plan

As a business owner, you know that effective marketing is essential to the success of your company. But with the ever-changing landscape of the digital age, it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s where a marketing communications plan comes in. By taking the time to develop a comprehensive plan, you’ll be able to map out a clear strategy for reaching your target audience and achieving your business goals.

Your marketing communications plan will provide a roadmap for all your marketing efforts, both online and offline. It will help you focus your resources and create a cohesive campaign that speaks to your customers’ needs. Perhaps, it will give you the ability to measure your results and make necessary adjustments.

Looking for more on marketing communications? Check out:

About Channel V Media

We are an award-winning New York City PR and communications agency, and we have more than 12 years of experience.

We build market momentum for Fortune 500 and Emerging companies. Advising on Communications Strategy, PR strategy, and digital marketing. CVM builds awareness for companies and their products, develops C-suite leaders into industry visionaries, positions clients to be among the most vocal in high-value conversations, and drives inbound leads.

Clients include IBM, Bluecore, Grapeshot + Oracle, iQ Media, Fortune & Frame, and others.

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