How to Build a 360º Communications Plan

Communications Plan

Nowadays, most of the marketing job descriptions list 360º communications plan as a must skill.

As with most buzzwords, you can also find it as ‘holistic comms’ and ‘omni-channel comms’.

But what does a 360 comms plan consist of?

Essentially, it refers to a marketing campaign that reaches customers at all possible points of contact. Which means, you are leaving no gaps in your strategy for potential customer engagement and/or acquisition.

This results in sending newsletters to clients, scheduling organic and paid social content, working on OOH ads, hosting events, marketing collateral, TV ads, google ads, earned media, programmatic advertising, video content, etc. And as many more touch points you can think of.

Real life

In fact, we are surrounded by these campaigns everywhere:

Coca cola, for instance, you will find it on TV ads, your internet homepage, a banner ad on your preferred digital newspaper, in your social newsfeeds, the tube, a bus stop, as a prominent print ad when you enter your local supermarket… Everywhere you go, same message and same creatives. Their goal is to reach as many consumers as possible no matter where they are.

Steps for a successful comms campaign

An integrated campaign covers the entire buying cycle: from discovery to purchase to repeat customer.

Hence, the starting point is to think about your customer persona and where to easily find it. Which are the best performing channels and what type of messages will increase interaction.

And where do you get all this info from? Data. Web and mobile analytics, social listening tools and your CRM system will be your bible.

Step 1: Improve your website presence

Your website is the forefront of your brand. It’s also the first impression that people are going to get when they find you.

Make sure your site is desktop, tablet and mobile responsive. You need to ensure a successful web experience no matter the device your customer is using.

Can they easily find all the relevant information they need? Make sure everything is a click away. Nobody will spend time trying to find anything online. They will likely leave and jump into one of your competitors’ sites.

Step 2: Curate your content

The best marketing strategies are based on: quality video, engaging copy and eye-catching images.

All your creatives and messages should smell like your Brand. Follow your Brand guidelines for all marketing pieces and refresh them frequently to adapt to your brand evolution.

Step 3: Be reachable

Use social media not only as a channel to communicate messages to your audience but also as a bidirectional pathway.

Make sure you are 24/7 available for queries and that you interact with your audience comments, shares, and likes.

Build multi-step paid campaigns: nobody wants to listen/watch the same content all the time. Your messages should follow the customer cycle: discoverability, engagement, loyalty.

Step 4: Make the most of Brand activation

Events, samples, free try-outs are one of the most valuable marketing pieces you can work on.

If you are launching a new product or service allow them to try it for a decent period of time and make sure you liaise with them later to find out about their experience.

Positive but also negative feedback will provide you with key insights for upcoming campaigns or even refining your product.

Face to face interactions build lasting relationships so make sure you spend enough time thinking about your event strategy. On-site visits, fairs, conferences, branded events.

Step 5: The power of media

Wether it’s owned, earned or paid, it is important to influence and know what’s said about your brand both internally and externally.

Make the most of your blog and e-mail marketing to communicate with your clients, invest on paid campaigns to attract new customers or convince web visitors to come back to you and if you have budget for it, hire a media agency to liaise with newspapers, magazines, radio stations, etc.

As many touch points as possible to help spread the word.

Your future campaigns

It is very likely that your first campaign will be totally different to the next ones as you will have less data to levarage and therefore will have to play by ear or instinct in some cases.

Once you have historical data, you will be able to prioritize channels and budget. Don’t forget comms plans and marketing, in general, are part of a learning experience. As opposed to maths where 2+2 equals 4, comms plan will always change and evolve according to your users’ performance.