Monday, April 24, 2006

The Essential Elements of a Marketing Plan

The most effective marketing plans include:

  1. Analysis of the Environment. This analysis should include a review of the competition in your market, what infrastructure you have in place and need, how will you deliver your value proposition, and most importantly...Who are your customers

  2. Fundamental Marketing Strategies & Marketing Mix Strategies.

  3. Implementation and Control means. The latter is particularly important in the evaluation phase of your marketing. Make sure your measuring efforts have a means of being isolated from external factors.

  4. Financial Forecast. What kind of a budget have you established for your marketing campaign this year? What financial returns (if any) are you expecting on your marketing?

Take the time today to thoroughly think out what objectives you are seeking in your marketing. Understand that the principal reason you undertake marketing is to build brand recognition. Finally, make sure to consider the publicity you will need in conjogation with your marketing.


Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs and marketing communication consultancy. He has developed stellar marketing plans for numerous clients. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & Marcomm tips newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the Ă‚“newsletterĂ‚” menu.

More on PR Evaluating

The most fundamental - and least costly media measurement - is to evaluate the impact of PR outputs - measuring the effectiveness of the work done.

Measurement of PR essentially falls into three categories:

* Outputs - measuring the effectiveness of the work done. Who did we reach? Did it convey the right messages? Was it done cost efficiently?
* Outcomes - measuring changes resulting from our communication. Did we create greater awareness? Did we change attitudes? Did our target audience change their behaviour?
* Business results - how did the PR help the organisation achieve its business objectives?

Measurement is currently a hot topic in the industry where there is a whole industry of individuals and firms selling measurement tools - and most of them relate to measurement of outputs.

Typically this measurement will cover:

* media reach - number of media, number of readers?
* message delivery - did the story deliver the pre-determined messages,
* what was the tone?

The advantage of this is that helps tell the organisation using PR whether the communication of their messages is reaching the desired target audiences. The disadvantage is that it is only measuring the organisation’s communication and taking no account of competitors.

The second level of media measurement is the equivalent of the traditional advertising ‘share of voice’ approach.

This tracks the organisation and its competitors. It provides the advantage of knowing how much media coverage and of what type it obtained relative to its competitors. It is more costly, and time consuming, than the first level, but not markedly so.

In a very competitive marketing environment, it’s essential for organisations serious about their PR. Combined with the first level it provides most organisations with a good evaluation tool.

Bottom line: investing in some form of evaluation diametrics makes sense! One source I've found interesting at a reasonable price is Survey Monkey.


Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly lobbying tips newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the “newsletter” menu.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tying your agenda to the Budget & recent Throne Speech

...Obviously, take a quick synapsis and see how exactly your priorities fit in with those of the government. In the simple analysis of things, it goes without saying that if your goals fit in with the Conservatives' priorities, you stand a reasonable chance of success. Make sure your communications plan and subsequent efforts are in no uncertain terms, clear on the match your position takes with that of the five priorities.

Also, as the government is likely to take a focus of shorter term objectives, look into where your organization's priorities lie. Can you prioritize your own wish list? For example, is the solution you're offering one that could reasonably come about in a short period of time? In other words, one that could bring a swift result within at least a year or two? With the Conservative Party in a minority government position, their lifetime expectancy is no likely to be more than 18 months. Party operatives will be anxious to show Canadians that they accomplished a number of objectives.

If your priorities are not necessarily laid out in the budget or the Speech from the Throne, don't despair. Do your research. Look into past commitments from the Conservatives and remind them (tactfully and diplomtically) how following your agenda, will still keep them in line with their stated positions.

Put your emphasis on what aspects of your plan will most likely gain support from the opposition parties. The government will need their help to pass anything. Something that will pass the House easily is sure to be a winner for your cause.

Pay close attention to the agendas of ministers and their speaking engagements. In the case of Chuck Strahl, the agriculture minister, significant budgetary and policy commitments were made in the weeks leading up to the Throne Speech despite very little mention of agriculture issues in the party's priorities. These engagements can give indications of possible openings from which your organization can benefit.

However, in terms of direct contact with ministers offices, be mindful of the recent trend of very centralized communications coming out of PMO. Ministers and their staff may be more gunshy about publicly endorsing one position over the other without approval first coming from the Prime Minister's office. It may be fruitfull to simultaneously run your program by staff in PMO.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Throne speeches, new government & all that jazz

Well...big news from this end. Action strategies continues but for the next forseeable few months, I'll be working directly on Parliament Hill with a new backbencher MP, Pierre Lemieux. This time working from the government side of things, I'll be able to provide insight from a much different perspective on things. Continue looking for interesting commentary and insight on public affairs issues and PR practices.