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business

Communication is king A good idea is nothing without a great comms plan: effective planning will ensure your start-up sets the right tongues wagging WORDS Maurizio Fantato

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recently published White Paper advises businesses on how to succeed at times of economic recession. Compiled by B2B PR and marketing experts from the global network, Evoke PR, one of the paper’s key recommendations for established companies was to look again at their business models and existing marketing strategies so to refocus on innovative products and services through a combination of appropriate tactics and processes. New enterprises, particularly those in technology sectors, do not have this problem. They are already at the cutting edge of innovation, but they have other issues to contend with. The main one being how to maximise the effectiveness of their communication plans in order to reach as many stakeholders as possible. We must make a vital distinction here between information and communication. You ‘inform’ by simply putting key facts and figures in a data sheet, instruction manual or a website, but you ‘communicate’ when you actively engage with your audience (prospects and customers). So the communication process should be one of rewarding and long-standing relationships, not merely one of passing data on. It is impossible, in the space of a brief article, to offer a complete explanation of how to set up a communications plan, so we will instead focus on an overview of some of the key points that every start-up should consider.

✔Plan right, plan to win

Planning is key: to succeed you should be planning effectively. A good communication plan is always based on a SOSTAC approach. This acronym stands for: ■ Situation (where you are now) ■ Objectives (self explanatory..) ■ Strategy (the big picture) ■ Tactics (how you get there) ■ Action (what you are going to do to get there)

■ Controls (how successful you have been in getting there). Your tactics need to be well-defined and have to be costed accurately, so you know from the outset how much you are going to need to launch your new product or service. It is worth spending some time on your SOSTAC plan: you will be much more likely to succeed.

✘Avoid channels fatigue

This is another dilemma for new companies. The temptation to use as many communication channels as possible is great, especially when some, such as social media, appear to be free. But you should be careful, time is one of your most precious assets and investing too much in the wrong channel will just be wasteful. Identifying your audience is the first thing you should do (this should also have become clear following your SOSTAC plan). Then prioritise each of the possible channels based on a quick return on investment calculation. There are at least three routes you should consider as essential ingredients for your marketing communications plan: media relations, online marketing and advertising.

✔Media relations

Media relations is particularly important and can bring excellent returns for modest investments. Publishing press releases online can make anyone feel like a budding journalist, but doing it well is another matter. By engaging a PR professional, preferably one with a good eye for technology and expertise in your sector, you will gain valuable access to added services such as editorial features and proactive media management, including competition analysis.

✔Online marketing

Online marketing is something every company now sets up at their inception. But a website is only a small part of the process. These days, social media holds a massive presence and you need to pay attention to this point, but please be pragmatic – not everyone of your clients is on Facebook, for example, and you may find more of them using other social media channels instead. Above all, see social media as just one part of a well orchestrated communications campaign.

✔Advertising

Finally, good ‘old fashioned’ advertising can also provide excellent returns, provided it is highly targeted and relevant. By combining media relations with advertising you can easily become a leader in your sector, with modest outlays. Beware, however, of people or organisations making false online advertising promises; the apparent simplicity of this medium betrays its inherent complexity in terms of message, especially when you are limited to a few words, such as in pay-perclick ads. With planning and the right tools, your chances to succeed will increase exponentially, and a modest initial outlay may make a huge difference in the medium to long term of your business.

Tech City Magazine  

Tech City Magazine is the first publication for the Tech City area of London. The magazine is a business / lifestyle publication promoting...

Tech City Magazine  

Tech City Magazine is the first publication for the Tech City area of London. The magazine is a business / lifestyle publication promoting...

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