Step 1 to Planning Your 2013 PR and Marketing Strategy

In this series of four articles that will run every Monday during the month of January, I will share with you the planning process I’ve developed to be simple, scalable and useful for virtually any situation. I didn’t invent any of this, but through trial and error have adopted and modified what I learned in school and through practical experience. Let me know if you have any questions or other ideas, I would love to hear from you.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years developing PR and Marketing Strategy and I can’t tell you how important it is to go through a planning process. Most people just want to dive in and get to the “we need a brochure” part. Too often this approach will miss the communication mark, resulting in wasted time, money and effort.

Also, if you’d like further help, I am offering free one-hour consultations. Just fill out the contact form at the bottom of this post to get started.

Step 1: Situation Analysis or What Exactly Is Going On Here?

Once you complete this step, you will have a much clearer idea about the communication challenges you face in 2013 and therefore, what you need the plan for.

  1. First, research and review information and resources that describe the environment your organization is operating in. This is often called “environmental scanning” and should be done on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The information should be both internal and external, and should also be a mixture of objective and subjective. Don’t spend too much time on this as you will never have perfect information and this is an easy step to get stuck on. If you find that you are missing information, include that observation in your plan and move on! Some examples of information resources include:
        1. Organizational strategic plan (very important)
        2. Previous PR and Marketing plans
        3. Organizational newsletters, listservs
        4. Management/staff input
        5. Trade magazines
        6. Industry reports
        7. Current headlines
        8. New legislation
        9. Census data
  2. Now, take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that you/your planning group think is relevent and important to your PR/Marketing efforts in 2013 based on your knowledge, experience and research conducted. It’s important to be honest here. If you are writing a plan to submit to management, you can adjust the wording later. Turn off the inner censor and put down everything. The negative as well as the positive. Use short factual sentences. For example:
        1. Communication projects must support X, Y, Z organizational strategic goals.
        2. Projects must align with X, Y, Z customer service objectives.
        3. New legislation expected in August that may affect operations.
        4. Historically, most new members join in April.
        5. Still have 4,000 brochures left over from last year.
  3. Next, take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that you think your audiences find relevent to 2013 and your PR/marketing. This is the part of the plan where you challenge your assumptions and try to look at things from different perspectives. Your audiences will include groups such as your customers, donors, and staff. Include management as an audience as appropriate. Any group that has the potential to affect the PR/Marketing plan should be considered. For example:
        1. Management wants to develop new awareness campaign but doesn’t want to increase PR/Marketing budget or human resource allocation.
        2. Donors have suggested they would like to be more involved with the organization.
        3. Staff members disagree with new customer service policies.
        4. Some customers have indicated they would like to save time when ordering.
  4. Lastly, look over the two sheets of paper and reorganize into themes based on commonality and find areas of potential confusion or misunderstanding. Using the above examples, you might identify and group the following points as an area of potential confusion that needs to be addressed:
        1. Staff members disagree with new customer service policies.
        2. Projects must align with X, Y, Z customer service objectives.

That’s Step 1 of your 2013 PR and Marketing strategy complete! Easy, right? Ok, maybe not, but completing this step will ensure that you take into account all relevent information when developing your PR and marketing strategy, will prevent you from making false assumptions, and provides the basis for developing goals that will meet the communication needs and challenges of your organization.

Stay tuned for step 2 next Monday, January 14th when we’ll build on the situation analysis to further refine the challenges and opportunities and develop strategic goals and objectives.

[ninja_forms_display_form id=2]

Similar Blog & News Articles

Similar Products

CPR for Nonprofits: Creating Strategies for Successful Fundraising, Marketing, Communications and Management
CPR for Nonprofits: Creating Strategies for Successful Fundraising, Marketing, Communications and Management :: Amazon In this innovative, practical guide, Alvin H. Reiss shows how dozens of organizations have developed creative strategies for tackling the re
Campaign Strategies and Message Design: A Practitioner's Guide from Start to Finish
Campaign Strategies and Message Design: A Practitioner's Guide from Start to Finish :: Amazon Moffitt provides the strategies, decision-making approaches, and the message composition techniques needed to conduct successful public comm
The Strategic Marketing Plan Audit
The Strategic Marketing Plan Audit :: Amazon The Strategic Marketing Plan Audit gives you a comprehensive review of your strategic marketing planning. It covers the whole process of pla
Powered by TextWise

About Skye Rodgers

Freelance writer and public relations professional.
This entry was posted in How to Create a Marketing Plan and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.