Every successful business starts with a plan that details where the company expects to be in terms of revenue within three to five years and broadly touches on how it will get there.
An articulated communications strategy can help support your company's efforts in meeting the goals of its business plan. A communications strategy, including marketing and public relations, is responsible for building the awareness and credibility that leads to sales needed to reach those business objectives.
There are three basic ingredients to any successful communications program—positioning, awareness and third-party credibility (confirmation of your company's claims and qualifications through press coverage, customer/partner endorsements, and other outside support). Communications programs should be strategically aligned with business goals to ensure that the right messages are reaching the right audiences.
These programs should not focus solely on market influencers such as the press and analyst communities. These communities are receptive to broader corporate messages. To be successful, you must also incorporate narrowly and specifically tailored messages to key customer and partner targets. We refer to the recipients of broad messages as “macro-targets” and the recipients of narrow messages as “micro-targets.”
Macro-targeting is the approach to business communications with which most people are familiar. Macro-targets are media, analysts and other broadly based market influencers who can validate your business model, enabling the generation of a high level of awareness for your company. Your business receives the important third-party credibility that comes through coverage of your messages in various publishing outlets (magazines, analyst reports, briefings, etc.).
Establishing a positive reputation in the market is the first step to generating sales leads. Remember, the goal with macro-targeting is to build confidence in your company, making it easier to get in the door with sales prospects, partners, etc. People do business with those they know and trust.
Yet, keep in mind that messages targeted toward the media and analyst communities may be too broad for the specific contacts that form your business-development target base. The media and analysts are typically looking for trend analysis, instructional overviews or hard-news announcements with a short shelf life.
Marc Hausman is president and CEO of Strategic Communications Group, Inc., a public relations agency that provides integrated communications and business-development services. Contact Marc at firstname.lastname@example.org.