1. What success will look like – My starting point is always to determine what success will look like, in terms of what do we want marketing to deliver in order to enable the company to achieve its strategic goal(s)? Whatever the desired outcome is, it must be measurable. There should be a communication objective against each business objective such as: To generate #X qualified leads for bespoke vessel design from shipyards servicing the renewables industry.

2. Whose attention do we want to grab? – Knowing what we want to achieve then leads us to the next quantifiable question: Whose attention do we want to grab? We need to be as specific as possible and I would suggest that the starting point for this would be your existing database. Identify who you currently sell to in this industry and use this as a signpost for who to target moving forward. For example: We want to target and engage Technical Designers and Vessel Designers employed by Shipyards (anywhere in the world).

3. What can we say that is arresting? –  We need to say something to them to make our audience stop and think in an intelligent and authoritative way – challenge their assumption or inspire their imagination. (Remember: People buy why you do something, not what you do. They engage with your passion**). This is where we, as a company play a role, expending creative energy to communicate in a way that provokes the reaction that you want.

4. What do we want them to do? – Now that we have their attention, what do we want them to do? The call to action is what enables us to measure how successful the marketing communication has been. It needs to be realistic and achievable. It can also provide a clear hand-over point between marketing and business development, such as:We want them to give us their contact details and indicate their area of interest (and possibly what stage of the buying cycle they are in)

Be realistic, business people will not place an order for many hundreds of thousands of pounds off the back of a piece of marketing communication however, they will express interest by following a link or subscribing to a newsletter, or requesting a download. Once this is received, it’s at this point that your business development people should step in and take over the lead while your marketing communication continues to work in the background.

5.Relevance and cost-efficiency – The choice of marketing vehicles, then comes down to relevance and cost-efficiency i.e. how do we get our message to your target audience in the most cost efficient way. When a company is tackling multiple markets there will be a range of vehicles being deployed with some overlap. The important thing is for everyone in your team to be clear about your desired outcome for each given capability and market.

Essentially the better you design and execute, the better the outcome – for those engineers in the audience: does this sound familiar?

** I’m passionate about helping engineers to communicate more effectively with customers, colleagues and the media because I think they’re a remarkable group of people who don’t get the credit they deserve.

Contact me if you would like me to help you prepare an effective communication strategy for 2017.