Marketing Communications Plan: Definition & Example

Instructor: Jonathan Arteza-Acosta

Jonathan has taught college Business, Management, and Marketing courses. He has a his MBA in Human Resources Management.

Letting others know about a new product or service might sound easy, but actually doing it can be quite a challenge. A marketing communications plan can help execute an effective strategy for doing this. This lesson will define what a marketing communications plan is and provide some examples.

You Only Get One Shot

We've all done it: made a small speech, like at a party or a wedding. With all eyes on you, you need to make sure your speech delivers the message you are trying to convey. Whether you are congratulating someone on a milestone or informing them about a cause, your speech needs to be engaging and exciting. Typically, you only have one opportunity to captivate your audience. Marketing communication plans work in similar ways, but on a much larger (and sometimes more complicated) scale.

Just like a good wedding speech, a marketing communications plan needs to be prepared beforehand.

Also called a marcom plan, a marketing communications plan is a strategy for informing your target customer audience about your product or service. It is one component of the overall marketing plan. Marcom plans provide that focus that allows you to know where you are going with your strategy, what you need to say and do to promote your product, and how you will bring that product from factory to consumer. This is known as a marketing channel. The plan needs to be solid, eye-catching, and exposed, meaning that it covers all primary communication channels. The rest of this lesson provides examples on different marcom plans that capture each of these characteristics.

A Solid Approach Example

A solid marcom plan is most likely stable and detailed, and has the potential to be successful when executed. When Oakley & Oakley was assigned to create a marcom plan for the Toyota Prius to launch in the United Kingdom, it had every intention of developing such a solid plan. First, the plan describes the target market, which is the specific population identified for a product or service. The report explains how the target market is identified through the use of demographic, psychographic, and geographic assessments. It is interesting how some of the details include age range, media outlets, and behaviors (e.g., if they are environmentally conscious or interested in adopting new technologies).

Following the target market is a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), in which an organization identifies these various factors. Afterwards, the plan discusses campaign objectives and a creative strategy. Basically, the objectives help ensure the marcom plan is achieved at the corporate, marketing, and communication levels by outlining various goals that need to be met. The creative strategy proposes innovative and fun ideas on how to promote the product to the target market, such as is seen with the Toyota Prius.

The communications mix is the next section of the plan. The communications mix identifies and describes the various ways to promote a product to its target audience. Public relations, sales promotion, and direct mail are a few of the methods that Toyota can use to reach out to the UK population. Finally, the marcom plan ends with a media and timing strategy, and budget proposals. With all of these proposals and reports, the Toyota Prius marcom plan is quite solid.

You can review the Toyota Prius Marcom Plan here:

An Eye-Catching Approach Example

When a marcom plan is eye-catching, not only is it informative, but it grabs the reader's attention. As an example, take Trinity University's plan, which includes information that is not typically a part of a marcom plan. That is what makes this plan worthwhile. Besides going into great detail about its competition, Trinity University also lists its accomplishments and works in progress in the ''Conquering 2016 and Beyond'' section. Words in bold within each section provide a one-word summary for the reader to understand. Other sections that go beyond reasonable expectations of a marcom plan include objectives and strategies, as well as a 3-5 year plan.

Additionally, Trinity University's marcom plan has a smooth flow for the reader to follow. Along with its executive summary and background, there is a section dedicated to the current state of the school. Within that section, the competition and SWOT analysis gives insight into what is going on at Trinity University today. Next, the marcom plan goes into detail on an action strategy to allow the university to move forward. This is later described in the ''Appendices'' section, which discusses industry outlook and long-term planning initiatives.

You can review Trinity University's Plan here:

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