Eimear Walsh Digital Marketing
Communications – The Cornerstone of a Marketing Strategy
Here at Alternatives, we’re seeing a strong surge in the demand for communications professionals. Organisations across the public sector, technology, hospitality, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries amongst others are all looking for experienced communications professionals who can get their message across to the intended audience in a clear and consistent way through multiple channels.
What is the role of a communications professional?
Getting a message across effectively to your audience be it internal or external is the ultimate goal of any marketing team. It’s a fundamental part of a company’s marketing strategy yet is sometimes added onto generalist marketing roles due to budget limitations or simply not understood to be as important as it is.
In a nutshell, marketing communications (MarCom) is all the messages and media you deploy to communicate with the market. It includes advertising, direct marketing, online presence, PR activities, sales presentations, sponsorship programmes, branding and more. Generally speaking, large global organisations have whole communications departments, medium sized companies have specific communications roles that liaise between marketing and sales and in smaller businesses, communications is taken on by the general marketing team. Some or any of the above would use a communications agency as an external resource.
The way in which an organisation communicates must be consistent and clear across multiple channels. Communications experts are your best ambassadors, taking care of branding, developing a narrative starting from your core USP, improving your online presence and increasing your visibility across multiple channels. The important thing is that all of the messaging reflects a united and coherent message across the board that sweeps the audience up in the narrative. Communications experts have spent their careers developing their industry knowledge, growing their network of contacts and honing their storytelling skills and are the ideal people to ensure your message gets to the right audience in the right way.
Internal Vs External Messaging
We all know that sales go hand in hand with marketing and an external communications strategy very much reflects that. External messages normally have the goal of establishing or growing the brand, developing the public perception of the organisation or promote new products, services or initiatives. This has the ultimate goal of building brand awareness, growing market share and increasing profits. All worthy goals but what about internal messaging?
In an increasingly candidate short market, the war for talent is real. Employers understand the value of being an employer of choice, not just for potential employees but for the existing workforce. How messages are delivered internally has a major impact on the success of the organisation and how employees feel about the company. Effective internal communications plays a huge part in the loyalty of employees, the sense of belonging and camaraderie which in turn, sparks innovation, quality work and a commitment to the organisation. How internal messages are crafted and delivered, be it by internal web portals, company newsletters, emails or conference calls, all have an effect on the knowledge, behaviour and attitudes of employees. We all know that if someone feels heard, validated and included in an organisation, then the chances of them leaving for another job are relatively low. Getting internal messaging right, therefore, is just as critical as external messaging.
Skills needed in communications
Communication skills are vital in nearly every professional job but in terms of MarComms, there are some specific skills that are essential
· Strong consumer and product awareness
· Superb story-telling skills
· Ability to work on multiple projects with multiple clients
· Solid attention to detail and accuracy
· Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines
· Excellent organisational / strategic skills
· Understanding of various channels and their demographics
· Problem solving mindset
· Emotional intelligence
Not every communications professional needs to be an expert in every field. The joys of working in marketing means that you are working in a highly collaborative and creative environment where everyone uses their own diverse skillsets to create one cohesive brand and message.
Eimear Walsh is the Managing Partner of Alternatives