A contact strategy should be a core part of your marketing planning process – it’s where you build and specify your plan for delivering personally relevant communications to your customers, set the measures of success and harness your data source and resources to make it a reality.
It’s critical to get it right but it doesn’t have to be too onerous to compile.
How To Build One
Focus on your customers
Your contact plan gives you the perfect opportunity to focus on your customers and tailor your communications so that they are personally relevant.
One-to-one marketing is a reality but for the majority of brands it’s too difficult to implement in practical terms. Depending on your specific marketing objectives and type of business, you should think of differing customer needs:
By customer segment – these are data driven profiles of the characteristics that unite similar customers. Behavioural based segmentations, such as RFV, are a highly efficient way of segmenting a customer base and setting specific objectives and targets for key segments.
By persona – these are slightly broader and focussed more on content development. Think about who your ideal customers are, what problems you are solving and who you should be talking to.
Once you have identified your target customers, you should ensure that you can answer these questions:
Who – Who are they and what relationship do they have with your brand?
What – What do you want to talk to them about?
Why – Why should they be interested in what you have to say? Why are you talking to them? What are the barriers and what is the desired response?
When – When will you communicate with them?
How – How are you going to communicate (which channels) and how will you measure response?
By answering these questions you will start to define a contact plan that is both relevant and measurable.
Think inbound and outbound
The framework and customer focus should allow you to think both in terms of outbound (push) and inbound (pull) communications.
The traditional focus has been on outbound but an equal amount of your attention should be on inbound marketing and the delivery of content that meets the pain points of your target customers.
Campaigns, events and triggers
For your outbound contact plan, you can start to split your activities into 3 areas:
Your Campaigns should be captured and managed in a campaign calendar while your Events and Triggers should be well documented to that the business rules used to generate them are well defined.
Set your measures!
Measurement should be central to your marketing planning process. When building your plan, ensure that you allow time to set the key measures of success and tracking efficacy.
These are critical to proving your ROI and should link directly to your data strategy.