How Can I Develop an Effective Strategy?

We've already spoken about the "what" of your marketing; this page is about the "how."

Know how, when and where you will distribute your message is certainly vital to its success. But it's important to keep inmind that there is no single method that will ensure success. One email, one poster or one webpage will not, by itself, get your message into the hearts and minds of everyone you're trying to reach.

The best approach is to give yourself enough time to use a number of different methods and allow your audience to be exposed to your message multiple times and several different ways. It's these repeated impressions that will help influence their thoughts and, as a result, impact their actions.

Our "Effective Strategy Checklist" (below) will help you develop an effective strategy.

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Effective Strategy Checklist

Analysis

  • Have you conducted any research to help clarify your message?
  • What communication efforts have been effective in the past? What has been less effective?
  • What do you want people to do as a result of your communication efforts? Is that clear in the marketing?
  • Will you be able to measure the effectiveness of your communication?
  • What objections or resistance do you anticipate from your audience?

Audience

  • Will your message connect with your audience? If you have multiple audiences, will the same message work for all?
  • Where is the best time and place to reach your audience?
  • What kinds of materials and activities would attract your particular audience?

Timing

  • Is your message about a specific date or event? If so, how soon should you beging talking about it? How much notice do people need? If you start too early, will the message become old?
  • Is your message about an ongoing project, campaign or initiative? If so, how long can you leave your message up before it just becomes "visual noise." Can you "pulse" your message—post it for a few weeks, remove it for a few weeks, etc. Will a series of message help your audience or confuse your audience?
  • How long will it take to produce your communication materials? Usually there is a concept step (thinking of ideas, doing research, finding help, etc.), then a creative process (writing, sketching, taking photos, drawing diagrams, etc.), then a production step (printing, schedule emails, web programming, etc.) and finally the actual posting and distribution of the materials (handing out flyers, hanging posters, etc.).

Methods

  • How many different methods of reaching your audience should be used? Which ones would be most effective? Here is a list of all the pre–approved marketing methods you can use on campus.
  • How can you successfully coordinate the release of your message if you use different methods?
  • Can you ensure that your audience will be exposed to your message multiple times and in multiple different ways?
  • How can you be creative in the methods and approaches you use for your marketing (while keeping within the marketing policies of the University)?

Now that you have a better understanding of how to distribute your message effectively, read about how to go about producing the materials for your marketing.