Taking a Strategic, Bottoms-Up Approach to Marketing Communications Strategy
The following post is courtesy of Johanna Bauman at PubMatic as part of client-contributed content to our CONNECT newsletter.
In a crowded market like advertising technology, it is important to get your core message across, but it is also vital to engage distinct audiences with relevant messaging at the right time in order to help your company achieve its business goals. As a global organization, PubMatic needs to consider regional differences in market maturity, understanding, and corporate awareness as we build out our marketing and communications plan. That is why we take a “bottoms-up” approach to our strategic planning process.
What is a bottoms-up approach?
A bottoms-up approach means that you start at the bottom, which in our case is at the local market level (rather than starting with a budget number that you then back into). Each year, prior to beginning our annual planning for the upcoming year, the global marketing team gathers to assess what worked, what needs improvement, and how the marketing team can support the larger organization. What channels or outlets were most effective in driving revenue? What was the ROI (of course, this is sometimes a tricky one to measure for branding or other indirect efforts)? What messages resonated best in each market?
From this exercise, each team lead builds out their prioritized “wish list” for the upcoming year, which is combined to serve as the first draft of our 2019 plan. For each line item on the plan, we identify the purpose of the activity and from there, the marketing leads layer on the corporate goals for the year as a way to prioritize. The result is a draft of a marketing plan and budget that is presented to the leadership team. With executive input, the plan gets refined further, with adjustments made for strategic reasons.
A strategic approach to prioritization
In order to make strategic decisions about what activities to invest in from a financial and human capital standpoint, we have found it helpful to implement a classification process based on corporate goals. We assign each activity to one of the following areas:
- Branding: Build market awareness via paid, earned, and owned channels
- Brand Development: Support the brand among existing audiences
- Brand Building: Grow brand awareness and consideration with new audiences (new customers; new formats–mobile, video, etc.; new markets)
- Business: Support revenue-generating initiatives tied to new and existing customer bases and promote PubMatic’s products and solutions
- Customer Growth: Engage existing customers and encourage cross-sell and upsell opportunities
- New Business: Engage new customers from existing prospect bases as well as new customer profiles and new markets
- Products: Support product launches and efforts to drive product adoption
- Employees: Provide our internal teams with tools, resources, and training to improve support for our clients and initiatives
- Employer Branding: Highlight PubMatic’s people internally and externally
- Training: Provide tools and resources to employees
- Memberships: Subsidize memberships for industry organizations and publications
Aligning digital communications to market need
We realize that in order to effectively reach both existing and new audiences, our approach needs to be holistic and address industry needs. The ad tech industry is moving towards more transparency, a greater emphasis on quality, and increased brand safety. To support these areas of interest, PubMatic will focus our digital communications on educational, timely and actionable content.
A core element of our digital communication strategy is enhancing our website, which serves as the hub for all of our digital content. In 2019, we will continue to invest in our website with an updated look and feel to emphasize our corporate mission, our people, our products and solutions. With an updated website taxonomy, our site visitors will be able to more easily navigate our digital assets and discover the content that is most relevant for them. As always, it is our goal to drive qualified traffic to our site which is why we are focusing on SEO while making sure our resources are still available, and relevant, for the industry as a whole.
Finally, we will continue to amplify our message through social media promotion. This has been an integral part to our digital communications strategy in years past and we look forward to developing our strategy further in the coming months.
Johanna Bauman is a marketer and business strategist focused on driving successful B2B marketing programs. As Vice President of Marketing Communications at PubMatic, she is responsible for the ideation, development, and execution of all integrated communications and corporate marketing programs.