Communication planning is the art and science of reaching target audiences using marketing communication channels such as advertising, public relations, experiences or direct mail for example. It is concerned with deciding who to target, when, with what message and how.
The communication plan serves as a guide to the communication and sponsorship efforts throughout the duration of the project. It is a living and working document and is updated periodically as audience needs change. It explains how to convey the right message, from the right communicator, to the right audience, through the right channel, at the right time. It addresses the six basic elements of communications: communicator, message, communication channel, feedback mechanism, receiver/audience, and time frame.
A communication plan includes:
- “Who” - the target audiences
- “What” – the key messages that are trying to be articulated
- “When” – timing, it will specify the appropriate time of delivery for each message
- “Why” – the desired outcomes
- “How” - the communication vehicle (how the message will be delivered)
- “By whom” - the sender (determining who will deliver the information and how he or she is chosen)
Many agencies, PR, advertising and media alike, claim to have this capability.
Young, Antony (2010) "Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era", Palgrave MacMillan
- Taylor, Jim (2005) Space Race: An inside view of the future of communications planning, John Wiley & Sons Ltd
- Ferguson, S.D. (1999) Communication Planning: An Integrated Approach, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.