Planning a PESO Strategy With Integrated TeamsBy Laura Petrolino

Any regular reader of this blog is no doubt well acquainted with the four media types and the use of the PESO model to create an integrated communications plan.

However, like many things in life, the hard part is translating theory into action.

So I thought it might be valuable to walk you through a typical “day in the life scenario” of the Arment Dietrich team as we plan an integrated strategy.

As avid and proud tweakers and continuous learners, this is a process we are constantly refining ourselves, not to mention applying variations based on client, goals, and needs.

That said, the process I take you through below should serve as a template to use for your own team structure, internal communications pipeline, and PESO strategy needs.

Research, Research, Research

While not the focus of this particular post, no discussion about communications strategy development would be complete without acknowledging the time and effort spent researching the client’s business, operations, industry, and competitors, before we ever start putting together any sort of strategy.

We look at their presence both online and off, their current analytics, how their sales pipeline works, and their overall business operations.

We do a SWOT analysis comparing them to their competitors in all four media types.

It is not until this is done and we receive feedback from the client that we finally sit down to put the strategy together.

Initial Meeting: Clarity and Collaboration

After the research phase, each team member already has a good sense of high level strategy direction.

This starts to become especially clear during the SWOT analysis, which we delegate responsibility based on who will be turning around and putting together the strategy for the media type being analyzed.

For example, as our content director, Lindsay Bell always does the SWOT for owned media. That allows her to do a deep dive into both the client’s current owned media and that of their competitors.

This forms the foundation of the strategy she will put together for the client’s owned activities.

For our first meeting, everyone comes prepared with an outline of the objectives their media type will help to push forward and the tactics to do so.

Now, Lindsay has probably already thought through a lot of ways her owned tactics can integrate well with the other media types, but these thoughts can’t necessarily grow past the infantile stage without knowing more details about the plans for the other media types.

The primary goals of this meeting are:

  • For everyone to get a clearer understanding of the plans for each media
  • To clear any remaining confusion or questions brought up during the research and analysis phase
  • To make sure the strategies developed for each media type will a) cover everything needed to ensure a comprehensive PESO strategy and b) present no major conflicts or contradictions to the overall strategy direction
  • To ensure integration between individual media strategies from the beginning.

During this meeting, we all work to push initial ideas further.

A typical initial strategy meeting might go something like this:

(The following is a dramatization of real life events– Just like Cops)

Eleanor Pierce:

LinkedIn is a strong network for them. The community in their LinkedIn group is very active and referral traffic stays on site and looks at more pages than any other social platform. For that reason my strategy will focus heavily on continuing to push this engagement forward.


I noticed that it seems to be a place used by their current customers to ask questions and get product clarification. Why don’t we tie that into our owned strategy and develop a weekly FAQ post inspired by these questions? Many of those could also be used as lead magnets.

…and so on.

After this meeting everyone goes on to develop the detailed versions of their strategies.

Between Meeting Collaboration: The Secret to Success

Everyone doesn’t just go hide in their tower and work silently to put together their piece (there is definitely nothing silent about our team).

They continue to reach out to one another as needed to compare and brainstorm. This might be done simply through some quick texts back and forth, or a brief Skype meeting.

This is one of the most important parts—keeping that communications pipeline open helps make sure that every tactic suggested not only makes sense within the bigger picture, but is integrated in a way to maximize effort.

Sometimes, if needed, we have a second team meeting to talk through some of these issues.

Putting the PESO Strategy Together

Finally everyone’s strategies are turned into me. I’m the first person to see everything at once. Doing so allows me to see holes, which lead to a lot of additional questions.

(And I mean a lot…as in the entire team probably wants to collectively throw me off a cliff during this phase).

Seeing everything in context changes the playing field and opens up both new opportunities to consider and conflicts that might need to be ironed out.

Questioning Drives Success

I go through and put in my questions, notes, and feedback, and send it back to everyone to fill in the extra details needed and provide greater overall clarity.

Rinse. Repeat.

This process of back and forth continues until we feel like everything is there, and then it goes to Lindsay who also take a look with her very discerning eye and asks more questions, trying to filter out remaining points of confusion.

Finally, we come to a final draft and it goes to Gini Dietrich for review. More questions.

By now you are probably following the question train we are on.

The more we question and dig deep into what we’ve developed, the better we can create a really comprehensive, results oriented, integrated strategy.

As a team, we rely on each other’s knowledge base, varied skill sets, and perceptions to successfully integrate all four media types and create strategies that drive results.

We challenge each other, we collaborate together, and we communicate throughout the entire process.

Without these three important components, we’d fall short.

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

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