Build It and They Will Come . . .

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Date:September 1, 2013

We need a blog . . . If we had a blog we’d be able to demonstrate our commitment to the industry, the profession, and our clients, it will put us at the centre of a sphere of excellence. Hmmm, interesting remark, is it fact or fiction?

I was interviewed as a subject matter expert once by a journalist for a prominent trade publication; the subject was client communications. Several contributors discussed passionately their views on multiple media. It was interesting because there was no discussion about the audience; it was all about the “transmitter’s” passion to communicate in different formats. My contribution to the article spoke about communication strategy rather than tactics, and was in some ways a splash of cold water.

When I hear comments like the above it sounds like the medium is driving the message. Do you want to communicate to your clients based on the medium, or based on what’s important to your audience? Generally an effective communications strategy considers eight steps. The first step in effective communications is to consider your target audience. Who are they demographically and psychographically? What are their needs? Your messaging should speak to the needs of your audience first . . . then pick the medium. 

Here’s an example. I was doing some marketing work with a company whose clientele was predominately seniors. The existing management was adamantly rebuffing any discussion around electronic communications. “They’re seniors for goodness sake, they don’t use the Internet” (this was about eight years ago). Well my team did a survey of these grey hairs  . . . and what did we find? 86% of them used email on a daily basis. This freed us to communicate with our clients based on their preferences.

The second step in effective communications is to define your objectives. What are your objectives? What kinds of response do you want to generate? You could consider three main types of response, (1) recognition, (2) attitude change, or (3) action. There are a bunch of different response models, but essentially they all move through the three types of response. The simplest response model is AIDA, or Attention, Interest, Desire and Action where Attention aligns with recognition, Interest & Desire with attitude change, and Action with, well . . . action. So as you plan your communications objectives consider the types of responses you want to generate.

Best regards and happy communicating! (What ever that means.)

Matthew

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Author:
Date:September 1, 2013