Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Successful Communication - 4 Key Categories

Friday 15 October, 2010
There are four key categories to remember when thinking about whether you are maximising your communication with your target market.
Within these categories there are many variations on how a message can be conveyed, or a channel for dialogue opened. However, if you keep in mind the 4 groups, you will always maximise your opportunities for communication of your message.

1. Develop The Information / Message

If you have information you would like to convey to your customers and clients, in how many fundamental ways could this be presented?
  • Newsletters
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Emails
  • Web site
  • Music or message on hold
  • Company profile documents
  • Products and services lists
  • Product specifications
  • Company stationery
  • Brochures
  • Direct mail pieces
  • Copies of press coverage / press releases
  • Articles
  • Invitations
  • Speeches
Presentation of your message is critical. Please keep some of these considerations in mind:
  • Always think in terms of your customers’ perspectives. What is interesting and useful to them?
  • Be genuine. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. If you’re not genuine it will be apparent.
  • Focus on consistency of presentation, of message, of image, of how you are being perceived by your customer.
  • Know who your customers are. Don’t use humour which would only appeal to a small group of people, don’t risk using any message which may offend, and always be mindful of different religious and cultural perspectives when appealing to a broader segment of the local or international market.

2. Open The Communication Channel: Events And Networking

This category of communication is ‘up close and personal’ between you and the customer or potential client. The message may be specific, or non-specific relationship building communication. Some options within this category are:
  • Client lunches
  • Launch events
  • Entertainment events
  • Industry events (exhibitions, conferences etc.)
  • Association or Institute gatherings
  • Organised sporting competitions between companies
Again, remember that your clients and customers are typically not all men, or all women, they are not all the same age, they do not all have the same interests, they may not all have families, and their idea of a great time may not be the same as yours.
The point is, learn about your customers as much as you can, so they join in these events willingly and enthusiastically, so everybody gains something from it. Finally, events and networking are about communication, but what will be remembered is what is different, amusing, and interesting. Add value and your message will be remembered.

3. Involvement From Your Clients And Customers

Events and networking functions involve your customers at some emotional level and build the relationship you have with them. However, communication that elicits involvement and follow-through communication from your customers is different, in that there is some notion of commitment to do business with you.
Specific tools to communicate with involvement from customers and clients are:
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • New product / service test programs
  • Writing up testimonials from your customers
  • Case studies on your customers’ businesses and their relationships with you and your business
  • Ask customers for feedback on new developments, such as your web site
Inherent in this type of activity is ongoing involvement and relationships. This is the primary objective of successful communication.

4. Follow Through Communication

One-off communication is not enough. One-off communication does not build relationships. A message can be conveyed by communicating it only once, but will it be remembered? How many times have you seen yet another ad on television and not known who the advertiser was because it didn’t register? The message needs to be clear, repeated, and followed up. Ideally it should also be humorous, of interest or value, and have some differentiating factor.
Don’t stop communicating:
  • Thank your clients
  • Send notes of congratulations when appropriate
  • Send information in which they may be interested
  • Send them leads
  • Follow up on your survey
  • Follow up on the new product or service launch
  • Send them a copy of your first newsletter, brochure, etc.
  • Proactively call them once in a while to touch base and ask how they are, and how business is
The cycle must continue in order to be successful. The little differences make all the difference.

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