Is Your Organization Communicating Effectively?

I can’t think of any organization that’s doing all that it could to communicate effectively with its customers. Even the giants such as Apple create communications problems by introducing products that are clearly not ready for prime time. Most organizations do not score above 85 percent in communications assessments, and that often includes giant corporations that have spread their communications across multi-geographies and divisions.

There’s always room for improvement. The difference between the winners and most other organizations is that the winners know how to assess how they are doing and make improvements. Make sure you are clear on what should be considered important so you don’t waste time on unimportant data and metrics.

Here are three essential rules for effective strategic marketing and communications:

1. Know what your customers need and want
. Know what interests them. Not just with regard to your products, but the products they use throughout their companies.

Kodak recently stated that it is working with clients on how to integrate Kodak products inside their organizations as well as integrating non-Kodak products into the mix. This is a huge step for Kodak, but one that should build trust with its customers because it is confident enough in its products and strengths to help customers with competitive products. A new way of doing business?

2. Use an easy-to-understand language to tell your story
. To often, marketing communications are written in the jargon of the selling organization, not the client’s language, and this always creates a negative boundary. It’s interesting to me that so often a company will announce its new website, which includes a new design, but use the same copy that appeared on the former website. By always using original and simple to understand messaging, clients will quickly know what you are saying and that will encourage them to read on.

3. Test your communications
. You can’t improve what you don’t measure, as the saying goes. Business marketing is no exception. Most organizations have not built in effective financial management that keeps score of what is and is not working. This helps explain why so marketing directors are often criticized and have a difficult time justifying their marketing expenditures. There are literally dozens of books written on this subject—ROI – Return on Investment. It is a practice that your Chief Marketing Officer should include in your marketing program.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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