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Communication strategies combine goals with marketing initiatives. A good communication strategy expands upon a company’s value and aligns brand messaging.
But improper communication strategies can slowly kill a business. It slips into the foundation unnoticed, and soon, everyone is in disarray.
Here are four ways improper communication can sink any business, regardless of their current standing.
1. You lose visibility
Doesn’t matter which industry you’re in — communication matters. And to align business goals with marketing results, corporations use communication strategies. It’s a tool like many others. But improper communication strategies lead to disaster. Specifically because of a lack of visibility.
Do the stakeholders know and agree upon the proposed business objectives? Has the marketing director seen the goals and put forth certain strategies to get results? And six months down the road — will everyone know what goals are fulfilled, which ones aren’t, and where their efforts are going?
Consider the answer to all of these questions is “no.” Stakeholders haven’t agreed on objectives. That means the marketing manager went ahead and devised a plan to meet goals that don’t matter. Which means the marketing manager is wasting his time. But more importantly, he’s tossing the budget into strategies that may not get the results the stakeholders want.
If no one understands which (inaccurate) goals have been met, which ones were tossed, and where everyone has been focusing their productivity… well, some people are not going to be happy. And those individuals may be the ones who have the power to fire.
Visibility is everything. Do not neglect it.
2. Bad research leads to downfalls
A critical aspect of forming a communication strategy is research. Specifically, researching the company internally. You’ll be documenting current communication methods, the state of business processes, and the resources readily available.
To create an actionable plan for future communication, which also aligns with business goals, the above information has to be correct. It’s the “starting off” point for developing effective strategies. But if it’s incorrect, the only way the new communication strategy will be beneficial is through dumb luck. And dumb luck, while appreciated in business, is not what stakeholders want to depend on. Too much risk.
The foundation of any good communication strategy must be built on fundamental research, data and analytics. Always have a source to ensure the information is up-to-date and correct.
3. The key message must be universal
Communication strategies use keywords to explain who the business is and the value. Everyone needs to know this message and repeat it when introducing the company. If you were to sell specialty door knobs, the message might be, “We’re a small business who sells door knobs, primarily shaped and designed for every occasion.”
But if your sales guys are saying, “Yeah, we do door knobs. Kinda dumb but people love ‘em!” Well, that’s not great for your brand identity. It’s also confusing to customers. And, depending on the wording, can turn potential consumers away from your door.
The last thing any business needs is fewer customers, right?
The communication strategy must outline the mission and the “why” clearly. And everyone must have it drilled into heads. The message should highlight your value, who you target, and the unique benefits of buying the product.
4. Explain goals in detail or suffer the consequences
Sometimes, it’s easier to say, “We want more customers.” That is a goal. It’s just not a very good one in its current state.
Yes, everyone wants more customers. More customers mean more business. More business means more products sold. And more products sold mean more profits. But such a simply worded goal leaves room for massive confusion.
What kind of customers do you want? Repeat buyers who spread your value through word of mouth and referrals? Where do you want them — local or international? Who do you want as customers and why?
Now, how do we want to reach them? You can do online or offline. You can do conferences or webcasts. You can entice them with free stuff or great coupons. You can reach out to them through social media or go to their door. You can’t do it all though — it’d be a waste of your time.
So, an improper communication strategy means that goals are left up in the air. It’s up to the individual to decipher meaning. And that’s not good business.
Something you can say is: We want an increase in unique views and users coming to our company website. By using social media, SEO, and Adwords, we’re going to direct them to our landing page. Attached will be a 20% off coupon for the first 100 buyers. This is how we’ll advertise our new product launch.
Not all questions are answered, but the what, the who, and the why have been addressed. Allowing marketing managers to take the lead and do what they do best.