A brand’s entire existence is dependent upon communication. It’s easy to take this for granted since we use communication in all aspects of life, but effective communication is critical in marketing. It’s more than someone not getting a job because of spelling errors on their LinkedIn profile or because they wore a wrinkly shirt to an interview; It’s a matter of brand existence. Marketing communication feels more two-way today than it was 10 years ago, but the fact is, marketing communication has never been one-way. Feedback was just delayed with traditional channels (TV, radio, print, outdoor).
According to Psychology Today, “The most common problem that we can make as message senders is coding our thought, feeling or need in a way that has a low chance of being understood by the receiver.” To be effective at communication, consider Aristotle’s three elements of great communication: ethos (credibility), pathos (emotional bond), and logos (logic) as discussed in 2013 by Scott Edinger, Harvard Business Review.
Here are three tips on how to be effective in your marketing communication:
1. Be authentic.
Before you craft your marketing messages, listen to the needs of your target audience. Hand out samples and do pro bono work with a goal of getting quality feedback. Don’t follow and copy your competitors. If you are constantly comparing yourself to your competitors, you will become them. Focus on your customers (personas) and craft your messages for them; Then watch your brand’s authenticity start to shine.
2. Create a feedback loop.
The definition of communication is the “imparting or exchanging of information.” Duh, right? The point is communication is an “exchange” of information. There are always signals being sent back to your brand, but you may not be capturing them. Don’t just rely on transactions (sales) as your key performance indicator. Be proactive and set up other signals that indicate what you are doing right and where you can improve. Don’t rely on email and/or pop-up surveys. They are way over-used and may result in a negative influence on the survey. Social media engagement and reviews are additional ways to get feedback.
3. Keep up with marketing technology.
Companies like Facebook and Google are able to provide insights to help you know your customers better, but you have to invest the time learning how to use them. Make sure features (maps, shopping carts, videos, catalogs, etc.) on your website work on all screens (desktop, tablet, mobile). Know what technology is available to help you learn and serve your customers better. iBeacon adoption is one area to monitor. Marketing technology isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. The best way to keep up with technology is pay attention to thought leaders and innovators in the “martech” industry. There are many sources within the industry that do a great job of keeping marketers informed. Here is a short list to start: