My husband is deaf in one ear. If I stand behind him, he knows I’m talking but he can’t tell what I’m saying. It doesn’t matter how loud I shout. It doesn’t matter how often I repeat myself. I need to stand in front of him if I want him to understand what I’m trying to say. The same is true for marketing communications.
As I explained at a workshop last month for Indiana Artisan, it doesn’t matter how big your promotions megaphone is if it isn’t pointed in the right direction. Novice communicators think: big megaphone full of tactics = sucess. Not every communications campaign must include all the tools of the trade in order to be successful (or is it to impress the client?).
Here’s the problem with that approach. Using the wrong tactics, even if they are well thought-out, is the same as standing behind the audience you want to reach.
To make sure you are facing the right way, you need to invest more time in understanding your audience. Not just where they are and who they are. You must know what motivates them to buy your product or service. Better yet, know what motivates them when they aren’t buying your product or service.
It’s smart business to understand the tools you need to reach your audiences. But as 2010 nears, it’s even smarter to lower the megaphone for a minute and make sure you see your customers on the other side.