I was chatting to a friend the other day about her summer and how her holiday was and she quite surprised me. Not that she had had a great holiday, but more that she confessed having put her phone in the drawer in her house and leaving it there for two weeks. No telephone calls, no email, no internet.
As our working practices counter the cacophony of communication with mindfulness, detoxing your in-box and the like, how do those in business of communication now actually, erh, communicate?
I don’t need to pull up the statistics around how many emails we are inundated with on an hourly, daily and weekly basis but if you are interested here’s one estimate…. 108.7 billion emails sent and received per day .
I also don’t need to give examples of how many inappropriate, wasted remarketing adverts people receive on a daily basis having brought something for their mother-in-law online two months previously.
Added to all of this noise Facebook feeds, Twittering, chromed lives of Instagram friends, family and those who aren’t friends or family but look so bloody good, and there really isn’t much more room to find out about you and your brand is there?
We are all exhausted listeners. Tired of the endless chatter around us. So how are we ever going to get anyone to listen to what you have to say?
I have a theory. Be quiet and listen for a while.
Ever wondered why Kate Moss is so popular? How many interviews have you read with her? How often have you heard her speak? We all know that those things that seem out of our reach are often the most attractive, but with the onslaught of communications at the swipe of a screen, we have got addicted to sending weekly, sometimes daily emails with a sliding scale of responsiveness.
Now this is a strange blog for someone who is all about communications to be writing. Especially being in the business of content marketing and PR. Our job at Antelope is about making your share of voice bigger and louder than your competitors. However, what is the point of shouting loud if no-one is listening, or cares?
Back to the basics.
When you first learn the basic social skills, it’s about talking and listening to others and responding with something you think might interest them to keep the conversation going. How often does your brand do this? Imagine an adult shouting very loudly at someone, who when they don’t respond, shouts again and again at them. There is no doubt the recipient will tune out and walk away, avoiding you in the future.
Brand communication of course is different. But the principles stay the same. You are still talking to humans (at the moment before the Internet of Things takes their place) and they will still decide whether they want to engage with you, listen to what you have to say and respond (hopefully by buying/spending or signing up to your call to action).
So let’s make the conversation two way again.
Make sure you are talking to the right person - yes we know it but sending an email about nappies to a single 70- year old man isn’t going to attract sales is it?
Talk to them in their own voice - tailor and personalise your content. If you have a product or service that will appeal to a variety of audiences, then tailor the messaging to each audience rather than a ‘one-campaign-fits-all’ approach. Talk to the teen on social media, the mum or dad on a parent’s forum, the worker in the business pages. Find the benefits of your product and service for them in that environment. So if it is a mobile phone, offer the Millennial mega data deals, free festival updates or whatever else they say they want from a mobile phone package. For the grey market, why not offer free mobile or web training in store? It’s not rocket science but it works.
Ask them what they think - stop second guessing the audience. I don’t profess to being a kid anymore so if I need to write copy aimed at teenagers, I talk to my kids. If you can’t afford market research, go online and listen in forums, ask your target audience for their thoughts/opinion on social media and via your website.
And finally listen and act. It’s not just good PR to change the way you evolve based on customer feedback, it creates brand ambassadors that in turn produces loyalty and sales advocates.
Tuning out and turning off is going to be the challenge we all face as marketers as communication overdrive hits overkill. Make sure you aren’t dumped before you get the chance to court.