The Queen’s Sombrero and Marketing Communication

If you have not taken the time to sit back and think about how much marketing communications has changed, you should. The changes are astounding from Dallas to New Delhi, and the rules have changed significantly from even five years ago. One important change is the actual decentralization of marketing communications and publishing.

The days are over when only the Forbes and the Hearsts published business and consumer material. Today, everyone that is pushing written material through the various Internet channels is a publisher. That means you. When you are not in the role of the soccer mom or proud papa posting pictures of little Bobby on Instagram, or exclaiming your pride that Susie made the cheerleading squad on Facebook, you should most likely be following more formal rules when communicating as your role and audience are most likely very different. You’re wearing a different hat.

When you are not tweeting about the family, or posting some anecdotal story online, more than likely you are publishing business and professional information such as marketing communication. And, the hat you wear is different, the rules are different and operations should be different. When you are publishing business communication, remember these rules:

1. Wear the right hat. Remember you are not writing poetry or posting a personal status when you are writing professionally. You are communicating as a professional to other professionals. And, with that comes some formality in your style and execution. That is not to say you cannot write business communication with expression and catchy headlines. In fact, marketing communication sometimes requires that. It simply means, when you are communicating professionally, you need to remember your audience, and your professional role and credibility should be as evident in your style and presentation as well as your content.

2. Don’t co-mingle professional and personal communication. Your friends on Facebook are different than fans on your fan page. Have a personal Facebook page for communicating with your BFF, and have a separate Facebook page (fan page) for your professional communication and content. The same holds true for blogs. There are professional blogs, and then there are personal blogs. They do not mix.

3. Use professional vehicles for your professional communication. In this day and age, you should have a professional website for your business operations, period. Costs now are simply low enough these day as to not be an issue. And, you should have a professional email address (or addresses) attached to it. You lose credibility when you communicate to a potential customer or client from a generic Yahoo email address. For little or no cost (depending on your hosting platform), you can obtain a professional email address with your company’s name attached. Always communication using professional platforms and vehicles when you are publishing professional communication – including emails.

Just remember, business is business, including when you are publishing marketing communication, or any other professional material for that matter. One hat does not fit all. Case in point: Queen Elizabeth wears a lot of hats. But, you would never see her wearing a sombrero to an investiture at Westminster Abbey. Just saying…

What Is ‘Marketing Communications’?

The term ‘marketing communication’ speaks directly to the heart of marketing as a science. Marketing communication identifies at least four distinct marketing functions and studies them at length to form a composite picture of both the marketplace and the consumer.

Basically, it is all about sending messages out to the customer and analysing the responses. This, in turn, allows sellers and buyers to interact more effectively, creating greater profits as well as a higher degree of customer satisfaction. Other marketing functions, such as product development, packaging and pricing, are not identified as marketing communications.

The four identified forms of marketing communication are:

1) Sales – Here we look at the interaction between buyer and seller, seller and buyer. In the most basic sense, this function is achieved if the salesperson helps you to make a purchase by starting a conversation with you, making a recommendation or answering your questions. This is also achieved via email messages exchanged between seller and buyer on online sites such as eBay.

2) Advertising – Caught somewhere between propaganda and fine art, advertising is a science/art form entirely unto itself. Entire libraries have been written on the subject and yet still new and innovative (and occasionally invasive) advertising methods are currently being dreamed up in boardrooms around the world. As a form of communication, advertising addresses the buyer via interpolation; attempting to win him/her over, usually with a combination of lifestyle promise, fancy graphics and sex appeal (although not always). Advertising is carefully considered, even though it is a one-sided form of communication initially; the sales figures for the products themselves usually define the perceived customer response.

3) Public Relations (or ‘PR’) – This is the act of addressing potential customers as well as existing customers. Building good PR is becoming more and more important to modern companies. Donating money to charity, ensuring that your products are ethically sound, or taking care of your employees in a positive and supporting way are all proven (and effective) forms of PR. Profits from PR are usually implied, as PR exercises typically cost money and bring in little, if any, revenue in the short term. However, once again, sales figures will constitute a consumer response. PR is also a direct way to reach the customer, demonstrating that your company is concerned with the same issues as they are. In the world of ‘ethical consumption’ that we live in today, PR is an especially important form of marketing communication.

4) Customer Service – Although it often feels like a lost art these days, customer service is a vital pillar of any business’ ultimate success or failure. Customer service, as the name implies, indicates that your company is serving the customer. Think of it this way, if you were in a restaurant with a snarky, abusive waiter, would you think twice about visiting that restaurant again? However, if you were in a restaurant offering quality, efficient and friendly service, would you be more likely to eat there again? This function overlaps somewhat with Sales, but it also includes unique functions such as dealing with angry customers and fostering loyalty among buyers.

So, to sum up, marketing communication occurs whenever the seller addresses or interacts with the buyer, or vice versa. Any time any of the above functions are, um, functioning, you’ve got marketing communications going on.

How To Know If You’re A Strategic Marketing Communicator, Ask Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach

Competition in the business world requires sound strategic thinking and planning. And one application of those strategic tools is in business marketing communications. And Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach believes that strategic thinking and planning need to be done before developing or recreating any marketing communication. For example, it is important that you take time to think about what role your marketing communication will play and how it will help you achieve your strategic marketing goal(s).

Every strategic marketing communication, from your business card to a simple handout at events has a role to play in moving “your prospects forward.” Here are some of the ways to move your prospect forward: marketing communication tools include:

+ introducing yourself

+ understanding what to do how to help people

+ gaining permission to market to prospects

+ earning prospects’ trust

+ creating and strengthening a relationship

+ getting prospects’ attention

+ provide information

And here are some of the strategic marketing tools to help you move your prospects forward:

+ business cards

+ advertisements,

+ direct mail sales letter

+ Yellow pages

+ web site

+ brochure

+ ezine

+ free report

+ post cards

Now, let’s look at some strategic questions to ask about what you want the prospect to do.

+ What action do I want the prospect to take?

+ Are my current marketing methods achieving my goals?

+ Is this marketing communication tool the best way to get the prospect to take the desired action?

+ When will I use this marketing communication tool?

+ What information do prospects need to know to move forward?

+ Who will benefit from this marketing communication tool?

+ What is my call to action for the prospect?

If you think and plan your marketing communications in a strategic manner (as outlined above), you will be able to make a more educated, more informed, and strategic decision about each of your marketing communication tools. Taking time to ask the strategic questions and analyze if your marketing communications will fit your goals will help ensure that you will reach your goals. And you will know that you are a strategic marketing communicator.

Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach encourages you to fully realize the benefits of business coaching to strategically and effectively market your business. If you would like to learn more about how a strategic thinking business coach can facilitate and guide you in that endeavor, please contact Glenn Ebersole today through his website at http://www.businesscoach4u.com or by email at [email protected]