Marketing Communication and Your Brand: Create a Conversation
In our blogs, we talk a lot about your positioning, differentiation, unique proposition, your unique story and why it is important to your customers. Generally, this is your marketing communication, or MarCom. It’s important to get right, and dangerous to get wrong.
But, this conversation is much more than what simple MarCom “is,” in terms of marketing assets. Communication is part of the process of building your company, creating your brand, and determining how customers are going to feel about you.
Communication is the very essence of great marketing. (And the flip side is true too. Miscommunication is the very essence of terrible marketing.) It tells your audience what I do, why I am unique, and why it is important to solve their business needs or pain.
So, we’re going to get right into what MarCom means at its heart, and why some common marketing tactics don’t always live up to this potential. We’ve got tips for helping you get there too, but you can jump the line for a little direct help by contacting us here.
Communication Is Context
Let’s think about this simply.
Successful MarCom helps your target audience understand what you stand for. It can be your brand, product, a new offer, a great deal, or simply an aspect of who you are. For it to work, your communication must be consistent across your communication platform (think marketing assets), understandable, relevant, meaningful.
Sound familiar. Think about how we defined the story of your brand.
Communication is not to be relegated to the often subordinate role of MarCom (like sales literature) as is often associated with communications in marketing. Communication is context, language, and medium.
1. Is the context relatable?
Ensure you’re saying something that your audience understands. We’re not talking about rocket science or the trick to making a perfect souffle on this blog, and there’s a reason for that.
2. Is the language (message) aligned with how your customers already think and understand?
Work in the language your customers speak. Their perspective and language is important because it’s how we have to craft our message. For communications, it is always your responsibility to interpret customer filters and reframe how you address them to solve problems. You can’t say “that’s not a problem” and drop it. Your MarCom must prove it.
3. Is the medium effective?
There are many channels, but they aren’t always useful, in isolation. In many cases, they’re just wasted effort when not done right and with a purpose. Think email. In general, it is an over-communicated, over-stimulated marketplace. How do we break through the noise?
Relatable, real, thoughtful, human communication always wins the day.
Is Your MarCom Creating a Conversation?
When we talk about marketing communication, people tend to think about the assets they’re creating. Common ones are:
- Case studies
- Blog posts
- And emails
It’s easy to think of these things because you can point to them and use them for every conceivable purpose. However, it misses out on the crucial context of true communication: the conversation you have with everyone. All of these things are little pieces of your overall relationship with a customer. They’re how you respond to questions and needs, or how you overcome someone’s objections.
They’re just tools to engage with your audience. That means they’re most effective when you’ve already started talking and are responding to customer interaction. Use them as part of a system: consistent, reinforcing.
Don’t let an email deviate from your unique value statement.
Work hard so that salespeople aren’t contradicting information on your site. Lead the customer, gently, by linking your next point or contact with their original concern.
Think of it another way: Would you read an eBook that arrived in your email if you didn’t know the sending brand, and it didn’t address a question or concern you had?
Why Email Doesn’t Make the Cut for Most Brands
Here are two questions to get you right to the heart of email’s value:
- How many emails did you get today?
- How much more time did you spend sifting through the useless ones than you spent answering the important ones?
Adobe’s 2019 update for its annual email usage study found: Americans spend five hours per day checking their email. And 26% of those surveyed said they expect this to increase in 2020 and 2021.
That’s too much email for anyone to use effectively, and it means having email as your primary MarCom means you’re going into the trash folder (or just getting left and ignored as an unread email). It isn’t going to break through the noise.
Plus, it means we’re all getting way too many emails to have them all be conversations. We can’t possibly engage with every email we get, so how can we expect that of customers?
It isn’t realistic, and, frankly, it isn’t useful. Email alone isn’t a way to have a conversation, and for companies that rely on email marketing, it’s a war of attrition. They’re blasting out 20 messages a day in the hopes that they wear you down and force you to respond. At best, this is like waving at potential buyers for hours on end until they pay attention. At worst, it’s yelling at them until they go away.
Bring It Back to Connection
“Man is by nature a social animal,” said the great and wise Aristotle, and it’s a lesson today’s marketers should heed.
People crave connection. We need it to thrive and to grow. It’s vital to our world, not just for B2B tech sales, but everything we do. So, we’re naturally included to dismiss things that don’t create a connection.
If your MarCom isn’t focused on establishing trust and conversations required to create a real, human connection, then your audience is by default trying to tune you out. By default, they’re treating your messaging like noise.
What does that mean?
The simple answer for your consideration is that you’re creating a conversation across channels. Like a conversation you have with an old friend. The location may change (social, content, web, customer referrals, etc.) but what doesn’t change is the two people on either end. They’re consistent, and so is the conversation. And it works best when they’re authentic, reinforcing who they are and what they promise.
Your close friends are going to sound and feel the same, whether it’s a phone call, in-person chat, or even a dreaded email. Approaching your marketing strategy to feel the same allows you to focus on being a social animal, instead of a flat brand.
This isn’t to say email doesn’t have its place within an overall marketing strategy. What we’re saying is that it doesn’t work if it isn’t part of that broader conversation. So, you already need to have that groundwork done with your audience, and every email you send should sound like a conversation with a real person. They can’t just be lists and bullet points or fancy graphics with a catchy slogan.
Conversations aren’t busywork. Emails and MarCom shouldn’t be either.
Not sure if your emails read like busywork? Send one to us and ask. We’ll let you know, without any other expectations. That’s all it ever takes to start up a conversation, and we’re here to help you do that in a way that resonates with your audience.