“What if you said to your daughter, ‘What is wrong with you?’ when you meant to say, ‘What is troubling you?’ – WOW! That’s too big a mistake to make!”
Communication is crucial for anything to succeed. Try to build a loving marriage, raise a child, build a business or climb the corporate ladder without it – you are doomed to fail. Yet many people don’t stop to think if they’re communicating their message effectively or with clarity, and then wonder why disaster happens. Ask yourself, is your public hearing what you are saying?
Life mimics life. Our personal lives touch our professional ones, not to think so is naïve. So, let’s look at this from a personal level first.
Let’s say you found the woman or man of your dreams and want to strike up a relationship. How you project your message—your emotions, desires and dreams—will determine whether the other party will be interested. You are selling yourself and the price is the heart of the other.
If when you speak, your facial expressions, wardrobe and posture don’t support your words, which do you think he or she will hear? Will the sad face, bored tone and slumping stance win over the words, “I love you?” ABSOLUTELY! The packaging didn’t support your communication and sabotaged it!
Now let’s take it one step further. What if you came dressed to impress, with flowers, champagne, smelling good and bearing chocolate? However, you were a klutz with your words. You mumbled, tripped over your words because you were nervous, and it didn’t come out as you had rehearsed. Do you think he or she would get the impression you are trying really hard to make this special, because you care? OFF COURSE! So, you get a second chance to say what you want to say. Don’t Blow It!
Even one more step further. Now, what if you got it all right: your messaging was on target, your packaging had impact and your delivery was masterful? Do you think you would make the sale of your life? NO DOUBT!
Your business branding and marketing works the same way. If your audience is not hearing what you’re saying, they won’t engage.
When you communicate with your public, you must make sure they receive the message you want heard. A great example is Neal Martineau and Pepsodent.
Once again, Neal, teaching me lessons with stories, shared this debacle from an Ogilvy campaign for Pepsodent many decades ago. Neal shared:
“Eddie, I once had to create a campaign for a new Pepsodent toothpaste, which claimed it cleaned below the gum line. The toothpaste, when used, would seep below the gums and disinfect the area, promoting healthier dental hygiene. So, I had a large tooth with gums and a huge toothbrush created for the set. In the commercial, the announcer would pull the gums away and brush the roots, illustrating the cleansing action. I thought it was brilliant! The public thought it was painful. You see, what they heard was not that the toothpaste gently cleaned below the gums; they heard and envisioned the toothbrush brushing the roots – and they thought it would hurt. The campaign flopped. Remember, you must make sure the audience hears exactly what you want to say!”
Remember, perception is reality and you are building your marketing for your audience, not for you. Too many businesses take ownership; hence they are biased to their work. They are too close to see the forest. Sometimes you need to step back and take in the entire picture. You do this by test marketing and asking for another professional’s opinion. What do you see, hear and perceive? What is it telling you? And if what they say doesn’t please you, don’t be offended; be wise before you waste time and money.
While the message is the most important, to the public, it’s your packaging and branding. If a book is great, but the cover stinks, how many sales might you lose? If your product or service is the best, but your logo, website, brochure, social-media presence look amateurish and/or just thrown together, will they bother to read the content? Most likely not!
If you’re not getting the ROI (return on investment) you expected from your marketing, maybe it’s not showing or saying what you assume it is. Get a consultation from a professional and see where it may be lacking. Ask a good-sized group of people (professionals, possible customers, business owners, laborers, teens, men, women, young and seasoned individuals, etc.) to look at it and answer three questions:
Then listen. Whatever weaknesses are repeated the most need to be corrected. You can’t please everyone, so don’t try. But do listen to whomever is your demographic and try to find the happy medium where you address the most concerns.
Marketing is part science and part art. The science part is easy, because if you can measure it, you can fix it. However, the art part requires a different kind of thinking. This is the people part and people are finnicky. It’s where you pull the heart string, persuade and create brand evangelists.
Don’t skimp on this part. Get an online marketing analysis of your website, social media and blog. This is your online marketing tripod and if one part is ineffective, it affects the entire structure. There’s no software that can tell you HOW to create an effective message for your demographic; software can only tell you if it’s working or not. Remember, you’re not marketing to robots.