June 15, 2010

Recessionary Communication Keys: Be Genuine & Relevant

The bottom line has a new meaning in the midst of this recession.  For some organizations, when times are tight the first thing owners do is pull back on marketing communication efforts.   If you think about it, scaling back on awareness is akin to a NASCAR team opting for cheaper tires… short term benefit, long term loss.

How can you effectively communicate during difficult economic times?  The same way you communicate during the boom periods.  Your communication should be relevant, genuine and transparent.  What does this mean?  This is the first of two installments (as seen in the Associated General Contractors New Mexico Building Branch Quarterly Newsletter http://www.agc-nm.org):

Be Relevant

Like yours, my mailbox fills up with funding requests from what seems to be a “who’s who” list of nonprofit charities.   And like you, I’ve personally and corporately made donations and contributions to various organizations.

Those charities were selected because they have been successful in making a personal connection with me.  That “first contact” was not in the form of a letter or mass mailing.  It was in the form of a conversation, a site tour or recommendation from a friend.

During these difficult economic times, Nonprofits would be well served to check their approaches to see if it is providing the needed connection with their target audiences.  Also, check your databases for accuracy.  I’ve been included on prep school and university mailing lists who claim I am an alumnus from their “distinguished” institution.

If your organization believes in making a personal connection, then you will be one step closer to success.  Being relevant means you need to know your audience” 12 months out of the year instead of trying to be impersonal and connect only when it is convenient for you.

Be Genuine

Sharing your message is all about how you communicate with your target audience (i.e. customers).  In the past, communicating with the larger public was largely relegated to the news media.   Today, there are a multitude of options available (e-newsletters, facebook, twitter, YouTube) when communicating with a broader spectrum of people.

Sharing your message is a personal conversation and connection with your target audience.

The new media provides effective ways to engage your customers.  Websites, blogs, wiki’s, and social media are all different ways to connect, unfiltered, to your audience.   Direct mail, personal letters, magazines, newsletters are some good standbys to reinforce your brand beyond the computer screen.  These tools are an effective complement to reaching your objectives through traditional media and tactics.

Think of your communication tools as golf clubs.  They each provide a specific purpose to move your message/brand forward.  You wouldn’t use a putter in the tee box or a driver on the putting green.  Knowing your audience and your objectives will help you to identify the right tools to share your message effectively.  The result will be a genuine message that is received and not ignored by your existing and future customers.

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