by Kenneth Rudich
A critical part of any enterprise rests with the role of communications as a tool for getting things done. Some audiences are internal, others external. Regardless of which may be at hand, ongoing effectiveness relies on keeping the content and delivery of all communications timely, relevant and purposeful.
At Marketing-Strategy-Management, we regard marketing communications as an all-encompassing function – that is, virtually every aspect of an enterprise communicates something about it, and it all falls under the marketing communications umbrella.
A Marketing Communications Illustration
Perhaps nothing better exemplifies this idea than a fine dining experience at a haute cuisine restaurant.
Certainly the food must be exquisite. But that alone is not enough. The ambiance, the presentation of the entrees, the attentiveness of the servers, the friendliness of the parking lot attendant and hostess, and so much more must be seamlessly integrated into a uniformly enjoyable fulfillment experience. The target audience, who is of course the patrons, must feel completely enveloped by it.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes is yet another target audience – the staff. Management must communicate all sorts of matters to them, such as performance expectations, required qualifications, grooming concerns, proper behavior and so forth. Everything they need to know in order to produce an elegant experience revolves around effective communications for getting it done.
And because a lapse in any one of these areas can have the ripple effect of spoiling the entire experience (wherein a bad experience communicates something in its own right), it essentially amounts to a marketing communications responsibility.
If a problem is due to outright misbehavior by a member of the staff, for instance, then that’s one sort of communications failure; and it, unfortunately, has the potential of extending the ripple effect by furnishing the customer with a motive to engage in bad word-of-mouth promotion.
If on the other hand it’s an honest mistake, the kind that anyone can make, then there’s an opportunity for turning it into a happy mistake by skillfully using marketing communications to smooth things over. Atoning with a comped dinner or free bottle of wine, for example, communicates a deep concern for the customer. Such a gesture may consequently inspire good word-of-mouth promotion.
We could go on and on with this example, precisely because nearly everything communicates something, but we’ll stop here instead. Again, the point is: almost everything falls under the broad sweep of the marketing communications umbrella.
And furthermore, just to be clear, this same premise holds true for every form of enterprise.
Marketing Communications Vigilance
With that as a backdrop, it should come as no surprise that it’s vitally important to remain attentive to what is being communicated across every aspect of the enterprise.
By attentive, we mean truly vigilant. Everyone with a vested interest in the success of the enterprise should develop the regular habit of taking a moment to step back, stand outside themselves, and objectively observe everything they possibly can about what’s going on in the operating environment around them.
Moreover, this evaluation should be done from the standpoint of how it affects each and every one of the five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. Focus on one sense at a time and ask these questions:
- Does it communicate exactly what it should communicate? What impression does it leave?
- Does it communicate the idea that the enterprise meets or exceeds industry standards?
- Does it align with what customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders would or should expect? Will it delight them?
- Is there any room for improvement?
As simple and simplistic as this may seem, it nonetheless can be quite informative. By deliberately stepping outside oneself and making it a point to just stop and observe, it opens the door to noticing things people tend to miss while immersed in other activities.
In fact, don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself frequently asking: why didn’t I notice this before?