By Rex Hammock
I’ve spent the past few decades helping people who work in large organizations use a wide variety of media, content and strategies to successfully communicate with the audiences they are trying to reach, whether they be customers, members, supporters, employees or owners of their products.
If there is universal truth I have learned from that experience, it is this: The way you articulate your message is not the way your customer will receive and understand that message. In other words, communication fails. (Spoiler alert: This will end on an encouraging note.)
Learning that customers ignored their incredible, award-winning communications strategy is one of marketers’ most humbling, but informative, experiences.
As marketers, we want to convince ourselves that an email sent to customers has taken care of getting the message out, even when only 20 percent of marketing emails are opened (if lucky).
We want to believe that words in sentences and paragraphs (like this email) work, but we ignore the fact that anything over a paragraph long will likely be read on a smartphone screen with eyes trained to ignore anything more than a sentence.
However, if you made it this far, here’s the positive lesson I’ve learned that will improve the odds of your communication working: People have different ways of hearing, seeing or understanding—even if it’s not your preferred method of communication.
Printed magazines and words on paper are still the most powerful—and influential—medium for many. But visual learners can understand more from a 30-second video than from all the words in the Oxford English Dictionary. Some people prefer podcasts while jogging or driving to work. Many customers in the business-to-business marketplace prefer webinars, while funny YouTube clips work for others. And still others prefer those words in a text message or email. (You obviously do or you would not have made it this far.)
So don’t get frustrated when people don’t understand what you are trying to say. Just say the same thing a different way. And then add another way. And another.
About Hammock Idea Email | This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.