Professional Development - Communicating with a Purpose

Professional Development -  Marketing Communication: Communication With A Purpose
by Gene Muchanski

Marketing communication is very important to the success of our businesses. So much, in fact, it may well be the core function of marketing itself.

The purpose of any business is to create products and services that help people. The kind of help we provide depends on our core competencies to create products and how the customer uses them. So our business begins with the customer and not with our Engineer! To understand how our products are going to sell in the market place, we need to know how the customer is going to use them and why. Focus groups are a big part of what marketing can do to help you understand how the product will be used by the customer and what features and benefits will be needed to make the product useful to the consumer. The skill set here is "listening" which is the most important part of the communication process.

We've seen too many times, what happens to products that are created by designers in the privacy of their labs without giving thought to the marketing process. They build products they think are great and wonder why they just sit in the warehouse. Well, it might have been a great idea to them, but not to their customers. Then they get mad at the sales people because sales are flat. The better way to create products is to introduce the marketing concept before the products are designed. Building products based on consumer input is a much better way to go. You communicate with your customers and they tell you what they would buy. They will tell you if the product has value to them. You can then build prototypes and ask them for their comments again. After a few changes, ask again. Keep doing that until you get it right. Now you can go into a small production run to see if the new product will sell. If it does, you have a winner and can go into full scale production. If not, there's a problem somewhere.

Pre-production communication is important to our business but only if we ask the right questions and get the right answers. Before you design your pre-production campaign, ask yourself what it is you want from the customer and make sure the customer knows what you are looking for. That's communication with a purpose.

 

Marketing and advertising campaigns have the same process. We see too many ads that just speak at potential customers and not to them. Telling people how great your products are or just pointing out features of the product is a good example. Most people will read the ad and agree with you, yes you have a good product. Then they go about their business. That's an example of one-way communication, and just telling isn't selling.

 

When we communicate with a purpose, we design our campaign to solicit a specific response for the type of answer we are looking for. If it's a survey that we are going to use, we have to ask the right questions so we can learn something to take specific action on. We should always create an ad that shows people how the product will benefit them and then ask them for the sale. The response we are looking for is "Yes". Then we can show them what steps to take to complete the transaction. That's communicating with a purpose.

Exhibiting at Trade Shows is a great example of the need to communicate with a purpose. It is insane to spend thousands of dollars and not have a plan to maximize your potential at the event. After you make the decision to invest in a show, start your pre-show campaign and involve your dealer base in the process. Plan events around them and meet with them. Marketing seminars, sales seminars, any event that will take them away from your competitors. At-Show Marketing is where you lay out your plan to maximize your investment. What's the game plan? And of course, make sure you follow up with post-show marketing. Communication with a purpose only works at trade shows if you have a purpose.

Think about that the next time you are creating an ad campaign or writing a newsletter or exhibiting at a trade show. What is it that you want your customer to do with the information? Learn something? Do something? Buy something?

For additional information on "Communicating With Your Customers" contact: Gene Muchanski, Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Orlando, Florida - Sep 7-9, 2017

Exhibits at Surf Expo: Surf Expo will open its doors on September 7th for three days of watersports equipment and fashion apparel. Over 4,000 brands will be represented.

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