Tag Archives: communication

Paralysis by analysis

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Over the years I have preached (sorry) about how important it is to measure success. All plans need measurable goals or how will you know if the are working. There are lots of tools available to help measure how your communication/marketing strategy is working online, or even in the traditional media world.

And there is always the opportunity to actually talk to customers to get their feedback.

It’s important to analyze the data to know what’s working and whether you are spending to achieve the best results. It can also help identify opportunities that may not have been part of your original plan.

analysis-paralysis

It takes time to wade through the analysis, particularly with the array of tools available.

Adjustments mid-course can be risky and it’s unlikely you are ready to quickly pull the plug on a plan that just a few months ago was the future of your company. But doing nothing is not an option. You’ll probably overthink it, and come up with several reasons why now isn’t good time to tinker. You will rationalize that you have plausible reasons, and not just excuses.

Push past the paralysis of fear and take a leap of faith, and even if you fail, you’ll farther ahead than if you did nothing.

Measuring your business activity is important. Analyzing the results equally so. Make sure you act on them.

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Filed under Communications, Marketing, Strategic Planning

What’s the Big Attraction?

By Jeff Bowman 

Let me get this straight. The Internet is responsible for changing the face of sales and marketing? Well, yes and no.  The Internet has certainly had a huge impact on the way consumers buy goods and services, as well as on the way companies need to market to match the consumer trends.

In saying this, I don’t want to give all the credit to the Internet.  The Internet is  just the latest mode of communication to take hold in the mass markets.

In the 1700’s you had the traders and merchants come to town with products like silk from the Orient, furs from Canada and foods the likes of which had not been seen.  Anywhere there was water, consumers had access.

The 1800’s brought the railroads, regular newspapers, The Pony Express and local General Stores, which had a huge impact on production and distribution of products to the consumer and how companies needed to communicate.

Wow, the 1900’s came and blew everyone’s socks off with mail order catalogues, automotive transportation and delivery, the telephone, radio and the advent of television. Now you could actually see a product demonstration and marketing and advertising hit the big time. The rate of change was so rapid people found it hard to keep up with the pace of technological innovation.  Heck we went from black and white televisions to colour televisions in a matter of a decade or so!  Then came the computer and with it eventually the  Internet in the tail end of the century.

The Internet has made the same type of impact that television did on mass marketing.  The trends to globalized communication grow stronger everyday now, and we are left wondering what the next big thing will be.  The change for companies has been dramatic in the last 20 years.

No longer do they mass market or target market, it’s all about “attraction marketing”. It’s all about educating consumers and attracting customers to you.  Building prospect lists, high visibility on the web, tracking buyer habits through electronic interaction.  Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter.

There is a completely new strategy that needs to be employed, because your old marketing strategies will simply be extinct in a few years. Imagine using a mail order catalogue in the light speed world of technology today.

The question is, what steps are you taking to become better equipped, more competitive and be able to grow your business in the 5 years?

If you are unprepared, I would suggest professional help!

Resistance is futile!

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Filed under advertising, Branding, Communications, Facebook, Invention, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, Online marketing, Sales, social media, Strategic Planning

A failure to communicate

By Stephen Rhodes

George Jonas wrote an article in the National Post recently that began with one of the most memorable lines in movie history – ‘W hat we’ve got here is failure to communicate,” spoken by veteran actor Strother Martin as the prison camp warden in the 1967 Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke.

Jonas charts communication breakdown in the 1960s where it

“loomed large between the generations. It characterized the clean-cut and the hirsute; the love-makers and the war-makers. Suburbanites who cut their grass had little to say to inner city dwellers who smoked theirs. Citizens who were for banning the bomb had no language in common with those who wanted more bang for the buck.”

His column is a joy to read and I suggest you take a look.

It put me in mind of a recent blog by Amber Naslund, Director of Community for Radian6,  – The Secret Social Media Skillwhere she tells all. The secret?

“Just because Twitter is only 140 characters doesn’t mean that spelling, grammar, and clarity don’t matter. In fact, I’d argue they matter more because you’re communicating in such a compact package, and you’ve only a moment to make an impression (or break it). You can still make your Facebook updates coherent and well-composed. And by all means, if you’re blogging, you’d better be working on the fundamental skill that helps you articulate your thoughts.”

We use communication to build partnerships, intellectual resources, to promote an idea, a product, service, or an organization. A failure to communicate can have dramatic consequences in business for your employees, your clients and your community. Work on developing good communication skills and you will be successful in business.

What is your favourite method to communicate?

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Filed under Communications, Stephen Rhodes

Social Media – re-inventing social skills

By Jeff  Bowman

The boom in social media has brought about some changes in the social growth and development of social skills in today’s youth.

Recently, I worked with several young entrepreneurs with both High School and some College or University education.

I was quite honestly astounded at the lack of social graces, ability to communicate openly and apparent inability to look directly at me when asking questions or listening. Some of the students were outstanding in these areas, however they were the exception.

The social graces that parents and grandparents instilled in me when I was young seem to be missing today. I recognize that times have changed, where telephone conversation has been replaced with texting, and after school or work activities replaced with gaming and Facebook. There may be more communication going on, but how deep and meaningful is that communication?

These future business people seemed to lack in the area that is most important in building a business – developing long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships.I have worked as a mentor for 9 years now, and the trend is definitely growing. The ability to write detailed business plans has improved, mostly because templates, sample plans and information are available on the Internet. But when it comes to communicating the ideas expressed in the plans and understanding the reasons for making certain decisions, there is a noticeable difference between the written and verbal communication.

The ability to communicate verbally is lost in today’s online world. Text messaging, Twitter, Facebook updates and even email do not contribute to well thought out ideas and the ability to articulate them.

Disagreement with others online is as simple as typing a few derogatory words or removing them from your contact list.  Disagreements in the business world need to be dealt with using a variety of communication and social skills, such as discipline, self-control, honesty, consensus building and teamwork.

Another skill that is critical in the business world is listening.  Consultative sales techniques require honed listening skills in order to uncover customer needs, and offer solutions. I have found that these young business people listen intently, but either don’t hear what I am saying, or don’t comprehend the significance of it.

The written word does not always portray true feelings, and even less so in 140 characters.   Communication breaks down not because of the words used, but by how they were received and interpreted by the other party. Facebook, e-mail, messenger and others have caused me unnecessary trouble  when I have misunderstood what the other person was trying to say @##$&*^&!

I don’t know what the answer is – how we instill  social skills and graces – but I hate to imagine that this is the type of business environment that I will be working in over the next several years. It should start with common courtesy and manners, at home and in the school system.

Maybe we are headed to an electronic world where face to face communication will never exist in the business world and the human voice may never be heard again. It isn’t something that I look forward to.

What about you?

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Press one for lost business

By Stephen Rhodes

How is it that picking up a telephone, assuming you can actually get a human being on the end of the line, is such an intensely stimulating experience that we avoid it at all cost?

telephoneIs there a more annoying invention than voicemail? Do companies actually think their customers want to be interrogated with 30 questions before they have a chance to talk to a human being – and that’s only if you know how to spell their name in the company directory.

And why is it service companies seem to be worse than anyone else? Try calling the phone company for instance.

First contact is so important for business. I wonder how many people give up after five minutes of frantic fingering through the entrails of a company’s voicemail system. You know things are bad when you end up in the dreaded general mailbox – that black hole of indifference.

Do you make it easy for your customers to talk to you?

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Filed under Customer Service, Marketing, Stephen Rhodes, Uncategorized